Candidates must be nominated before they may be elected to the Senate or the House of Representatives. The qualifications for a candidate for the Senate or the House of Representatives are the same. A candidate must be at least 18 years old, an Australian citizen and an elector entitled to vote or a person qualified to become an elector.
It is not possible to nominate as a candidate for election until the writ has been issued. A nomination must be made on the appropriate nomination form. For each nomination a deposit must be lodged. The deposit required of a House of Representatives candidate is $250, refundable if the candidate achieves more than 4% of the formal first preference votes for the relevant division. For the Senate a deposit of $500 is required, refundable if the candidate (or if applicable, the Senate group in which the candidate is included) achieves more than 4% of the formal first preference votes for the relevant State or Territory.
Nominations for the 1996 federal election closed at 12 noon on 9 February 1996. There were a total of 1163 nominated candidates:
|Seats||Candidates||Groups||Ungrouped candidates||Candidates||Groups||Ungrouped candidates|
|1996 federal election||1993 federal election|
The order in which candidates' names appear on a ballot paper is determined by a random draw. The draw takes place as soon as possible after the close of nominations at 12 noon. Draws for positions on the House of Representatives ballot papers are conducted by DROs at each of the 148 Divisional Offices. Draws for Senate ballot paper positions are conducted by AEOs at each capital city Head Office. The draws are open to the public, the media and candidates.
A lotto-style draw is held for both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In the House of Representatives there are two draws. The first gives each candidate a number and the second determines the order in which each candidate appears on the ballot paper. This process is called a double randomised draw.
The same process occurs in the Senate, however, it is in two parts. In the first part there are two draws for grouped candidates, and in the second, there are two draws for ungrouped candidates. Groups appear before ungrouped candidates on the ballot paper.
The draw is one of the few times during an election when most candidates come together.
The AEC commences printing the House of Representatives and the Senate ballot papers after the draw for ballot paper positions is completed.
For this election:
For the first time:
In the week beginning 12 February 1996, ballot papers were distributed to Divisional Offices around Australia. On receipt of the ballot papers, they were counted by DROs and the majority were securely stored in readiness for polling day. The remainder were used immediately for pre-poll and postal voting.
Between 13 and 15 February, the AEC distributed 127 900 House of Representatives and 77 040 Senate ballot papers to 99 Australian embassies, high commissions and consulates, to enable Australians, overseas at the time of the election, to vote.
Under the CEA the AEC is required to account for every ballot paper from the time the papers are printed, until they are no longer required. Strict security surrounds the printing, handling and storage of ballot papers to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.
|House of Representatives||Senate|
|NSW||7 116 375||5 423 200|
|VIC||6 000 000||4 000 000|
|QLD||4 012 520||2 744 100|
|WA||1 800 000||1 500 000|
|SA||1 711 190||1 317 200|
|TAS||545 500||456 600|
|ACT||309 000||303 300|
|NT||140 000||160 000|
|TOTAL||21 634 585||15 904 400|