The Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, announced on Sunday 30 August 1998 that an election for half the Senate and the House of Representatives would be held on Saturday 3 October 1998.
In the half Senate election, eligible electors in each State were choosing six Senators to serve a six year term. Electors in the two Territories were each voting for two Senators to serve a maximum three year term. This meant a total of 40 Senate vacancies were to be filled.
The 1998 federal election was also an election for the 148 vacancies in the House of Representatives. Electors in each of the 148 divisions were electing one Member to the House of Representatives to serve a maximum term of three years.
Electors in the Northern Territory were also to vote in a referendum on a proposal to grant statehood to the Territory. The referendum was not binding and was held to consult with Territory electors regarding their views of Statehood.
The writs for the 1998 federal election were issued on Monday 31 August 1998. The issue of the writ officially triggered the election process.
A total of eight separate writs were issued, one for the election of Senators in each State and Territory. The writ for the Senate election in each State was issued by the Governor of the State to that State's AEO; and the writs for the Senate election in the two Territories were both issued by the Governor-General to each Territory's AEO.
The writs for the House of Representatives elections were issued by the Governor-General to the Electoral Commissioner, who in turn advised each of the 148 DROs of the election. A total of eight writs were also issued for the House of Representatives election – one for all the Divisions in each State and Territory.
An election timetable is determined by the Constitution and the Commonwealth Electoral Act. The Act sets a minimum election period of 33 days and a maximum period of 58 days.
|Min. & max. period||1998 federal election dates|
|Expiry or dissolution of Parliament
The Prime Minister announces the dissolution of parliament and the intention to hold an election.
|Sunday 30 August 1998|
|Issue of writs
A writ commands an electoral officer to hold an election and contains dates for the close of rolls, close of nominations, polling day and the return of the writ. (Constitution s.12, 32) (the Act s.151)
|0–10 days||Monday 31 August 1998|
|Close of rolls
Electors have until 8pm, seven days after the writs are issued to enrol or update their details on the Commonwealth electoral roll. (the Act s.155)
|7–17 days||Monday 7 September 1998 (8pm)|
|Close of nominations
It is not possible to nominate as a candidate for election until the writs have been issued. Candidates must nominate by 12 noon on the date specified on the writs as close of nominations. (the Act s.156)
|10–37 days||Thursday, 10 September 1998 (12 noon)|
|Declaration of nominations
The public announcement of nominations received followed by a draw for positions on the ballot paper, 24 hours after the close of nominations. (the Act s.176)
|11–38 days||Friday, 11 September 1998 (12 noon)|
The day on which the majority of electors cast their vote at a polling place. It must be a Saturday and at least 33 days after the issue of the writs. (the Act s.157)
|33–68 days||Saturday, 3 October 1998 (8am to 6pm)|
|Return of writs
After the Senate polls are declared, the AEO for each State and Territory returns the writ endorsed with the names of the successful candidates to the State Governor (or Governor-General in the case of the Territories).
For the House of Representatives, the Electoral Commissioner endorses on the writ the name of each candidate elected for each Division and returns the writs to the Governor-General.
Writs must be returned within 100 days of their issue. (the Act s.159)
|Meeting of Parliament
The new Parliament must meet within 30 days of the day appointed for the return of the writs. (Constitution s.5)
|140 days||The 39th parliament met for the first time on 10 November 1998.|
For the first time:
Other points of interest: