Australian Electoral Commission

Standing as a candidate

Updated: 9 June 2016

Qualification

For both the Senate and the House of Representatives, a person nominated must be:

  • 18 years of age or older,
  • an Australian citizen, and
  • an elector entitled to vote at a House of Representatives election or qualified to become such an elector.

You cannot nominate for the Senate or the House of Representatives if you are disqualified by section 44 of the Constitution and have not remedied that disqualification before nomination. Examples of this include:

  • a member of a State or Territory parliament, unless they have resigned before lodging a nomination;
  • a citizen or subject of a foreign power;
  • serving a prison sentence of 12 months or more;
  • is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent;
  • holding an office of profit under the Crown (e.g. Public Servant); or
  • a permanent member of the Australian Defence Force.

If you have any doubts as to your qualifications under the Constitution, we recommend that you seek your own legal advice. The Australian Electoral Commission does not provide specific legal advice to prospective candidates.

Nomination

Candidates may not lodge nominations until after the writ for the election has been issued. The date fixed for the close of nominations must be at least 10 days, but not more than 27 days after the issue of the writ.

Nominations must be made before 12 noon on the day nominations close. Nominations will be declared 24 hours after close of nominations.

Senate

Nominations for the Senate are made to the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for the State or Territory.

House of Representatives

Nominations for the House of Representatives are made to the Divisional Returning Officer for the division where the election is to be held. This also applies to by-elections.

For a general election the registered officer of a political party may make a 'bulk nomination' of all endorsed House of Representatives candidates within a particular State or Territory. This allows all of a party's candidates to be nominated in one action. Nominations in this form must be made to the AEO for the appropriate State and must be received 48 hours before the hour of nomination (see subsection 175(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918). Bulk nominations cannot be made for a by-election and all nominations must be lodged at the office of the Returning Officer.

Nomination forms

Nomination forms are available from the AEC and must contain the following information:

  • full name, place of residence, occupation and contact number;
  • for endorsed candidates – verification of their endorsement by the registered officer of the party, and an indication of whether the party's full name or abbreviation is to be printed adjacent to the candidate's name and whether the party's registered logo is to be included on the ballot paper;
  • for unendorsed candidates – nomination by 100 electors of the relevant division, and an indication whether the word 'Independent' is to be printed adjacent to the candidate's name; and
  • a declaration by the candidate that they are:
    • constitutionally and legally qualified to be elected;
    • have not nominated for another election to be held on the same day; and
    • are prepared to act if elected.

Deposit

  • Senate candidates must pay a $2000 deposit with their nomination
  • House of Representatives candidates must pay a $1000 deposit with their nomination

Each nomination for the Senate and the House of Representatives must be accompanied by a deposit paid by legal tender (cash) or a cheque drawn by a bank or other financial institution on itself. Cheques should be made out to the Australian Electoral Commission. Personal cheques cannot be accepted.

These deposits are returned if a candidate is elected, or gains more than 4% of the total first preference votes, or if the candidate is in a group of Senate candidates which polls at least 4% of the total first preference votes.

What if a House of Representative candidate dies between declaration of nominations and polling day?

The election for that seat or electoral division does not proceed. A new writ is issued for a supplementary election to be held. The supplementary election is conducted using the electoral roll prepared for the original election.