The Prime Minister has announced her intention to seek the Governor-General's concurrence later this year to dissolve the House of Representatives and issue writs, on 12 August, for an election on 14 September.
The earliest possible date for a joint House/Senate election is Saturday, 3 August 2013.
The earliest possible date for a House of Representatives election is any Saturday, 33 days after issue of writs.
The earliest possible date for a Senate election is Saturday, 3 August 2013.
The latest possible date for a joint House/Senate election is Saturday, 30 November 2013.
The latest possible date for a House of Representatives election is Saturday, 30 November 2013.
The latest practicable date for a Senate election is *Saturday, 24 May 2014.
* The Constitution (section 13) requires the election to be completed by 30 June 2014. Following polling day, the Australian Electoral Commission needs up to five weeks to allow for the receipt of postal votes; then distribution of preferences; followed by return of Writs.
As the AEC generally does not know when an election will occur it must check and investigate the availability and suitability of polling places as part of its routine preparation. The AEC hired approximately 8,000 polling places for the conduct of the 2010 federal election. Due to the size of this preparation task, checking takes a number of months and possible polling place locations are refined and updated well in advance of each federal event. The AEC also actively seeks to secure polling places with access for people with disabilities in accordance with legislative requirements.
Please see the Election Timetable.
The percentage of enrolled electors that voted in the 2010 federal election was 93.22% for the House of Representatives and 93.83% for the Senate.
Please see the 2010 Federal Election Timetable.
Please see Cost of Elections and Referendums 1901–Present.
Almost 70 000 people work for the AEC on and around polling day.
Scrutineers are appointed by candidates to observe the voting, and counting of the votes. Scrutineers have the right to be present when the ballot boxes are sealed and opened and when the votes are sorted and counted so that they may check any possible irregularities. For more information see Scrutineers.
This is a simultaneous election for all members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Under the Constitution, the Governor-General may dissolve both the Senate and the House of Representatives at any time (except within the last six months of the House of Representatives term) provided the special circumstances as set out in s.57 of the Constitution are met.
More information can be found in our Fact Sheet on Double Dissolutions.
Seat classification is generally based on the results for that seat from the last election.
Where a winning candidate received less than 56% of the two candidate preferred vote the seat is classified as 'marginal'; 56–60% is classified as 'fairly safe'; and more than 60% is considered 'safe'.
Anything more than an absolute majority (50% + 1 votes) is the swing required for the seat to change hands (for example: if a member holds a seat with 56% of the vote a swing of greater than 6% is required for the seat to change hands).
A writ is a document commanding an electoral officer to hold an election, and contains dates for the close of rolls, the close of nominations, the polling day and the return of the writ. The Governor-General issues the writs for House of Representatives elections and the State Governors issue writs for States' Senate elections.