Candidates Overview

Updated: 1 February 2011


A candidate for a federal election must be:

  • at least 18 years old;
  • an Australian citizen; and
  • an elector (or a person qualified to become an elector).


(Refer also to Constitution, s44) A person may not be a candidate for a federal election if they are:

  • 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; or
  • a permanent member of the Australian Defence Force.


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.

Nominations for the Senate are made to the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for the State or Territory; nominations for the House of Representatives are made to the Divisional Returning Officer for the division where the election is to be held.

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 nominations.

Nomination forms are available from the Australian Electoral Commission (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;
  • for unendorsed candidates – nomination by fifty 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.


Senate candidates pay a $1000 deposit with their nomination and House of Representatives candidates pay $500. These deposits are returned if a candidate 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.

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