The Next Federal Election

The next Australian federal election will elect members of our 44th Parliament. The election must be held by 30 November 2013 and will be called following the dissolution or expiry of the current Parliament which was elected on Saturday, 21 August 2010.

That means the current 43rd Parliament has been in place, as of today 21 January 2012 for one year and nearly 4 months not quite at the half way mark.

House of Representatives

May I outline a fairly straightforward process; from our Constitution:

1. Every House of Representatives shall continue for three years – from the first sitting of the House, and no longer.
2. The writs shall be issued within ten days from the expiry of a House of Representatives.
3. The date fixed for the nomination of the candidates shall not be less than 10 days nor more than 27 days after the date of the writ.
4. The date fixed for the polling shall not be less than 23 days nor more than 31 days after the date of nomination.
5. The day fixed for the polling shall be a Saturday

The first meeting of the current House of Reps was on 28 September 2010 and because of our three year terms it will expire on 27 September 2013, unless dissolved sooner.

Interestingly; of our entire 42 completed Parliaments only one, the 3rd Parliament 1907-1910, continued for the full three years, all the others having been dissolved earlier. This means we have had an election approximately every 2.8 years – probably a good reason for going for either a four year term or at least fixed terms.

The writs must be issued by 7 October 2013 (ten days after the expiry or dissolution). The last date on which nominations can close is 3 November 2013 (27 days after the issue of the writs). The last day that is a Saturday and no more than 31 days following the close of nominations is 30 November 2013. This is therefore the last possible date of the next election.

As an example; the following occurred last time the key dates in 2010 were:

• Announcement of election: Saturday 17 July
• Prorogation of 42nd Parliament: 4.59 p.m., Monday 19 July AEST
• Dissolution of House of Representatives: 5 p.m., Monday 19 July AEST
• Issue of electoral writs: Monday 19 July
• Close of rolls (if not currently on roll): 8 p.m., Monday 19 July AEST
• Close of rolls (if currently on roll and updating details): 8 p.m., Thursday 22 July AEST
• Close of nominations: 12 noon, Thursday 29 July AEST
• Declaration of nominations: 12 noon, Friday 30 July AEST
• Polling day: Saturday 21 August
• Return of writs (latest date): Wednesday 27 October

Senate

Under sections seven and eight of the Australian Constitution, the Senate must:

• comprise an equal number of senators from each original state;
• have at least six senators per original state; and
• ensure any laws governing the election of senators is non-discriminatory among states.

For an election:

• Section 13 of the Constitution provides that the election of Senators shall be held in the period of twelve months before the places become vacant.
• State senators are normally elected for fixed terms of six years, commencing on 1 July following the election, and ceasing on 30 June six years later

Barring a double dissolution, an election for half the membership of the Senate must be held between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014. Should the current parliament run to or near its full term, the Senate election would be held in conjunction with the House of Representatives election; the first possible date for a house and half-senate election is Saturday 3 August 2013. An early election, however, would not include a Senate election.

You can make a pretty safe bet that we will not go for separate House of Reps & Senate elections because of the disruption and the cost. Therefore; we can probably predict the next Federal Election to be sometime between 3 August 2013 and 30 November 2013

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