Time period between election date and first sitting date

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Time period between election date and first sitting date

Posted 18/10/2013 by Sophia Fernandes


It is up to the government to decide when parliamentary sittings will commence following an election, provided that the first sitting day is no later than 30 days from the date of the return of the writs. The election timetable is governed by the Constitution and the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. According to the timetable, the date of the return of the writs for the election is to be no longer than 100 days after it is issued, which is within 10 days after the election is announced.

 The 2013 Federal election was announced on Sunday 4 August 2013 and the writs were issued on Monday 5 August 2013. The latest date by which the writs must be returned is Wednesday 13 November 2013, and parliament must sit within 30 days of this date. The government announced that the first sitting day for the 44th Parliament will be on Tuesday 12 November 2013—in line with the custom of holding the opening of parliament on a Tuesday. The election timetable for the 2013 Federal election is available on the Australian Electoral Commission website. The library publication, Australian elections timetable, explains the rules governing various election scenarios.

Below is a sortable table of the time period between the election date and first sitting date since Federation. The shortest time period is 31 days in 1969 and the longest time period is 94 days after the 2001 election. There is no clear pattern between the election date and the first sitting date, with sittings, on average, commencing within 59 days of the election date. In the case of 2001, where there was a 94 day lapse, the election was held on the 10 November and the last writs were returned on 7 December 2001. As it was the Christmas period, parliament did not return until the customary first sittings of the year in February. It is important to note that factors such as common holiday periods do impact upon the date of the first sitting.


Election DateFirst sittingTotal DaysLength
30/03/19019/05/1901401 Month, 09 Days. 40 Days total.
16/12/19032/03/1904772 Months, 15 Days. 77 Days total.
12/12/190620/02/1907702 Months, 08 Days. 70 Days total.
13/04/19101/07/1910792 Months, 18 Days. 79 Days total.
31/05/19139/07/1913391 Month, 09 Days. 39 Days total.
5/09/19148/10/1914331 Month, 03 Days. 33 Days total.
5/05/191714/06/1917401 Month, 09 Days. 40 Days total.
13/12/191926/02/1920752 Months, 13 Days. 75 Days total.
16/12/192228/02/1923742 Months, 12 Days. 74 Days total.
14/11/192513/01/1926601 Month, 30 Days. 60 Days total.
17/11/19286/02/1929812 Months, 20 Days. 81 Days total.
12/10/192920/11/1929391 Month, 08 Days. 39 Days total.
19/12/193117/02/1932601 Month, 29 Days. 60 Days total.
15/09/193423/10/1934381 Month, 08 Days. 38 Days total.
23/10/193730/11/1937381 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.
21/09/194020/11/1940601 Month, 30 Days. 60 Days total.
21/08/194323/09/1943331 Month, 02 Days. 33 Days total.
28/09/19466/11/1946391 Month, 09 Days. 39 Days total.
10/12/194922/02/1950742 Months, 12 Days. 74 Days total.
28/04/195112/06/1951451 Month, 15 Days. 45 Days total.
29/05/19544/08/1954672 Months, 06 Days. 67 Days total.
10/12/195515/02/1956672 Months, 05 Days. 67 Days total.
22/11/195817/02/1959872 Months, 26 Days. 87 Days total.
9/12/196120/02/1962732 Months, 11 Days. 73 Days total.
30/11/196325/02/1964872 Months, 26 Days. 87 Days total.
26/11/196621/02/1967872 Months, 26 Days. 87 Days total.
25/10/196925/11/1969311 Month, 00 Days. 31 Days total.
2/12/197227/02/1973872 Months, 25 Days. 87 Days total.
18/05/19749/07/1974521 Month, 21 Days. 52 Days total.
13/12/197517/02/1976662 Months, 04 Days. 66 Days total.
10/12/197721/02/1978732 Months, 11 Days. 73 Days total.
18/10/198025/11/1980381 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.
5/03/198321/04/1983471 Month, 16 Days. 47 Days total.
1/12/198421/02/1985822 Months, 20 Days. 82 Days total.
11/07/198714/09/1987652 Months, 03 Days. 65 Days total.
24/03/19908/05/1990451 Month, 14 Days. 45 Days total.
13/03/19934/05/1993521 Month, 21 Days. 52 Days total.
2/03/199630/04/1996591 Month, 28 Days. 59 Days total.
3/10/199810/11/1998381 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.
10/11/200112/02/2002943 Months, 02 Days. 94 Days total.
9/10/200416/11/2004381 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.
24/11/200712/02/2008802 Months, 19 Days. 80 Days total.
21/08/201028/09/2010381 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.
7/09/201312/11/2013662 Months, 05 Days. 66 Days total.


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