State Election Dates


Current Issues Brief 8 1998-99

Margaret Healy
Politics and Public Administration Group
30 March 1999

Introduction

New South Wales

Victoria

Queensland

Western Australia

South Australia

Tasmania

Australian Capital Territory

Northern Territory

Endnotes

Appendix 1: Election Dates and Membership of State and Territory Parliaments

Appendix 2: Commonwealth, State and Territory Election Dates 1900-March 1999

Glossary

Introduction

This paper gives a general overview of the legal provisions governing the conduct of elections in the Australian States and Territories, and provides information on election dates for the next State elections. At the beginning of each jurisdiction there is a summary of each Parliament, giving the structure, size, term and voting system. The provisions relating to the election timetables are then set out in detail.

Australia as a federal system has a Commonwealth Parliament consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and six individual States. In 1978 the Northern Territory was granted self-government, while the Australian Capital Territory achieved self-government in 1988.

At the time of federation, all the States had bicameral legislatures. The Northern Territory, which was part of South Australia at the time of federation, was transferred to the Commonwealth in 1911. The Australian Capital Territory was created from part of New South Wales, so as to provide the site of the national capital, Canberra, and transferred to the Commonwealth in 1911. In 1922 Queensland abolished its upper house. When the Territories achieved self-government, the Northern Territory and the ACT Parliaments were both established as unicameral legislatures.

New South Wales

Next election 22 March 2003.

Last election: 27 March 1999.

The New South Wales Parliament consists of the Legislative Assembly, which from 1999 has 93 members, and the Legislative Council, which has 42 members. The voting system for the Legislative Assembly is optional preferential for single member electorates, and for the Legislative Council is optional preferential proportional representation, elected from the entire State as a single district. There is a fixed four year term with provision for earlier dissolution under specified conditions. Voting is compulsory.

In 1991, as a result of an agreement between the Greiner Liberal/National Party Government and the independent Members of Parliament, the Constitution (Fixed Term Parliament) Special Provisions Act 1991 (NSW) was passed. This legislation fixed the date of the next election at 25 March 1995 and specified the only circumstances under which the Assembly could be dissolved prior to 3 March 1995. The Act applied only to the 1995 election. A permanent fixed four year term was approved by a referendum on the Constitution (Fixed Term Parliaments) Bill 1993 (NSW), held concurrently with the 1995 election. This provided that except under special circumstances, the NSW Legislative Assembly would have a fixed four year term, with the election required to be held on the fourth Saturday of March following the expiry of the Assembly. The referendum was approved by 75.48 per cent of the votes cast.

Therefore the next election must be held on 22 March 2003.

Sub-section 24(1) of the Constitution Act 1902 (NSW) now provides:

  1. A Legislative Assembly shall, unless sooner dissolved under section 24B, expire on the Friday before the first Saturday in March in the fourth calendar year after the calendar year in which the return of the writs for choosing the Assembly occurred.

Section 24A provides:

The writs for a general election of Members of the Legislative Assembly must name the day for the taking of the poll at that general election:

  1. if the previous Legislative Assembly expired-the fourth Saturday in March next following the expiry; or

  2. if the previous Legislative Assembly was dissolved-a day that is not later than the fortieth day from the date of the issue of the writs.

Section 25B specifies the circumstances under which an earlier dissolution of the Assembly may occur. Briefly, these are:

(i) if a motion of no confidence in the Government is passed by the Assembly and a confidence motion is not passed within 8 days;

(ii) if a money Bill for the ordinary services of government is rejected by the Assembly;

(iii) if a money Bill fails to pass the Assembly before the time that the Governor considers that the appropriation is required;

(iv) if the election date would otherwise fall in the same period as a Commonwealth election, holiday period or other inconvenient time; the Assembly may be dissolved within two months of its expiry; or

(v) where the Governor could do so on the basis of established Constitutional conventions. Before granting a dissolution, the Governor must consider whether an alternative government could be formed without a dissolution and must have regard to any motion of confidence in an alternative premier.

Any changes to these provisions must be approved by referendum.

Section 68 of the Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912 (NSW) provides that writs must be issued within four clear days after the publication in the Gazette of the proclamation dissolving the Assembly, or after the expiry of the Assembly. Writs must be returned not later than 60 clear days after their issue.

Section 74A provides that the election for the Legislative Council must take place according to the timetable for the Assembly election.

In 1991, the number of members in the Legislative Council and their term of office were reduced by the Constitution (Legislative Council) Amendment Act 1991 (NSW). This Act reduced the number of councillors from 45 to 42, and incorporated transitional arrangements to allow existing councillors to serve their existing term (12 years). Subsequently elected councillors will only serve for two terms of the Assembly (eight years) and half the membership of the council will retire at each election. The provisions dealing with these matters are sub-sections 22B(2), (3) and (5) of the Act.

The Constitution and Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Amendment Act 1997 (NSW) reduced the number of members of the Legislative Assembly from 99 to 93. This took effect at the 1999 election.

Victoria

Next election: Not later than 15 July 2000.

Last election: 30 March 1996.

The Victorian Parliament consists of the Legislative Assembly, with 88 members from single member electorates, and the Legislative Council, with 44 members, two from each of 22 electorates. The voting system is fully preferential for both Houses. Voting is compulsory. The Legislative Assembly has a four year term, with provision for earlier dissolution during the first three years of the term under specified conditions The election may be held at any time during the fourth year. At each election for the Legislative Assembly half the Legislative Council seats are elected. Legislative Councillors are elected for two terms of the Legislative Assembly.

Sub-section 38(2) of the Constitution Act 1975 (Vic.) provides that the term of the Legislative Assembly shall continue for four years from the day of its first meeting after a general election. Sub-section 8(3) provides that the Legislative Assembly may not be dissolved within three years of that date unless:

(i) there are grounds for a dissolution under section 66 because of the rejection of a Bill of Special Importance;

(ii) there is a rejection of, or failure to pass a Bill for the ordinary annual services of the government; or

(iii) the Assembly passes a vote of no confidence in the Government.

The Assembly may be dissolved at any time during the fourth year of a government's term.

Sub-section 28(1) of the Constitution Act 1975 (Vic.) provides that members of the Legislative Council hold office until the dissolution or expiry of the second term of the Assembly after that member's election, namely a maximum of eight years. Twenty-two of the 44 Councillors are elected at each Assembly election.

The Constitution Act Amendment (Amendment) Act 1995 (Vic.) amended the Constitution Act Amendment Act 1958 (Vic) to shorten the minimum period required between the issue of the writs to the date of the election. While the maximum time period for an election remains 58 days, the minimum period is now 25 days.

Sub-section 149(1) of the Constitution Act Amendment Act 1958 provides that the writs for an election must be issued within seven days after the expiry or dissolution of the Assembly.

Section 154 provides that the rolls close three days after the date of the writ.

Section 154A provides that:

  • the nomination date shall be not less than 10 days nor more than 28 days after the date of the writ
  • polling day shall be not less than 15 nor more than 30 days after the date of nomination, and
  • polling day must be on a Saturday.

Section 155 provides that at every simultaneous election all elections must be held on the same day.

The earliest possible election date is 12 June 1999.

The last election was held on 30 March 1996, and the first date of the meeting of the newly elected Assembly was on 14 May 1996. The Assembly would expire on Monday 15 May 2000 and the writs must be issued by Monday 22 May 2000. Nominations would then close on Monday 19 June 2000. Polling day must be no more than 30 days after the date of nomination. This falls on Wednesday 19 July, but as polling day must be held on a Saturday, the latest possible date is 15 July 2000. However if the writs were issued on the day that the Assembly expires, the latest possible election date would be Saturday 8 July 2000.

Queensland

Next election: Not later than 22 September 2001.

Last election: 13 June 1998.

Queensland has a unicameral Parliament, consisting of the Legislative Assembly, with 89 members representing single member electorates. The Legislative Council was abolished in 1922. Parliament has a three year term and the voting system is optional preferential. Voting is compulsory.

The election timetable is governed by the Queensland Constitution and by the Electoral Act 1992 (Qld).

Section 2 of the Constitution Act Amendment Act 1890 (Qld) provides that every Legislative Assembly shall continue for three years from the date appointed for the return of the writs.(1) There are no restrictions upon dissolving the Assembly before its term expires.

Section 2 provides:

Every Legislative Assembly hereafter to be summoned and chosen shall continue for 3 years from the day appointed from the return of the writs for choosing the same, and no longer; subject nevertheless to be sooner dissolved by the Governor.

The election timetable is set out in the Electoral Act 1992. This was passed as a result of recommendations stemming from the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission Report which arose out of the Fitzgerald Inquiry.(2)

Part 6 of the Electoral Act 1992 deals with timetables for elections.

Section 78 of the Act provides that the Governor must issue writs for a general election not later than four days after the expiry or dissolution of the House.

Section 80 states that a writ must set out:

(i) its day of issue;

(ii) the cut off day for electoral rolls, which must be not less than 5 nor more than 7 days after issue of the writ;

(iii) the cut off day for nominations which must be not less than 8 nor more than 18 days after issue of the writ;

(iv) the polling day which must be a Saturday not less than 26 nor more than 56 days after issue of the writ; and

(v) the date of return of the writs which must not be more than 84 days after issue.

The last election was held on 13 June 1998. The date appointed for the return of the writs was 27 July 1998. Therefore the Legislative Assembly expires on 26 July 2001, and the writ must be issued not later than four days from then, or by 30 July 2001.

Polling day must be no more than 56 days from the issue of the writ, which is Monday 24 September 2001. The previous Saturday is 22 September. Therefore the latest possible date for the next election is 22 September 2001.

Western Australia

Next election: 5 May 2001

Last election: 14 December 1996.

Western Australia has a Parliament consisting of the Legislative Assembly, with 57 members representing single member electorates, and the Legislative Council, with 34 members elected from six regions. Voting is fully preferential for the Legislative Assembly, and preferential proportional representation for the Legislative Council. Voting is compulsory. The Parliament has a four year term, but the Legislative Assembly may be dissolved earlier, while the Legislative Council's term is fixed.

Section 21 of the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899 (WA) provides that the Legislative Assembly has a four year term from the date of its first meeting after its election, but the expiry date is adjusted as follows:

(i) if the term would otherwise have expired in the period from September to January (inclusive) then the expiry date is brought forward to 31 January; but

(ii) if the term would otherwise have expired in the period from February to August (inclusive) then the expiry date is brought back to the prior 31 January.

The Assembly may be dissolved sooner.

The intricacies of the constitutional and electoral requirements for both houses are such that the latest possible dates for each house differ, so that if there is to be a conjoint election, earlier dates would apply.

The last election was held on 14 December 1996. Under section 21 of the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899, the term of the Legislative Assembly is up to four years from the date of its first meeting following election, unless dissolved earlier.

Accordingly, the Assembly's term will expire on 31 January 2001.

Section 64 of the Electoral Act 1907 (WA) provides that the Governor shall, not later than 21 days after the dissolution or expiry of the Assembly, by warrant direct that writs for the election must be issued forthwith.

Section 70 provides that the nomination of candidates must be not less than seven nor more than 45 days from the date of the writs. Forty five days later is Saturday 7 April 2001. Under section 61(2) of the Interpretation Act 1984 (WA) both Saturdays and Sundays are excluded days, and under section 61(1)(e) the thing may be done on the next day which is not an excluded day. This therefore would be Monday 9 April 2001.

Section 71 provides that the polling day shall be between 21 and 45 days after the date of nomination. Polling day must be on a Saturday, but may not be held on Easter Saturday or the Saturday preceding or following Easter Saturday. Forty five days later is Tuesday 22 May 2001. The previous Saturday is 19 May. This date is unlikely as a conjoint election of the Assembly and the Council could not be held on that date (see below).

Section 72 provides that the writs must be returned not more than 90 days after the date of their issue.

There are separate provisions relating to the term and electoral processes of the Legislative Council. Sub-section 8(2) of the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899 provides that members of the Legislative Council serve a term of 4 years from 22 May next following the day of election as a member. The term of the Legislative Council expires on 21 May 2001. Sub-section 8 (6) requires the writs for the Legislative Council elections to be issued by 10 April preceding the end of the term, but not more than one year before the end of the term, and that the writs be returnable not later than 21 May next following that 10 April.

Easter Sunday falls on 15 April 2001, so the election cannot be held on 7, 14, or 21 April 2001. 28 April is an unlikely date because it is so close to the Anzac Day holiday of 25 April 2001.

5 May 2001 is a possible date as the writs could still be returned for the Council by 21 May, but the election campaign would be very long. An earlier date is more likely, such as 24 or 31 March 2001. The Western Australian Electoral Commission regards these dates as the latest possible, given the legislative and practical constraints. Because of the complexity of the count method for the Council, about three weeks are generally required before results are available.

Section 4.7 of the Local Government Act 1995 (WA) provides that local government elections are ordinarily held biennially on the first Saturday in May, but there is provision for their deferral if the Electoral Commissioner considers that it would not be in the public interest to hold the elections on that day.

South Australia

Next election: Assuming the writs were issued by the Sunday following the expiry of the Assembly, not later than 20 April 2002.

Last election: 11 October 1997.

The Parliament of South Australia consists of the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council. The House of Assembly has 47 members representing single member electorates, and the Legislative Council has 22 members elected from the entire State as a single electorate. Voting for the House of Assembly is fully preferential, and for the Legislative Council is preferential proportional representation. Voting is compulsory, although there have been recent unsuccessful attempts by the Liberal Government to introduce voluntary voting. The House of Assembly has a minimum three year and a maximum four year term, and the Legislative Council a term of six to eight years. The House of Assembly may be dissolved in the first three years under specified conditions.

There is no date by which an election for the House of Assembly must be held. Section 28 of the Constitution Act 1934 (SA) provides that the term of the House of Assembly is four years from the date of its first meeting after an election.

Section 28 provides a formula for the expiry of the House of Assembly. If the four year term ends in the period from the beginning of October to the end of February the House of Assembly continues up to and including the last day of February and then expires. If the four years ends in the period between the beginning of March and the end of September, the House expires on 1 March.

The House of Assembly may not be dissolved before three years have expired from the date it first sat after the election, unless one of the conditions for early dissolution specified in section 28A is met. These conditions are:

(i) a motion of no confidence in the government is passed in the Assembly;

(ii) a motion of confidence in the government is defeated in the Assembly;

(iii) a Bill of special importance is passed by the Assembly but rejected by the Council;

(iv) as a result of a deadlock between the Houses under section 41.

There is no requirement for a writ to be issued within a specified period after the dissolution or expiry of the House of Assembly.

Section 48 of the Electoral Act 1985 (SA) provides the following timetable for the election after the writs have been issued. The rolls close not less than seven nor more than 10 days after the date of issue of the writs. Nominations close not less than three nor more than 14 days after the date fixed for the closing of the rolls. Polling day, which must be on a Saturday, must be not less than 14 nor more than 30 days after the date fixed for the close of nominations. The Act does not require the return of the writs within a specified time, but the date of the return of the writs must be fixed in the writ.

The earliest date is 6 January 2001.

The last election was held on 11 October 1997. The House of Assembly first met on 2 December 1997. Therefore because of the deeming provision of section 28, the House of Assembly expires after the last day of February 2002, or on 1 March 2002. If the writs were issued on Friday 1 March 2002, and if the maximum times allowable were taken, the rolls would close on Monday 11 March 2002. Nominations would close on Monday 25 March 2002. Polling day would fall on the Saturday before Wednesday 24 April, i.e. Saturday 20 April 2002. However, on the basis of previous practice, it is most likely that the election would be held sometime in the last months of 2001. The last four election dates were 7 December 1985, 25 November 1989 and 11 December 1993, and 11 October 1997.

Sub-section 14(3) of the Constitution Act 1934 provides that members of the Legislative Council must serve either three years or six years from the first of March of the year in which the member was elected. Sub-section 14(2) states that 11 councillors must retire when the Assembly is dissolved.(3) Sub-section 14(3) provides that a councillor does not have to retire unless:

(i) where that Councillor was elected as a result of the Council being dissolved due to a deadlock under section 41, 3 years have elapsed from the 1st of March of the year of that election;

(ii) in any other case, 6 years from the 1st of March in the year in which the Councillor was last elected.

Tasmania

Next election: Not later than 14 November 2002 but more practically by 2 November

Last election: 29 August 1998.

The Parliament of Tasmania consists of the House of Assembly, and the Legislative Council. From 1959 to 1998 there were 35 members, seven from each of the five electorates. For a number of years the Tasmanian Parliament had considered various changes, including a reduction in the number of members of the House of Assembly. Finally, shortly before calling an early election the Parliament passed legislation(4) reducing the size of both Houses. With effect from the 1998 election the size of the House of Assembly was reduced from 35 to 25, and the Legislative Council is being reduced from 19 to 15 by a transitional process which will be completed about the year 2000. The voting system for the House of Assembly is Hare-Clark proportional representation, with Robson Rotation used on the ballot papers. The Legislative Council has single member electorates. The Legislative Council is not subject to dissolution. Legislative Councillors have a 6 year term, with periodic elections for three members each year on the fourth Saturday of May. Every sixth year there were four Councillors to be elected. Voting for the Legislative Council is preferential. The House of Assembly has a term of up to four years. Voting for both Houses is compulsory.

The Legislative Council, which has single member electorates, is not subject to dissolution. Legislative Councillors have a six year term with annual periodic elections. Voting for the Legislative Council is preferential. Until the changes made by the Parliamentary Reform Act 1998, three members were elected each year on the fourth Saturday of May, and every sixth year four Councillors were elected. However section 19(3) of the Constitution Act 1934 now provides that, except as specified in a determination made under section 29A of the Legislative Council Electoral Boundaries Act 1995(5) at every alternate periodic election two members are to retire and two members are to be elected to fill these vacancies. At every other periodic election three members retire and three members are elected. Thus because of the different terms and manner of electing the two houses of the Tasmanian Parliament, elections are never conjoint.

Sub-section 23(2) of the Constitution Act 1934 (Tas.) provides that the term of the House of Assembly is for four years from the date of the return of the writs, unless it is dissolved sooner. In 1992 the Tasmanian Parliament passed the Constitution (Fixed Term Parliament) Special Provisions Act 1992 (Tas.), which applied to the subsequent election. Sub-section 4(3) provided that the Assembly would expire on 25 January 1996, unless dissolved under section 5. Sub-section 4(1) provided that writs for the next general election must fix the day for polling as 24 February 1996, or such later day as determined under the Electoral Act 1985 (Tas.), unless the Assembly was dissolved under section 5. Sub-section 5(2) of the Constitution (Fixed Term Parliament) Special Provisions Act 1992 (Tas.) stated that the Assembly could be dissolved if:

a motion of no confidence in the Premier and the government is passed by the Assembly;

and

eight clear days after the no confidence motion, the Assembly fails to pass a motion of confidence in the Premier, the government or a sufficient number of other members who could form an alternative government;

or

  1. the Assembly or the Council rejects a money Bill for the ordinary annual services of government;

or

(ii) the Assembly or the Council fails to pass such a Bill before the time the money referred to in (i) is required.

Sub-section 5(5) also allowed the Assembly to be dissolved within two months of 25 January 1996 if the election would otherwise coincide with a Commonwealth election period. Section 6 gives the Constitution (Fixed Term Parliament) Special Provisions Act 1992 priority over the Constitution Act 1934. As the Commonwealth election was held on 2 March 1996, the Tasmanian election was brought slightly forward.

However the fixed term provision applied only to the 1996 election. The next election was therefore held under the provisions of the Constitution Act 1934 and the Electoral Act 1985.

Section 23(2) of the Constitution Act 1934 provides:

every subsequent Assembly shall continue for 4 years from the date of the return of the writs for the general election at which the Members thereof were elected and no longer, unless it is sooner dissolved by the Governor.

Part V of the Electoral Act 1985 governs the conduct of elections.

Section 69 provides that when the Assembly is dissolved or expires through effluxion of time, writs shall be issued by the Governor not less than five days and within 10 days after the gazettal of the proclamation of the dissolution or expiry.

Section 72 provides that the nomination of candidates shall close not less than seven or more than 21 days after the date of the issue of the writs.

Section 73 fixes polling day on a day not less than 14 or more than 30 days after the date of nominations. There is no requirement that polling day must be held on a Saturday, but since the 1920s all Assembly elections have been held on a Saturday.

Section 74 requires the writs to be returned not later than 60 days after the date of issue.

There is provision for deferral of polling day, and for an extension of time for the return of the writs.

The last election was held on 29 August 1998. The writs were returned on 14 September 1998. Therefore the House of Assembly expires on Saturday 14 September 2002. Writs must be issued by Tuesday 24 September 2002. Nominations must close by Tuesday 15 October 2002. Polling day must be no more than 30 days after nomination, or by 14 November 2002. If the election is to be held on a Saturday, in accordance with long-standing practice, it would be held on the preceding Saturday, which is 9 November 2002.

However section 74 requires the writs to be returned within 60 days of their issue, (although the Governor may in fact proclaim a later date) and the date for their return is Saturday 23 November. There is a ten day period after the election for the return and counting of postal votes, and then another three to five days for the distribution of preferences. To allow sufficient time for these procedures, the Tasmanian Electoral Office believes that Saturday 2 November 2002 is the latest possible date.

Australian Capital Territory

Next election: 20 October 2001.

Last election: 21 February 1998.

The Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory is unicameral, consisting of the Legislative Assembly. There is a three year fixed term. There are 17 members, elected by a Hare-Clark proportional representation system, with Robson Rotation on the ballot papers. There are three electorates. Two have five members and the third has seven members. Voting is compulsory.

The first election after self-government was held under a system of proportional representation (modified D'Hondt). A referendum was held with the 1992 election to allow voters to choose between the Hare-Clark system and single member electorates. Hare-Clark was chosen by 65 per cent of voters. The Hare-Clark system was entrenched as a result of a further referendum held on 18 February 1995.

Sub-section 10(5) of the Australian Capital Territory (Electoral) Act 1988 (Commonwealth) provided that elections subsequent to the third Saturday in February 1992 were to be held on the third Saturday of February in the third year after the last ordinary general election was held.(6) The ACT Legislative Assembly subsequently enacted its own electoral legislation, the Electoral Act 1992, which continued the fixed term February election cycle.

The timing of the election was changed from February to October by the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1997 (ACT). Section 100 of the Electoral Act 1992 fixes the next election on 20 October 2001, and subsequent elections to be held on the third Saturday of October every third year. If there is to be an election for the Commonwealth House of Representatives or the Senate on this date, the ACT election must be deferred until the first Saturday of December.

Section 108 of the Electoral Act 1992 provides that nominations close on the twenty second day before polling day. Nominations will therefore close on 27 September 2001.

Northern Territory

Next election: Not later than 24 November 2001

Last election: 30 August 1997.

The Parliament of the Northern Territory is unicameral, consisting of the Legislative Assembly. There are 25 members, representing single member electorates. The Legislative Assembly has a four year term. The electoral system is fully preferential. Voting is compulsory.

Sub-section 17(2) of the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 (Commonwealth) provides that the period from the date of the first meeting of the Legislative Assembly after a general election to the date of the next succeeding general election shall not be more than four years. There is no requirement for the writs to be issued by a specified date. Section 33 of the Northern Territory Electoral Act 1995 (NT) provides that nominations close not less than seven clear days nor more than 21 clear days after the date of the issue of the writs, and that polling day shall be not less than seven nor more than 30 clear days after the date of nomination.

The last election for the Legislative Assembly was held on 30 August 1997. The newly elected Legislative Assembly met for the first time on 25 November 1997. Therefore the next election has to be held by 24 November 2001. While there is no requirement that the election must be held on a Saturday, if previous practice is followed the election would be held on Saturday, and the last possible date is 24 November 2001.

Endnotes

  1. A proposal to extend the term of the Assembly to four years was put to a referendum on 23 March 1991, but was defeated 811 078 votes to 772 647 votes.

  2. Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct, Report of a Commission of Inquiry pursuant to Orders in Council, Govt. Printer, Brisbane, 1989.

  3. Section 41 allows for dissolution of the Council in the event of a deadlock between the Houses, but this provision has never been used and is unlikely to be used in the future.

  4. Parliamentary Reform Act 1998 (Tas.).

  5. Section 29A specifies the arrangements under which the transition from 19 to 15 members is to be made.

  6. There is provision under section 16 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cwlth) for an early dissolution of the Assembly if in the opinion of the Governor-General the Assembly is incapable of effectively performing its functions, or is conducting its affairs in a grossly improper manner.

Politics and Public Administration Group

Information and Research Service

Appendix 1: Election Dates and Membership of State and Territory Parliaments

 

Most recent

Due

Commonwealth

3 October 1998

12 January 2002

New South Wales

27 March 1999

22 March 2003

Victoria

30 March 1996

15 July 2000

Queensland

13 June 1998

22 September 2001

Western Australia

14 December 1996

5 May 2001

South Australia

11 October 1997

20 April 2002

Tasmania

29 August 1998

2 November 2002

Australian Capital Territory

21 February 1998

20 October 2001

Northern Territory

30 August 1997

24 November 2001

 

State/Territory

Lower House

Upper House

New South Wales

93

42

Victoria

88

44

Queensland

89

 

Western Australia

57

34

South Australia

47

22

Tasmania

25

19 (15)

Australian Capital Territory

17

 

Northern Territory

25

 

Politics and Public Administration Group

Information and Research Service

Appendix 2: Commonwealth, State and Territory Election Dates 1900-March 1999

Commonwealth, State and Territory Election dates 1900-March 1999

Date

Election

9 Mar 1900

Tasmania

1 Nov 1900

Victoria

29-30 Mar 1901

Commonwealth

24 Apr 1901

Western Australia

3 July 1901

New South Wales

11 Mar 1902

Queensland

3 May 1902

South Australia

1 Oct 1902

Victoria

2 Apr 1903

Tasmania

16 Dec 1903

Commonwealth

1 June 1904

Victoria

28 June 1904

Western Australia

6 Aug 1904

New South Wales

27 Aug 1904

Queensland

27 May 1905

South Australia

27 Oct 1905

Western Australia

Mar-10 Nov 1906

South Australia

29 Mar 1906

Tasmania

12 Dec 1906

Commonwealth

15 Mar 1907

Victoria

18 May 1907

Queensland

10 Sept 1907

New South Wales

5 Feb 1908

Queensland

11 Sep-23 Oct 1908

Western Australia

29 Dec 1908

Victoria

30 Apr 1909

Tasmania

2 Oct 1909

Queensland

2 Apr 1910

South Australia

13 Apr 1910

Commonwealth

4 Oct 1910

New South Wales

Mar-31 Oct 1911

Western Australia

16 Nov 1911

Victoria

10 Feb 1912

South Australia

27 Apr 1912

Queensland

30 Apr 1912

Tasmania

23 Jan 1913

Tasmania

31 May 1913

Commonwealth

6 Dec 1913

New South Wales

21 Oct-11 Nov 1914

Western Australia

26 Nov 1914

Victoria

5 Dec 1914

Commonwealth Simultaneous dissolution

27 Mar 1915

South Australia

22 May 1915

Queensland

25 Mar 1916

Tasmania

24 Mar 1917

New South Wales

5 May 1917

Commonwealth

29 Sep-9 Nov 1917

Western Australia

15 Nov 1917

Victoria

16 Mar 1918

Queensland

6 Apr 1918

South Australia

31 May 1919

Tasmania

13 Dec 1919

Commonwealth

30 Mar 1920

New South Wales

9 Oct 1920

Queensland

21 Oct 1920

Victoria

12 Mar-9 Apr 1921

Western Australia

Sept-16 Apr 1921

South Australia

30 Aug 1921

Victoria

25 Mar 1922

New South Wales

10 June 1922

Tasmania

16 Dec 1922

Commonwealth

12 May 1923

Queensland

22 Mar-5 Apr 1924

Western Australia

5 Apr 1924

South Australia

26 June 1924

Victoria

30 May 1925

New South Wales

3 June 1925

Tasmania

14 Nov 1925

Commonwealth

8 May 1926

Queensland

26 Mar 1927

South Australia

26 Mar-9 Apr 1927

Western Australia

9 Apr 1927

Victoria

8 Oct 1927

New South Wales

30 May 1928

Tasmania

17 Nov 1928

Commonwealth

11 May 1929

Queensland

12 Oct 1929

Commonwealth-House of Representatives

30 November 1929

Victoria

5 Apr 1930

South Australia

12 Apr 1930

Western Australia

25 Oct 1930

New South Wales

9 May 1931

Tasmania

19 Dec 1931

Commonwealth

14 May 1932

Victoria

11 June 1932

Queensland, New South Wales

8 Apr 1933

South Australia, Western Australia

9 June 1934

Tasmania

15 Sept 1934

Commonwealth

2 Mar 1935

Victoria

11 May 1935

Queensland, New South Wales

15 Feb 1936

Western Australia

20 Feb 1937

Tasmania

2 Oct 1937

Victoria

23 Oct 1937

Commonwealth

19 Mar 1938

South Australia

26 Mar 1938

New South Wales

2 Apr 1938

Queensland

16 Mar 1939

Western Australia

18 Mar 1939

Western Australia

16 Mar 1940

Victoria

21 Sept 1940

Commonwealth

19 Mar 1941

South Australia

29 Mar 1941

Queensland

10 May 1941

New South Wales

13 Dec 1941

Tasmania

12 June 1943

Victoria

21 Aug 1943

Commonwealth

20 Nov 1943

Western Australia

8 Mar 1944

South Australia

15 Apr 1944

Queensland

27 May 1944

New South Wales

10 Nov 1945

Victoria

28 Sept 1946

Commonwealth

23 Nov 1946

Tasmania

8 Mar 1947

South Australia

15 Mar 1947

Western Australia

3 May 1947

New South Wales

3 May 1947

Queensland

8 Nov 1947

Victoria

21 Aug 1948

Tasmania

10 Dec 1949

Commonwealth

4 Mar 1950

South Australia

25 Mar 1950

Western Australia

29 Apr 1950

Queensland

6 May 1950

Tasmania

13 May 1950

Victoria

17 Jun 1950

New South Wales

28 Apr 1951

Commonwealth Simultaneous dissolution

6 Dec 1952

Victoria

14 Feb 1953

New South Wales

14 Feb 1953

Western Australia

7 Mar 1953

Queensland

7 Mar 1953

South Australia

9 May 1953

Commonwealth-Senate

29 May 1954

Commonwealth-House of Representatives

19 Feb 1955

Tasmania

28 May 1955

Victoria

10 Dec 1955

Commonwealth

3 Mar 1956

New South Wales

3 Mar 1956

South Australia

7 Apr 1956

Western Australia

19 May 1956

Queensland

13 Oct 1956

Tasmania

3 Aug 1957

Queensland

31 May 1958

Victoria

22 Nov 1958

Commonwealth

7 Mar 1959

South Australia

21 Mar 1959

New South Wales

21 Mar 1959

Western Australia

2 May 1959

Tasmania

28 May 1960

Queensland

15 Jul 1961

Victoria

9 Dec 1961

Commonwealth

3 Mar 1962

New South Wales

3 Mar 1962

South Australia

31 Mar 1962

Western Australia

1 Jun 1963

Queensland

30 Nov 1963

Commonwealth-House of Representatives.

2 May 1964

Tasmania

27 Jun 1964

Victoria

5 Dec 1964

Commonwealth-Senate

20 Feb 1965

Western Australia

6 Mar 1965

South Australia

1 May 1965

New South Wales

28 May 1966

Queensland

26 Nov 1966

Commonwealth-House of Representatives

29 Apr 1967

Victoria

25 Nov 1967

Commonwealth-Senate

24 Feb 1968

New South Wales

2 Mar 1968

South Australia

23 Mar 1968

Western Australia

10 May 1969

Tasmania

17 May 1969

Queensland

25 Oct 1969

Commonwealth-House of Representatives

30 May 1970

Victoria

30 May 1970

South Australia

21 Nov 1970

Commonwealth-Senate

13 Feb 1971

New South Wales

20 Feb 1971

Western Australia

22 Apr 1972

Tasmania

27 May 1972

Queensland

2 Dec 1972

Commonwealth-House of Representatives

10 Mar 1973

South Australia

19 May 1973

Victoria

17 Nov 1973

New South Wales

30 Mar 1974

Western Australia

18 May 1974

Commonwealth Simultaneous dissolution

7 Dec 1974

Queensland

12 Jul 1975

South Australia

13 Dec 1975

Commonwealth Simultaneous dissolution

20 Mar 1976

Victoria

1 May 1976

New South Wales

11 Dec 1976

Tasmania

19 Feb 1977

Western Australia

17 Sep 1977

South Australia

12 Nov 1977

Queensland

10 Dec 1977

Commonwealth

7 Oct 1978

New South Wales

5 May 1979

Victoria

28 Jul 1979

Tasmania

15 Sep 1979

South Australia

23 Feb 1980

Western Australia

7 Jun 1980

Northern Territory

18 Oct 1980

Commonwealth

29 Nov 1980

Queensland

19 Sep 1981

New South Wales

3 Apr 1982

Victoria

15 May 1982

Tasmania

6 Nov 1982

South Australia

19 Feb 1983

Western Australia

5 Mar 1983

Commonwealth Simultaneous dissolution

22 Oct 1983

Queensland

3 Dec 1983

Northern Territory

24 Mar 1984

New South Wales

1 Dec 1984

Commonwealth

2 Mar 1985

Victoria

7 Dec 1985

South Australia

8 Feb 1986

Western Australia

8 Feb 1986

Tasmania

1 Nov 1986

Queensland

7 Mar 1987

Northern Territory

11 Jul 1987

Commonwealth Simultaneous dissolution

19 Mar 1988

New South Wales

1 Oct 1988

Victoria

4 Feb 1989

Western Australia

4 Mar 1989

ACT

13 May 1989

Tasmania

25 Nov 1989

South Australia

2 Dec 1989

Queensland

24 Mar 1990

Commonwealth

27 Oct 1990

Northern Territory

25 May 1991

New South Wales

1 Feb 1992

Tasmania

15 Feb 1992

ACT

19 Sep 1992

Queensland

3 Oct 1992

Victoria

6 Feb 1993

Western Australia

13 Mar 1993

Commonwealth

11 Dec 1993

South Australia

4 Jun 1994

Northern Territory

18 Feb 1995

ACT

25 Mar 1995

New South Wales

15 Jul 1995

Queensland

24 Feb 1996

Tasmania

2 Mar 1996

Commonwealth

30 Mar 1996

Victoria

14 Dec 1996

Western Australia

30 Aug 1997

Northern Territory

11 Oct 1997

South Australia

21 Feb 1998

ACT

13 Jun 1998

Queensland

29 Aug 1998

Tasmania

3 Oct 1998

Commonwealth

27 Mar 1999

New South Wales

Glossary

Adapted from: Gerard Newman. 'Electoral systems', Current Issues Paper No. 3, 1989-90. Department of the Parliamentary Library, September 1989.

D'Hondt System: Proportional Representation system based on the Highest Average concept, which allocates seats on the basis of the highest average votes for seats after each additional seat has been allocated. Uses series of divisors to ensure that the next candidate to be elected is from the party with the highest average vote. Divisors are 1,2,3,4, etc.

Droop Quota: Minimum number of votes required to ensure election of one representative. The total number of votes is divided by one more than the number of seats and one is added to the quotient. The quota =[votes/(seats + 1)] + 1.

Hare-Clark: Variation of the single transferable vote form of proportional representation. Surplus votes for a candidate are transferred to the next preference at a rate proportionate to the surplus. It is used, with the Droop Quota, in Tasmanian House of Assembly elections. It is very similar to the system used for Senate elections.

Modified D'Hondt: A variation on the D'Hondt system which was used for the first ACT Legislative Assembly system. It uses D'Hondt divisors to determine the number of seats won by each party, and the Single Transferable Vote system to determine election of individual candidates. Candidates failing to gain the prescribed number of primary votes, which was the Droop Quota of about 5.56 per cent, were excluded from the count and their preferences transferred. Voters were not required to express preferences for all candidates. The method was extremely complicated, and the scrutiny was very slow.

Preferential Voting: Often referred to outside Australia as the Alternative Vote. Form of majoritarian electoral system where members are elected by an absolute majority. Voters are required to number candidates in order of preference. Votes of the least favoured candidates are distributed in turn until one candidate receives a majority. The method is usually restricted to single member constituencies.

Optional Preferential Voting: Variation of preferential voting, in which electors may express an order of preference for candidates, but are not required to vote for any more candidates than there are positions to be filled. Voters may express a complete range of preferences or as few as they choose.

Robson Rotation: Ballot paper formula in which the order of the candidates within parties and groups varies. It ensures that all candidates share equally the first, second, third etc positions. Without Robson Rotation, candidates would be arranged alphabetically or by drawing of lots. The aims are to prevent the donkey vote effect (numbering straight down the ballot paper, which results in the candidate at the top of the ballot gaining an advantage by dint of position), and to thwart attempts by parties to determine their preferred order of election of their candidates.

Single Transferable Vote: Preferential form of Proportional Representation electoral system for multi-member constituencies. Electors are required to number candidates in order of preference. Candidates receiving a Droop quota are elected. Any surplus votes are distributed and if any seats remain unfilled candidates with the lowest number of votes are progressively eliminated until all the seats are filled. System used for Australian Senate elections.

Writ: Legal document which triggers the electoral process. The writ commands an electoral officer to hold an election and specifies the dates for the close of rolls, the close of nominations, the polling day and the return of the writ.

 

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