The 2019 federal election: key dates

On the morning of Thursday 11 April 2019 the Prime Minister visited the Governor-General and advised the dissolution of the 45th Parliament for a general election.

The key dates the Prime Minister nominated (and consequential dates that follow from those) are:

Issue of the writs Thursday 11 April 2019
Close of the rolls Thursday 18 April 2019
Close of nominations Tuesday 23 April 2019
Declaration of nominations Wednesday 24 April 2019
Early voting commences Monday 29 April 2019
Election advertising blackout commences Wednesday 15 May 2019
Polling day Saturday 18 May 2019
Return of the writs Friday 28 June 2019

 The Parliament has been prorogued as of 8.29am on 11 April 2019, and as such the Senate Estimates hearings scheduled for 11 and 12 April 2019 do not proceed.

While recent elections have generally been announced on the weekend, with the writs issued early the following week, the 2019 election timing provided complications with both Easter and ANZAC Day occurring within the election period.

The timing of the election is dictated by the Commonwealth Electoral Act (1918), which nominates a minimum 33 day period between the issue of the writs and polling day. The 2019 election period will be 37 days, which is slightly above the average for elections since 1984 of 35.6 days. The writs are due to be returned 41 days after polling day, in time for the new Senators to commence their terms on Monday 1 July 2019.

The Act requires that close of the rolls must happen seven days after the issue of the writs (section 155) and the close of nominations between 10 and 27 days after the issue of the writs (section 156). Issuing the writ on Monday 15 April would have meant the close of rolls would have been on Easter Monday, and for an 18 May election the close of nominations would have had to have been on Anzac Day.

While the campaign period will include the public holidays, early voting will not commence until Monday 29 April (five days after the declaration of nominations, which is 24 hours after the close of nominations, according to subsection 200D(4) of the Act), and so will not be interrupted by any public holidays. The Electoral Commissioner had stated to Senate Estimates recently that if ANZAC Day had fallen within the pre-poll period then they would not make pre-poll voting available on that day. The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition have agreed not to campaign or run political advertising on Good Friday, Easter Sunday or ANZAC Day.


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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