Federal election 2013: Date announcement earliest ever

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement on 30 January 2013 that the next Federal election will be on Saturday 14 September is the earliest a federal election has ever been announced. This Flagpost details previous early election announcements, reactions to this year's announcement and significant dates in the election timetable.

The previous earliest election date announcement was in 1966 when a House of Representatives only election was announced on Thursday 11 August and held on 26 November. This was a period of three and a half months compared to this year’s period of seven and a half months. The previous earliest announcement for a half-Senate and House of Representatives election was on 25 February 1913 with the election held three months and seven days later on 31 May.

Table: Periods greater than three months between election date announcement and polling date
Election year Type of election Election date announced Polling date Period between election announcement and polling date* Election result
2013 Half-Sen, Reps 30 Jan 14 Sep 7 months 16 days
1966 Reps only 11 Aug 26 Nov 3 months 16 days Govt won
1913 Half-Sen, Reps 25 Feb 31 May 3 months 7 days Govt lost
1954 Reps only 24 Feb 29 May 3 months 6 days Govt won
1958 Half-Sen, Reps 20 Aug 22 Nov 3 months 3 days Govt won
1910 Half-Sen, Reps 12 Jan 13 Apr 3 months 2 days Govt lost
*Includes both the announcement date and the polling date

The election date is in accord with the 2010 agreement between the Prime Minister and Independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott for an election to be held in either September or October. They both welcomed the announcement as did the Greens whose leader Senator Christine Milne called for the implementation of fixed three-year terms. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the Coalition was ready for the election. The Caretaker Period will commence when the House of Representatives is dissolved.

Parliament will sit for nine weeks with its last sitting day scheduled to be on Thursday 27 June 2013. The Australian Electoral Commission has set out the following election timetable:

Issue of writ:                                                   Monday 12 August 2013
Close of rolls:                                                  8 pm Monday 19 August 2013
Close of candidate nominations:                    12 midday Thursday 22 August 2013
Declaration of candidate nominations:           12 midday Friday 23 August 2013
Polling Day:                                                    Saturday 14 September 2013

Co-authored by Deirdre McKeown


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

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