How Australia gets to a federal election

Matt Coughlan
(Australian Associated Press)



  • With the budget brought forward a month to April 2, the prime minister is now expected to announce a May 18 poll.


  • The Australian Electoral Commissioner finds out an election is about to start when he sees on TV the prime minister’s car driving to Government House.


  • Once the governor-general issues the AEC with the writs for an election, the government is in caretaker mode. That means it can’t make decisions without the acquiescence of the opposition.


  • With the addition of a new ACT seat, 151 MPs will be elected along with and half of Australia’s 76 senators.


  • To win majority government either party needs to win 76 seats in the House of Representatives.


  • The coalition goes into the election holding 74 lower house seats; Labor has 69.


  • Labor needs to gain seven seats on a uniform swing of one per cent from the 2016 election. After a redrawing of electoral boundaries and the Wentworth by-election, the coalition starts notionally with 73 seats with Labor on 72.


  • Half of the seats in the 76-member Senate are up for grabs.


Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash



Like This