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A by-election is held in a particular House of Representatives electorate whenever a vacancy occurs. This may occur when:
  1. A member dies. This last occurred in 2001 in the Victorian electorate of Aston following the death of Peter Nugent.

  2. A member resigns. This may occur because a member wishes to retire or has been appointed to a government or non-government post. This last occurred in 2001 in the Queensland electorate of Ryan.

    Resignations are covered by Section 37 of the Constitution which states: "A member may by writing addressed to the Speaker, or to the Governor- General if there is no Speaker or if the Speaker is absent from the Commonwealth, resign his place, which there-upon shall become vacant.

  3. A member is absent. Section 38 of the Constitution states: "The place of a member shall become vacant if for two consecutive months of any session of the Parliament he, without the permission of the House, fails to attend the House." This has never occurred in the House of Representatives.

  4. A member is expelled by the House of Representatives.



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