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2013 Federal Election Timetable

This is the official timetable of key dates for the 2013 Federal Election.

The dates show the election is being conducted within the minimum timeframe whereby polling day must be no less than 33 days from the issue of the writ. As has been the practice in recent years, the writ will be issued within 24 hours of the election announcement.

2013 Federal Election Timetable
Event Date Explanation
Announcement of Election
Sunday 4 August 2013
The Prime Minister visits the Governor-General and advises a dissolution of the House of Representatives. The Governor-General is entitled to dissolve the House under Section 28 of the Constitution.

Following vice-regal approval, the Prime Minister announces the election date to the public. Rudd did this via an email to ALP members and supporters within 10 minutes of leaving Government House.

Issue of Writ
Monday 5 August 2013
On this day the current 43rd Parliament is prorogued, a legal act which has the effect of terminating all business before the House. A minute later the House is dissolved. Both these ceremonial acts are delegated to the Governor-General’s Official Secretary. A notice of dissolution is placed on the parliamentary doors.

The writ is the official legal document that commands the Australian Electoral Commission to conduct the election in accordance with dates required by the Constitution and the Commonwealth Electoral Act. The writ must be issued within 10 days of the dissolution or expiration of the House of Representatives.

At the same time as the Governor-General issues the writ for the House of Representatives, State Governors are requested to issue writs for the half-Senate election in each state. Unlike the House, the Senate is not dissolved.

Close of Rolls
Monday 12 August 2013 (8.00pm)
The electoral rolls close seven days after the issue of the writ, in accordance with Section 155 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act.

Voters have one week after the issue of the election writ to ensure that they are correctly enrolled.

New voters can enrol in this time and people who have changed residence can also notify the Australian Electoral Commission of their new address.

Close of Nominations
Thursday 15 August 2013 (Midday)
Nominations for the election must close between 10 and 27 days after the issue of the writ, in accordance with Section 156 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. People intending to stand as a candidate at the elections have until this date to submit their nomination forms.

Bulk nominations from political parties are submitted at an earlier time.

Declaration of Nominations
Friday 16 August 2013 (Midday)
Nominations must be publicly declared 24 hours after nominations close, in accordance with Section 176 of the Electoral Act.

At each of the 150 divisional offices of the Australian Electoral Commission, the nominations will be declared and the order of names on the ballot paper will be determined by a blind-folded ballot.

Polling Day
Saturday 7 September 2013 (8.00am-6.00pm)
Polling day must be between 23 and 31 days after the close of nominations, in accordance with Section 157 of the Electoral Act.

Pre-poll voting takes place at Electoral Commission offices prior to this date. Mobile polling booths also visit hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and remote locations in order to make voting easier for people who may experience difficulty.

Return of Writs (latest date)
Wednesday 13 November 2013
The writs must be returned within 100 days of their issue, in accordance with Section 159 of the Electoral Act. This timeframe allows divisional returning officers sufficient time to count all votes and, if necessary, conduct recounts
Meeting of Parliament
No later than Friday 13 December 2013
Section 5 of the Constitution requires the new House to meet within 30 days of the return of the writs.

In practice, the House is likely to meet in late October or early November.


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Malcolm Farnsworth
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