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2016 Federal Election Timetable

This is the official timetable of key dates for the 2016 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.

2016 Federal Election Timetable
Event Date Explanation
Announcement of Election
Sunday 8 May 2016
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 or Section 57 of the Constitution.

Following vice-regal approval, the Prime Minister announces the election date to the public. Turnbull held a press conference to formally announce the election, even though the date had been known for many weeks.

Dissolution of Parliament
Monday 16 May 2016
On this day the current 44th Parliament is prorogued, a legal act which has the effect of terminating all business before the House. A minute later the House and Senate are dissolved. Both these ceremonial acts are delegated to the Governor-General’s Official Secretary. A notice of dissolution is placed on the parliamentary doors. Watch and listen to the ceremony here.
Issue of Writ
Monday 16 May 2016
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 Senate election in each state.

Close of Rolls
Monday 23 May 2016 (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 9 June 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 10 June 2016 (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 2 July 2016 (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)
Monday 8 August 2016
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 Wednesday 7 September 2016
Section 5 of the Constitution requires the new House to meet within 30 days of the return of the writs.

The 45th Parliament will meet for the first time on August 30, 2016.


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Malcolm Farnsworth
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