Head of State: Governor General

Leader of Government: Prime Minister

Electoral Authority: Australian Electoral Commission
Parliaments and Local Councils Senate House of Representatives
Terms of members of Parliament/Council State Senators: 6 years; half retire every 3 years.

Territory Senators: same as House of Representatives i.e. up to 3 years.
Up to 3 years.
Number of members 76. Twelve from each State, 2 from each Territory. Each State and Territory serves as a multi-member constituency. 150 elected from single-member divisions. (At the 2016 federal election).
Electoral legislation Commonwealth Electoral Act (1918)

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act (1984)

Representations Act (1983).
Voting systems (definitions) Proportional representation – partial preferential, single transferable vote and above the line ticket voting. Full preferential
Enrolment and voting eligibility Enrolment and voting are compulsory for eligible Australian citizens 18 years and over who have lived at their present address for at least one month.

British subjects who were on the Commonwealth electoral roll on 25 January 1984 are eligible to enrol and vote.

People who are 17 years old may apply for electoral enrolment, and while their name is placed on the electoral roll, they cannot vote until they turn 18.
Redistribution provisions and frequency The Constitution and the Commonwealth Electoral Act (1918).

A redistribution is necessary:

  1. If the enrolment in at least one third of the Divisions in a State/Territory is more than 10% above or below the average enrolment for the State/Territory for a period of more than 2 months;
  2. If the number of members to be chosen in a State/Territory alters; or
  3. If a period of 7 years has passed since the last redistribution.
Joint Rolls Arrangements between Commonwealth, States and Territories The Joint Roll Arrangements (JRAs) are bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and each State/Territory to provide a single point of electoral enrolment. Most JRAs also provide for the maintenance of a joint electoral roll, for Commonwealth, State/Territory and Local Government.
Funding, Donations and Disclosure Provisions At the 2016 federal election, funding of approximately $2.62 per House and Senate vote was granted to candidate and Senate groups who received at least 4% of the formal first preference vote. This level of funding is indexed to the CPI. Disclosure of certain financial details is required from candidates, registered political parties and other groups in returns filed with the AEC.
Interesting and Particular Feature(s) Legislative power to provide international electoral assistance.

Special arrangements apply for Antarctic voters.

The Governor General issues the House of Representatives writ and the Senate writ for the ACT and Northern Territory.

For each state, the Senate writ is issued by the Governor of that State.

Related Commonwealth electoral information