News National Australian federal election: Everything you need to know

Australian federal election: Everything you need to know

The Australian federal election occurs every three years.
The Australian federal election occurs every three years. Photo: Getty
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With the 30th Newspoll fast approaching, citizens of Australia may be wondering when the next Australian federal election will be taking take place.

In 1901, Sir Edmund Barton became the first prime minister of Australia and since then there has been 45 federal elections in Australia.

Sir Edmund Barton was the first prime minister of Australia and played a major role in shaping the early national administration.
Sir Edmund Barton was the first prime minister of Australia and played a major role in shaping the early national administration. Photo: Getty

When is the next Australian federal election?

The earliest date for the House of Representatives and half-Senate election will be on August 4, 2018. The latest possible date is May 18, 2019. Elections are always held on a Saturday.

Australia uses a preferential voting system for the House of Representatives and Senate elections. According to the Electoral Council of Australia and New Zealand, this means that “candidates must receive an absolute majority, more than 50 per cent of the total formal votes cast, to be elected”.

“If the absolute majority is not gained on the first count, then preferences are distributed until an absolute majority is obtained.”

When was the last Australian federal election?

The last federal election was a double dissolution election that was held on July 2, 2016 which saw Malcolm become the Prime Minister of Australia.

How often is the federal election held in Australia?

An Australian federal election is generally held every three years. The Australian Constitution states that there is only a short period after the expiry of the parliamentary term before elections must be held.

According to the Museum of Australia Democracy, the exact timing of the elections is usually “up to the prime minister, who formally requests the dissolution of Parliament from the Governor-General”.

They state that a “Governor-General may refuse a request for an early dissolution of Parliament”.

Who can vote in Australia?

In Australia, it is compulsory to vote. All Australian citizens over the age of 18-years-old must vote. Australia is one of 19 countries that have compulsory voting and this was first introduced in 1924.

How long can you be a prime minister in Australia?

Prime ministers can stay in power as long as they have the support of their party. Their party also has to have the majority of members in the House of Representatives.

Former prime minister of Australia Sir Robert Menzies, is the longest serving one that led the country for more than 18 years. He was in office from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966.