The Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, announced on Sunday 30 August 1998 that an election for the House of Representatives and half the Senate be held on Saturday 3 October 1998.
Senators for a State or Territory are chosen directly by the people of that State or Territory. Each State has an equal number of twelve Senators while the two Territories elect two Senators each.
Senators for each State are elected for six year terms on a rotating basis with a half Senate election held every three years. State Senators elected in 1993 face election at this poll. Territory Senators face election at every House of Representatives election.
Electors in the Northern Territory will also vote on 3 October 1998 in a referendum on a proposal to grant statehood to the Territory.
The number of Members elected to the House of Representatives from each State and Territory is proportional to the number of people, except that at least five Members must be chosen in each original State.
The political party or coalition of parties that has a majority in the House of Representatives forms the Government.
Each Member of the House of Representatives is elected to represent an electoral division. Within each State and Territory, each Division contains a similar number of electors. For the 1998 federal election, Australia is divided into 148 electoral divisions.
The maximum term of the House of Representatives is three years taken from the date on which a newly elected House first meets.
The issue of the writ triggers the election process. It is a document commanding an electoral officer to hold an election and contains dates for the close of rolls, the close of nominations, the polling day and the return of the writ.
Electors have until 8pm, seven days after the writ is issued to enrol or to update their details on the Commonwealth electoral roll.
It is not possible to nominate as a candidate until the writ has been issued. Candidates must nominate by 12 noon on the date specified in the writ as close of nominations.
The public announcement of nominations receivedfollowed by a draw for positions on the ballot paper.
The day on which the majority of electors cast their vote at a polling place. It must be a Saturday and at least 33 days after the issue of the writ.
After the Senate polls are declared, the Australian Electoral Officer for each State and Territory returns the writ endorsed with the names of the successful candidates to the State Governor (or Governor-General in the case of the Territories).
For the House of Representatives, the Electoral Commissioner endorses on the writ the name of each candidate elected for each Division and returns the writ to the Governor-General.
|NP||18||18} Coalition 91|
(Note: 'HAN' is an abbreviation for Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party. 'CD'is an abbreviation for the Christian Democratic Party.) *Includes Pauline Hanson.
NUMBER OF VACANCIES
House of Representatives: 148
Senate: (half-Senate) 40
TO WIN MAJORITY GOVERNMENT
A party needs 75 seats in the House of Representatives.
1997 REDISTRIBUTIONS Blair (QLD) created. Namadgi (ACT) abolished.
ESTIMATED ELECTION COST
$60 million (without public funding)
ESTIMATED ELECTION ENROLMENT
TURNOUT 1996 FEDERAL ELECTION
NUMBER OF REGISTERED PARTIES
PREVIOUS ENROLMENT STATISTICS
Voting in a federal election is compulsory for all people listed on the Commonwealth electoral roll at the close of rolls for the election. The roll for this election will close at 8pm Monday 7 September 1998.
To be eligible to enrol a person must be an Australian citizen, aged 18 years or over. British subjects who were on the Commonwealth electoral roll immediately before 26 January 1984 maintain their enrolment and voting entitlements. People who are 17 may provisionally enrol and will be able to vote if their 18th birthday falls on or before polling day.
Special enrolment is available for certain electors. People with a physical disability, illness, or their carers, are able to apply to become general postal voters; people going overseas can register as overseas electors; people with no fixed address may enrol as itinerant electors; people working in Antarctica can register as Antarctic voters; and people can apply for silent enrolment if they believe that publication of their address on the roll would put them at risk.
|NSW||3 955 782||3 814 932|
|VIC||2 972 635||2 932 640|
|QLD||2 091 384||1 971 729|
|WA||1 088 487||1 038 968|
|SA||1 001 006||1 014 400|
|TAS||329 304||327 919|
|ACT||203 170||192 487|
|NT||98 800||91 563|
|TOTAL||11 740 568||11 384 638|
These are the close of rolls figures with subsequent adjustments such as the removal of the names of electors who died after the close of rolls, the reinstatement of eligible electors who had been previously removed and includes enrolled electors who turned 18 by polling day.
Candidates must be nominated before they can be elected to the Senate or the House of Representatives. The qualifications for the Senate and the House of Representatives are the same.
To be nominated as a candidate for the Senate or the House of Representatives, a person must be:
It is not possible to nominate until the writ for an election has been issued. People wishing to nominate may obtain a nomination form from any AEC office. Nominations cannot be withdrawn after the closing date.
Nominations for the Senate are made to the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for the State or Territory for which the candidate is nominating.
Nominations for the House of Representatives are made at the office of the Divisional Returning Officer (DRO) for the Division in which the candidate is nominating.
Senate candidates are required to pay a $700 deposit on nomination and House of Representatives candidates pay $350. These deposits are returned if a candidate gains more than four per cent of the total first preference vote, or if they are in a group of Senate candidates which polls more than four percent.
No-one can nominate for more than one election held on the same day. This means that it is not possible to nominate for more than one Division, for more than one State or Territory or both.
Further information on nominating is in the Candidates' Handbook available from any AEC office.
At the 1998 Federal Election, candidates will be nominating for 40 Senate vacancies and will contest 148 House of Representatives seats.
Two draws are conducted to determine the order of names on the ballot paper. The first draw provides the candidates or groups with a number. The second draw allocates a position to each number (i.e. candidate) on the ballot paper.
|State/Territory||Number of Senate candidates||Representatives candidates|
* Please note this Queensland figure includes candidates for the supplementary election in the Division of Dickson.
A candidate is eligible for election funding if they win at least four per cent of the formal first preference votes.
The amount paid is calculated by multiplying the number of formal first preference votes received by the rate of payment applicable at the time.
The rate set for the period 1 July to 31 December 1998 is 162.21 cents per formal first preference vote in either a House of Representatives or Senate election. This rate is indexed every six months to increases in the Consumer Price Index.
Election funding is paid automatically as soon as possible after the 20th day following polling day. Any balance of entitlement is paid directly following the conclusion of the counting of votes.
Payments for candidates and groups endorsed by political parties are made directly to their parties, and payments for independent candidates are made to their agents.
All candidates, unendorsed Senate groups and Senate groups endorsed by more than one registered political party must disclose gifts received and electoral expenditure incurred. Other third parties who take part in an election campaign may also be required to disclose these details. Broadcasters and publishers are required to give details of electoral advertising placed with them.
Every registered party and their State/Territory Branches and associated entities are required to furnish an annual return to the AEC detailing all amounts received during the financial year, all amounts paid by or on behalf of the party and all debts outstanding at 30 June. Donors to registered parties must also provide an annual return of their donations. Election disclosure returns are made available for public inspection 24 weeks after polling day. Annual disclosure returns are made available for inspection from 1 February in the following year.
|Ordinary vote:||a vote cast in the elector's enrolled Division on polling day.|
|Absent vote:||a vote cast by an elector out of their enrolled Division but still within their home State or Territory on polling day.|
|Pre-poll and postal votes:||vote cast before polling day at a pre-poll voting centre or by post. These votes can be cast by electors who will not be within their home State or Territory on polling day, are seriously ill, infirm, unable to leave work, or for religious reasons are unable to attend a polling place. (All postal votes received up to 13 days after polling day will be included in the scrutiny).|
|Provisional vote:||a vote cast when an elector's name cannot be found on the roll but the elector claims the right to vote, or if the name has already been marked off the roll but the elector claims they have not voted before in the election. The vote cannot be counted until a careful check of enrolment records and entitlements has been made.|
|Mobile polling:||Mobile polling is carried out during the 12 days up to and including polling day. Mobile polling teams visit electors in hospital,prisons and in remote areas so they can cast a vote.|
|House of Representatives||Senate|
Electors making a postal, pre-poll, absent or provisional vote must complete a declaration giving their personal details. This is checked before the votes are counted.
|1984||Election and Referendum||94.55 percent|
|Voter turnout is the percentage of enrolled electors who voted.|
A ballot paper is considered informal if it is not filled out correctly. It is set aside and is not counted towards any candidate.
* Candidate Pauline Hanson nominated as a LP candidate but was disendorsed by her party prior to polling day.
The register of Political Parties closed the day before the writ for the federal election was issued (i.e. Sunday 30 August 1998). The official party abbreviation is in italics.
A Better Future For Our Children
Abolish Child Support/Family Court Party
Advance Australia Party
Australia First Party Australia First
Australia's Indigenous Peoples Party A.I.P.P.
Australian Bill of Rights Group
Australian Democrats Democrats
Australian Greens The Greens
Australian Greens SA Australian Greens
Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch) New Labor Party
Australian Labor Party (ALP) A.L.P.
Australian Labor Party (N.S.W. Branch) Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party (Northern Territory) Branch A.L.P.
Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch) Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party (State of Queensland) Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch) Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party (Victorian Branch) Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party (Western Australian Branch) Australian Labor Party
Australian Reform Party ARP
Australian Shooters Party ASP
Australian Women's Party AWP
Australians Against Further Immigration
CTA Child Protection (Elaine Nile) Party Call to Australia
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) CDP Christian Party
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) CDP Christian Party (N.S.W.)
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) CDP Christian Party (Vic)
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)Christian Democratic Party (Qld)
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) Christian Democratic Party (S.A.)
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) Christian Democratic Party (W.A.)
Citizens Electoral Council of Australia Citizens Electoral Council
Common Cause – No Aircraft Noise No Aircraft Noise
Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia D.L.P. – Democratic Labor Party
Democratic Socialist Electoral League Democratic Socialists
Family Law Reform Party F.L.R
Independent EFF EFF
Liberal Party (W.A. Division) Inc. Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia (S.A. Division) Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division) Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia – ACT Division Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia – Queensland Division Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia – Tasmanian Division Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia, NSW Division Liberal
National Party of Australia National Party
National Party of Australia (Queensland) National Party
National Party of Australia (S.A.) Inc. National Party
National Party of Australia (WA) Inc National Party
National Party of Australia – N.S.W. National Party
National Party of Australia – Victoria National Party
Natural Law Party NLP
Northern Territory Country Liberal Party Country Liberal – The Territory Party
Nuclear Disarmament Party of Australia NDP
One Australia Party One Australia
Pauline Hanson's One Nation One Nation
Pensioner & C.I.R. Alliance C. I. R. Alliance
Progressive Labour Party
Queensland Greens The Greens
Rebuild Australia Party Rebuild Australia
Reclaim Australia: Reduce Immigration
Republican Party of Australia The Community Republicans
Socialist Equality Party
Tasmania First Party Tasmania First
Tasmanian Greens The Greens
Tasmanian Independent Senator Brian Harradine Group
Tasmanian Independent Senator Brian Harradine
Taxi Operators Political Service (Oceania) TOPS (Aust)
The ACT Greens The Greens
The Australian Greens – Victoria Australian Greens
The Australian Recreation and Fishing Party ARAFP
The Greens (WA) Inc The Greens (WA)
The Greens NSW The Greens
The Territory Green Party The Territory Greens
Unity – Say No To Hanson Unity
The following seats are the twenty most marginal seats across Australia taking into account the 1996 federal election results and the 1997 redistribution of electoral boundaries in Western Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. A seat is classified as marginal when the two-party preferred figure is less than 56 percent. The number of marginal seats is 47 out of a total of 148.
|Division||Status||Two-Candidate Preferred||Sitting Member|
|Dobell (NSW)||ALP||0.5||Michael Lee|
|Oxley (QLD)*||ALP||0.5||Pauline Hanson|
|Northern Territory (NT)||CLP||50.37%||Nick Dondas|
|Lilley (QLD)||LP||0.5||Elizabeth Grace|
|Rankin (QLD)||LP||50.38%||David Beddall|
|Paterson (NSW)||LP||50.43%||Bob Baldwin|
|Brisbane (QLD)||ALP||50.66%||Arch Bevis|
|Kalgoorlie (WA)*||ALP||50.72%||Graeme Campbell|
|Bruce (VIC)||ALP||50.76%||Alan Griffin|
|Bendigo (VIC)||LP||50.88%||Bruce Reid|
|Bowman (QLD)||LP||50.89%||Andrea West|
|Makin (SA)||LP||51.08%||Trish Draper|
|Brand (WA)||ALP||51.12%||Kim Beazley|
|Lyons (TAS)||ALP||51.31%||Dick Adams|
|Canning (WA)||LP||51.32%||Ricky Johnston|
|La Trobe (Vic)||LP||51.37%||Bob Charles|
|Banks (NSW)||ALP||51.41%||Daryl Melham|
|Griffith (QLD)||LP||51.47%||Graeme McDougall|
|Issacs (VIC)||ALP||51.56%||Greg Wilton|
|Lindsay (NSW)||LP||51.58%||Jackie Kelly|
* independently held seats shown on a TPP basis as ALP (Oxley), ALP (Kalgoorlie)
|Polling day||Goverment elected||Seats won||Total no. of seats|
Counting of ordinary votes commences immediately after the poll closes at 6pm on polling day. House of Representatives ballot papers are scrutinised before Senate ballot papers. The ballot papers are initially sorted into first preference votes and informal ballot papers.
A candidate is elected to the House of Representatives if they gain an absolute majority, that is 50 per cent plus one of the formal votes (not 51%).
First, all the first preference votes are counted for each candidate and if a candidate gets more than half the total formal first preference votes, that candidate is elected.
If however, no candidate has more than half of the votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded. This excluded candidates' votes are transferred to the other candidates according to the second preferences shown by voters on the ballot papers.
This process of excluding candidates one by one, continues until one candidate has more than half the total votes and is declared elected.
The distribution of preferences takes place in every division, even when a candidate already has a majority of first preference votes. The result of the full distribution of first preferences is used to calculate the two party-preferred figures.
The counting of the Senate ballot papers also begins on polling night but the full count is usually not completed until several weeks after the election.This is because Senate results cannot be calculated until the State-wide total of votes used to determine the quota is known.
To be elected to the Senate, a candidate needs to gain a quota or proportion of the formal votes. The quota is calculated by dividing the total number of formal ballot papers by one more than the number of Senators to be elected and adding 'one' to the result.
The ballot papers are first sorted according to the first preference votes and candidates who receive a quota are elected immediately.
Any surplus votes that elected candidates receive are transferred at a reduced value to the candidates who were the second choice of voters. As it is not possible to determine which votes actually elected the candidate and which are surplus, all the elected candidate's ballot papers are transferred at the reduced value. As a result of transferring surplus votes, other candidates may be elected.
If, however, all surplus votes are transferred and there are still unfilled positions, an exclusion of unsucessful candidates is undertaken. Starting with the lowest scoring candidate, unelected candidates are excluded from the count and the ballot papers are distributed to the remaining candidates to whom the voters have given their preferences. When a candidate gains a quota following this distribution they are elected. The above process continues until all Senate positions are filled.
Senate groups and parties can lodge a group voting ticket with the AEC within 24 hours after the declaration of nominations. A group voting ticket is a written statement setting out a preference ordering of all candidates in the election.
The group voting tickets lodged with the AEC are displayed at every polling place.
All Senate groups are given a box above the line on the Senate ballot paper and all candidates are listed below the line.
The Senate scrutiny is now conducted by a computerised process (the Senate Scrutiny system) which calculates the quota and distributes the preferences and produces the result of the election.
|Year||Cost per voter|
(All figures detailed below are estimates based on the AEC's 1996 Federal Election)
Ordinary polling places
No. of ordinary polling places: 7900
Mobile polling teams
No. of mobile polling teams visiting special hospitals: 475
No. of special hospital locations being visited: 2120
No. of mobile polling teams visiting remote locations: 46
No. of remote locations being visited: 346
No. of mobile polling teams visiting prisons: 22
No. of prisons locations being visited: 42
No. of pre-poll voting centres: 330
Overseas polling places
No. of overseas polling places: 100
Estimated number of casual staff employed to assist in the conduct of the 1998 federal election: 60 000
No. of large ballot boxes: 18 100
No. of small ballot boxes: 18 600
No. of large voting screens: 120 000
No. of tabletop voting screens: 16 000
No. of litter bins: 11 700
No. of tables: 4 830
This amounts to almost 200 000 separate pieces of equipment requiring approximately 450 tonnes of cardboard product. Most cardboard equipment is made from recycled materials and is recycled after the election.
Bill Gray (02) 6271 4400
Deputy Electoral Commissioner:
Andy Becker (02) 6271 4410
Brien Hallett (02) 6271 4415
Assistant Directors, Information:
Bernadette O'Meara (02) 6271 4548
Ian Stringall (Acting) (02) 6271 4431
Margaret Meneghel (02) 6271 4505
The AEC produces a range of information materials for candidates, journalists and other people interested in the electoral process. Some of the information materials available are:
1996 Electoral Pocketbook: a concise handbook of electoral data and statistics
1998 Electoral Atlas: a publication that details the characteristics of each federal division
Nominations Pamphlet: key facts for people considering standing for election
Candidates' Handbook: information for candidates in the election
Scrutineers' Handbook: information for scrutineers in the election
1998 Federal Electoral Boundaries Map: a map of all electoral Divisions
These and other information materials are available from all AEC offices.
The administration of federal elections in each State and Territory is under the control of the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for that State or Territory. An AEO for the ACT is temporarily appointed for each election.
|New South Wales||Frances Howat Ph. (02) 9375 6333
Fx. (02) 9281 9384
|Victoria||David Muffet Ph. (03) 9285 7171
Fx. (03) 9285 7178
|Queensland||Bob Longland Ph. (07) 3834 3400
Fx. (07) 3831 7223
|Western Australia||Andrew Moyes Ph. (08) 9470 7299
Fx. (08) 9472 3551
|South Australia||Geoff Halsey Ph. (08) 8237 6555
Fx. (08) 8231 2664
|Tasmania||Nick Tall Ph. (03) 6235 0500
Fx. (03) 6234 4268
|Northern Territory||Kerry Heisner Ph. (08) 8981 1477
Fx. (08) 8981 7964
Members of the media are asked to use the AEC Central and Head Office contact numbers listed above rather than the general enquiry line below which appears on AEC advertising.
National enquiry service 13 23 26