Federal Election Timing

1st February 2010

The Commonwealth Parliament resumes this week in what is likely to be an election year.  While the next federal election can be held as late as 16 April 2011, it is considered most likely to be held before the end of 2010. 

There are a number of constitutional and political factors at play influencing timing. 

                - Constitutionally, the Government’s double dissolution trigger cannot be used

                  within six months before the House is due to expire – so 10 August 2010 is

                  the last day the Government can call a double dissolution.

While the Government may use its trigger any time before 11 August, other factors may influence the Government:

These factors apply to when the Government calls the election by advising the Governor-General to dissolve parliament.  The election date itself is anytime between 33 and 68 days after the election is officially called. 

Also, election campaigns in Australia usually run for between 5-6 weeks.   So, while it is technically possible for the Government to call a double dissolution in early August for an election in early October, this is unlikely.  By Australian campaign conventions, any double dissolution would likely be held before mid-September.

Date Government calls election

Double dissolution

House/half Senate

Possible election dates

Before 1 July 2010


Not allowed

Any Saturday before and including 31 July

1 July – 10 August 2010



Between Saturday 7 August and Saturday 16 October inclusive

11 August 2010 – 11 February 2011

Not allowed


From Saturday 23 October 2010 until Saturday 16 April 2011


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