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Time period between election date and first sitting date



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October 18, 2013

Time period between election date and first sitting date By Sophia Fernandes

It is up to the government to decide when parliamentary sittings will commence following an election, provided that the first sitting day is no later than 30 days from the date of the return of the writs. The election timetable is governed by the Constitution and the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. According to the timetable, the date of the return of the writs for the election is to be no longer than 100 days after it is issued, which is within 10 days after the election is announced.

The 2013 Federal election was announced on Sunday 4 August 2013 and the writs were issued on Monday 5 August 2013. The latest date by which the writs must be returned is Wednesday 13 November 2013, and parliament must sit within 30 days of this date. The government announced that the first sitting day for the 44th Parliament will be on Tuesday 12 November 2013—in line with the custom of holding the opening of parliament on a Tuesday. The election timetable for the 2013 Federal election is available on the Australian Electoral Commission website. The library publication, Australian elections timetable, explains the rules governing various election scenarios.

Below is a sortable table of the time period between the election date and first sitting date since Federation. The shortest time period is 31 days in 1969 and the longest time period is 94 days after the 2001 election. There is no clear pattern between the election date and the first sitting date, with sittings, on average, commencing within 59 days of the election date. In the case of 2001, where there was a 94 day lapse, the election was held on the 10 November and the last writs were returned on 7 December 2001. As it was the Christmas period, parliament did not return until the customary first sittings of the year in February. It is important to note that factors such as common holiday periods do impact upon the date of the first sitting.

Election Date First sitting Total Days Length

30/03/1901 9/05/1901 40 1 Month, 09 Days. 40 Days total.

16/12/1903 2/03/1904 77 2 Months, 15 Days. 77 Days total.

12/12/1906 20/02/1907 70 2 Months, 08 Days. 70 Days total.

13/04/1910 1/07/1910 79 2 Months, 18 Days. 79 Days total.

31/05/1913 9/07/1913 39 1 Month, 09 Days. 39 Days total.

Election Date First sitting Total Days Length

5/09/1914 8/10/1914 33 1 Month, 03 Days. 33 Days total.

5/05/1917 14/06/1917 40 1 Month, 09 Days. 40 Days total.

13/12/1919 26/02/1920 75 2 Months, 13 Days. 75 Days total.

16/12/1922 28/02/1923 74 2 Months, 12 Days. 74 Days total.

14/11/1925 13/01/1926 60 1 Month, 30 Days. 60 Days total.

17/11/1928 6/02/1929 81 2 Months, 20 Days. 81 Days total.

12/10/1929 20/11/1929 39 1 Month, 08 Days. 39 Days total.

19/12/1931 17/02/1932 60 1 Month, 29 Days. 60 Days total.

15/09/1934 23/10/1934 38 1 Month, 08 Days. 38 Days total.

23/10/1937 30/11/1937 38 1 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.

21/09/1940 20/11/1940 60 1 Month, 30 Days. 60 Days total.

21/08/1943 23/09/1943 33 1 Month, 02 Days. 33 Days total.

28/09/1946 6/11/1946 39 1 Month, 09 Days. 39 Days total.

10/12/1949 22/02/1950 74 2 Months, 12 Days. 74 Days total.

28/04/1951 12/06/1951 45 1 Month, 15 Days. 45 Days total.

29/05/1954 4/08/1954 67 2 Months, 06 Days. 67 Days total.

10/12/1955 15/02/1956 67 2 Months, 05 Days. 67 Days total.

22/11/1958 17/02/1959 87 2 Months, 26 Days. 87 Days total.

Election Date First sitting Total Days Length

9/12/1961 20/02/1962 73 2 Months, 11 Days. 73 Days total.

30/11/1963 25/02/1964 87 2 Months, 26 Days. 87 Days total.

26/11/1966 21/02/1967 87 2 Months, 26 Days. 87 Days total.

25/10/1969 25/11/1969 31 1 Month, 00 Days. 31 Days total.

2/12/1972 27/02/1973 87 2 Months, 25 Days. 87 Days total.

18/05/1974 9/07/1974 52 1 Month, 21 Days. 52 Days total.

13/12/1975 17/02/1976 66 2 Months, 04 Days. 66 Days total.

10/12/1977 21/02/1978 73 2 Months, 11 Days. 73 Days total.

18/10/1980 25/11/1980 38 1 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.

5/03/1983 21/04/1983 47 1 Month, 16 Days. 47 Days total.

1/12/1984 21/02/1985 82 2 Months, 20 Days. 82 Days total.

11/07/1987 14/09/1987 65 2 Months, 03 Days. 65 Days total.

24/03/1990 8/05/1990 45 1 Month, 14 Days. 45 Days total.

13/03/1993 4/05/1993 52 1 Month, 21 Days. 52 Days total.

2/03/1996 30/04/1996 59 1 Month, 28 Days. 59 Days total.

3/10/1998 10/11/1998 38 1 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.

10/11/2001 12/02/2002 94 3 Months, 02 Days. 94 Days total.

9/10/2004 16/11/2004 38 1 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.

Election Date First sitting Total Days Length

24/11/2007 12/02/2008 80 2 Months, 19 Days. 80 Days total.

21/08/2010 28/09/2010 38 1 Month, 07 Days. 38 Days total.

7/09/2013 12/11/2013 66 2 Months, 05 Days. 66 Days total.