State, territory and local elections

State and territory elections

Elections for state and territory parliaments are diverse. Lower houses and single house parliaments are elected every three or four years. Half the states and both territories now have a fixed term between elections, with the election date specified by legislation. In the other states, the Premier has some control over when elections are held. In each jurisdiction, all lower house representatives are elected simultaneously.

Upper house (Legislative Council) representatives are elected on a rotating basis, except in Victoria and Western Australia. Except in Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, lower house members are the sole representatives of their electorates. Except in Tasmania, upper house members share the representation of their electorates with at least one other member. In New South Wales and South Australia, the upper house electorate is the whole state.

 

State and Territory elections
State or Territory House Maximum time between elections Number of members Number of electorates
New South Wales Legislative Assembly 4 years (fixed term) 93 93
  Legislative Council Half (21) elected every 4 years for 8 year terms 42 1
Queensland Legislative Assembly 4 years (fixed term) 89 (93 from 2019) 89 (93 from 2019)
Victoria Legislative Assembly 4 years (fixed term) 88 88
  Legislative Council 4 years (fixed term) 40 8
Tasmania Legislative Assembly 4 years 25 5
  Legislative Council 2 or 3 elected every year for 6 year terms 15 15
South Australia House of Assembly 4 years (fixed term) 47 47
  Legislative Council Half (11) elected every 4 years for 8 year terms 22 1
Western Australia Legislative Assembly 4 years (fixed term) 59 59
  Legislative Council 4 years (fixed term) 36 6
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly 4 years (fixed term) 25 25
Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly 4 years (fixed term) 17 3

Local government elections

Australia has around 535 local governments, often called councils or shires. These use a range of electoral systems, which vary even within a particular state or territory. One of the most distinctive features of some council elections is that as well as voting for council representatives, electors vote directly for a mayor to lead the council. This is different from Commonwealth, state and territory elections, in which the Prime Minister, Premier or Chief Minister is not chosen directly by the people.