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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 TerritoryHouseMaximum time between electionsNumber of membersNumber of electorates
New South WalesLegislative Assembly4 years (fixed term)9393
Legislative CouncilHalf (21) elected every 4 years for 8 year terms421
QueenslandLegislative Assembly4 years (fixed term)89 (93 from 2019)89 (93 from 2019)
VictoriaLegislative Assembly4 years (fixed term)8888
Legislative Council4 years (fixed term)408
TasmaniaLegislative Assembly4 years255
Legislative Council2 or 3 elected every year for 6 year terms1515
South AustraliaHouse of Assembly4 years (fixed term)4747
Legislative CouncilHalf (11) elected every 4 years for 8 year terms221
Western AustraliaLegislative Assembly4 years (fixed term)5959
Legislative Council4 years (fixed term)366
Northern TerritoryLegislative Assembly4 years (fixed term)2525
Australian Capital TerritoryLegislative Assembly4 years (fixed term)173

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.