Even though we know there will be a federal election sometime this year, we still don’t know exactly when.

However, there are a few things that we do know about the date, which allows us to narrow down the possibilities.

  1. The terms of half the Senate (plus those from the NT and ACT) will expire on 30 June 2019. Their replacements must be elected well before that date so that they can start their terms on 1 July 2019.
  2. The Parliamentary Library has calculated that the new senators must be elected by 18 May 2019. This takes into account the assumption that the Australian Electoral Commission requires around six weeks to count the Senate votes.
  3. This date allows for a maximum election period, including the maximum 100 day period after the issue of the writs, which would happen on Friday 22 March 2019, to their return by 30 June 2019 so that the senators may take their seats on 1 July 2019.
  4. There is no need for a House of Representatives election to be held until much later this year, but it is more likely the PM will hold both the elections on the same date to minimise costs and annoyance to the voter.
  5. The PM has said he will call the election after the federal budget is announced on 2 April 2019.
  6. Given the election campaign must be a minimum of 33 days long, this means the election could be called for 11 or 18 May 2019.
  7. There has also been some talk in the media about the Government stretching out the election date to 25 May. This could apparently be possible if the Australian Electoral Commission was given more money to employ more people to count the Senate vote in a shorter period of time.

While 25 May is an outside possibility, it is more likely the federal election will be held on 11 or 18 May 2019.