Electoral Pocketbook


The 2023 Electoral Pocketbook is a comprehensive guide to the 2022 federal election. The 2022 federal election was the largest and most complex in Australia’s history and the first conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sheer size and scale of the event, delivered in a highly unpredictable and heavily scrutinised environment, posed unprecedented planning and delivery challenges. I am incredibly proud of the heroic efforts by AEC staff in overcoming these multiple challenges to conduct a free and fair election.

Key factors that shaped the conduct of the election:

  • Scale: The 2022 federal election was unparalleled in its scale – a record 17.2 million electors on the electoral roll, the largest number of voters, the highest number of postal votes and pre-poll votes, the largest temporary election workforce, and a greater number of channels via which electors could cast their vote.
  • Integrity: Misinformation and disinformation are globally pervasive and have a corrosive effect on citizens’ trust in, and views of, their electoral system. Following a period of deep reflection on the impact of mis- and disinformation on international elections, the AEC enacted a Reputation Management Strategy to bolster trust and transparency in the electoral process. This included a comprehensive media engagement strategy, the development of a citizen engagement tool called ‘AEC TV’, a forward leaning and proactive approach to social media, and the creation of a public register to counter false information.
  • COVID enfranchisement: COVID-19 posed a risk to enfranchisement. The secure telephone voting service – previously only offered to blind and low vision voters and extended to those in Antarctica in 2022 – was adapted and expanded to Australians isolating due to COVID-19.
  • COVID safety: The AEC introduced well-accepted measures to support the safety of staff and voters, including physical distancing and sanitisation at polling places and masks and vaccination requirements for staff. This supported voters to feel at-ease in attending polling places and ensured a safe election with no notable spike in transmission rates.
  • Workforce: Low unemployment has put labour force pressures on many industries. The 2022 federal election was not immune. Compounded by COVID-19, the AEC faced significant challenges to recruit and retain staff, with 31 per cent of election employment offers declined or cancelled by applicants.
  • Physical and cyber security: Threat levels have heightened globally. The AEC worked with government security and intelligence agencies to ensure the highest level of security for the election. The AEC Command Centre was established as a central coordination point.
  • Natural disasters: Flood events in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales in February and March 2022 increased pressure on the sourcing of election premises and staff. The AEC marshalled significant resources to support impacted voters.
  • Supply chain issues: Pressures affecting national and international economies created difficulties for the AEC to source all the materials and equipment required for running an election in a timely manner.

This pocketbook provides an overview of the electoral process and data from the 2022 federal election relating to the electoral roll, candidates and political parties and results. I trust you will find this an informative resource on the 2022 federal election, contributing to the transparency and integrity of the electoral process and results. To help us improve future editions, we welcome your feedback on this publication via the AEC website.

The Australian Electoral Commission

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) was established on 21 February 1984, following major amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).

The AEC is an independent, statutory authority responsible for administering the Electoral Act and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984. The AEC conducts federal elections and referendums and maintains the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

The AEC has one key outcome:

Maintain an impartial and independent electoral system for eligible voters through active electoral roll management, efficient delivery of polling services and targeted education and public awareness programs.

It achieves this by:

  • conducting successful electoral events, including federal elections, by-elections and referendums
  • ensuring confidence in the electoral roll
  • administering political party registrations and financial disclosure
  • undertaking public awareness activities.

Parliamentary Representations

When Australia became a Federation in 1901, the Commonwealth Parliament was created. The Commonwealth Parliament consists of the Head of State and two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. All Australian citizens aged 18 years and older vote for people to represent them in both houses of parliament.

The members of both these houses are elected by the citizens of Australia as a representative democracy, to make decisions and laws on our behalf.

Learn more about Forming federal Government.

The Senate

The Senate is the upper house of the Commonwealth Parliament. It consists of 76 senators: 12 representing each of the six states and two each representing the NT and the ACT. Voters in each state and territory elect the people to represent them in the Senate.

In 1901, there were six senators elected from each state, giving a total of 36. There have been three increases to the size of the Senate since Federation. Legislation passed in 1948 increased the number of senators from 36 to 60 (10 per state). In 1974, the number of senators was increased from 60 to 64, when the ACT and the NT each gained two senators. In 1983, the number of senators increased from 64 to 76 (12 per state and two per territory). Changes took effect at the elections that followed.

Senators for each state are elected for six-year terms on a rotating basis, with half the senators retiring every three years (or facing a half-Senate election).

However, where both houses of parliament are dissolved, as in a double dissolution, all senate seats are vacated and contested at the subsequent election. When the new Senate convenes after the election, it will determine which senators will have shorter terms to re-establish the half-Senate rotation.

The terms of senators representing the ACT and the NT commence on the day of their election and expire the day before the next federal election. The election of territory senators is held at the same time as the election of members for the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is the lower house or ‘people’s house’ of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Each member of the House of Representatives is elected to represent an area known as an electoral division or electorate. For the 2022 federal election, Australia was divided into 151 electoral divisions.





















Each electoral division within a state or territory contains about the same number of people on the electoral roll. Voters in each electoral division elect one person to represent them in the House of Representatives.

Electorate profiles for the 2022 federal election provide further contextual information for each division.

Determining the number of members

The number of members elected to the House of Representatives for each state is proportional to the number of people in that state.

Australia’s Constitution provides the original states are to have a minimum of five members. The Electoral Act provides that at least one member is to be chosen in the ACT and the NT and sets out a formula for determining the representation entitlements of the territories.

Learn more about establishing electoral boundaries and Federal redistributions.

See a full list of federal electoral divisions at the 2022 federal election.

Forming government

The political party or coalition of parties which gains the support of a majority in the House of Representatives forms the government. The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are usually members of the House of Representatives.

Terms of members

The maximum term of the House of Representatives is three years, taken from the date on which the elected house first meets. However, the Governor-General has the power to dissolve the House of Representatives and call an election before the end of the three year period.

More detailed information on parliamentary representation can be found in s 7 and s 24 of the Constitution and in ss 40–54 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

The electoral process

A full federal election is conducted approximately once every three years on a date determined by the Governor-General, upon request by the Government. Typically, this involves the election of all House of Representatives members as well as half of the Senate.

There are a number of essential steps involved in holding a federal election or by-election and a timing framework for when these events can legally occur.

These steps begin with the expiry or dissolution of the House of Representatives. The term of a House of Representatives expires three years from the first meeting of the House. It may, however, be dissolved sooner by the Governor-General usually acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.

A writ for an election will outline the essential steps of the election period and identify the key dates for those steps, in line with the timing framework provided for in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act). 

See When elections are held - Australian Electoral Commission (aec.gov.au) for more information about the timing of elections.

The 2022 federal election timetable - Australian Electoral Commission (aec.gov.au) provides the timings of the 2022 federal election.

The electoral roll

The Commonwealth Electoral Roll is the list of names and addresses of all people who have enrolled to vote at Australian elections. You must be enrolled to be eligible to vote.  Learn more about enrolling to vote and eligibility.

The AEC publishes enrolment statistics on a regular basis to show the number of Australians enrolled nationally, and by state/territory and division.

Information about the electoral roll for the 2022 federal election can be found on the 2022 federal election enrolment statistics page, which provides the number of voters on the certified list for the 2022 federal election for each electoral division.

The certified list is the official electoral roll used to mark off the names of voters at polling places. The list contains the name, address and date of birth for all eligible voters in an electoral division.

The total number of voters on the certified list for the 2022 federal election, for all divisions was 17,228,900.

Candidates and nominations

Candidates must be nominated before they can be elected to the Senate or the House of Representatives. The qualifications for nomination to both houses are the same.

The candidates for both Senate and House of Representatives for the 2022 federal election are available here:

Nationally, 1,624 people were nominated as candidates in the 2022 federal election. The 2022 total included 1,203 candidates for the House of Representatives and 421 candidates for the Senate.

Statistics relating to candidates and political parties for the 2022 federal election are published on the AEC’s Tally Room.

See all  political parties registered at the 2022 federal election.

Election funding and financial disclosure

The Transparency Register is a published register of entities, annual returns, election returns, enforceable undertakings and election funding claims and contains information relating to the 2022 federal election.

The final cost of the 2022 federal election is $446.5 million (GST exclusive). Please note that election costs are incurred over more than one financial year and does not include public funding payments.


The counting of votes is known as the scrutiny and it is usually observed by scrutineers nominated by the candidates. The scrutiny commences on election day in each polling place after 6pm (once polling has closed). Ordinary ballot papers are counted on election night. Learn more about counting the votes.

Find the results for the 2022 federal election on the AEC Tally Room.

Further reading

Further information relating to the 2022 federal election, published by the AEC are provided below.

Updated: 7 August 2023