Becoming a council election candidate

The next council general elections will be held on Saturday 24 October 2020.

For comprehensive information about becoming a council election candidate, download a candidate handbook.

Can I be a candidate?

To become a candidate you must be an Australian citizen (or qualified British subject) and enrolled as a voter for the council you wish to stand.

You are not eligible to stand for election if:

  • you are an undischarged bankrupt
  • your property is subject to control under the law relating to bankruptcy
  • you are of unsound mind
  • you have been convicted of certain criminal offences (within seven years of the election)
  • you work for the council in which you intend to become a councilor
  • you are a councillor with another council or
  • you are a Federal Member of Parliament or a Member of Parliament in any state or territory.

Further details are outlined in the Local Government Act 1989 (external link).

If you’re employed by a Federal or State Member of Parliament as a Ministerial Officer, a Parliamentary Adviser or an Electorate Officer, you are eligible to stand for election, but will not be eligible to take office without first resigning from your Parliamentary position. You must also take leave from any of these positions and not perform any of your duties for these positions during the election period.

Do I need to live in the area?

Candidates must be on the voters roll for the council they wish to stand for.

Candidates can stand for election for any ward within a council, even if their enrolled address is in a different ward within the council.

Can I have a copy of the roll?

Candidates will be provided with an electronic copy of the roll for the election they are contesting, free of charge. This file can be printed if required and will be in a format suitable for looking up names and mail-merging letters.

In gaining access to the electronic roll, candidates must declare their use of the data is solely for campaign purposes in relation to their election. All copies of the roll provided to candidates must be destroyed after the declaration of result for the election.

Can I distribute how-to-vote cards?

Please see how-to-vote cards for information on registering and distributing this material.

Am I entitled to public funding?

There is no public funding for candidates in local council elections.

What happens at an uncontested election?

If, at the close of nominations, or after nominations close on the retirement of a candidate, there are only enough nominations to fill the number of vacancies advertised, the Returning Officer must declare the nominated candidates elected and give public notice of their election.

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