This summary of qualifications and disqualifications is designed to assist you in determining whether you may need to seek advice on your eligibility for nomination or membership of either the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council.
The qualifications and disqualifications for membership of State Parliament are to be found in the following Western Australian Acts of Parliament:
- Electoral Act 1907
- Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899
These Acts may be viewed from the State Law Publisher web site.
Certain other Acts under which candidates may be employed may stipulate the need to stand down or resign from a position prior to either nominating as a candidate or taking up a seat in either House of State Parliament.
To be eligible to take up a seat in the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council, the following qualifications apply:
- the candidate must have resided in Western Australia for one year
- the candidate must have reached the age of 18
- the candidate must not be subject to any legal incapacity
- the candidate must be an elector entitled to vote at an election of a member of the Legislative Assembly
- the candidate must be an Australian citizen
Following the 2005 State general election, section 76A was added to the Electoral Act 1907 covering the qualifications for membership of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly.To be elected, a person must now be an Australian citizen and on the electoral roll.
If any one of the following circumstances exists, the candidate will be disqualified from taking up a seat in either House of State Parliament:
- the candidate is an undischarged bankrupt, or a debtor against whose estate there is a subsisting receiving order in bankruptcy;
- the candidate has been convicted on indictment of an offence for which the indictable penalty was or included imprisonment for life or imprisonment for more than 5 years;
- the candidate has been attainted of treason;
- the candidate is serving or is yet to serve a sentence or sentences of detention ( imposed under the Young Offenders Act 1994 or the Child Welfare Act 1947 ), or imprisonment;
- the candidate is serving or is yet to serve indefinite imprisonment imposed under Part 14 of the Sentencing Act 1995;
- the candidate is subject to an order under s279(5)(b) of the Criminal Code;
- the candidate is subject to an order under s19(6a)(a), 661 or 662 of the Criminal Code (these sections have since been repealed);
- the candidate is, or is taken to be, a mentally impaired accused as defined in the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996;
- the candidate is a holder of a senior public office specified in Part 1 of Schedule V of the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899;
- the candidate is a member of the Commonwealth Parliament, a Territory Parliament or another State Parliament;
- the candidate is a member of the other House of Western Australia's Parliament;
- the candidate holds an office or place in the service of the Crown in right of the Commonwealth or another State of the Commonwealth or in the service of the government of, or any department or agency of the government of, the Commonwealth or a Territory or another State of the Commonwealth and that office or place has not been exempted under section 36 of the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899;
- the candidate holds an office as a member of any commission, council, board, committee, authority, trust or other body, and was appointed as such a member by the Crown in right of the Commonwealth or another State of the Commonwealth, or by the government of, or any department or agency of the government of, the Commonwealth or a Territory or another State of the Commonwealth and that office or place has not been exempted under section 36 of the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899;
- the candidate is a holder of any office or place specified in Part 2 of Schedule V of the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899 (not being an office also specified in Part 1 of Schedule V of the Act) and does not vacate the office or place upon his or her election to State Parliament (includes State Police, Teachers, Public Servants and various others);
- the candidate is a member of any commission, council, board, committee, authority, trust or other body specified in Part 3 of Schedule V and does not vacate the office or place upon his or her election to State Parliament;
- the candidate is of unsound mind;
- the candidate is the holder of a temporary entry permit for the purposes of the Migration Act 1958, of the Parliament of the Commonwealth as amended from time to time, or is a prohibited immigrant under that Act.
Note: Holders of dual citizenship are not disqualified if they are otherwise qualified.
To nominate, you must give a written nomination and a deposit of $250.00 to the Returning Officer for the district or region. The names and contact details of Returning Officers for all districts and regions are available from the Western Australian Electoral Commission. Nomination forms can be obtained by contacting the Western Australian Electoral Commission or the Returning Officer.
Returning Officers can receive nominations at any time after the issue of the writ for the election until 12 noon on the day nominations close. This date is fixed in the election writ on a date between 7 and 45 days after the writ is issued.
The deposit is returned after the election if the candidate
- is elected
- gains more than 4% of the total votes in a 2 candidate election
- gains more than 4% of the first preference votes polled by all candidates in an election with more than 2 candidates, or
- dies before polling day or on polling day before the close of the poll.
When a deposit is not returned, it is forfeited.
A candidate may withdraw a nomination up to the hour of nomination, but forfeits the deposit.
Groups of Candidates
Two or more candidates for an election in a region where more than one person is to be elected may request the Returning Officer - in writing - to have their names included in a group on the ballot paper. A form is available from the returning officer for this purpose.
State public sector employees may nominate but must take leave of absence for the election period commencing on the first working day after nomination. The Electoral Regulations authorise public employees to apply for and take leave and public employers to grant leave for this period.
A State employee may be required to resign, by other legislation, before nominating for election. Subject to some conditions, a State employee may be entitled to re-enter public sector employment should they not be elected.
The candidate's full surname must appear on the ballot paper. The ballot paper name may also include: a given name, initials, or a commonly accepted variation of the given name. Candidates must apply to the Returning Officer at or before the hour of nomination if they want to have the name of a registered political party or the word "Independent" printed next to their name.
The order of names on the ballot paper is decided by a draw. The Returning Officer places the names of all candidates in opaque spheres after the close of nominations and seals them in a ballot box. The order in which the names are drawn from the box is the order in which they will appear on the ballot paper.