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Who can be a candidate?

Eligibility to nominate as a candidate

State elections

To be eligible to nominate as a candidate for either the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council, you must be:

  • at least 18 years old and enrolled to vote for any district in New South Wales.

You may not nominate as a candidate if you are disqualified, for example, if you are:  

  • a member of the other House

  • hold or benefit from a contract with the public service, (with certain exceptions)

  • hold an office of profit under the Crown or have a pension from the Crown

  • a Member of the Commonwealth Parliament.

If a person is in any doubt about their eligibility to be nominated as a candidate, or to be elected, they should seek their own legal advice.

Local government elections

Candidates or members of a group in an election must be enrolled in the council area for which they are nominating by 6pm on the day of the close of rolls. 

You may be enrolled on either the:

  • the residential roll or,

  • the non-residential roll or,

  • the roll of occupiers and rate-paying lessees for a council area.

Furthermore, a candidate in a local government election must not be disqualified from holding civic office as a councillor or mayor.

People disqualified from holding civic office include people who are:

  • currently serving a prison sentence

  • convicted of certain election-related or criminal offences

  • prohibited from managing companies

  • suspended on three or more occasions for misconduct as a councillor

  • current state members of parliament (if elected, they may only hold office as a councillor if they resign from the Parliament before the first council meeting)

  • serving judges, the returning officer for elections of the council and council employees.

The reasons for disqualification are contained in the Local Government Act 1993, which is available on the NSW Legislation website (see sections 274, 275 and 276).

A person elected to civic office can be dismissed by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) if it finds that an elected person was disqualified from holding civic office. It is an offence to act in a civic office while disqualified.

This information is not legal advice.  It is important to note that the Electoral Commission cannot confirm whether you, or other prospective candidates, are eligible to nominate for an election or are potentially disqualified. 

Every prospective candidate should take steps to be informed of the legislative requirements.  You should obtain independent legal advice if you are concerned about your eligibility to nominate for election.

Public servants

Public servants may contest state elections under the following conditions: 

  • public sector employees nominated for election are to be granted a leave of absence until the day on which the result of the election is declared

  • the leave of absence is without pay, unless the employee applies to use available leave entitlements

  • public sector employees standing for election are not required to resign until elected.

Any Commonwealth public servant considering a nomination should talk to their employer.

Any person who is in any doubt about their eligibility to nominate as a candidate or to be elected, should seek their own legal advice.