What is Parliament?

How members are chosen

Members of Parliament are chosen by Victorian voters at general elections. When a member cannot complete their term, a new member will be selected with a by-election or appointment.

General elections

General elections for the Parliament of Victoria are held every four years. At a general election, every seat of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly is contested. 

The next general election will be on 26 November 2022. 

By-elections and appointments

What happens if a sitting member resigns or dies, leaving a seat in the Parliament vacant? 

Members who cannot complete their term are replaced either by-election or appointment.

If there is a vacancy in the Legislative Assembly, a by-election will be held.

A by-election is run the same way as a general election, but only the voters in that electorate are required to vote. 

When there is a vacancy in the Legislative Council, the two Houses meet to select a new member. This is known as a joint sitting.

  • If the vacating member was elected as a member of a political party, the new member is nominated by that party. The choice is approved at that joint sitting. 
  • If the vacating member was an independent, the joint sitting selects the new member. The person cannot have been a member of a political party in the last five years, and must have lived in the region they will represent for at least 12 months. This is extremely rare and has not happened since this rule was introduced in 2006.

There is no joint sitting if the vacancy happens three months before a general election.  

Victorian Electoral Commission

General elections and by-elections are run by the Victorian Electoral Commission, which is independent of Parliament and the government. Find out more on the Victorian Electoral Commission’s website.

VEC website