I called the local AEC office today and spoke to the very helpful Raelene, who wasn't sure where to find the candidate nomination forms either but said she'd call me back with an answer. It turns out that the nomination forms aren't available until the writs have been issued which gives independent candidates as little as ten days to collect their signatures and pay their deposit to the AEC.
Those standing for election under a party's banner only need party endorsement - of course the political duopoly would want to shut out independents - the 'small business' people of politics - if they can.
On a more exciting note, I dropped off my business card design to Euroa Printers today and had a good chat with a couple of staff members. I can't wait to hit the hustings (I've always thought 'hustings' was a silly word) and introduce myself to the voters.