A pain-free guide to WHY WE VOTE & HOW TO DO IT
Elections are won at the Ballot Box. The last 24 hours prior to an election are critical for ALL candidates and their dedicated teams of volunteers.
For the parties and their candidates it is paramount to have the most basic information available.
In this day and age of digital, all automated links to critical elements – like the much loved ‘idiot’s guide’ aka HOW 2 VOTE cards – working and available for download!
As Australians prepare to head to the polls for another Federal election tomorrow, I am filled with a sense of dread.
Not because the three ‘Leader’ debates confirmed for the majority of Australians feigning interest in the issues that there are only two choices: Labor or Liberal but as one astute observer recently commented ‘Australian’s don’t understand how our electoral system works!’
So… for those of you with young adults voting for the first time, consider forwarding them this after having a quick read of it yourself.
I promise it won’t hurt, but it will empower you tomorrow at the polling booth to make a decision that is in the best interests of YOU and YOUR loved ones.
Why we vote
Australia is a representative democracy.
This means WE (Australian’s over the age of 18) elect Members of Parliament TO MAKE LAWS & DECISIONS on OUR behalf.
The idea is FREE, FAIR and FRANCHISED elections are a vital part of Australia’s democracy.
Which is why you’ve probably heard friends and family saying for years ‘Voting is both a right and a responsibility’.
And that is all well and good, but HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO AND WHAT TO VOTE FOR?
Especially when everyone seems to have a very pointed opinion on who YOU should want to represent you, your future and that of your (possibly as yet unborn) children.
The truth is – it’s bloody hard to know because everywhere we look we find campaign slogans being regurgitated as fact.
So… as a 7th generation educator and someone schooled in the art of spin, I wanted to cut through the chaff of Industry and make the process of engaging artfully as easy as possible for new or disgruntled voters.
WHAT ARE WE VOTING FOR?
At the 2022 FEDERAL ELECTION we are voting for Members of Parliament for BOTH The House of Representatives (the house with the Green furnishings) AND HALF of The Senate (the house with the red furnishings)
We do this because in Australia, our FEDERAL parliament comprises BOTH houses and the Constitution (Section 28) states House of Representative MPs are elected for MAX term of THREE (3) years.
The Senate on the other hand is a continuing House where Members – known as Senators – are elected for SIX (6) year terms.
Therefore, in 2022, there is also a half-Senate election and the newly-elected state senators will begin their terms in office on 1 July, 2022.
When a double dissolution election is called that is when BOTH the Senate and House of Representatives are dismissed resulting in a DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT. Double dissolutions have occurred six times since federation – most recently in 1987.
2022 Federal Election – How it works: The Electorates & the Candidates
Australia is divided into 151 electorates. Your electorate is determined by where you live.
For The House of Representatives (HOR) aka ‘The People’s House’, your electorate is based on where you physically live and size determined by population. For the Senate it is determined purely by your State or Territory.
Each Federal election, Australian Voters (18+) choose one person per electorate to represent them in the ‘People’s House’ – The House of Representatives (HOR) for a (maximum) three (3) year term.
The party or ‘coalition’ of parties that has the support of the majority of members voted into the HOR, forms the federal government.
In 2022, there are 1203 candidates running for the House of Representatives.
Voters also elect 12 Senators from each Australian State (NSW, WA, QLD, VIC, SA) and two (2) from each Territory (ACT and NT) to the ‘State’s House’ – The Senate (Red).
State senators are elected for six-year terms and Territory senators are elected for three-year terms.
In 2022, there are 421 candidates running for election to The Senate.
So you shouldn’t feel too bad about not knowing who to vote for.
While the political advertising ban is now inplace for parties, there have been A LOT of campaign messages, mixed messages and misinformation out there thanks to the age old art of ‘political framing’.
Making sense of ‘Who’s Who in the candidate and party zoo’
In the smallest electorate – Grayndler – in Sydney, there are eight (8) candidates from seven (7) different parties and one (1) Independent.
This is an interesting one, as it’s the electorate of Anthony Albanese, the current Leader of the Opposition (Labor).
Local newspaper Inner West Review (published by Australian Community Media which is owned by Anthony Catalano and Carlton FC VP Alex Waislitz ) has covered the candidates extensively.
|Candidate||Party||Political frame – aka ‘Slogan’|
|1||SMITH||David Bruce||United Australia Party||Save Australia|
|2||ALBANESE||Anthony||Labor||A Better Future|
|3||ZHANG||Ben||Liberal||Strong Economy, Stronger Future|
|4||HAGGERTY||James||FUSION: Science, Pirate, Secular, Climate Emergency||A merger of the Science Party, Pirate Party,Secular Party, Vote Planet, and Climate Change Justice Party.|
|5||KILHAM||Sarina||Independent||Join the movement for getting independents to Canberra|
|6||HENSELIN||Paul||Pauline Hanson’s One Nation|
|7||DELLO-IACOVO||Michael Armando||Animal Justice Party||Australia’s only political party dedicated to protecting all animals|
In the largest electorate, Durack in Western Australia, there are nine (9) candidates for the HOR from nine different parties. They are:
|1||SHORE||Craig||Australian Federation Party|
|3||McRAE||Adrian||The Great Australian Party|
|4||FELS||Anthony James||WESTERN AUSTRALIA PARTY|
|5||RILEY||Jeremiah||Australian Labor Party|
|6||JOHANNSEN||Brenton||Pauline Hanson’s One Nation|
|8||McNEAIR||Bianca||The Greens (WA)|
|9||MIDDLETON||Andrew Charles||United Australia Party|
In just these two electorates, each on opposite sides of the country, we see there are 14 different parties represented.
So what are the Parties vying for power in the 2022 election and what do they stand for?
The Parties and People Vying for Your Votes
The Register of Political parties held by the Electoral Commission shows ALL registered (and deregistered) political parties in Australia.
To find out WHO to vote for in your area you can do a quick SEARCH HERE
|The ‘Celebrity’ Candidates||Party||Maiden speech to parliament||Electorate|
|Anthony Albanese||Australian Labor Party (ALP)||1996||Graydyner|
|Pauline Hanson||One Nation||1996 and 2016||Qld Senate|
|Scott Morrison||Liberal Party of Australia||2008||Cook|
|Clive Palmer||United Country Party||2013||Fairfax|
Defence – Income tax – Immigration – Social Welfare – External Affairs
How do Preferences work?
1st Preferences – If a candidate gets an ABSOLUTE MAJORITY they WIN because they are said to be the 1st preference for MP representing the electorate.
However, if NO Candidate has ENOUGH 1st Preferences for an ABSOLUTE MAJORITY then the following happens:
The Candidate with the LEAST NUMBER OF VOTES is EXCLUDED and THEIR VOTES are TRANSFERRED to the REMAINING candidates.
This is done according to VOTERS’ 2nd preferences.
Which is WHY you HAVE TO NUMBER ALL BOXES on your ballot paper.
This process of excluding candidates and redistributing votes continues until one candidate achieves ABSOLUTE majority.
I’ve chosen my Candidate, How do I vote for them?
•Australian Electoral Commission – Find my electoral division
House of Representatives
This is where the Federal government is formed. 76 party votes are needed to WIN the house.