THE BASICS OF VOTING AT A FEDERAL ELECTION
At Federal Elections you will have two ballot papers to complete
one green – House of Representatives
one white – The Senate
VOTING FOR THE SENATE – LARGE LONG WHITE BALLOT PAPER
System of vote counting – Quota system then full preferential
In the Senate multiple representatives are chosen for each state
The voter has two voting style options for the Senate:
Rank parties listed above the line on the ballot paper entering a minimum numbers 1 to 6.
Alternatively, below the line you can number all the individual candidates or number a minimum candidates 1 to 12
Vote above the line, you will need to number at least six (6) boxes.
Vote below the line, you will need to number at least twelve (12) boxes.
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1 VOTERS OPINION on AUSTRALIAN POLITICS
THE AUSTRALIAN VOTING SYSTEM
iInformation is power.
Know what you are voting for,
make your vote count.
VOTING FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Smaller Green Ballot Paper
Number each box
System of vote counting – full preferential voting
Example at right -->
What about Party Preference Deals?
How your vote is counted
About the Australian House of Representatives
Some key mistakes to avoid include:
repeating a number on a ballot paper,
skipping a number and
not numbering all of the boxes (House of Reps) / minimum number of boxes required (Senate)
MAKING YOUR VOTE COUNT
THE PREFERENTIAL VOTING SYSTEM IS DIFFERENT TO PARTY PREFERENCES
Party Preferences refer to the individual party's How to Vote Cards
How to Vote Cards direct your votes after you have marked their party as (1).
If you don’t follow their card, then you are not following the party’s preferences, you are voting as you see fit.
The choice is up to you.
Where the deals come in
Deals are merely agreements about which preferences political parties recommend to voters on their distributed how-to-vote material.
For the deals to work, parties require volunteers to distribute how-to-vote cards on polling day, as well as postal and online material. Voters then have to follow the material in order for these published recommendations to have effect.
In 2019 more than a quarter of voters gave their first preference, (i.e. selected as no 1) to a candidate who was not from either of the major parties.
Voters confuse Party Preference deals with the Preferential Voting System used for allocating votes, in Australia, a candidate with fewer initial (i.e. selected as no 1) votes can be elected, if the preferences “flow” to them. The Australian system of vote allocating does not elect the candidate most preferred ( i.e. selected as no 1) by the most (plurality) of people; rather, elects a representative who wins more votes than all other candidates combined. This is an automatic process, a feature of the Australian voting system.
MAKE SURE HOW YOU VOTE IS DIRECTED TO THE PARTIES THAT YOU WANT AT FEDERAL ELECTIONS
HOW YOUR VOTES ARE COUNTED
Full Preferential Voting
Australian federal elections use a preferential voting system where voters are required to: mark a preference for every candidate on the green ballot paper (House of Representatives) AND mark a preference for a designated number of candidates on the white ballot paper (Senate).
When the Senate votes are counted the Quota system is applied before Full Preferential Voting comes into play.
Full Preferential Voting favours the major parties;
can sometimes award an election to the party that wins fewer votes than its major opponent;
usually awards the party with the largest number of votes a disproportionate number of seats; and occasionally gives benefits to the parties that manufacture a three-cornered contest in a particular seat.
Preferential voting is largely unique to Australia
It is employed when no one candidate or party wins outright, based on first preference votes.
A person's vote can still be counted, even if their first choice of candidate is eliminated due to a lack of votes. Your votes flow on to your next candidate if your first doesn’t receive enough votes and is knocked out.
Parties and independents of like-minded philosophies or policies are able to ‘exchange preferences,’ in order to assist each- other to win (see Party Preferences)
You can rank candidates according to who is your most favourite or who you most want in parliament, according to your least favourite - who you least want in parliament.
Placing a number one (1) against a candidate is considered the first preference or primary vote.
Full Preference voting promotes a strong two-party system, ensuring stability in the parliamentary process. The house of Representatives is the house of the Government
When people use a ‘how to vote card’ i.e. follow Party Preferences, they often give away votes without meaning to i.e. they follow their number 1 parties rankings for subsequent candidates, they follow their parties preferences
Voters have to rank preferences for candidates that they don’t want to support at all
Full Preference voting promotes a ‘two party system’ that is detrimental to minor parties and independents.
Is a very complex system, that is often found difficult to complete.
Very hard to count and recount votes. Slow to achieve result
Donkey votes (invalid votes) can become more frequent as people may not understand the voting process, or just not care, creating an unfair result.
HOW FULL PREFERENCE VOTING WORKS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Where no candidate/s receives more than 50 per cent of first preferences on the first count:
the candidate with fewest votes is excluded from the count
this candidate’s votes are transferred to other candidates according to the second preferences shown on the excluded candidate’s papers and
if this still does not produce a candidate with over half of the vote, other candidates are progressively excluded, and second or later preferences distributed until one candidate has more than half of the total number of votes.
e.g. How Full Preference Voting Works
The redistribution of votes from the lowest vote-holder upstream isn't arbitrary or equal. Distribution is based on the actual 2nd preferences of the voters that voted for the lowest vote holder as their 1st preference. Some candidates may receive no additional votes
VOTE COUNTING FOR THE SENATE
IN ADDITION TO FULL PREFERENTIAL VOTING THE PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION (QUOTA) SYSTEM IS USED IN SENATE ELECTIONS
Proportional representation ensures that the proportion of seats won by each party in each State or Territory closely reflects the proportion of the votes gained by that party in that State or Territory. In the multi-member (6) electorates each successful candidate must reach a quota. The proportion of seats won by each party is approximately equal to its proportion of the popular vote.
The government frequently does not have a majority, or at best has a very small majority, in the Senate. Government legislation and other measures therefore do not always have easy passage in the Senate; but are subject to negotiation and consultation with minor parties and independents, and with the opposition.
To be elected to the Senate, a candidate needs to gain a quota of the formal votes.
The quota is obtained by dividing the total number of formal votes by one more than the number of candidates to be elected(6), then one to the result.
E.g. election for 6 senators
total of formal votes- 700 000, the quota is 100 001
Here’s the Maths (700000/(6+1))+1 =100001
After the count of first preferences is complete, each candidate who has reached quota is elected
Proportional Representation is then achieved by awarding single transferrable vote, based on the surplus above the quota, at a smaller value to the remaining candidates so all required members can eventually reach quota. Surplus / Number of votes for candidate = Transfer value
The Quota is applied first until all surplus votes have been allocated, if all seats are still not awarded the preferential voting system is then employed for the remaining candidates. (as explained above)
The Proportional Representation (Quota) system used in Senate elections increases the chances of minor parties and independents winning seats,
produces closer results in the struggle between the major parties; it also makes it difficult for a major party to gain control of the Senate.
THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT HAS 2 HOUSES:
The Senate – Upper House
In Parliament the Senate is recognisable by its red seats and carpet.
The 76 senators represent their state or territory.
A member of the Senate is usually referred to as a "Senator".
The House of Representatives – Lower House - The House of Government
At a federal election, the party or coalition of parties with the support of the majority of members elected to the House of Representatives becomes the government.
In Parliament the House of Representatives members sit in the green seats in the area with the green carpet.
The 151 members of the House of Representatives represent electorates (an area of approximately 110 000 voters).
A member of the House may be referred to as a "Member of Parliament" ("MP" or "Member"),
More on the House of Representatives
Having two houses of Parliament means that one chamber doesn't get too big for its boots.
THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPS – Checks and balances
Australia hasn’t had the same party ruling both the Senate and the House of Reps since 2004. In fact, that's only happened twice in the last 40 years. So, it's no wonder that governments can often crack the sh*ts with the Senate.
The Senate was intended to be a house of review, a way of keeping the government that usually controls the House of Reps in check.
THE SENATE, OR UPPER HOUSE, REPRESENTS STATES OR TERRITORIES .
E.g: if you're a New South Wales voter, you're voting for the same candidates whether you're in Byron or Batemans Bay.
There are 12 Senators per State and 2 each per territory, totalling 76 Senators. This allocation is not population number based.
The Senate acts as a check on government by scrutinising bills, delegated legislation, government administration, and government policy in general. It does this by way of procedures in the Senate chamber itself and through the Senate committee system.
The Senate delegates a range of tasks to its committees, this can include researching bills. As committee proceedings are flexible, they are able to meet in a variety of places, receive written submissions and hear evidence on specified matters. Numerous inquiries can be held at the same time, so many different issues can be examined and reported back to the Senate.
Committees provide an opportunity for organisations and individuals to participate in policy making and to have their views placed on the public record and considered as part of the decision-making process.
If a bill has been handed to a Senate Committee, the Committee will report back on the bill. If the majority of Senators approve the bill unchanged, it becomes law . Senators / Committee can table amendments to a bill. An amended bill needs to be returned to the house of representatives for a vote once the Senate has passed it. The bill can also be amended in the house of Representatives. A bill may go backwards and forwards between the two houses and committees until it reaches its final draft. It will need to pass the vote in both houses at each amendment. If the majority of Senators approve the bill, in its final draft it then becomes law.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - OR LOWER HOUSE - IS THE HOUSE OF GOVERNMENT.
Members in the House of Reps represent a geographic area - also known as electorates, or seats.
There are 151 members elected to the House of Representatives. Each member represents one of Australia's 151 electorates .
On average, 150 000 people live in each electorate, with an average of 105 000 voters.
If a party or coalition gets 76 or more seats out of a possible 151 after a federal election, they get to form government; they are the ruling party, they call the shots.
The Lower House is where most legislation - called bills - originates before going through the processes to become law. But bills have to go through both houses of Parliament and perhaps committees in either house, sometimes multiple times; before they become law.
Once a bill is approved by the House of Reps, it then moves to the Senate for further debate and discussion.
When Parliament is not sitting, House of Reps. members are engaged in electorate duties, including:
working on committees to collect information from community organisations and lobby groups that want to present their views to Parliament
helping constituents who may be having difficulties with issues such as taxes, immigration, health , pensions etc
NAVIGATE 1 VOTER POLITICAL RESEARCH
WHY IS 1 VOTER DOING THIS RESEARCH?
THIS VOTERS PRIORITIES FOR GOVERNMENT
The lens through which I examine the party options .
THE ALTERNATIVES - RESEARCH OTHER PARTIES
I've had a look at these parties so far - Links to my summaries and research:
1 VOTER RESEARCHES LABOR
1 VOTER RESEARCHES STAINABLE AUSTRALIA
These pages are authored by a concerned Australian citizen.The opinions expressed on this website are personal opinions only, the writer has no political qualifications but is a registered voter. This page is not authorised or endorsed by the any of the parties discussed or not discussed here-in. Note: the "Arm Yourself" phrase as used here refers to knowledge and does not refer to violence of any sort