As we grow our new voter education program, Vote Australia will help everyone learn more about the following topics. We’ll be publishing education pages on these areas of Australian elections.
How does voting work?
- What does a vote mean?
- Three tiers of government (Federal parliament, State, Local)
- Preferential voting system - Understand how this works, and the advantages and disadvantages of the system for your vote. How are preferences distributed?
- Electoral boundary redistribution - How does it work and why does it happen?
- Responsibilities of a local member of parliament.
How do I vote?
- How to vote. Tips for polling for first time voters.
- Are you enrolled?
- How do you enroll?
- Compulsory vs non-compulsory voting.
- Electronic voting - Blockchain technology could be the future.
- Be informed: Meeting your local candidates
Vote Australia believes that a robust electoral system can only be maintained by constant, relevant reform. It is all about keeping up with the times, responsibly.
Many claim that Australia has the most efficient and modern electoral system. After all, we invented the secret ballot in 1856 courtesy of Henry Samuel Chapman. The secret ballot is hailed internationally as the ‘Australian Ballot’. A great achievement, but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.
Embracing new technology will help us keep up with the times. There has always been a push for electronic voting but security issues have prevented its application. However, there may a secure way of the future. Blockchain technology has revolutionised financial markets transactions and could be used with confidence in voting at elections.
Vote Australia believes there is merit in the application of Blockchain technology in elections and will encourage discussion and debate about it in the coming years.
Every Australian citizen over the age of eighteen is entitled to vote in elections, referendums and plebiscites. Vote Australia believes there are six key issues in our electoral system.
1. How we enrol to vote
The process to confirm the identity of a person who enrols to vote is not robust. This opens up the system to manipulation and if a dishonest person registers to vote in a fake name, the votes of honest voters are devalued.
2. How we vote at the polling booth
Current legislation enables voters to vote at any polling place in their electorate. As identification is not asked for at the polling booth, a dishonest person could vote multiple times at different polling booths because there is no electronic roll that would prevent that. And because no identification is required, fake voters could vote many times.
3. Preferential voting
Voting in a federal election uses the preferential voting system, where a preference in numerical order has to be made for each candidate. So if a candidate fails to receive a majority of the vote, the second, then third and so on preferences determine who wins. It is referred to as the ‘two-party preferred’ vote, as it has to come down to a contest between two candidates. Some state elections require optional preferential voting, where it is optional for a voter to record a second preference vote, and so on.
Unfortunately, many voters do not understand preferential voting. They follow a how-to-vote card but not know what they are really doing. They may indicate a first preference for a candidate only to discover that their second or third preference has elected a candidate they did not prefer. Therefore, it could be argued that sometimes the wrong candidates get elected.
4. Electoral boundary redistributions
The Australian Electoral Commission routinely calls for submissions from political parties, politicians and the public as to how boundaries of electorates should be drawn. If a redistribution favours an opponent there are complaints. The lesson to be learnt is that we all should have an interest in the political process and argue for what we see as in the best interest for us and our community.
5. Eligibility of politicians
An Australian citizen cannot sit in federal parliament while being a citizen of another nation. This became an issue in 2018 with four by-elections being held after the High Court disqualified dual citizen members of federal parliament.
6. Foreign influences
Much has been alleged about Russian interference in the US elections in 2016. There is talk of potential interference in upcoming Australian elections by other nations. Both, if true, would be a serious blow to the impartiality of our democracies.
At Vote Australia, we will monitor these issues, provide solutions for improvement, and educate the public about them.
Vote Australia reckons a strong democracy is underpinned by a free and fair voting system.
Vote Australia champions the rights of honest citizens to participate in elections conducted honestly and fairly and which produce election results that Australians can trust.
To achieve this, Vote Australia is:
- conducting research into electoral systems in Australia
- informing the Australian public about electoral systems in Australia
- informing stakeholders about alternative elections processes that can improve the integrity of Australian elections
- drawing attention to critical issues relating to electoral fraud, and
lobbying state and federal governments on behalf of fair-minded Australians to reform our laws to prevent vote fraud and improve the participation experience for all Australians who are eligible to vote.
Vote Australia is an incorporated not-for-profit entity registered in New South Wales. Vote Australia in no way condones or encourages people to break Australian laws. Vote Australia is not affiliated with any political party or organisation, commercial or otherwise, and receives no funding from government or from any other organisation. It is funded entirely by public donation and staffed by volunteers.
Support the campaign. Help protect your right to free and fair elections in Australia.