A federal election is likely to be called very soon, so I wanted to write a neutral post (as in not advocating a particular vote) encouraging people to be well informed voters. The first thing is to be a voter in the first place. If you’re not yet enrolled to vote then now is time to do it. Once the election is called you have very little time to get onto the electoral roll and you will miss out. Take your responsibility as a citizen in a democracy seriously. The info on what to do is at the AEC website here. Also if you are enrolled but have moved then you should update your address on the electoral roll so you can vote in the correct electorate.
Next, make sure that you cast a valid vote. If you don’t follow the instruction properly then your vote may not count. Antony Green at the ABC has an excellent post on how to vote here. It’s an excellent post that’s worth reading even if you already know how to vote.
Following up on that, it is a good idea to understand the electoral system. The AEC is a great place to go for that. Consider the following questions:
- How are votes counted in the House of Representatives (HoR)?
- How are votes counted in the Senate?
- What’s the difference between the HoR and the Senate?
- Which federal electorate are you in, who is your current member and which party do they represent?
- Who are the Senators from your state and which ones are up for re-election this time? Only half the senate is elected at each regular election.
The last link is from the parliament house website, there is lots more at their FAQ.
Another way to be informed about the sitting members is by visiting Open Australia where you can access detailed info on each member of parliament.
Next you need to decide who to vote for, while of course you may already know of a candidate or party you wish to vote for, or have some idea of how your preferences will go for the larger parties, you don’t yet know exactly who will appear on each of the ballot papers you will fill in on election day since the election has not been called and the candidates have not officially nominated – so I’ll return to this in part 2 later on. (UPDATE – part 2 now available)