Vote in a federal election
Have you been shopping lately?
How far did your money go?
Are you old enough to vote, go to the pub or drive a car yet?
Have you thought about Australia’s relationship with other countries across the world?
The Australian Federal Parliament makes decisions about all of these issues.
Who am I voting for?
In a Federal election you are voting for the people who will represent you in the Federal Parliament.
When does it all happen?
Federal elections are always on a Saturday and are independently conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) (new window).
The last Federal election was held on Saturday, 24 November 2007. The next Federal election has to be called within the following three years – it could be called at any time.
How does it work?
Australia is divided into 150 House of Representative (Lower House) divisions of which 37 are in Victoria. At each Federal election you vote for one person to represent your division in the House of Representatives. Elected candidates serve for a term of up to three years.
Each State in Australia also forms a Senate (Upper House) electorate represented by twelve senators. At most elections you vote for six of the twelve senators to represent Victoria in the Senate for a term of six years. In certain circumstances, you get to vote for all twelve senators. This is known as a double dissolution election.
Where do I vote?
Most people vote at a polling place on election day. To find out where your nearest polling place is, or what to do if you can't get to the polling place on election day visit the AEC website (new window).
The enrolment deadline for a Federal election is the same day the election is called. The next Federal election could be called at any time so it's relaly important to keep your enrolment up-to-date. Remember, if you're not enrolled (new window) you can't vote!
How do I vote in a Federal election?
For the House of Representatives, the ballot papers are green. They’re very similar to lower house papers for state elections and also the ballot papers you use to elect local councilors.
You place a 1 in the box next to your preferred candidate, and then number all of the remaining boxes in the order of your preference.
The ballot paper for the Senate is similar to the ballot paper for the Victorian Upper House. You can vote above or below the black line.
If you vote above the line, place a 1 in the box above the party or group you want to support. Your preferences will be decided by the party or group for you.
If you vote below the black line, you must place a 1 in the box next to your preferred candidate and then number at every box in the order of your preference. This is different to voting below the black link in a Victorian State election. In a Federal election you must number every box below the line or your vote won't be counted. In a State election you only need to number the boxes up to '5'.
On the State election upper house ballot paper, if you vote below the line you don’t need to number every box.
In a Federal election if you vote below the line on your Senate ballot paper you must number every box to make your vote count.
For more information about how the Federal Parliament is elected visit the AEC website (new window).