idk man ive been tryin this ‘twitter’ thing for a while now but it universally feels like unadulterated brain poison… i think the tendency to tie your twitter presence to your real identity and the ability to become verified mean that there is a critical mass of attractive people trying to become standup comics with irreverent tweets about dating apps and overprivileged brooklynite media people trying to build up clout. everyone is either trying to get a Netflix deal or trying to reply guy for liberal politicians hard enough that they can get noticed for it. even the tumblr adjacent hot takes people all seem to be doing it to build up clout with their local DSA chapter. not like here where people have god awful takes on everything just for the sheer pleasure of it, just for the art
The ICPP said we had 12 years to avoid climate catastrophe but the government pushes more coal, refugees have literally died because of government inaction and the news of their reelection has led to several suicide attempts because there’s no hope they’ll be released from detention, the Torres Strait Islander people are going to the UN to formally complain that their islands are being destroyed by climate change (same is happening for Fiji), and the Liberals want to pass a 154 BILLION dollar hole in revenue from tax revenue that favours the rich that we cannot easily undo, wealth inequality widens with wage growth going in reverse, and those on welfare live in poverty because the Coalition wants to continue to slash benefits and funding…
… but yeah 3 more years of death, destruction, despair, and poverty, while the rich get richer, is totally just fine and we’re all making too big of a deal out of it…
The world won’t end but it sure will be a worse place because of them.
First! Are you enrolled? You can enrol to vote from age 16 (but can’t vote until you’re 18). You do that via our good friend the Australian Electoral Commission (or AEC) website!
Also: have you updated your details? If you move you should update them. Again, that can be done via the AEC website. If you’re unsure if your details are up to date there’s a check function: https://check.aec.gov.au/
Now there are a million questions to do with voting that I can’t fully cover here (like “what if I’m overseas?”, “what if I’m in prison?” and even “what if I’m in Antarctica?”) so just remember: The AEC website is your friend. It is FULL of information and many FAQs as well as easy to navigate.
Note: voting is compulsory in Australia and so if you don’t do it you could be fined. Even scientists in Antarctica manage to do it so hopefully you can too.
Secondly: how?? Physically how does voting work? Well in a Federal Election there are two things you will be voting for: The Senate and The House of Representatives.
The Senate voting paper looks like this:
The House of Reps paper looks like this:
For the Senate you can vote either above the line or below the line. Just pick one. Now for above the line you number 6 or more boxes from your most preferred candidate (#1) to your least preferred (#6 or more). You must put at least 6 numbers or it will be invalid. For below the line you can number at least 12 boxes, or more. It used to be that you had to tick every single box and that would take forever because the Senate can have 70+ candidates.
The difference is above the line is just a blanket “I choose this party over this party” whereas below the line lists individual candidates for each party. There can be 4 people from Party A trying to get a seat in your state and you’ve met one of them and gone “actually, I don’t like that specific person even though I like this party, so I’m going to number them lower compared to other candidates.”
For voting in the House of Reps you number every single box. There will be less candidates than the Senate.
The reason for this is because Senators represent the state (there are 12 per state and 2 per territories) whereas the House of Reps have one candidate per party per electorate.
Electorates are areas divided into percentages of the population. Country electorates where people live in small towns are very large whereas inner city electorates with densely packed population centres are very small.
If you’d like to find your electorate then our good friend the AEC website has your back! You can search via your postcode or suburb and it’ll come up with information about your electorate. For example: if your postcode is 6025 then your electorate is therefore Moore, and your current MP is Ian Goodenough for Liberal. If you live in the postcode of 3058 then your electorate is Batman and your MP is Ged Kearney for Labor.*
*subject to change, possibly very soon.
This system of numbering is called preferential voting. The way this works right is say you really like Party A but they’re unlikely to get in. Still vote for them! You never know. But if they don’t then your 2nd preference gets counted and so candidates can get elected thanks to enough people picking them as #2. This flows down until someone gets the majority of the vote. This helps Australia elect candidates outside of the major two parties (Liberal and Labor).
Bonus information: a candidate or Senate group is eligible for election funding if they obtain at least 4% of the formal first preference vote. Which means that even if the candidate you voted for didn’t get in they can still have funding for the party/candidate to be used for future campaigning.
Where do I vote? You can vote as several polling places such as local schools, churches, and public halls.
When you arrive at a polling place there will be a bunch of people handing out flyers and how to vote cards. These how to vote cards demonstrate how to vote, but also give an example of where to put your preferences for the different parties to influence you to vote a certain way. This is a result of preference deals and it’s to influence voters who know who they want to put #1 but haven’t got strong opinions about the rest.
When you get into the polling area there will be a desk where you will be asked your full name and address for verification, along with “have you voted before in THIS election” to ensure you haven’t already cast a vote. You’ll then be given the ballot papers as seen above.
If you make a mistake on your paper simply find a nearby polling official and you will be issued a replacement paper and the original destroyed. Don’t worry! Even I’ve done it before!
The AEC website also has a handy FAQ about things like “what if my name can’t be found?”
How to invalidate your vote:
The following on your ballot paper will deem it invalid and your vote ignored:
- Writing your name on it (voting is anonymous and so any identifying marks that could reveal it was you who wrote that ballot will be discarded. This is not limited to name but is the obvious example).
- Using ticks/crosses instead of numbers
- Repeating numbers
- It is blank or unmarked,
- The voter’s intention is not clear
OK so now you know how to vote but who do you vote for?
ABC Vote Compass is a handy tool for beginners to rank what issues are and aren’t important for them and then are given a graph to show how well their ideals align with Liberal (conservative), Labor (Centre-ish), and Greens (left). There are more parties than this but this is a handy starting point for people who genuinely don’t know who to vote for. It only works close to elections as it needs to collect data on up to date policies and election promises.
There’s also ISideWith if you want another option to compare and contrast with.
There’s also TheyVoteForYou.org.au: which gives you an elected official’s voting record on bills. You can see what they’re strongly in favour for, moderately against, or what they just didn’t vote on. It also shows you how often they attend like for example Clive Palmer has a 7% attendance rate whereas Scott Morrison has a 94% attendance rate and Richard Di Natale a 97% attendance rate. This is a way to see if your local MP or your state’s Senators are in line with your values.
Who who else is there? The above is a good way to know what you think of Labor, Liberals, and Greens, and also any currently elected minor parties/independents, but there are many many more options out there. Close to an election date the AEC will list all the candidates running. If you type in your electorate there will be a list of registered parties competing in that electorate and then you can google them from there.
Voting wouldn’t be complete if it weren’t for a delicious democracy sausage. NOT ALL POLLING PLACES HAVE THEM. There are websites such as democracysausage.org and electionsausagesizzle.com.au/ that have volunteer created maps on election day to help you find one near you (and potentially even a vegetarian option).
So there you have it! A step by step guide to ensure you are ready and educated to vote in the upcoming election!