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  1. #1
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    Default Do you know how to vote/do you know the difference between the senate /house of reps?

    Because talking to some friends today I found out they didn't but had always been too embarrassed to ask when talking about it and one friend told me that she kept meaning to go work out what was the difference between the vote for the senate and the vote for the MP's /House of representatives (or referred to as lower house) after last election but then just forgot due to a general lack of interest in (boring lol!) politics and said she would surely work it all out before the next election which was years away!

    Anyway I was speaking with my sister a few months ago, it's her first vote and she was a bit confused about it all as well.

    I thought it might be helpful to have a thread where we can ask questions about how to vote below and beneath the line, how these are different and what they mean and what the difference between the two voting cards are?

    Anyway here is the copy/paste from what I sent my sister to help her understand in case it's useful. I'm sure most BH'ers know all of this stuff but if it's helpful to someone out there to feel safe to ask questions about voting or the differences between the two votes without feeling silly then I think it's a good thing.

    Federal Parliament in Canberra is made up of two 'houses' – the House of Representatives and the Senate.
    The House of Representatives

    The House of Representatives, which is sometimes referred to as the 'Lower House', brings together 150 Members of Parliament (MPs) who have been elected to represent electorates right across Australia.


    The boundaries of every electorate are carefully mapped out to ensure that each one contains roughly the same number of voters. This means that a state which has more people living in it, such as New South Wales, will also have more electorates and more MPs in the House of Representatives. This is very important to ensure that the vote of every Australian is given the same value.

    Your local MP is the person elected to represent the area you live in. He or she is your direct link to the Federal Parliament and travels to Canberra whenever parliament sits, which is around 20 weeks a year.


    Your MP also has an office in the electorate which he or she works from when parliament is not sitting. This gives the MP an opportunity to meet with the people he or she represents - in other words, all the people who live in the MP's electorate. These people are often referred to as the MP's constituents. Having a base in the electorate also enables the MP to attend local events and visit local organisations and businesses.

    The Senate

    The Senate, or 'Upper House', is made up of 76 Senators who are drawn from the six states and two territories within Australia. Each state elects 12 Senators, however, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory elect only two Senators each.
    So, instead of having just one representative, as you do in the House of Representatives, in the Senate you have 12 representatives (or two if you live in a territory). However, you share these Senators with the other people living in your state or territory.


    Another point of difference between the House of Representatives and the Senate is that Senators are elected for a term of six years, whereas MPs are elected for a term of three years.

    Why do we need two Houses of Parliament?

    There are a number of important reasons why we have two houses of parliament, as well as some historical reasons.


    Before Australia became a federation, it was made up of six colonies, each of which had its own parliament. In 1901, the six colonies voted in support of a new Constitution which formed the Commonwealth of Australia and established the Parliament of Australia. The six colonies became the six states of Australia and retained their own parliaments.


    In becoming a Commonwealth, each of the states wanted to ensure that they would be equally represented and have equal power in the new structure. For this reason, each state was given equal representation in the Senate.


    This helped to balance the fact that some states with higher populations would have more members in the House of Representatives compared to states with lower populations.
    So, the House of Representatives ensures that every Australian is represented equally in parliament, while the Senate helps to ensure that states are represented equally. This is why the Senate is sometimes called the 'states' House'.

    The Senate also plays an important role in scrutinising the actions of the government.


    Because Senators are elected using the proportional voting system , it is easier for small parties and independent candidates to be elected to the Senate.

    This means there is often a wider variety of views and positions in the Senate.



    It also means that the government usually doesn't hold a majority of the seats in the Senate, so laws can only be passed with the consent of another party.

  2. #2
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    So what's the difference between voting for these two?

    We all probably know how to vote for a Member of the House of Representatives, (the green ballot) you write the number '1' in the box next to the candidate who is their first choice, and the numbers '2', '3' and so on against all the other candidates until all the boxes have been numbered, in order of the your preference etc.

    But what about voting for the senate?

    You have two choices, you can either vote above the line or below the line.

    Voting above the line seems easier for many, but what you might not know is if you for example vote 1 above the line for the shooters and fishers party, but without realising their preferences go to the Christian democratic party, or another party you wouldn't have preferenced second, if you were filling out the numbers below the line.

    Here is a great website that if you put your state and click on each party it will bring up each parties preferences, so you can see if you vote 1 above the line labor, or Greens, or liberal, or Family first, or One nation, or Shooters and Fishers - you can see how they preference their votes for you if you choose to just vote 1 above the line.

    This way you can either decide that yep - you're happy with the way the party you are voting for is ranking their preference

    OR you can go and click on each party and learn a bit about them so you can decide who *you* want to preference, and there for vote below the line starting with your chosen party @1 and numbering them from most preferred to least preferred in the order you think is best.

    Here is a link on that page with the details for the parties so if you are interested you can have a squiz and decide how you would like to rank your votes below the line and have your say.

    https://www.belowtheline.org.au/nsw/links.html

    This is the list of parties for the NSW, once you put your state in to bring up the list of parties to check preferences, you can click the link that says "If you want to find out more about the parties see this link" part.



    Happy voting all.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. Very helpful

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    I have no idea either and can you imagine how many votes are wasted just because people have no idea how to do it.... Thanks for the info!

  5. #5
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    So, to vote in the Senate is the BIG one


    and

    to vote in The House of Representatives is the smaller green paper???

  6. #6
    Bron's Avatar
    Bron is offline Accentuate the positive
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    This link is a handy way to practise voting.

    http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/How_to_...g_practice.htm

  7. #7
    Sheer Bliss's Avatar
    Sheer Bliss is offline new username time?? this is toooo friggin hard, and NOT Bliss!!!
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    that site that shows the preferences is awesome!!!! I meant to go looking for the preferences the other day and forgot! LOVE how you can customise and print your own how to vote card too!!!!


 

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