The Australian Federal Election on Saturday, 2nd July is fast approaching. Here's some information to help you make your vote count on election day. 

The National Foundation for Women (NFAW) has put together a special report, 'What Are They Saying To Women', that summarises the policies of the major parties and their impact on women. is a great website that provides practical tips and videos on how to vote correctly in the House of Representatives and the Senate. It explains how voting works in Australia. It also has links to pre polling booths, accessible voting options for women with disabilities and remote polling options for women living in the country. Pulled together by the National Women's Alliances, its a voting website designed specifically for women voters.

Did you know?

Who you vote #1 goes towards the future funding of that candidate or Senate group.

It means if an individual of group gets at least 4% of the first preference vote in their grouping they are eligible for $2.63 per #1 vote. This goes towards their campaign the next Federal Election. 

Because this is a Double Dissolution election 6 Senators will get a 6 year term and 6 Senators will get a 3 year term.

Convention states that the 6 Senators with the most votes will secure a 6 year Senate term. The Senators ranked 7 through to 12 will get a 3 year term (to restart the half-Senate election cycle). 

Why should I vote this election?

Elections give you the chance to vote for the people that will take your concerns to the national parliament. It's your tax payer dollars that pay the wages of the members of parliament (MPs). It's the job of the MP representing your electorate to know what is happening where you and to raise your concerns during parliamentary debates so all politicians have enough information to make good decisions for all voters. Election day is when you have the chance to choose your parliamentary representatives for three years until the next federal election is held.


Who am I voting for at a federal election?

  • The federal government is made up of the Queen’s representative (the Governor General), the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  • You are able to vote for candidates standing for the House of Representatives (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House).
  • The candidate who represents your electorate in the House of Representatives ‘speaks for you’ in federal parliament - they raise your concerns and local needs.

People voted in as Senators review the decisions made in the House of Representatives by debating and voting on bills. 

Recently the boundaries for federal electorates changed. To find out which federal electorate you are in click HERE.

To see who the candidates are in your electorate go to visit the full list of candidates. To find out what the candidates think is important read the information that comes into your letter box, check out their websites or read the local news. It's good to have a plan on how you will vote before you walk into the polling booth.


How do I make sure my vote counts?

You will be issued with two ballot papers, one for the  House of Representatives (smaller green ballot paper) and one for the Senate (large white ballot paper). 
On the House of Representatives ballot paper, you need to put a '1' in the box beside the candidate who is your first choice, '2' in the box beside your second choice and so on, until you have numbered every box. You must number every box for your vote to count.
To cast a formal Senate vote, you can vote either above the line OR below the line.


Voting above the line

You can vote above the line by numbering at least 6 boxes consecutively in the order of your choice (with number 1 as your first choice). After you have chosen your votes 1-6 you can continue to number as many boxes above the line as you like.


Voting below the line

You can vote below the line by numbering at least 12 boxes consecutively in the order of your choice (with number 1 as your first choice).

You can number as many additional boxes as you choose when voting below the line (i.e. more than twelve boxes). This is a good opportunity to preference women who may not have representation above the line.

If you make a mistake, don’t worry – just return to the electoral officer who issued your papers and ask for a new ballot paper.

REMEMBER: We will be choosing all senators this federal election because 2016 is a double dissolution election (normally we only elect half the house as there are overlapping terms of six years, with half the house elected every three years).

Practise Voting - The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has an interactive 'practise voting' tool with easy to follow instructions on how to complete your ballot papers correctly. You can practise voting HERE



Federal elections are decided in marginal seats (where there is only a small number of votes between the major parties). In 20 of the 21 most marginal seats, there are more women voters than men, according to the most recent Australian Electoral Commission’s Elector Counts. So on July 2nd women's votes can decide which party will form government. To find out if you are in a marginal seat (where the swing required is very small) visit this AEC link.

WEL's election survey showed that the top three issues for our members going into this election are - violence against women (restoring women’s refuges and ensuring a comprehensive system of services work to combat domestic/family violence), health (including maintaining Medicare) and economic security (superannuation, housing affordability and pay equity).
Between now and the election you can find out what the candidates in your electorate think about these issues that impact on women or the issues you care about most.
WEL has analysed how female candidates are positioned on the Senate ballot paper and found that women are consistently in the lower half of the ticket. Only 32% of number one positions on the tickets are occupied by women, and in NSW only 8 out of 41 parties had a women ranked number one on their ticket. Read the full Buzzfeed article HERE.