How do I have my say?


As outlined in Part 2, in Australia, citizens aged 18 years or over must enrol to vote in federal, state and territory elections and referenda on constitutional change.

In Australia’s parliamentary democracy, citizens have a say on how Australia is governed by voting for a person to represent them in parliament. If you are not correctly enrolled, you are not able to vote in an election.

Voting is compulsory in Australian elections, or if there are referenda on constitutional change.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is a Commonwealth agency responsible for conducting federal elections and referendums, and maintaining the Commonwealth electoral roll. The AEC is independent of the government. Political parties or people in government cannot influence the decisions of the AEC.

In Australia, voting in an election is by secret ballot, so you are free and safe to vote for any candidate. No one is allowed to know whom you have voted for, unless you choose to tell them. If you do not vote in an election and do not have a good reason for not voting, you may have to pay a fine. Compulsory voting is a way to make sure that the people have a say in who will govern and represent them in parliament.

Raising matters with your representatives

Australian citizens can contact their elected representative to raise their concerns about government policy. In this way, all Australians can have a say in forming the laws and policies of a government. If a citizen tells his or her elected representative a law needs to be changed, the elected representative should consider what has been suggested.

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Part 1 - Australia and its people

» Australia's states and territories
» Important days for Australians
» Australia's flags and symbols

Part 2 - Australia's democratic beliefs, rights and liberties

» Our democratic beliefs
» Our freedoms
» Our equalities
» Responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship
» Participating in Australian society

Part 3 - Government and the law in Australia

» How do I have my say?
» How did we establish our system of government?
» How is the power of government controlled?
» Who is Australia's Head of State?
» Who are some of Australia's leaders?
» How is Australia Governed?
» What do the three levels of government do?
» What role do political parties play in the way Australia is governed?
» How is the Australian Government formed?
» How are laws made?
» How are laws enforced?
» Criminal offences in Australia

Part 4 - Australian values

» Our values
» Our community

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