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How does voting work for the House of Representatives (smaller ballot paper)?


There are currently 151 electorate areas within Australia. Every three years candidates put themselves forward for election, resulting in 151 Members being elected to the House of Representatives.


Voters must vote for all of the names on the ballot paper for the House of Representatives.


After an election the political party (or coalition of parties) which has the most Members in the House of Representatives becomes the governing party. Its leader becomes Prime Minister and other Ministers are appointed from among the party's Members and Senators.


To remain in office a Government must keep the support of a majority of Members of the House of Representatives.


Additional information can be viewed here by clicking this link:

House of Representatives - Parliamentary Education Office (



How does voting work for the Senate (long ballot paper)?


There are 76 senators who form the Senate.


Senators who are elected serve a 6-year term. Every three years half of the Senators (38) come up for re-election from all of the states and territories in Australia.


To make a valid vote for the Senate you must vote for a minimum of 6 political parties Above The Line (ATL). Or you can vote for a minimum of 12 political candidates Below The Line (BTL).


PML will generate a How To Vote list of political parties for you Above The Line only of the type that will be relatively similar to your preferred choice of minor political party, based upon the information available to PML on the political parties. PML will frequently generate more than the minimum number of 6 votes that are required.


Additional information on the Senate, also known as the Upper House, can be viewed here by clicking this link:

Senate - Parliamentary Education Office (



Isn’t voting for minor parties a waste of time since they never win government?


No, no and no.


This is what the major parties tell you again and again - so that you will vote for them … a major party.


This election in different – since there has not been as much interest in minor political parties by the people of Australia as there has been over the past 70 years. People are wanting change and are willing to vote for it.


If voters vote wisely for minor parties that are most similar to their most preferred minor party on the ballot AND if they place the major parties in last position on the ballot then there is a real chance of good minor political party candidates getting elected.



Does PML collect my data and use it?


PML does NOT collect your name, address, or any sort of personal details (aside from your email address – which is optional in order to keep you informed about the PML site if you choose).



Are the minor party candidates the answer to Australia’s political parties?


GOOD minor political party candidates ARE the answer. We would encourage you to do your research on candidates well – since not all minor parties will represent their people well.


A number of minor party candidates have practically identical objectives to some of the major parties. They are simply branded differently in order to attract your vote which will end up being given to the major parties as these candidates are progressively eliminated during the counting process.  



How does PML suggest which candidates and parties I should vote for?


If you for example answer that the United Australia Party (or the Animal Justice Party) would be your preferred minor party then PML will group parties or candidates that are most similar to the United Australia Party (or the Animal Justice Party) towards the top of your How To Vote (HTV) order.


For the House of Representatives if you select the Liberals as your favoured major party the Liberal party will be placed third last on your HTV order, Labor second last and Greens last.

If you select the Greens as your favoured major party the Greens will be placed as third last on your HTV order, Labor second last and Liberals last.


For the Senate, whichever major party you select as your preferred major party they will be the only major party placed on your HTV order, in last place.



Why does PML permit me to only vote for candidates Above The Line for the Senate and not Below The Line?


For Senate voting only around 3 percent of people vote Below The Line – because it involves a lot more work compared to voting Above The Line.


Voting Below The Line is also fraught with pitfalls for the minor parties. For example, if you vote for a third placed minor party candidate Below The Line there is practically zero chance of them ever getting elected, and in this case your vote has more chance of being wasted compared to you voting Above The Line by the way that PML suggests. 



Why does PML not advocate for voting for the ‘sitting (current) member of parliament’ in last position like some political influencers suggest?


In the House of Representatives, voting for the sitting member in last position (which will in the vast majority of cases be a major party candidate) will improve the chances of a different major party candidate being elected – which will be good news for you if this major party candidate is your least preferred major party candidate but not good news for you if they are your most preferred major party candidate.



When I vote on polling day, is it the political parties who decide which parties or candidates will receive my second placed and lower (preferential) votes?


No, you decide which candidates or parties will receive all of your votes. It’s what you write down on your HTV order that determines which candidates or parties get your votes as candidates are eliminated during the counting process.


Political parties often have agreements with other parties along the lines of, “If you tell your followers to vote for me (as the second placed candidate on the ballot, after you), I will tell our followers to vote for you as the second placed candidate on the ballot after me.



Is it true that political candidates and parties receive money for the votes they receive?


Yes, in 2019 for instance, the parties, candidates and Senate groups that received at least 4 percent of first place (first preference) votes received an automatic payment of election funding of $ 10,080. On top of this, payments are made for particular expenses incurred. Nearly $ 70-million was paid out, with the vast majority of this going to the major parties and candidates. 



If I think that a major party candidate in my electorate or state is doing a good job, shouldn’t I vote for them near the top of my HTV order?


Firstly, we acknowledge that there are some, though not many, major party candidates who are actually good candidates that serve their people well.                                                                               

However, counter-intuitive as it might sound, as a result of the way in which the votes are counted the chances of a good major party candidate being elected is quite high because a significant proportion of the votes that the minor party candidates receive will frequently be added to the good major party candidate’s total number of votes as minor party candidates get progressively knocked out of the race as vote counting progresses.



If I feel that a minor candidate or party is worse than the worst of the major parties can I place them in the very last position?


No, PML does not enable this since, counter-intuitive as it might sound, this will make little to no difference in the eventual position of your preferred minor party candidate or party in the vast majority of instances as a result of the way in which preferences flow, particularly in the Senate.


It is acknowledged that putting a minor party candidate that you believe to be the worst of all candidates in the bottom position on the ballot could in some instances have some merit, but it would complicate the simplicity of PML in such a way that it would make PML less user friendly and more confusing for many voters. PML is about simply Putting the Majors Last.



Must I select a major party for the Senate?


No, the only requirement is that you list at least six parties.


PML gives you the choice of whether you select a major party or not. With the way that votes are counted and allocated to other parties in the process of minor parties dropping out of the race it does not make a significant difference whether you select a major party or not.



Is PML “the perfect voting tool”?


There is no perfect voting tool, but PML is smart, simple, flexible, user-friendly and it significantly helps voters who may be confused with how they can best vote for which party and candidate so that they have the most chance of voting the major party candidates out.


There could be alternative ways of voting that could also be effective in terms of voting out the major party candidates. For example, numbering every box Above The Line in the Senate may provide you with a very slightly greater opportunity of getting your preferred political party elected – but this would only be in some circumstances; and doing this would greatly increase the time and complexity of voting not to mention the risk of inadvertently spoiling your vote by making an error in the process.


PML does what no other voting tool does; it provides effective guidance, helps you vote wisely, and very importantly – it’s easy to use.


If you, like millions of other Australians, have had enough of the major parties - then PML is the tool to get good minor party candidates and parties into government.


If PML has helped you, please share it.