Voting – choosing your parliamentary representatives: Activity 4

Voting - the Australian way: clarifying and participating

  1. Divide class into small groups and provide each student with a copy of BLM 4 preferential voting. Instruct students to read the information, underlining any words not understood, listing any concepts or ideas that require further explanation and making notes of interest. Discuss and clarify understandings in a small group setting.

  2. Draw class together to allow time for questions and information sharing. Discuss content, offering further explanations, discussing concepts, and clarifying and correcting misconceptions.

  3. Using information on the Australian Electoral Commission website, ask students to look at the election results for their House of Representatives electorate and research how many people voted formally, how many votes were required for an absolute majority, and whether their federal parliamentarian was elected on first, second or subsequent preferences. Record the information. Instruct students to research another electorate that shows different voting patterns to their own. Available at

  4. > Division results > Full distribution of preferences.

  5. Hold an election in the class based on the preferential voting system used to elect House of Representatives members.

    Emphasise preferential voting, secret ballot and compulsory voting. Information on how to hold an election using the preferential voting system can be found in The Full Preferential Voting System in the 'Counting your vote' animation available on > Education resources > Democracy Rules.

    Count votes

    Discuss process and ask students to write a short reflective piece on their experience.

    Share with the class.

  6. Instruct students in pairs to produce a fact sheet/pamphlet explaining the Australian voting system. Ask them to include key features and definitions.

Going further

Provide students with BLM5 SWOT or PMI graphic organiser 

Instruct students to analyse the Australian voting system. 

Preferential votingSecret ballot
Compulsory votingOther - student to determine

Introduction | Activity One | Activity Two | Activity Three | Activity Four

BLM 4 Preferential voting

BLM 5 Key features of the Australian voting system