Understanding preferences

You control your preferences — don't let anyone else decide for you. 

The Greens want to make sure that everyone can make a formal vote that best reflects their political wishes.  The How-To-Vote cards that the Greens and the other parties will give you are guides, and you can choose whether or not to follow them.

YOUR VOTE IS YOUR CHOICE.  YOU DETERMINE WHERE YOUR PREFERENCES GO. 

It is you, not any political party, that determines where your vote goes. 

Take control of your vote

The House of Representatives

In the Lower House (the House of Representatives), you have to number all of the candidates in order that your vote is formal.  This means you direct your preferences in the order that you choose.  By putting the Green candidate first, and then the other candidates in your order of preferences, you decide who your vote goes to if the Green candidate is not elected.

The Senate

In the Senate, you have two options. 

The first is to vote above the line, by numbering just one box above the line.  When you vote above the line, your vote is allocated according to a 'group voting ticket', submitted by each party/group before the election.  If you vote above the line, your preferences are allocated in the way the party/group you voted for determines. 

Don’t forget you can vote for a different party in the Senate to the party you vote for in the House of Representatives. 

  • To vote Green using the above the line option, just put a 1 in the box marked "Australian Greens".  Leave the other boxes blank.

The second option is to vote below the line, by numbering all of the candidates below the line.  This means that you have complete control over your preferences.

  • To vote Green using the below the line option, number all the Greens candidates first (they will all be in the same column), then number the remaining candidates in the order of your choice.  Number all the candidates.

Why do parties make preference arrangements?

By law, all parties must lodge a preference arrangement with the AEC. These are called Group Voting Tickets. Ours can be viewed here.

In order to lodge a group voting ticket with the AEC, which allows voters to vote “above the line” for the Greens, we have to number all of the candidates in order.  Because we have to number all the candidates, we seek meetings with all the parties.

The Greens have been campaigning to change the way Senate voting works, to allow voters to number the parties in their order of preference.  We have also been trying to inform people how to take control of their vote. 

KEY CONVERSATION POINTS

  • You can control where your preferences go.
  • How-To-Vote cards are only a guide.
  • The Greens are committed to informing people on how to make informed choices about voting, in order that their vote best reflects their political wishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Isn’t a vote for the Greens is just a vote for Labor?

A: False. You decide where your vote goes. If you don’t want your vote to contribute to the Labor Party, vote 1 Green and then number every other candidate ahead of the Labor Party.

Q: Am I risking an Abbott Government by voting Green?

A: No. By voting 1 Green and then numbering every other candidate ahead of Coalition candidates, you can ensure your vote won’t contribute to Abbott forming Government.  

Q: I want to vote Green, but I want a Labor government. How do I do that?

A: Vote 1 for the Green candidate, then vote 2 for the Labor candidate, then number all the other candidates in the order of your preference.  If there are independents or minor parties you also like, you can put them between the Green candidate and the Labor candidate. If you leave any boxes blank, your vote doesn't count.

Q: I want to vote Green, but I want a Liberal PM. How do I do that?

A: Vote 1 for the Green candidate, then vote 2 for the Liberal/National coalition candidate, then number all the other candidates in the order of your preference. If there are independents or minor parties you also like, you can put them between the Green candidate and the Liberal candidate. If you leave any boxes blank, your vote doesn't count.

Q: I want to vote Green, and I can't stand either of the big parties. What should I do?

A: Vote 1 for the Green candidate, then number the like minded minor-party and independent candidates in the order of your choice, finally numbering your least preferred candidate last. If you leave any boxes blank, your vote doesn't count.