Unlike most similar liberal democracies, Australia does not have a Bill of Rights or a single list of the fundamental rights of citizens of a country. This does not mean that Australians do not have rights. Instead, legal protections for human rights may be found in the Constitution (the set of rules for governing a country) and in legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament or State or Territory Parliaments.
There are five individual rights specifically stated in the Constitution, and one of these is the right to vote (Section 41). The principle of non-discrimination is a fundamental one in human rights law – all human rights should be enjoyed by everyone regardless of factors such as gender identity, marital or relationship status, sexual preference, racial or religious background, age; and/or responsibility for the care of others.
There are three levels of government in Australia – federal (or Commonwealth), state and territory, and local government. Voting is an opportunity to choose government officials or parties to represent you at these three levels of government. Voting is an important way to participate in the democratic political process. For more information about the different levels of government, click here.
Voting is compulsory in Australia, and you can receive a fine if you do not vote without a good reason in a local, state or Commonwealth election in Australia.
You do not have to tell anyone who you voted for you if you do not want to.
You will find information in this section about:
The Commonwealth electoral roll is a list of all people who are registered to vote at Australian elections and referendums. Australian citizens eighteen (18) years of age and over must enrol to vote, and voting is compulsory in federal elections and referendums for enrolled electors.
The following Australians are not entitled to enrol and vote:
It is a good idea to make sure your address is correct on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll, and to update your details whenever you move homes. To find out which electoral division you are in for a Commonwealth election, click here.
Some people qualify for special enrolment so that they can be provided with services for their special needs. These include:
Enrolment forms are available at all post offices and agencies, Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) offices or can be downloaded from the AEC website . The forms may be returned to the AEC by post, fax or in person.
The NSW State Electoral Commission (SEC) has the power to conduct, regulate, and report on elections for the New South Wales government. They also provide electoral services to local governments. The SEC’s work includes:
There is a New South Wales electoral roll is a list of the names and addresses of every registered voter in the state. It is a good idea to make sure your address is correct on the NSW Electoral Roll, and to update your details whenever you move homes. To find out which local or state electorate you are in for local or state elections, click here.
The NSW State Electoral Commission (SEC) has a responsibility to provide electoral services that are relevant, accessible and inclusive to help all eligible voters understand and participate in the democratic process.
The SEC consult with three community reference groups to foster diversity and inclusion. The three priority communities supported are Aboriginal people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with disability.
The SEC provides targeted material and special assistance to support communities to participate in State and local government elections:
Information is available about how to enrol and how to vote in elections in various community languages, available on the website. The Translating and Interpreting Service is available for electors who require language assistance on election day, for early voting and pre-poll, and telephone enquiries.
Resources are available for electors with disabilities. These resources include Auslan videos and easy-read guides about how to enrol and how to vote in elections.
For local government elections, electors can vote early with Braille ballot papers. All voting centres and polling places have accessible voting screens, maxi pens and magnifying sheets.
Most Australians vote by attending a polling place on the day of the election. However, you can vote online or over the telephone in State elections using iVote. iVote is not available for use in NSW local government (council) elections. For more information on iVote online and telephone voting, click here.
You can vote using iVote if you:
To apply to vote using iVote:
You will need your iVote number together with your password or PIN, to cast your vote using iVote.
Updated May 25, 2020