Australia Parliamentary Elections: A Snapshot

Australians are all set to cast their ballots on August 21, 2010.

Updated: Aug 19, 2010, 14:59 PM IST

Country: Commonwealth of Australia

Poll date: August 21, 2010

Number of voters: 14 million Australians are enrolled to vote in the elections. Voting is compulsory for Australians over the age of 18.

Parliament: Bi-cameral, based on Britain`s Westminster system. Parliament has two chambers, the lower House of Representatives and the upper house Senate. The Australian federal election will elect members of the 43rd Parliament.

Key facts:

  • The government is formed by the party with the majority of lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
  • The 2010 Australian election is a full lower house and a half Senate election.
  • There are 150 members of the House of Representatives. They will be elected for three years, although the government can call elections earlier. The house of Representatives uses a preferential voting system (in which voters rank a list or group of candidates in order of preference).
  • Labor currently holds 83 seats in the House of Representatives, Liberal holds 54, Nationals hold 9 and Independents hold 4 seats.
  • PM Julia Gillard`s Labor party will need to win 76 seats to hold a clear majority in the upcoming elections.
  • House of Representatives seats are based on population, leading to vast differences in size. The inner Sydney seat of Wentworth covers 30 sq km, while the Western Australian seat of Durack covers 1.6 million sq km.
  • There are 12 Senators for each of the 6 states and two for Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory respectively.
  • To win a Senate seat, a candidate must win a proportional representation, which means a candidate needs to gain about 14 percent of the vote across their state, while territory senators need 33 percent to be elected. The system helps minor parties and independent candidates.
  • There are 150 electorates; each seat has about 92,000 voters.

    Compiled by: Kamna Arora