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Each State and Territory elects multiple Senators using a preferential voting system. Each State has twelve Senate positions with six year terms and each territory has two Senate positions with three year terms. 

At a Half-Senate Federal election only six of the twelve Senate positions for each state become vacant, but all Territory Senate positions become vacant. At a Full-Senate election, following a double dissolution as in 2016, all Senate positions become vacant.

1. The best way to get good government is to elect the right people in the Senate, regardless of which party wins government in the House of Representatives.

There are two ways to complete your Senate ballot paper validly:

a. Above The Line Voting

You must number at least 6 boxes, but we strongly recommend numbering at least 80% of the boxes, above the line in order of your preference; starting with '1' for your first preference and then in order of preference until all boxes are marked. This means you choose the order of the Parties and accept the preference order in which each Party has listed its Candidates.


b. Below The Line Voting

You must number at least 12 boxes, but we strongly recommend numbering at least 80% of the boxes, below the line in order of your preference, starting with '1' for your first preference and then in order of preference until all boxes are marked. This means you choose the order of the Candidates to give you maximum control of your preferences.

Important Notes

  • Whether you vote Above or Below The Line, we strongly recommend numbering at least 80% of those boxes because, if we don’t, there are high risks that:
    • Our votes will fragment. Our votes fragment when different good people vote for different good Parties or Candidates; but that can result in few or no good candidates being elected. But if we number at least 80% of boxes, it is far more likely to result in more good candidates being elected. It also makes it harder for Parties and Candidates with bad policies to win.
    • Your vote will exhaust. A vote exhausts when all the Parties or Candidates you have marked drop out of the race, so your vote has nowhere else to go and so has no say whatsoever in the election of the last Senator. That means part of your vote has been wasted.
  • It is safer to number every box. Why? If you leave blank boxes, your vote can easily be made informal, i.e. made useless, by an unscrupulous person marking one or more extra 1’s on you ballot paper.

2. Most voters take the quick and easy option of numbering 1-6 parties above the line when completing their Senate ballot paper. This has high risk of fragmentation and exhaustion as explained above.

3. It is far better to number at least 80% of the boxes above the line, even better to number all.

4. Best of all is to number every box below the line, but that is difficult and risks making mistakes.

There is a very important condition… Whether you vote above or below the line, make sure you get the numbers of your preferences right. While the AEC has ways of minimising the impact of an incorrectly numbered ballot, there is an impact that reduces the preference you intended.

No matter which party wins government (in the House of Representatives) the Senate’s composition will be crucial to shaping the future - so please vote wisely.

voting melb

By David d'Lima, FamilyVoice Australia

After dodging the enthusiastic partisans who wave a multitude of how-to-vote cards, the voters in polling booths across our nation must complete their House of Representatives ballot paper and their Senate voting form. But then what happens?

In this short article, FamilyVoice Australia National Secretary David d'Lima describes the journey of your green House of Representatives form, once it disappears into the dark recesses of the ballot box.

After Australian citizens have dutifully considered their verdict, and once we have reached the close of voting on election night, the completed ballot papers are sorted by officials of the Australian Electoral Commission according to the first preference (the number 1) listed on each.

If the pile of ballot papers for one candidate is more than 50% of the total, that candidate is clearly the person preferred by the voters and wins the seat.

Generally that doesn’t happen, in which case the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated from the count, and the pile of ballot papers with a number 1 given to that person are allocated to other candidates’ piles of ballot papers, one paper at a time, according to the number 2 preference on each.

If at that point one candidate has reached a majority of the total ballot papers, that candidate wins.

The above process of eliminating the candidate with the fewest votes continues until one candidate emerges as the one most preferred by the voters. Hence the concept of "preferential voting". We always elect the candidate preferred by the majority in the electorate.

But what about voting 1 for an obscure minor party or little-known independent candidate? That certainly is a way of supporting someone who holds a brave and admirable ambition to make a difference, even if it is clearly not a winnable attempt.

By giving a second or further preference to a major party, the ballot paper may be distributed as described above. Hence, in a seat where no candidate wins on first preferences, the ballot papers for the most obscure or minor party candidate will be the first to help determine which candidate is preferred by the voters.

But since any party gaining more than 4% of the primary vote will receive $2.76 in public funding for each primary vote, every voter who does not vote 1 for a major party effectively deprives that party of that sum of money. Hence each vote for a minor party has funding implications for the major players.

Voters who are less than pleased with their favourite major party, in a seat that will "go to preferences" could subtly punish it by giving it the number 2 preference ahead of some obscure candidate, while effectively voting for the major party.

That possibility is a fascinating undesigned feature of the voting system.

Nevertheless, as we exercise the secret ballot here in Australia, your motives, intentions and preferences are between you and your conscience - but always under the gaze of Almighty God who is the one true law-giver, and on whose behalf we hopefully provide good stewardship as citizens both of heaven and on earth.

Happy voting!

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We recommend that concerned Western Australians respond to the Discussion Paper by the Government’s Euthanasia Panel (you can read a copy here.)

The best way to respond would be by attending one of the open public consultation sessions.

The WA Labor Government has announced that additional public forums will be held in Mandurah, Carnarvon, Karratha and Northam due to high public demand. Targeted sessions to assist with providing written feedback have also been scheduled in Albany.

Otherwise, please send an email to the panel outlining some or all of the concerns below:

I don’t like the process

The discussion paper states that the panel are not willing to review arguments for or against voluntary euthanasia.
This restrictive call for feedback, includes three metropolitan public consultation sessions, being held on weekday morning’s further restricting opportunity for those in full-time employment.

Show me the data

I agree with the guiding principle on page 15 of your discussion paper that ‘People who may be vulnerable should be protected from coercion and abuse in relation to end of life choices’.

I would like this guiding principle elevated in the mind of our Government and our Members of Parliament as they contemplate creating an assisted suicide system in our State. So that they can fulfil this duty fully informed I request that your final report:

1. Advise on how many people have not been protected from coercion and abuse in each of the fifteen jurisdictions that have tried assisted suicide legislation and whether any have survived;

2. Advise on what the safeguards were in each of those jurisdictions that failed to protect those victims;

3. What have been the findings and subsequent recommendations of investigations into wrongful deaths in the other fifteen jurisdictions? (Wrongful deaths can include deaths by assisted suicide or euthanasia following a mistaken diagnosis, missing signs of treatable depression or overlooking subtle coercion by family members.)

4. Advise what redress was available to the families of the victims in each of the instances where the victim did not survive; 5. Recommend what an acceptable number of Western Australian casualties would be

If you have any questions, please contact our national office: 1300 365 965

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The 2019 Federal Election is right around the corner and once again, like other federal elections, one of the two major parties will form government in the House of Representatives of Australia.

Whichever one ends up holding power will ultimately decide how important matters of family, faith and freedom are approached.

That's why FamilyVoice's Communications & Media team has released the "Know the Key Issues" guide to help you make an informed vote on May 18th.

This document is based on party statements, platform documents, policies and bills up to April 2019. In a few cases there may be differing statements from the same party. In these cases, we have considered what is being done by State governments at a State level as well.

"Our key message for the upcoming May 18th election is be informed, know the key issues and vote wisely. The key moral issues are so vital in this election," said FamilyVoice National Director Charles Newington.

"We encourage you to download our guide and share it far and wide with everyone you know who may be concerned about family, faith and freedom this election," Mr Newington said.

"And while we have produced this as a resource to concerned voters, this is by no means a "How to Vote" guide but rather a simple way of comparing where the Coalition and Labor stand on various matters of importance.

"We encourage you to prayerfully consider who you support and vote for this election and to email your local candidates asking them about their personal stances on key issues.

“We are keen to hear what responses you receive, so please feel free to email them to," he said.

>> Download “Know the Key Issues”<<

Order more copies by phoning FamilyVoice Australia: 1300 365 965. Costs may apply for large quantities.

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By Charles Newington, FamilyVoice Australia

When something like this happens no words can carry the weight of loss to those who knew the building and loved it.

Not so long ago my wife and I were in France giving time to pray for the people of France and all whose mother tongue is French. We were standing silently praying In Notre Dame along this vein and when I opened my eyes another person was standing close to me deep in prayer.  When I read the reports of this fire the visual memory of this praying man returned to me. I don’t know what he was praying for, but for me, standing in that place praying for the people of France made the place (and the people) special in a personal way. A fire of faith was kindled.

A spokesperson for the Vatican expressing the sense of loss described Notre Dame as the symbol of Christianity in France. Symbols matter. Notre Dame reminded the nation (and the world) that the roots of the nation are steeped in the faith of many generations. A young country like Australia sometimes feels empty of such enduring symbols built to the glory of God. But they are there for those who go looking for them. They speak of a time when the urban skyline was defined by buildings to the glory of God. Now our skylines are very different as are the intellectual horizons that envision them – much more immediate, much less transcendent and enduring.

Cathedrals around the world are seeing increasing numbers of visitors. I suggest it is a response to secularism’s desertification of society and the growing longing for an oasis for the soul. I’m not cynical about the tourists’ quick walk through, following a guide on autopilot. Many go not knowing what they will see or find but something of God always drops quietly into the searching heart.  

Protestants in earlier times were offended by the idolatry of Catholic churches – and with some justification. They were determined to build churches that were free of embellishments and not distracting to the worshiper. In so doing they unintentionally banished faith from the imagination and corralled it in the intellect. All would be well if the lives of believers were clothed with the fire of Christ’s love, but sadly sometimes we are concerned with fighting some lesser fire.

So now as we watch this ancient symbol burn… let us pray for France and for ourselves – that the true fire of the Spirit may consume the consumable leaving us like Moses’ burning bush – on fire but not consumed.