Brainstorm for primary students

Updated 6 Jan 2015

In parliamentary elections voting normally takes place in a polling place where you have your name checked against an electoral roll. You are given a ballot paper which lists the candidates' names. In Australia, voters place numbers in squares against the names of their choice. Number 1 is for the person you most prefer (or like the best).

However, around the world there are many different ways to cast a vote. In some countries a tick next to the name of the candidate is enough. Voting can also be as simple as raising your hand in a group and a count is made of all the hands that are up. However, this would not be a secret ballot, which is a very important characteristic of democratic elections.

Parliamentary elections are held to choose representatives of the people who make laws for the country, state or territory and form governments to run the country. Other elections can be held to choose representatives for any group.

A secret ballot is when the voter writes on a ballot paper so that no-one else can see how that person voted. The ballot papers are then counted without anyone knowing who marked which ballot paper. The secret ballot is important so that people cannot be intimidated or bribed to vote in a certain way.

An election in class could be held to choose representatives or to find out what most people in the class wanted.

We have elections so that we can elect our representatives in parliament. An election is the way the people of a country have a say in the way the country is run.

  • The Australian Commonwealth Parliament;
  • the NSW Legislative Council;
  • the ACT Legislative Assembly; and
  • the Queanbeyan City Council

These are all examples of different parliaments which can be found in Australia.

A group of people who come together as an organisation with a policy platform with the intention of electing candidates to represent them in parliament.

The parties registered in the ACT are:
  • Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch);
  • Australian Motorist Party;
  • Liberal Democratic Party;
  • Liberal Party of Australia (A.C.T. Division);
  • Marion Le Social Justice Party;
  • The ACT Greens; and
  • The Community Alliance Party (ACT)

The party that holds the most seats in parliament forms the government. The government appoints Ministers who administer different departments and carry out the wishes and laws of the government of the day.

The Prime Minister is the leader of the party or coalition of parties who holds the most seats in parliament. The Prime Minister is the leader of Australia.

The Chief Minister of the ACT Legislative Assembly is the leader of the party or coalition of parties with the most seats in the Assembly. In past Assemblies and the current eighth Assembly, the Chief Minister has been the leader in minority government, except for the sixth Assembly where the Labor party won 8 seats so the Chief Minister was leader of a majority government.