Q: How do I enrol to vote?
A: Voting in Australia is compulsory for everyone who is over the age of eighteen. So, in the months before you turn eighteen, it is a good idea to start thinking about enrolling to vote. The Australian Electoral Commision only needs to register you on one form in order for you to be eligible to vote in local, state and federal elections. For more information, click here for an enrolment form.
Q: How do we know when the next election is going to be?
A: We don’t. Members of the House of Representatives, or the Lower House, are elected for terms of three years, but when it comes to the date and month an election will fall on, it is ultimately the Prime Minister’s decision.
Q. What is a Double Dissolution
A. Double dissolutions of the parliament are provided for under the Constitution when the House of Representatives and the Senate cannot agree on a Bill. A summary of the steps is set out below:

  1. The House passes a bill and sends it to the Senate.
  2. The Senate rejects it, or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House does not agree.
  3. Three months must pass, from the time the Senate acts (or fails to act).
  4. The House of Representatives passes the bill again (with or without Senate amendments).
  5. The Senate again rejects the bill, or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House does not agree.
  6. The Prime Minister is able to approach the Governor-General to seek the dissolution of parliament.
  7. Both Houses are dissolved by the Governor-General in what is called a double dissolution and an election is held. This election is significant because it is the only occasion on which all the Senators face election at the same time.
  8. Following the election the bill may again be introduced. The House of Representatives again passes the bill (with or without Senate amendments).
  9. If the Senate again fails to pass the bill, or again passes it with amendments to which the House does not agree, the Governor-General can convene a joint sitting of the two Houses. This power also is exercised on government advice.
  10. The joint sitting votes on the bill or bills, and on any disputed amendments. An absolute majority is required to pass the bill(s) – ie more than 50% of the total number of the members of both Houses.
  11. If the bill(s) is/are passed, the Governor-General gives assent and the bill(s) become law.
  12. More than one Bill may provide the basis for a double dissolution. It is possible for a government to save up (or “stockpile”) double dissolution bills as ‘triggers’ during a term of Parliament, in order to get them all passed at the same time.

In exercising the power to dissolve both Houses, the Governor-General acts on government advice.

Q: How big is the electorate of Farrer and how many electorate offices do you have?

A: The electorate of Farrer is one of the largest in the Federal Parliament, covering an area of 126,590 square kilometers. For details about contacting Sussan through either her Albury or Griffith office, see here.