The 2022 Australia federal elections take place later this month and the line is officially open for expats living in South Africa to cast their ballot.
How Australia’s federal elections work
The Coalition, an alliance made up of two central-right political powerhouses, the Liberal Party and the National Party, will look to retain control of Parliament and the House of Representatives when Australians head to the polls on Saturday 21 May 2022.
If successful, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s party will lead Australia for a fourth consecutive term. Main opposition leader Anthony Albanese will, on the other hand, look to usher the Labour Party into power with policies experts have criticised as ‘antipragmatic’.
Australia’s uses a democratic electoral system where, every three years, a new government is elected by the people. Much like in South Africa, participating in the federal elections is a compulsory requirement for citizens aged 18 and above.
This electoral process is used to elect the 151 members who make up the House of Representatives — one for each of Australia’s 151 electorates.
During the federal elections, 12 senators are elected to represent each state and two others are chosen to lead each territory.
For House of Representatives, a preferential voting system is used, where a member wins a seat if they garner an absolute majority of first preference votes.
To win a senate seat, state candidates must obtain 14.3% of the total vote, while territory senators have to garner 33.3% of the total territory vote.
More information on how Australia’s federal elections work can be found here.
How to vote in 2022 Australia federal elections from South Africa
Australians living in South Africa are encouraged to participate in the 2022 federal elections. However, before you are able to cast a ballot, Australian citizens are required to enrol to vote.
Enrolment is only open to:
- Australian citizens aged 18 years or older;
- voters intending to return to Australia within six years.
Australians who’ve been living overseas for three years or less and intend on returning within six years must enrol to vote at the address where they were last eligible to be enrolled.
To enrol for the 2022 federal elections from South Africa, Australians aged 18 and above must complete and submit this online enrolment form. All you need to enrol is proof of Australian identification (ID, drivers licence or passport).
Once approved, Australians living in South Africa will be required to apply for a postal vote. This is a package sent to your South African address containing:
- one postal vote certificate;
- one green House of Representatives ballot paper attached to the postal vote certificate;
- one white Senate ballot paper;
- leaflet with information on how to complete overseas postal vote; and
- one white return envelope
Once completed, the postal voting package must be submitted to either an Australian embassy (that is only if the instruction to do so is noted in the package) or the return address as soon as possible, since the Australian Electoral Commission can only legally accept ballot papers into the count up to 13 days after election day.
While voting is not compulsory for Australians living in South Africa and elsewhere in the world, citizens are required to submit an overseas notification form.
“If you do not inform the AEC, we will write to you asking you to explain why you did not vote,” the Australian government writes.
Click here to apply for a postal vote package.