Participation in the Democratic Process

-Participation in
Process & Current
Year 9 Commerce
Participation in the democratic process
 right to vote
 methods of voting
first past the post
optional preferential
role and function of political parties
role and strategies of pressure groups
rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups in the
democratic process
Current issues
 current issues involving the political process
Participation in the
democratic process
Ballot paper
Informal vote
A ballot paper where the voter has
simply numbered the candidates
in the order in which they appear
on the ballot paper.
The official who is responsible for
the conduct of elections, including
ensuring that electoral laws are
The term given to the founding of
the Australian nation in 1901. The
colonial states gave up some of
their powers and responsibilities to
a national government.
A ballot paper that has not been
filled out correctly or has been
defaced in some way. Voters
sometimes do this on purpose as a
form of protest.
(Optional) preferential proportional
Electoral commissioner
A paper listing the names of the
people (candidates) who are
seeking a place in parliament, and
on which the voter marks his or her
choice or choices.
Donkey vote
A system where, for the election of
one candidate, the voter only
needs to indicate a preference for
the candidate of his or her choice,
but may also mark a preference
for all or some of the remaining
candidates on the ballot paper.
(Preferences) Choices or options.
preferential voting A system of
voting in which a voter shows an
order of preference for
candidates, giving the number
one to his or her first choice
through to the last number to the
last choice
Methods Of Voting
First past the post
In this system the candidate who receives the
most votes wins.
This system was initially used for federal elections,
beginning with Federation in 1901, and continued
as the main form of voting in federal elections until
It is no longer used in political elections in Australia
and has been replaced by preferential voting at
federal, state and local government levels.
Under the first-past-the-post system, the voter puts
an ‘X’ in the box next to the preferred candidate’s
name and leaves the other boxes blank.
The candidate with the most votes (or ‘X’s next to
his or her name) is declared the winner. It is the
most straightforward way of voting.
In preferential voting, voters must show their preferences by
giving each candidate a number.
The most preferred candidate is given the number 1, the
next preferred candidate is given the number 2 and so on
until all the candidates have been numbered.
For the vote to count, all candidates must have a number
against their names.
If the ballot paper is incomplete, has a number repeated or
missing or is illegible it is considered an informal vote and is
not counted.
When an elector simply numbers the candidates
sequentially down the ballot paper it is called a donkey
To win a seat in parliament under this system of voting, a
candidate must receive 50 per cent of the vote plus 1 vote.
Role Of Political Parties
Political parties are the chief means by which political
power is exercised in Australia.
They draw together people who have similar political ideas.
While these people may not agree on all matters, the party
does provide a means for people of broadly similar interests
to meet and to develop and promote their ideas.
They also offer the best chance for implementing these
ideas if the political party is in a position to form a
Two major political parties dominate Australia’s political
system. The Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party of
Australia with its coalition partner, the Nationals are the two
largest political parties. Smaller political parties include the
Function Of Political Parties
Political parties play an important role in the
stability of our political system.
If parties did not exist, each individual
member of parliament would be free to make
up his or her own mind on every issue that
came before the parliament.
This would be impractical.
It would make it difficult to get unpopular but
necessary legislation through the parliament.
It could also encourage unethical behaviour.
Role And Strategies Of
Pressure (Interest) Groups
Everybody in Australia, including those under the voting
age, can become a member of a political party, most
people choose not to become actively involved in politics.
Less than 1 per cent of Australians are members of a
political party.
More people feel comfortable about joining or supporting
an interest group.
Many do so without even realising it.
For example, the NRMA−a motorist organisation to which
many people belong−provides much more than just road
service. It is a powerful interest group promoting the
concerns of automobile owners. It lobbies governments for
additional road funding and acts as a consumer watchdog
in matters relating to automobile quality and safety.
 interest
groups are often compared with political
parties because both are organisations that
communicate the views and concerns of citizens to
 Interest groups have three features that set them
apart from political parties:
They don’t seek to win elections.
They often campaign continuously on issues, whereas
political parties tend to be most active in the period
immediately before elections.
Interest groups are more issue orientated than political
parties and depend on supporters who identify with
their organisation. Political parties often depend on
mobilising voters to support a particular candidate or
party rather than any one issue.
Interest Groups v Political
Research Activity
Research an Australian Interest group from the list below:
 The Ark
 Ausflag
 Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
 Australian Council of Trade Unions
 Australian Medical Association
 Australian Nursing Federation
 Business Council of Australia
 Diabetes Australia
 Electrical Trades Union
 Festival of Light
 National Farmers’ Federation
Chapter review
1. The type of federal government that
Australia has is called a:
a monarchy
b federation
c constitutional democracy
d tyranny
2. Australia has:
a one level of government
b two levels of government
c three levels of government
d four levels of government
3 The state government is responsible for:
a migration, economy and education
b migration, education and health
c health, education and roads
d libraries, education and garbage
4 The main organisations that have an
impact on decision making are:
a governments
b business
c welfare organisations and the media
d all of the above
Chapter review
5. A donkey vote is:
a a vote that is numbered sequentially down the ballot paper
b a vote cast by a donkey
c one where the voter has written a comment on the ballot
d none of the above
6. The Legislative Council is also known as the:
a Lower House
b Upper House
c Cabinet
d quorum
Chapter review
7 The leader of the federal government is called the:
a governor-general
b prime minister
c premier
d chief
8 A deputation is:
a a group of students who go to see the deputy principal
b a group of people appointed to represent others
c an interest group that uses direct action
d an individual who is not associated with a political party

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