The Australian election system is ‘preferential’, unlike many other countries where ‘majority’ wins the election.

Also, the election system of the Members of the House (Parliament) is different from that of the Senate (Upper House). In both cases, some rules of mathematics of proportion (preference) are used to determine the winning candidate.

These make the system more complicated and difficult for many ordinary Australians. Good information on the election system is found at https://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/briefs/brief01.

Although different colours of the ballot papers distinguish between House and Senate vote, the practice of voting above and below the line of the ballot paper is complicated. Voting above the line is easier but it is tantamount to voting for all Senate candidates and candidate for the House of the specific party you tick.

On the other hand voting below the line requires more knowledge of the candidates to determine the preferences. The matter is further complicated as there are too many political parties in the country and even more independent candidates, especially for the Senate, adding to the long list of candidates below the line.

In the recent past, a very small number of voters (only 37) made the difference between win or loss. An anti-Muslim Senator received only 19 primary votes. So, every vote matters, and it matters more in the marginal seats. Ironically, only a few racist Senators from right-wing parties have dominated and directed agendas of the outgoing government.

In some cases, they forced the government to change its policies and modify legislation to pass the bills.

Voting in the federal and state elections is compulsory in Australia. If any eligible voter fails to vote in the election for unacceptable reasons, she or he is required to pay fine. The fine for failing to vote in Queensland state election is $126.15. Australians could take advantage of pre-polling voting or postal voting if they can’t vote on the election day.

The above scenario should alert every Australian to have sound knowledge about the election system of the country. They must conduct research on the political parties to find the political views and background of the candidates before deciding their voting preferences. This is more so for the migrants turned citizens who have decided to permanently settle in Australia, and hence they are required to know its system of government and election to exercise their voting right correctly.

Every Australian citizen must register with the Australian Electoral Commission before being able to vote. More info at https://www.aec.gov.au/enrol/.

Australia is a very successful migrant nation, like Canada and USA. Diversity is our identity and strength. The division of ‘us’ and ‘them’ is un-Australian and should be eliminated.

Other than the First Nation, the custodian of the land, indigenous Australians, everyone is either a migrant or a descendant of migrants.

Voters should reject anyone dividing the nation based on ethnicity or religion, and reject all forms of political extremism and religious radicalism.

No Australian should vote a racist, bigot, extremist or promotor of hate and division.