Election day is on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
A federal election, which is held every three years so Australians can choose members of parliament to represent their views and interests in the House of Representatives and the Senate. All Australian citizens aged 18 years and over are required to enrol and vote in federal elections.
All residents enrolled to vote will head to the polls on Saturday, May 21 but not everyone will be voting for the same candidates. The Muswellbrook and Singleton Local Government Areas are located within the seat of Hunter while the Upper Hunter LGA is located in the seat of New England. If you're unsure, check which division you live in at aec.gov.au/electorate.
The Hunter electorate covers an area of 10,640 square kilometres with the current electoral boundary first put in place for the 2016 election. Hunter extends from the Muswellbrook and Singleton LGAs in the north and parts of the Cessnock and Lake Macquarie LGAs in the south.
The main towns include Broke, Cessnock, Denman, Mulbring, Muswellbrook, Paxton, Putty, Singleton, Widden and Wyee.
The electorate has been represented by Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon since 1996, but the 2022 election will see voters in the Hunter elect a new representative following Mr Fitzgibbon's decision to retire.
The House of Representatives candidates for the division of Hunter in order of how they will appear on the ballot are:
For more information on candidates standing for Hunter go to aec.gov.au/election/candidates.
The electorate covers an area of 66,394 square kilometres. It extends from the Queensland border in the north to Merriwa, Aberdeen and Scone in the south.
The main towns include Aberdeen, Armidale, Ashford, Barraba, Bingara, Glen Innes, Guyra, Inverell, Manilla, Merriwa, Murrurundi, Nundle, Quirindi, Satur, Scone, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Tingha, Urbenville and Walcha.
The electorate has been represented by Deputy Prime Minister and leader of The Nationals Barnaby Joyce since 2013.
The House of Representatives candidates for the division of New England in order of how they will appear on the ballot are:
For more information on candidates standing for New England go to aec.gov.au/election/candidates.
You can vote at any polling place in your state or territory on election day. Polling places are open from 8am to 6pm.
Polling places are usually located at local schools, churches and community halls, or public buildings. To find a polling place go to aec.gov.au/where.
If are not in the state in which you live on election day you can vote at a designated interstate voting centre or consider voting early.
If you can't make it to a polling place in NSW on election day, you may be eligible to vote early in person or by post.
How to vote early in person
If you are eligible, you can vote before election day. Early voting centres opened on Monday, May 9, 2022.
In the Muswellbrook and Singleton LGAs early voting centres are located at the Stan Thiess Memorial Centre in Muswellbrook (173 Hill Street) and the Singleton Youth Venue (Corner Pitt and Bathurst streets).
There are no early voting centres available in the Upper Hunter LGA, with the closest early voting centres located in Muswellbrook (Stan Thiess Memorial Centre) and Tamworth (515 Peel St).
How to vote early by post
Postal voting is available to eligible voters. Check your eligibility and apply online at aec.gov.au/pva. Complete your application for a postal vote so it reaches the AEC by no later than 6pm on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Phone 13 23 26 if you don't have online access and want to apply for a postal vote.
Emergency telephone voting has been introduced this federal election for voters who are required to isolate because of COVID.
You need to prove you have COVID-19
You will need to provide the AEC a positive PCR test or a rapid antigen test (RAT). Tests must also be registered with NSW Health. Voters will need to provide proof of the date and time of their positive PCR result, or the serial number of their RAT.
What if I'm a close contact?
Close contacts to a positive COVID-19 case are no longer required to isolate in any Australian state or territory. Voters who are a close contact will still be required to vote on May 21.
How telephone voting works
First, you need to register on the AEC website. Once there, you will need to provide proof that you are COVID positive and make a declaration about your eligibility.
You will then be matched to the electoral roll. Checks will also be made to confirm that you have not already voted by telephone or another method.
When will I be able to vote over the phone?
The service will be available to those who are required to be in COVID isolation for three days up to and including election day. That's Thursday, May 19, Friday, May 20 and Election Day on Saturday, May 21. These days come right after the final date to register for a postal vote on Wednesday, May 18.
Can I use tele-vote if I don't have COVID?
No. Phone voting is a service that is usually only available to people who are visually impaired, or working in Antarctica.
Will I be talking to an automated machine?
No. Thousands of new staff have been hired by the AEC to help with the tele-voting process this year.
When you enter the polling place you will need to first speak with a voting official and have your name checked off the electoral roll. Voting officials are easy to spot on election day.
The voting official will ask you for your full name and address, and if you've already voted before in the federal election.
You will be given your two ballot papers.
At the voting booth, carefully read the instructions on your ballot papers or ask a voting official for help.
Complete your ballot papers.
Fold your ballot papers and place them in the ballot boxes. There will be two clearly labelled boxes at the exit of the polling booth, one for the House of Representatives ballot paper and another for the Senate ballot paper. If you are unsure about which box to place your ballot paper, there will be election staff available to ask.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, once you've cast your ballot take part in the great Aussie election tradition of grabbing a sausage sanga on your way out of the voting centre (if there's a barbecue fired up). Most schools that are open for voting on election day will have a barbecue running, the canteen open or a cake stall running, with funds raised supporting that school's P&C or community groups.
Who you vote for is your decision. Outside a polling place, candidate representatives may offer to give you how to vote cards, suggesting you vote in a particular way. You do not have to accept or follow how to vote cards.
At the polling booth you will be given two ballot papers - a small green one for the House of Representatives and a large white one for the Senate.
On the green ballot paper, you are voting for a representative of your local area or electorate in the House of Representatives. On this paper, the voter must number every box in order of their choice of candidate.
On the white ballot paper, you are voting for representatives from NSW in the Senate. With this paper, there are two ways to vote: above the line or below the line.
If you choose to vote above the line, you need to number at least six boxes in order of your preference of party or group. Putting a number one in the box next to the party or group that is your first choice, a number two next to your second choice and so on.
If you vote below the line, you need to number at least 12 boxes. While similar to voting above the line, when voting below the line you place a number next to the box of the individual candidates. Vote number one for your top preferred candidate, a number two next to your second choice and so on until you reach 12. You can continue to place number in order of your choice in as many boxes below the line as you would like.
For more information on voting go to aec.gov.au/Voting/How_to_Vote.
You can also read the AEC's official guide to the 2022 federal election.
Don't worry. If you make a mistake, simply ask for another ballot paper and start again.
House of Representatives
Australia is divided into areas called electoral divisions. Voters in each electoral division cast a vote to elect one person (a Member of Parliament or MP for short) to represent them in the House of Representatives, known as the lower house.
In the House:
Voters in each state and territory elect Senators to represent them in the Senate, known as the upper house. Each state or territory votes for the Senate as one electorate. In NSW, all voters will be voting for the same NSW Senate candidates.
Twelve Senators are chosen for each State and two Senators are elected for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
The functions of the Senate are to represent the states equally and to review the proposals and decisions of the House of Representatives and the executive government.
The Australian Constitution provides the Senate with virtually the same power to legislate as the House of Representatives. The Senate has also developed a vigorous committee system, which scrutinises legislation and the decision-making processes of the government.
For a list of NSW's Senate candidates go to aec.gov.au/election/candidates.
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