Electoral Pocketbook

An electoral education resource

The 2016 Electoral Pocketbook is a compact and comprehensive guide to the 2016 federal election, the largest election the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has ever delivered. For this double dissolution election (a simultaneous election for all members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate) 95% of eligible Australians were enrolled to vote.

Added to that, the 2016 election delivery had added complexity as the parliament had passed legislative amendments that meant the Senate voting system had changed, so voters were required to fill out ballots differently. Party logos were introduced to ballot paper, so ballot papers looked different and how the AEC handled declaration votes also changed. Together these were the biggest changes to the electoral system in Australia for 30 years.

The Pocketbook serves as a useful electoral education resource for teachers as it contains historical information about Australia’s electoral system and processes, notes on every electoral division, an explanation of counting votes and the nomination process as well as information about redistributions and referendums.

The Pocketbook contains comprehensive House of Representatives electorate specific information including enrolment numbers, the formal and informal votes cast, the total votes for each candidate and the final results. Also data covering the election of members for each state in the Senate.

Planning in the classroom

Hilda Taba, in Curriculum Development Theory and Practice 1962, outlined categories of knowledge and associated types of learning, based on the notion that different types of learning require different types of teaching. Following are Taba’s types of knowledge:

  • Facts/Skills
  • Concepts
  • Principles/Generalisations
  • Attitudes/ Predispositions

A range of activities are suggested for classroom use that have been developed from information provided in the Pocketbook. These activities have been designed to develop student’s knowledge and understanding across all of Taba’s types of knowledge to ensure higher and lower order thinking and learning have been catered for.

These activities have been aligned to their relevant Australian Curriculum, Civics and Citizenship, Years 5, 6 and 7 content descriptors and elaborations. Accompanying links to the Pocketbook have been included to assist teacher’s implementation of the activities, and development of a knowledge base, these links will also support teacher knowledge and understanding of electoral content.

Australian Curriculum Content Descriptor

Australian Curriculum Elaborations

Pocket Book Reference

Taba’s Types of Knowledge

Suggested Activities

The key values that underpin Australia’s democracy

ACHASSK115 (Year 5)

Discussing the meaning and importance of the key values of Australian democracy

(for example, freedom of election and being elected; freedom of assembly and political participation).

Eligibility for enrolment

Page 35

Attitudes and Dispositions

Persuasive speech

Students construct a speech about the importance of democratic values to be delivered to the United Nations.

Considering how students apply democratic values in familiar contexts.

Advisory referendums (plebiscites)

Page 100

Principles and Generalisations

Plebiscite and Referendums

Outline the purpose of a plebiscite and list some examples. In what other situations is it important to consider other people’s ideas or thoughts?

School investigation

Inquiry question: Where do you see democratic values in our school?

Discussing the meaning of democracy.

Parliamentary representation

Page 4

Concepts

Create a criteria

Create a criteria to use to assess if something is democratic or not.

The key features of the electoral process in Australia

ACHASSK116 (Year 5)

Recognising the role of the Australian Electoral Commission in administering elections that are open, free and fair.

The Australian Electoral Commission

Page 2

Events in Australian electoral history

Page 18

Concepts

Jigsaw II (Home and Expert Groups)

In groups, students locate examples of how the AEC makes sure elections are open, free and fair.

Exploring the secret ballot and compulsory voting as key features of Australia’s democracy.

Events in Australian electoral history

Page 21

Types of votes

Page 44

Facts and Skills

Design a poster

Students research changes to electoral laws in Australia and create a poster to share this information.

Create a game

Create a matching game using the five types of votes and the explanations of each.

Clarifying who has the right to vote and stand for election in Australia.

The electoral roll

Page 35

Candidates and nominations

Page 40

Facts and Skills

Create an electoral quiz

Students create a quiz based on who has the right to vote and stand for election in Australia.

The responsibilities of electors and representatives in Australia’s democracy

ACHASSK145 (Year 6)

Considering the responsibilities of electors

(for example, enrolling to vote, being informed and voting responsibly).

The electoral roll

Page 35

Concepts

Create an advertisement

Explain the responsibilities of electors.

Identifying the characteristics that would make for a ‘good’ representative at the local, state/territory or national level.

How to vote

Page 47

Concepts

Think, pair and share

What are the characteristics of a good representative?

The process for constitutional change through a referendum

ACHASSK194 (Year 7)

Describing the process by which referendums to change the Australian Constitution are initiated and decided.

Constitutional Referendums

Page 96

Facts and Skills

Infographics

Use infographics to illustrate the referendum process.

Exploring examples of attempts to change the Australian Constitution by referendum

(for example, the successful vote on the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967: the unsuccessful vote on the Constitution Alteration (Establishment of a republic) 1999)

Referendum dates & results

Page 97

Facts and Skills

Rank referendums

Investigate the 44 referendums and then decide an order of importance and list them.

Research

Find and report on information about one unsuccessful and successful referendum.

Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of having a constitution that can only be amended by referendum.

Advisory referendums (plebiscites)

Page 100

Attitudes and Dispositions

Imagine you are a journalist

Interview people about their opinion of referendum process.

Write an exposition

Argue the advantages or disadvantages of having a constitution that can be amended by referendum.