Electoral Pocketbook

An electoral education resource

The 2019 Electoral Pocketbook is a compact and comprehensive guide to the 2019 federal election, the largest election the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has ever delivered.

A federal election is, perhaps, the biggest peacetime logistical event in Australia and the 2019 event was without exception. With 90,000 polling staff working, more than 7,000 polling places in use, 52 million papers printed, 120,000 pencils used, 70,000 ballot boxes resourced and 14,500 recycling bins utilised.

The 2019 federal election delivered a number of achievements, including a record number of 16,424,248 Australians enrolled to vote. The AEC created the largest and most complete electoral roll in the nation’s history with more than 16.4 million Australians – or 97 percent of all eligible citizens registered. There were 750,000 more people on the roll than at the 2016 election. The youth enrolment rate (people aged 18-24) reached a record 88.8 per cent and a record 15.08 million Australians turned out to vote.

The Pocketbook serves as a useful electoral education resource for teachers as it contains 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.

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 19

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 59

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 6


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 5

Events in Australian electoral history

Page 18


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 18

Types of votes

Page 24

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 19

Candidates and nominations

Page 21

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 19


Create an advertisement

Explain the responsibilities of electors.

Election Results

Page 60

Facts and skills

Present the results

Research your electorate, find out who is your federal member and analyse their election results

Come up with a creative visual way to present your findings to your class.

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

How to vote

Page 27


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 59

Facts and Skills


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 97-99

Facts and Skills

Rank referendums

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


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 59

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.

How citizens can participate in Australia’s democracy, including use of the electoral system, contact with their elected representatives, use of lobby groups and direct action.

ACHCK062 (Year 8)

Comparing the effectiveness of different forms of participation in Australia’s democracy

Election Results

Page 60

Facts and Skills

Design a poster

Investigate and compare election results in your state or territory, looking at the number of formal and informal votes in several electorates.

Create a poster to share this information.