Proportional Representation - Commonwealth Senate

Commonwealth Senate
Name of proportional representation system Senate System.
Ballot Paper Ticket Voting Above or beside the line voting Yes. Above the line voting.
Rotation of candidate names No. Order of names in each group determined by the party or group. Order of groups and ungrouped candidates on ballot paper determined by random draw.
Directions You may vote in one of two ways,


number at least six boxes above the line for the parties or groups of your choice,


number at least 12 boxes below the line for individual candidates of your choice.
Formality A vote above the line will be informal:
  • if the voter has not filled at least six boxes above the line or at least 12 boxes below the line.

A vote below the line is informal:

  • if the voter has not filled at least 12 boxes below the line.

A single cross or tick above the line or below the line is accepted as a first preference. Where the elector has marked both above and below the line formally, the vote below the line for individual candidates takes preference. Otherwise, if one part is informal, the formal part is counted.

Distribution of a Surplus Method of distribution of surplus votes and calculation for new transfer value

All of the elected candidates' ballot papers are distributed to pass on the surplus votes. The transfer value is calculated as follows:

Transfer value = Number of surplus votes divided by the number of ballot papers received
Election of a candidate Exclusion of candidates Bulk exclusion of candidates is permitted under certain conditions. All of the ballot paper parcels received by the excluded candidate distributed in decreasing order of magnitude.
Exclusion of the lowest candidate when two or more are equal Exclude the candidate that had the lowest total the last time those candidates were unequal. If those candidates were equal at all times, exclude the candidate determined by the Australian Electoral Officer.
Casual Vacancies How is a casual vacancy filled? The new member is chosen by the relevant State or Territory Parliament. If the vacating member was endorsed by a political party at the time of election, the replacement must if possible be a member of the same party.

Related Commonwealth electoral information