With a federal election due in May this year, it is important to know which electorate you live in.
Under the Australian political system, the nation is divided into 150 areas, called electorates, based on the population. This gives voters in every area equal strength to choose who will lead the government.
Because populations change, electorates (also called “divisions”) change their boundaries from time to time. This can cause confusion, because even though you do not change your address, you might now be living in a different electorate.
Another source of confusion is that States have their own separate electoral divisions, which cannot match the Federal electorates.
Knowing your electorate is important, because you vote for the Member who represents that electorate, not the person who will lead the government.
For example, party leaders such as Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten are Members for Cook (in NSW) and Maribyrnong (in Victoria) respectively. Voters living in those areas can vote directly for their party leader. Everywhere else, voters must choose the local Member who represents their favourite political party.
Since the last federal election, in 2016, some boundaries have changed.
To check which federal electorate you live in, go to electorate.aec.gov.au.
You can select either your suburb or postcode from the drop down menu, then click on the Search button. The site will then tell you which electorate you live in.