Local Government Election vs. Referendum: What you need to know

Published on Tuesday, 10 October 2023 at 3:17:32 PM

If you are an Australian citizen, you may be wondering what are the two 'elections' that are happening now and how they affect you. In this article, we’ll explain the difference between the referendum and the local government election, and answer some common questions you may have.

What is the referendum about?

The referendum is a national vote to ask Australians if they want to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. This is not an election, but a way for the people to express their opinion on a constitutional matter. The referendum is organised by the Australian Electoral Commission on behalf of the Commonwealth Government. The Shire has no role in the referendum.

What is the local government election about?

The local government election is a vote to choose who will be the Shire President of the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, and who will become Elected Members of the North West Ward and South Ward. This is an election, because you are electing representatives to make decisions on behalf of the community. The local government election is conducted by the Western Australian Electoral Commission on behalf of the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.

The two 'elections' are happening at the same time because of different reasons. The date of the referendum was decided by the Commonwealth Government and announced by the Prime Minister. The date of the local government election is fixed by law and applies to all local governments in Western Australia. There is a period of time when you can vote early for both 'elections', but they have different official days.

Where can I vote for both elections?

You cannot vote at the same location for both 'elections'. You need to go to separate polling places, because they are covered by different laws. You can find out where to vote for each 'election' on their respective websites.

Voting is compulsory for the referendum, but not for the local government election. However, we encourage you to vote in both 'elections', because they are both important for your rights and your community.

The referendum is on 14 October 2023, and you can vote early since 2 October 2023 in Western Australia. The local government election is on 21 October 2023, and you can vote early now.

For all locations and time to vote in the Local council elections, find out more here. 

To read our FAQ, click here. 

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