The House of Representatives
This is our lower house. Each of Australia’s 150 electorates elect a single member to the House of Representatives. The party that has the most members usually wins government and chooses the Prime Minister. Each electorate has about 150,000 residents with 94,000 voters.
The premise is that all Australians have roughly the same representation but the reality is that half the seats come from New South Wales and Victoria because more people live there. Members are elected every three years.
The Senate is for all intents Australia’s upper house and was formed to ensure the people in less populated areas also got a say in parliament. The Senate decides whether bills proposed in the House of Representatives pass into law and acts as a measure of the government.
There are eight senate electorates made up of the six states and two territories. Each state elects 12 senators to a six-year term while the territories have two representatives, each for a three-year term.
An unusual occurrence, a double dissolution election is called when there is a deadlock between the two houses of parliament and the Prime Minister asks the Governor-General to dissolve both the House of Representatives and Senate so the government can seek a mandate from the people. It is the only time that all seats are open for contest.
This is only the seventh instance since Federation of a double dissolution election.