Australia is a representative democracy, which means we elect representatives to make decisions on our behalf. In Australia, voters elect representatives at regular intervals to each of the three levels of government; Federal Government, State Government and local councils.
Free and fair elections are fundamental to our democracy. It is every citizen's responsibility to understand the electoral process and have a say.
If you are on the electoral roll then you must vote for every local, State and Federal election that is relevant to your home address.
State elections are held every four years on the last Saturday in November. The next State election is scheduled for Saturday, 29 November 2014.
Local council elections are held every four years on the fourth Saturday in October. This means that the next local council elections are scheduled for Saturday, 22 October 2016. Some councils will be using the postal voting method — votes in these elections must be returned by 6.00 pm on Friday, 21 October 2016.
By-elections for any level of government can arise at any time.
The State Government makes decisions that affect the whole state of Victoria. Victoria is divided into 88 districts (the lower house) and eight regions (the upper house). In a state election you vote for one representative for your district and five representatives for your region.
The next State election will be held on Saturday, 29 November 2014.
The VEC is also 'election ready' to conduct a State by-election, should one be called.
Local councils make decision about services in your neighbourhood. Each local council has between five and 12 elected councillors. To find out more about your local council please view our local council profiles.
Australia's Federal government makes decisions about issues that affect all Australians. The Federal Parliament (external link) has both an upper and lower house which function in a similar way to the Victorian Parliament.
Federal elections are conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission (external link).