Maybe you want to really fight for the issues you care about this federal election, or maybe you’re not quite voting age just yet, either way – here are five ways you can engage in democracy outside of voting.

The Australian Federal Election is rapidly approaching; set to take place on the 21st of May 2022. Regardless of who you vote for, the outcome of this election will have lasting impacts on Australia’s future and the future of our planet. So it’s incredibly important to consider who to vote for and be politically engaged this election campaign.

Read more: The Federal Election is Coming – And We Want You to Put The Planet First

But participation in democracy doesn’t have to end the second you leave the polling booth. Here are five ways you can be more involved in the democratic process and have your voice heard, during, before and after the election!


1.  Educate Yourself

The first step in political participation is always to educate yourself. It’s very easy to go with the flow and vote for the party or independent that your family and friends vote for. But at the end of the day, you should be asking yourself; what do I care about? What issues are important to me? And which politicians are addressing these concerns?

If you’re not sure who might be the right fit for you, go out and do some research. Just watch out – there’s a lot of bias in today’s media, so use your judgement, read widely, and aim for direct sources. Reading directly from the party or independent’s website is a great way to go!

ABC Vote Compass

Political scientists have developed this tool (read: quiz) to help you figure out where you sit on the political spectrum and which parties’ policies align with your values. 

They Vote For You

They Vote For You is a handy tool that allows you to see how your current Member of Parliament votes on different issues and policies that are brought up in the House of Representatives. It’s easy to see whether your current representative shares your same interests and whether they stick to their promises. 

You can search by your postcode or MP’s name and check if they’re really voting for the matters you care about. It’s only useful for elected politicians but it’s an excellent way to cut through the campaign speeches and see who is putting money where their mouth is.

2. Protest for Causes You Care About

Another way to have your voice heard is by protesting for causes you care about. Attending protests is a great way to find solidarity with others who share your beliefs, and ensure that the issues you care about remain relevant.

Some people argue that protests don’t work, and while at times it may seem true, protests are often very successful in the longer term. Political protests put continuous pressure on politicians to actually deliver promises, rather than allowing these issues to disappear in bureaucratic processes. They’re also great opportunities to find solidarity with others who share your beliefs and to feel like you’re a part of something bigger!


Climate Action Doesn't Stop Here – Write To Your Local Representative, photo courtesy of School Strike For Climate, crowd, Sydney, protest, climate strike

Photo courtesy of School Strike For Climate

3. Volunteer for a Political Party or Campaign for an Independent

If you have a political party or an independent that really resonates with your values, why not volunteer for them this election?

Now, I know plenty of people would rather drop their democracy sausage on the ground than take a flyer from the campaigners outside voting halls, but they do serve a purpose. According to research conducted after the 2019 election, 11% of voters decided who they’d vote for on election day. That means volunteers at polling booths have the potential to swing someone’s vote as they stand in line.

Volunteering as a grassroots campaigner is a great opportunity to learn more about Australian politics and how elections are run. It’ll also get you involved in your local community and help you start conversations with others in your neighbourhood about issues that matter.

Read more: How To Have Impactful Conversations About Voting for The Planet

4. Contact Your Local Representative

Right now, politicians are trying hard to win your vote – so it’s a great time use to make sure that they’re listening to the issues that concern you. Send them an email, visit their office, or even see if you can spot them campaigning and have a chat. Don’t be afraid to talk to your local representative about your political views, they’re elected to represent YOU.

Never contacted your local representative before? Not to worry! Oxfam has written an excellent guide on how to write to your local MP. Now just search your postcode to find out their contact details and get in touch!


5. Counter Misinformation

Nowadays, misinformation is rife, particularly on the internet but also in the media. And it doesn’t help that political campaigns are full of dirty tricks designed to mislead you. From imitating the AEC, to lying in political advertising, politicians have made some dodgy plays this election campaign, and believe it or not, they’re totally legal.

So when Aunty Sandy on Facebook shares a post on how Labor is owned by the Chinese Communist Party, take it with a grain of salt. Chat to your friends and family about what are statistics and what’s just plain conspiracy. Also, feel free to report any misinformation that you see either online or in person – social media may have its many flaws but they’ve stepped up this election to make it easier to flag misleading information.


Voting is a crucial part of the democratic process, but there’s so much more you can do to rally for the issues you care about before, during, and after election campaigns. The fight for climate action doesn’t end on May 21st, keep making your voice heard and fighting for a safer climate future.


Feature photo thanks to Element5 Digital