Is voting for someone who won't win a waste of time? No! Because preferential voting exists! Here's how preferential voting works and how it allows you to vote according to your personal opinion of who you like best, while still having your views shape who ultimately does get elected in the end. Preferences mean you can vote for a minor party or independent in the House of Representatives/Legislative Assembly and still make sure the major party you like the most gets elected. It's all about empowering you to best express your views and be part of the democratic process in Australia.
Though important note: when voting in the Senate, as you don't need to fill in every single box, it's possible for you to only list preferences for a limited selection of unpopular candidates and have your vote exhausted before anyone gets elected if none of the people you vote for get a quota. It's still up to the voter whether they wish to allow their preferences to ultimately end up on a major party, or not, and minor parties/independents do have greater success in the Senate.
To learn more about Senate voting visit the AEC website here: https://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/How_to_vote/Voting_Senate.htm
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