Choosing members

Discover who represents us in the House of Representatives and how they are chosen with this interative poster. Use the teaching notes and activities to support your students' learning. 

Teaching notes and activities

Curriculum links

Year 5: ACHASSK115; ACHASSK116
Year 6: ACHASSK145; ACHASSK147
Year 8: ACHCK062

Before you begin

Read the Federal elections fact sheet, which explores how federal elections are run to select people to represent Australians in the Australian Parliament.

You may also like to explore the Australian Electoral Commission's teacher resources. These include an online professional learning course and a range of resources.

Getting started

These discussion starters are listed from easier to more complex. Choose the ones that work best for your class.

  1. How do members of the House of Representatives get their job?
  2. Candidates for the House of Representatives have to convince the people in their electorate they would be the best person to do this job. If you were standing for election, how would you convince people to vote for you?
  3. How can you let your members of parliament know about interests or concerns in your electorate?
  4. Why do you think electorates are different sizes?


Democracy research activity

  1. There are many different types of democratic systems of government. Encourage students to research the different types and complete the table below. The first line has already been completed.

Type of democracy

What it looks like

Countries that have it


Representatives are elected by the people to make laws on their behalf

Australia, India, Rwanda

























  1. To extend students further, use a discussion strategy – such as Socratic circles or think, pair, share – to reflect on their research. Questions to prompt discussion could include:
    • Is democracy best for everyone? Why/why not?
    • Would you prefer to live in a representative or direct democracy?
    • Does a democracy need a written constitution?


After looking at the interactive poster and completing some of the activities, discuss these questions with your class:

  1. The Australian Constitution – the set of rules by which Australia is run – says that a federal election has to be held at least every 3 years. Can you think of any reasons why that rule was included in the Constitution?
  2. In most democratic countries, voting is optional. Australia has had compulsory voting since 1924. Why do you think voting is compulsory? Do you think compulsory voting makes our democracy stronger? Why/why not?