Forget what politicians say.
What truly matters is what they do.
And what they do is vote, to write our laws which affect us all.
A Parliamentary Democracy for Everybody
In Australia, every 3 years or so, we all head to polling places across the country to elect individuals to represent us in Federal Parliament. They become Australia’s Members of Parliament (MPs), and they’re there to advocate for the interests of the people who live in their electorate (whether we voted for them or not), vote on our behalf, and pass legislation to create a society which works for us.
They vote for you
Between elections, how do you know that the individual speaking for you, in your electorate, votes in your interest?
Have they ever voted against their party on an issue people like you in your electorate care about? Do they even turn up?
They Vote For You was built by the OpenAustralia Foundation, an independent, non-partisan not-for-profit. It is based on the ground-breaking UK Public Whip site originally created by Francis Irving and Julian Todd in 2003. We owe Julian and Francis a massive debt of gratitude for everything they’ve done.
A huge thank you to Google Australia whose donation made the development of this project possible.
They Vote For You was created by Henare Degan, Matthew Landauer, Luke Bacon and Katherine Szuminska. Political research for the research and writing of policies before launch was done by the magnificent Micaela Ash and Natasha Burrows.
You can help
Make this project better for everyone by summarising divisions and maintaining and discussing policies. You can also make a tax deductible donation to the OpenAustralia Foundation to support us in creating and maintaining projects like this.
They Vote For You is an Open Source project. That means that a whole community of people add to and help maintain and improve this website in their own big and small ways. The project is hosted on GitHub, where you can find out how to contribute yourself.
Democracy for Sale
Is by far the best way to investigate donations to Australia’s major political parties.
It’s a comprehensive, searchable database of all the donations that have been disclosed to authorities.
The data is drawn from the Australian Electoral Commission. Developed by the Greens, Democracy for Sale aggregates financial disclosure data from every financial year for the past two decades, primarily sourcing its data from party returns. The tool makes it infinitely easier to search, visualise, and compare donations.
You can see how donations have increased or decreased over time, or how an individual donor has split their money between parties.
This database contains all receipts reported to the AEC since 1998.
You can search for a specific donor using the search bar, and sort receipts by time, value, recipient, type or category by turning on each filter. You can check for the original return on the AEC’s website by clicking the corresponding “?” symbol in the URL column.
How are politicians spending your money on their expenses?
Are they flying interstate for a friend’s party on your dime?
Or using their photocopying allowance to boost their own personal campaigns?
Expenses scandals have brought down many a minister. But trawling through the PDFs published by the Department of Finance is hard work. ParlEx has helped reduce the effort, by creating a searchable parliamentary expenses database. It’s in beta stage and the software it uses to convert the PDFs to searchable text is not perfect. It also doesn’t yet show overseas travel, family travel costs, office facilities, office administrative costs, or telecommunications.
ParlEx: the searchable parliamentary expenses database
But it’s still a hugely useful tool for helping to navigate the spending habits of federal politicians.