MORE than 100 candidates will appear on the Senate ballot papers handed to NSW voters on Saturday.
Those 100 candidates are vying for six spots in Australia's upper house of Federal Parliament, at an election where only half of this state's Senate complement of 12 NSW representatives are up for re-election.
The Senate is traditionally the "states' house", where each of the six states are equally represented - with the two territories each having two elected representatives - so that bigger states like NSW and Victoria can't dominate Australian politics. Or that's the theory. The reality is that party politics largely directs what happens.
The Senate does not have some of the powers of the House of Representatives - the lower house - but it has quite significant legislative powers that make the Australian Senate stand apart from similar houses of parliament in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.
Which is why how we vote on the Senate ballot on Saturday matters.
The Senate is the "checks and balances" house of parliament which has the power to amend, pass or reject legislation passed and sent to it from the House of Representatives.
That means governments in power have to negotiate with Senators to pass legislation. In recent times that has meant governments have had to persuade independent and minor party Senators of the benefits of the laws they want to pass.
Like most things in politics that can have both positive and negative impacts on the community.
There is a good chance Australia will wake up on Sunday to a Federal Labor Government and a new prime minister and leadership team. Labor has an ambitious agenda, with elements such as tax changes, that have already troubled a significant percentage of the population. A strong group of crossbenchers not involved with polarising major party divisions can help steer necessary legislation through.
A majority of voters want climate change action after years of the issue being a political football within, and between, the major parties. Independent and minor party Senators look set to be in the box seat to bring about change. It's worth remembering that ultimately the power is in our hands when we walk into the booths on Saturday.