Australians head to the polls again on 18 May 2019, and as happens each election, between now and then we are bombarded with electoral material – flyers, brochures, how-to-vote info, banners, posters and more. However if you’re like me, you probably don’t take a whole lot of notice of them, and the junk mail and associated items usually end up in the recycle bin … but DON’T THROW THEM OUT as the National Library of Australia has a great use for them. They actually keep them for historical posterity.

Here’s a quote from their website:

Instead of throwing it away please help us collect it.

We did it in 2013 and 2016, and now we need your help to collect 2019 federal election ephemera for the National Library of Australia’s collection. We aim to collect printed federal election campaign materials as comprehensively as possible—one copy of all published leaflets, handbills, posters, policy speeches, press statements, pamphlets, letters and reports to constituents, how-to-vote cards, stickers, buttons, even the occasional political pizza box or collection of pollie-themed teabags – we want it all. In other words, all printed matter produced by individual candidates, political parties and lobby groups in the run-up to the vote. By collecting, preserving and making this material available, we can ensure these stories live on in our nation’s history.

Political ephemera provides a unique perspective into Australia’s social life and political landscape—the rise and fall of policies, issues, parties and careers. The way in which these sorts of documentary heritage items are presented to the electorate by parties, candidates and lobby groups is in and of itself interesting to researchers—the papers and colours used, dye-cut and printing finishes, variations in size/proportion of the stickers, buttons, posters, handbills or letters—as well of course as the messages contained within.

Online Election material is also collected by the National Library of Australia’s Pandora service and delivered through the new Australian Web Archive. This year we expect to collect nearly 1000 websites, including political parties, candidates and lobby sites as well as media and social media. Suggestions for archiving can be sent through our nominations form.

If you, your friends or relatives have access to this material (original, not photocopies or digital files) please send it to the NLA to add to the national collection:

Federal Election Campaign Ephemera
Printed Australiana
National Library of Australia
Reply Paid 83281

You can also drop-off material at the Library, but they ask you to please phone ahead and make arrangements with the Ephemera Officer (02) 6262 1180 before you visit.

For more about the National Library Collection and the 2019 electoral ephemera, please have a read on their website: