|An Australian community which is well informed about electoral matters|
|Output Group 3.1
Electoral education centres
School and community programs
Communication strategies and services
The AEC's electoral education and public awareness activities contributed to an increase in the number enrolled to vote during 2008–09.
As part of the AEC's public awareness activities, AEC staff attended a number of national, state and local events, such as university orientation days, cultural and music festivals, shows and field days, to promote and provide information about the electoral process.
The total number of visitors to the AEC's three electoral education centres (EECs) during the year reached 105 189, a small increase of 1 per cent from 104 054 visitors in 2007–08.
A new evaluation process was implemented during 2008–09. Of those surveyed, 94 percent of visitors to an EEC session indicated their understanding had increased or their existing knowledge had been reinforced. In addition, 99 percent of EEC sessions were found to have met curriculum requirements.
One of the savings measures taken by the government in formulating the 2009–10 Budget was the decision to close the Adelaide and Melbourne EECs. Although both centres were open to the public until the end of the financial year, visitor numbers were affected over the May-June period.
The 2009–10 Budget provided funding for improving the participation of Indigenous Australians in the electoral process, as part of a whole-of-government initiative to bridge the gap of Indigenous disadvantage. Short-term recruitment was undertaken to ensure this program could commence from 1 July 2009.
During 2008–09, the School and Community Visits Program (SCVP) reached 137 716 participants in 2282 sessions, which was a 92 per cent increase in participant numbers from 2007–08; and more participants than the target. AEC staff also encouraged democratic participation by attending festivals, school-based conventions, NAIDOC Week and other events for students.
The professional development aspect of the SCVP, Your Vote Counts, delivered civics education workshops, focusing on classroom strategies for teachers. The number of participants in these professional development sessions was 1486, up from 1290 in 2007–08.
An evaluation tool for all education programs was trialled and introduced during 2008–09. This tool measured program satisfaction, curriculum relevance and knowledge of the AEC's key messages.
The AEC updated publications and resources, included new corporate branding, and maintained its ongoing communications activities and services to support core business functions.
The AEC developed and implemented public awareness activities which informed eligible Australians of their enrolment responsibilities, and provided communications support – including media relations and advertising – for the conduct of federal by-elections in the divisions of Lyne and Mayo and electoral redistributions. Specific communication activities aimed at encouraging electoral enrolment included:
The second national Enrol to Vote Week was held from 28 July to 3 August 2008, with over 1700 secondary schools and colleges participating. More than 21 053 enrolment forms were received as a result of this activity. Media activities undertaken in conjunction with the event achieved radio and press coverage, raising broader community awareness of electoral enrolment.
Preparations for the communication campaign for the next federal election continued, based on the reviews of activities conducted at the 2007 federal election.
In 2008–09, the AEC issued 58 media relea on electoral matters and events such as:
The activities of Output Group 3.1 are described in more detail in the reports on the individual outputs.
The evaluation process undertaken by education consultants in 2008–09 concluded that recognition and uptake of AEC resources could be improved. In 2009–10, these two issues will be addressed.
A new corporate style guide was developed in 2008–09 and is expected to be approved in early 2009–10. The brand management system outlined in that guide is intended for implementation across the AEC. Also, the intranet redevelopment will be completed and rolled out.
Preparations for the next Enrol to Vote Week, to be held from 27 July to 2 August 2009, commenced with the official launch on 18 May 2009. The event will centre on raising awareness and generating provisional enrolment among 17-year-old students.
The AEC will collaborate with other agencies and leverage whole-of-government approaches to explore innovative ways to deliver electoral education, including the development of a national curriculum for civic and citizenship education to contribute to electoral education.
The new Indigenous Electoral Participation Program will target Indigenous people in remote, rural and urban areas Australia-wide. The objectives of the program are:
The AEC will meet these objectives through:
The design and development of the program is expected to be completed by February 2010, recruitment of staff by March 2010 and implementation of the program by July 2010.
No purchaser-provider arrangements were in place for Outcome 3 in 2008–09.
No developments since the end of the financial year have affected or may affect Outcome 3 operations or results.