Year in review

AEC overview

Report on performance: Outcome 1

Report on performance: Outcome 2

Report on performance: Outcome 3

Management and accountability



Financial statements

Program 2.5 – Industrial and Torres Strait Regional Authority elections

Updated: 25 November 2010

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The AEC's statutory responsibilities include conducting elections for registered organisations under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009, and ballots under the Fair Work Act 2009. The AEC is also responsible for the conduct of office holder and ward elections for the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA).


The AEC provides services for three types of electoral events defined in legislation:

  • Under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009, the AEC conducts elections for office holders for registered industrial organisations. After each event, the AEC prepares a report for Fair Work Australia and the industrial organisation. The report includes details of rules that were difficult to administer or require review, and the results of investigations undertaken by the AEC in response to any complaints or alleged irregularities.
  • Under the Fair Work Act 2009, the AEC can be appointed as the protected action ballot agent to conduct secret ballots of employees regarding proposed industrial action. For each protected action ballot, the AEC provides the declaration of results to Fair Work Australia, the employee organisation and the employer. If there are any complaints or irregularities, the AEC also provides a post-ballot report to Fair Work Australia. This contrasts with the previous legislation that required a report to be submitted for all protected action ballots.
  • Under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005, the AEC conducts office holder and ward elections for the Torres Strait Regional Authority.

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Table 26 summarises the AEC's results against the performance information set out for Program 2.5 in the 2009–10 Portfolio Budget Statements.

Table 26 Program 2.5 – Industrial and Torres Strait Regional Authority elections: performance results
Key performance indicators Targets Results

Delivery of industrial elections, protected action ballots (PABs) and Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) elections

Industrial elections, PABs and TSRA elections are delivered in accordance with relevant legislation

All industrial elections and PABs were completed in accordance with election and ballot timetables, the legislation and, where applicable, the rules of the relevant organisations.

There were no TSRA elections during the year.

All election tasks are carried out in accordance with legislated timeframes

All protected action ballots were completed in accordance with the timetables determined by the AEC as the ballot agent. Ballots were all conducted by the end date determined by Fair Work Australia.

Industrial elections and protected action ballots

In 2009–10, the AEC:

  • conducted 265 elections for registered industrial organisations, a decrease of 24 percent from 346 elections in 2008–09
  • conducted 661 protected action ballots pursuant to orders made by Fair Work Australia, representing almost three times the number of ballots conducted in 2008–09, an increase of 187 percent
  • provided 179 reports to stakeholders after industrial elections, an increase from 155 reports in 2008–09
  • produced eight post-ballot reports relating to protected action ballots.

Figure 8 and Figure 9 show the trends in demand for these types of elections over the past four years.

Figure 8 Trends in demand for industrial elections, 2006–07 to 2009–10

Figure 8: line graph

Text description of Figure 8

Figure 9 Trends in demand for protected action ballots, 2006–07 to 2009–10

Figure 9: line graph

Text description of Figure 9

No significant complaints were received alleging irregularities during 2009–10. Two of the industrial elections conducted were challenged in court:

  • In the first matter, the AEC sought an election inquiry as the result of a branch of an organisation failing to maintain a proper register of members. This application was dismissed after the court agreed to the organisation's separate application to reconstitute the branch. The election was completed in 2009–10.
  • In the second matter, an election inquiry was sought by two candidates whom the AEC had deemed to be not eligible for the positions for which they had nominated. Although the court found that the AEC's interpretation was understandable, the AEC's decision was overturned. The election will be held in early 2010–11.

See Appendix I for more details of the industrial elections and protected action ballots conducted in 2009–10.

Torres Strait Regional Authority elections

The Torres Strait Regional Authority is an Australian Government authority. Its governing board consists of 20 elected members who are all Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal people living in the Torres Strait region. Board elections take place once every four years; in 2009–10, there was no Torres Strait Regional Authority election activity.