Year in review

AEC overview

Report on performance: Program 1.1 Electoral roll management

Report on performance: Program 1.2 Election management and support services

Report on performance: Program 1.3 Education and communication

Management and accountability

Financial statements




Updated: 17 October 2011
Program 1.1: Electoral roll management
Under memorandums of understanding, the AEC uses data from the National Exchange of Vehicle and Driver Information Systems, Centrelink and Australia Post to direct mail to people who are eligible to enrol but are not enrolled or no longer reside at the address for which they are enrolled.
The AEC helps people to access information about enrolment, obtain enrolment forms or update their enrolment details, through ongoing arrangements with:
  • Centrelink, Australia Post and Medicare, to display enrolment forms in shop fronts and rural transaction centres,
  • the Australian Government Information Management Office and Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, to deliver the online AEC enrolment application form and information through the website,
  • the departments of transport in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, to include enrolment forms with the change-of-address labels for driver's licences that they send to customers whose addresses have changed.
The Australian Taxation Office delivers information to remind electors of the need to update their enrolment details, through its e-tax application. This partner also helps to inform and assist potential voters by including an article on enrolment in its Workforce education news, and providing enrolment forms and information to its tax help volunteers.
To validate claims about identity and citizenship when checking enrolment eligibility, the AEC uses data from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Through joint roll arrangements, the AEC works with state and territory electoral commissions to maintain a complete, accurate and up-to-date electoral roll, and to manage the close of rolls and provision of roll products for local and state elections and electoral activities.

The Electoral Council of Australia is a consultative council of Commonwealth, state and territory electoral commissioners. It provides a forum that enables joint initiatives such as sharing equipment across jurisdictions, establishing an Internet-based election research repository and developing a national standard on voting services for voters who are blind or have low vision.
Mobilise the Franchise is an AEC project to explore new ways to help increase electoral participation in Australia. In 2010–11, the AEC piloted engaging with large employers to promote electoral enrolment to their staff. The first engagement was with Optus, the AEC's supplier of telephone services. The AEC conducted a three-day on-site visit at Optus's Macquarie Park campus in Sydney and included enrolment messages in media kiosks and newsletters available to Optus staff nationally.
Program 1.2: Election management and support services
The AEC partners with other agencies to ensure that voters are able to exercise their franchise wherever they may be, in Australia or overseas:
  • Australia Postprovides enhanced mail services related to postal voting. Improved communication between Australia Post and the AEC played a vital role in ensuring that voters had timely access to postal votes for the 2010 federal election.
  • The Department of Defenceworks with the AEC to provide voting services for Australian Defence Force personnel located outside Australia.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides voting services, and promotes enrolment and voting, for Australians overseas. A similar arrangement exists for overseas posts managed by Austrade. For the 2010 federal election, this partnership provided polling facilities in 103 overseas locations, allowing some 74 000 Australians who were living or travelling overseas to participate.
  • The Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General and Smart Service Queensland worked with the AEC to provide voting services at a number of courthouses and Queensland Government agency program offices located in regional areas of the state for the 2010 federal election.
A reference group of service providers and representatives assisted the AEC to find a suitable and acceptable method of secret voting for voters who are blind or have low vision. An interim model, using a call centre, was developed for the 2010 federal election. The AEC is continuing to work with the Blind and Low Vision Reference Group, as well as state and territory electoral commissions, to develop a longer term electronic voting solution.
For the 2010 federal election, Centrelink provided a call centre facility to respond to telephone and email enquiries and product requests from the general public.
Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) is an international collaboration to build capacity among electoral administrators. The AEC is the lead agency in the BRIDGE partnership, which includes the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division; the United Nations Development Programme; the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance; and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Partnerships with electoral management bodies in other nations are continually strengthened through engagement with BRIDGE methods, curriculum materials and workshops.
The AEC's strategic partnership agreement with AusAID continues to provide a framework for close cooperation in supporting electoral best practice overseas, particularly in the Asia–Pacific region. The AEC works with a wide range of overseas electoral authorities: a visitor program conducted in Canberra in 2010 hosted guests from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Thailand and Zambia.
Program 1.3: Education and communication
The AEC collaborates with other agencies in a multi-faceted approach to enhance and promote civics education for Australian students:
  • As a founding member of the National Capital Civics Education Group, the AEC works with representatives from national cultural institutions and attractions such as the National Archives of Australia, the Museum of Australian Democracy, the High Court of Australia and the Australian Parliament House.
  • With the Constitution Education Fund of Australia, the AEC explores joint initiatives such as AusCivics to engage school students on Australian democracy and the importance of voting. The AEC supported the AusCivics film festivals, which were launched nationally in 2010–11.
  • Through a relationship with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, the AEC contributes to the national civics curriculum development process. The AEC is involved in dialogue at senior levels, contributes to consultative forums and provides feedback on draft curriculums.
The AEC assists the Museum of Australian Democracy to develop museum exhibitions related to electoral processes. In 2011, the AEC provided advice and artefacts for the Living Democracy exhibition. The AEC and the museum developed a co-branded postcard for visitors to the exhibition, with reminder messages about enrolment and voting.
To achieve the objectives of the Indigenous Electoral Participation Program, the AEC:
  • works closely with the state and territory electoral commissions – for the 2010 Victorian state election and the 2011 New South Wales state election, the AEC worked on an extensive education, information and enrolment campaign for Indigenous people and assisted the state commissions to employ Indigenous people as polling officials;
  • collaborates with agencies such as Centrelink, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to undertake field trips to remote communities, sharing knowledge and resources to reduce costs and offer a more comprehensive government service to the communities; and
  • cooperates with non-government organisations, such as cultural groups and sporting bodies, to enhance its outreach activities. For example, the program has provided small amounts of sponsorship in return for access to members, venues and events, and for arrangements requiring participants to be enrolled on the Commonwealth electoral roll.
Partnerships supporting all programs
The AEC's Disability Advisory Committee includes representatives of peak disability organisations as well as the Australian Human Rights Commission. Meetings are held annually to discuss and agree on key actions related to the AEC's Disability Action Plan, as well as broader agency matters of relevance to people with disabilities.

The committee met in May 2011. While face-to-face annual meetings are expected to continue in the short term, the AEC is currently looking at developing an online consultation portal to allow ongoing consultation with this group. The next meeting is likely to occur in early 2012.