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



Advice and assistance in overseas elections

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Provide, in cases approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, advice and assistance in matters relating to elections and referendums to authorities of foreign countries or to foreign organisations. As part of this process, capacity building materials will be developed.


In cases approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the AEC provides assistance to authorities of foreign countries or to foreign organisations in matters relating to elections and referendums. The AEC assistance may include the secondment of personnel and the supply or loan of materiel.

This work involves the development and implementation of the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections capacity development curriculum; provision of electoral advice and assistance in the Asia–Pacific region; secondments; observer missions; participation in international forums; delegations and working parties; and cooperation with other Australian Government agencies.


Table 25 summarises the AEC's results against the performance information set out for advice and assistance in overseas elections in the 2010–11 Portfolio Budget Statements.

Table 25 Key performance results for advice and assistance in overseas elections
Key performance indicators Results
International assistance by the AEC meets the goals specified for individual projects undertaken, with stakeholders fully satisfied with the services provided. All specified goals were met. Feedback from stakeholders on the way the AEC meets its commitments was extremely positive.


Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) is a professional development program that provides a high-quality education package to build the capacity of electoral administrators. Founded in 2002, BRIDGE is an international collaboration between the AEC; 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.

BRIDGE workshops have been conducted in 80 countries for approximately 9 900 participants since its commencement. In 2010–11, 83 BRIDGE events were conducted successfully in 36 countries with AEC coordination and support.

Democracy and Governance BRIDGE (DG BRIDGE) is an initiative by the AEC, primarily funded by AusAID, to meet an identified need to build on the BRIDGE curriculum by discussing broader democracy issues in more detail. Having been successfully piloted in Vanuatu and Bhutan in 2009, DG BRIDGE was also piloted in Indonesia and Jordan in 2010 and Nepal and Kenya in 2011. The pilots are in preparation for the rollout of a much-expanded program in future years.

Advice and assistance in the Asia–Pacific region

The AEC continues to host the secretariat for the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators' Network (PIANZEA). The network was established in 1997 to facilitate links between the election management bodies in the Asia–Pacific region. The member countries are Australia, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu; East Timor and the University of the South Pacific are associate members.

The AEC also provides targeted advice and assistance to countries in the region, with direct or indirect funding support from AusAID. Table 26 provides an overview of this work in 2010–11.

Table 26 AEC activities in the Asia–Pacific region, 2010–11
Country Activities
Bhutan The AEC is supporting the Election Commission of Bhutan in developing its capacity to use BRIDGE and to deal with redistributions. The AEC conducted a BRIDGE program for officials of the Election Commission in June 2011. It is planned that approximately 60 officials will be trained each year, and a pool of 20 accredited and experienced BRIDGE facilitators will be trained and mentored over the next three years.
East Timor The AEC is helping to build electoral capacity in East Timor in preparation for the presidential and parliamentary elections due to occur in 2012. In 2010–11, the AEC conducted a series of BRIDGE activities to increase public understanding of, and support for, electoral processes. Assistance is being provided primarily by delivering BRIDGE modules to and through the National Elections Commission in East Timor, along with clear efforts to engage with civil society bodies.
Indonesia AusAID funds an AEC office in Jakarta that is staffed by an AEC director and 12 locally engaged staff.

The AEC is working closely with the Indonesian Electoral Commission (the Komisi Pemilihan Umum or KPU) to produce 23 procedure manuals in preparation for elections to be held in 2014, and to improve the capacity of the KPU to apply consistent policies and procedures throughout 33 provinces across Indonesia. In 2010 the AEC completed six manuals that were used in local elections.

The AEC is also conducting other activities to build capacity in the KPU, including mock elections, BRIDGE training, and a work placement program that places KPU officers in AEC offices both in Jakarta and in Australia.
Kiribati, Palau For more than 10 years, AusAID has funded the AEC to develop and deploy a generic voter registration system to assist electoral management bodies in the Pacific region to analyse and report on electoral rolls. Recently the system underwent a major redevelopment and was implemented for Kiribati and Palau.
Nepal In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, the AEC is assisting the Election Commission of Nepal to establish an electoral education centre in Kathmandu.
Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators' Network members Under AusAID's Pacific Governance Support Program and Pacific Public Sector Linkages Program, the AEC undertakes a range of activities, including BRIDGE workshops, work placements, visitor programs and assistance with the computerisation of electoral rolls.
Papua New Guinea The AEC has been providing strong support for the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission (PNGEC) since 1998. The arrangement directly between the AEC and the PNGEC encompasses activities such as delivering BRIDGE modules, hosting work placements in the AEC and sponsoring the attendance of PNGEC officers at international visitor programs hosted by the AEC. The AEC is also represented on the board of the separate, but related, Electoral Support Program.
Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu The AEC hosts the Melanesian Voter Registration Working Party, which first met in March 2008 to discuss common issues in voter registration. Since then, it has met regularly to exchange ideas and work on creating Melanesian solutions to their own issues. The group has successfully introduced legislation into national parliaments to have electoral laws amended; rewritten procedures; and proposed changes to make voter registration easier for both electoral authorities and electors.
Solomon Islands AusAID's Electoral System Strengthening Program is involved in supporting the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission and in disbursing funds to civil society organisations with the aim of strengthening the underlying electoral environment. The AEC is not directly involved in the delivery of the program, but is represented on its Program Management Committee and Program Advisory Group.
Tonga In the run up to the Tongan election of November 2010, two AEC advisers assisted the Tongan Electoral Commission in a range of areas, including the development of procedures, a polling officials' manual, a candidate booklet and a training package for polling staff. At election time, three AEC advisers were deployed to provide support for the work of returning officers in Tongatapu, Vava'u and Ha'apai.

BRIDGE = Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections.

International visitor programs

At the 2010 federal election, the AEC hosted the Election Visitor Program as part of a commitment to encourage communication and cooperation with international electoral bodies. The objectives of the program were to:

  • provide electoral knowledge to overseas visitors,
  • enhance networking and promote the exchange of ideas,
  • provide opportunities for overseas counterparts to observe Australian electoral events,
  • encourage good governance in line with Australia's foreign policy objectives, and
  • provide a forum to showcase the AEC as a professional electoral body.

The program hosted a diverse group of international participants 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. Participants viewed the National Tally Room, the Virtual Tally Room and call centre operations, and attended polling places and had briefings from senior AEC staff on a range of election processes.

From 21 February 2011 to 4 March 2011, the AEC hosted a study tour of eight delegates from the Iraq Electoral Commission to enable the Iraq Electoral Commission and the AEC to exchange electoral knowledge, particularly in the area of voter registration. The study tour was funded by the United Nations Development Programme, and the participants included the Chief Electoral Officer for Iraq and two commissioners.

International forums and delegations

The AEC participated in the following international forums and overseas delegations in 2010–11:

  • In July 2010, three AEC officers participated in the Election Visits Programme under the auspices of the Bali Democracy Forum on the Occasion of the Election of the House of Councillors in Japan.
  • The AEC is a member of the steering committee for the Commonwealth Network of National Election Management Bodies. An AEC officer attended a meeting of the committee, hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat, in the United Kingdom, in July 2010.
  • In October 2010, two AEC officers took part in the Korean National Election Commission's by-election observer group in the Republic of Korea.
  • In November 2010, an AEC officer participated as a member of the Australian election observer delegation to the national elections in Tonga.
  • In January 2011, the Electoral Commissioner attended the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Group to the Global Commission on Protecting and Promoting the Integrity of Democracy, in Sweden. The group is a joint initiative of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance and the Kofi Annan Foundation.
  • In February 2011, an AEC First Assistant Commissioner took part in the Commonwealth Secretariat Observer Group to the Ugandan presidential and parliamentary elections.
  • In March 2011, the Deputy Electoral Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner, Strategic Capability, attended the Global Electoral Organization Conference in Botswana.
  • In June 2011, the Deputy Electoral Commissioner attended a meeting of BRIDGE partners in Hungary.

Also in June 2011, the AEC hosted the Four Countries Conference in Canberra, as described in a case study. This was the third such meeting between electoral management bodies from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to discuss emerging issues in the electoral field and share recent experiences.

Cooperation with Australian Government agencies

The AEC works in close cooperation with AusAID (pursuant to the strategic partnership agreement between the two organisations) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Particular assistance was given to AusAID in 2010–11 in advising on the recruitment of electoral experts to serve with the Australian Civilian Corps.

The AEC also seeks to support the Australian Defence Force in its training of officers to work in post-conflict environments. In July 2010, an AEC officer gave a presentation to the Australian Defence College's Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies. In September 2010, an AEC officer gave a presentation to the Australian Defence Force Peace Operations Training Centre's United Nations Military Observers Course. In November 2010, the AEC provided two officers to support the conduct of the Australian Defence Colleg's Exercise Excalibur.