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



Program 1.2 overview

Updated: 18 October 2011

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In 2010–11, Program 1.2 comprised six deliverables, as shown in Table 13.

Table 13 Objective and deliverables of Program 1.2
Objective Access to an impartial and independent electoral system for Australians through the provision of election services
Deliverables Federal elections, by-elections and referendums Party registrations Funding and disclosure services Fee-for-service Industrial elections, Protected Action Ballots and Torres Strait Regional Authority (TRSA) elections Advice and assistance in overseas elections
  Deliver a range of products and services to support the successful conduct of a federal election. These products are both for electors (for example procurement of polling place equipment, identification of polling places, public information campaigns and communication products), and AEC staff (for example computer based systems, training materials, procedural materials, electoral forms). Maintain the Register of Political Parties in a way that meets the requirements of the Act and assists persons in making applications for party registration. Deliver transparency and accountability in the sources of political funding in Australia and the expenditure of those participants involved in the political process at the federal level. A range of products has been produced, and will continue to be maintained, that are designed to assist persons with reporting obligations to lodge accurate and timely returns in accordance with the requirements of the Act. Successfully deliver elections and ballots for authorities and organisations on a full cost recovery basis in accordance with the AEC's minimum standards.

Deliver effective assistance with the conduct of state, territory and local government elections where requested by the relevant electoral body.

Deliver an increasing number of elections and ballots each year for authorities and organisations that have accepted a quote for service.
Conduct industrial elections in a timely and transparent manner that meets the requirements of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 and each organisation's rules.

Protected Actions Ballots (PABs) will be conducted in line with the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) orders.

Deliver a range of products and services to support the successful conduct of TSRA elections.

Deliver the election time specific services.
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.
Performance report Federal elections, by-elections and referendums Party registrations Funding and disclosure services Fee-for-service Industrial elections, Protected Action Ballots and Torres Strait Regional Authority (TRSA) elections Advice and assistance in overseas elections


On 17 July 2010, the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, announced that a federal election would be conducted on 21 August 2010. The period from the announcement of the 2010 federal election until polling day marked the second shortest lead-in period to election day in the AEC's history: 35 days, in contrast to 41 days in the 2004 and 2007 federal elections.

The AEC delivered the mechanisms, infrastructure and human resources required to conduct the 2010 federal election. The AEC effectively adjusted its preparations as required by the passage of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Pre-poll Voting and other Measures) Act 2010 and the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Modernisation and Other Measures) Act 2010 in July 2010.

There was continued growth in the proportion of electors casting their vote before election day. In 2010, 19 per cent of all electors cast their vote early, compared to 15 per cent in 2007 and 13 per cent in 2004.

Results were progressively updated on the national tally board, media feeds and Virtual Tally Room on the AEC website throughout election night. Declaration votes issued in Australia and overseas were processed, and election results were progressively updated and published in the weeks following election day.

The AEC conducted a post-election assessment of the effectiveness of AEC operations for the 2010 federal election and identified potential improvements in electoral processes and procedures. The lessons learned from the election evaluation have helped to identify where the AEC will focus effort in order to optimise service.

The AEC continued to maintain, update and make publicly available the Register of Political Parties. The number of applications to register a political party, deregister a political party, change a registered name or seek a review of a delegate's decision decreased in 2010–11. The processing of applications ceased on the issuing of the writs for the 2010 federal election and resumed after the return of the writs. During 2010–11, the AEC revised the Party registration guide and the forms available for applying for party registration, appointing party officials or changing a party's recorded details.

The AEC processed financial disclosure returns efficiently, and made the results available on its website in a timely manner. An online eReturns facility, which allows clients to complete the details for their financial disclosure returns through a secure website, was developed and launched. Election funding was paid for the 2010 federal election in accordance with the formula and timetable established by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

The demand for the AEC's electoral services in fee-for-service election increased during 2010–11. The AEC assisted with a range of electoral events in the states and territories, including state elections in New South Wales and Victoria. Although 2010–11 saw a decrease in the AEC's workload in conducting protected action ballots, there was a small increase in industrial elections. No Torres Strait Regional Authority elections were conducted in 2010–11.

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 program hosted a diverse group of international participants. The AEC took part in a number of international forums and delegations during 2010–11.

The AEC maintained its strategic partnership agreement with AusAID, provided support for the electoral administrations of the Asia–Pacific region and continued to enhance the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) curriculum and website. AEC staff shared and broadened their electoral expertise by taking part in a range of international secondments, observer missions, forums and delegations during the year, and gave briefings to other Australian Government agencies that deliver services overseas.


The AEC will continue to deliver and improve its election management and support services in 2011–12. In particular, the AEC will:

  • continue to refine its approach to the delivery of federal elections and referendums, with a focus on 11 key priorities identified in the election evaluation,
  • prepare and plan for the next election and any referendum that may be scheduled,
  • continue to implement legislative and procedural changes arising from parliamentary review, including those from the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters reviews of the 2007 and 2010 elections and other relevant reviews,
  • continue work to implement a reliable and economical e-voting product to broaden the range of service delivery options that it can offer to clients when conducting fee-for-service elections,
  • work with the Torres Strait Regional Authority and other government agencies to ensure that the authority's elections, which are due to be held in March 2012, are conducted in a way that meets the needs of stakeholders and the requirements of legislation, and
  • assist with the expansion of Democracy and Governance BRIDGE, a new subprogram that was successfully trialled in 2010–11.