The AEC's Mobilise the Franchise project is a strategic response to the challenges of addressing the decline in electoral participation. Drawing on a detailed report presented in 2009–10, the project uses social marketing principles to identify ideas and actions that may encourage eligible Australians to enrol to vote and make their votes count.
One of the five overarching strategies identified in the report is to 'appeal to the social responsibility of corporate and other big employers'. In 2010–11, the AEC put this strategy into action, in partnership with Optus, its supplier of telephonic equipment.
The collaboration with Optus began in November 2010. AEC state and divisional office staff in New South Wales:
The resulting Mobilise the Franchise Optus Event was held in March 2011. The centrepiece was a stall held at Optus's campus at Macquarie Park in Sydney, which employs around 6 000 members of Optus's younger workforce. Communications included:
Over three days, the AEC staff at the stall received 330 enquiries, including 33 hard copy enrolment forms and 83 online updates of enrolment information. Fifty-two people used AEC laptops to check their enrolment details.
The event was well received by Optus employees, who described the stall as 'a great initiative'. Many stated that they had already visited the AEC website to update their details or to enrol.
The AEC's review of the event produced a number of detailed recommendations to streamline the delivery and evaluation of such activities in future. Overall, the Mobilise the Franchise Optus Event confirmed the potential for collaborations with large employers to help the AEC achieve its goals for increasing enrolment and electoral participation.