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



Summary of achievements

Updated: 17 October 2011
A summary of achievement by program area
Program 1.1: Electoral roll management
Elector enrolment at the 2010 federal election AEC activities in the lead-up to the 2010 federal election, to encourage electors to enrol and/or update their enrolment details, contributed to the fact that 14 088 260 electors were enrolled to vote at that election – a net increase of 443 187 electors compared to the 2007 federal election.

Following a High Court decision which extended the period for enrolling to vote in the federal election, the AEC's prompt processing of enrolment applications received prior to 26 July enabled 57 732 electors, many of whom were first-time voters, to vote at the 2010 federal election. A further 40 408 electors had their existing enrolment details updated and were able to cast a vote for the electorate in which they lived.
Improved access to online services for electors The AEC implemented changes to roll management systems that enabled electors to submit updates to enrolment details online. Communication products were also refined to encourage electors to use the online service. Analysis indicates that electors are increasingly using this option, which has helped to improve the AEC's processing of enrolment applications.
New avenues to assist electors to maintain their enrolment The AEC entered into a new collaborative arrangement with the Australian Taxation Office to promote and encourage electoral enrolment.
Effective support for joint roll partners The AEC's joint roll arrangements with state and territory electoral commissions assisted with the effective conduct of electoral events, including the New South Wales and Victorian state elections.
Effective support for electoral redistribution processes Support provided by the AEC to the committees conducting electoral boundary redistributions for Victoria and South Australia permitted the effective and timely conduct of redistribution activities in accordance with legislative requirements.
Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP) A continuous field program, begun in May 2010, has enabled the AEC to improve roll integrity and roll stimulation work in Indigenous communities in remote, rural and urban areas.

The IEPP successfully trialled the casual employment of community-based electoral awareness officers during the 2010 federal election and the New South Wales state election.
Program 1.2: Election management and support services
Successful conduct of the 2010 federal election The federal election was successfully conducted on 21 August 2010. Ballot papers were produced and distributed in time to meet large increases in demand for pre-poll and postal voting, as well as for use by mobile polling teams and on election day.

During the election, the AEC administered the logistics of putting in place 66 874 polling officials and more than 8 900 polling places, across Australia and overseas, which allowed 13.6 million people to cast theirballots.

All of the writs for the 2010 federal election were returned by 17 September 2010. This was well within the legislative timeframe, and within the same timeframe as the return of writs for the 2007 election.
Voting services for people who are blind or have low vision Legislation passed in July 2010 allows the AEC to use technology to provide secret and independent voting services for people who are blind or have low vision. An interim solution provided at the 2010 election enabled votes to be cast by telephone from any of 126 locations across Australia. This service was utilised by 410 eligible electors.

In 2010, the AEC developed the Australian Telephone Voting Standard through the Electoral Council of Australia. The standard, which is the first of its kind in Australia, reflects cooperative work of state and territory electoral commissions and the AEC. All Electoral Council members have agreed to the standard to ensure a uniform approach to the development and implementation of telephone voting across Australia.
Evaluation of the conduct of the 2010 federal election The three areas of focus in the 2010 federal election evaluation plan were the evaluation of key election activities, a program of election research studies, and a series of state, territory and national post-election conferences. All staff were given the opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences during the election period, including through an online survey tool.

These activities improved the AEC's understanding of elector and stakeholder needs and expectations, and helped to identify where improvements could be made in delivering electoral services in preparation for the next federal election.
Informed evidence to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters The AEC provided a detailed submission (with several supplements) and direct evidence to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into the conduct of the 2010 federal election.
Accurate and up-to-date Register of Political Parties The increase in party registration activity arising from the 2010 federal election was effectively managed, and all registration applications that could be processed before the issue of the writs were completed on time.
Effective payment of election funding and monitoring of financial disclosure Public election funding of $53 million was paid for the 2010 federal election, in accordance with the formula and timetable established by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. The AEC received and processed 1 211 election period financial disclosure returns from candidates, Senate groups and donors for the 2010 federal election. This was made up of 1 184 candidate, 20 Senate group and seven donor returns.
Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) BRIDGE is an award-winning professional development program for electoral administrators, with a focus on electoral processes. It is a unique initiative in which the AEC partners with four other leading organisations in the democracy and governance field. In 2010–11, 83 BRIDGE events were conducted successfully in 36 countries.

Democracy and Governance BRIDGE (DG BRIDGE) is an education package designed to promote and support democracy and governance. In 2010–11, DG BRIDGE was piloted by the AEC in Indonesia and Nepal, and showcases and regional activities were conducted in Jordan and Kenya. The pilot phase has received very favourable reviews.
Successful delivery of the programs for industrial elections, protected action ballots and fee-for-service elections and ballots The AEC maintained a high level of service in the timely and effective delivery of elections and ballots for these three program areas. A total of 1 003 events were conducted in 2010–11.
Improved information systems The 'election dashboard' data management tool was redeveloped to improve the usability, accessibility and comprehensiveness of election data. The tool was deployed for the 2010 federal election to consolidate data from multiple systems, allowing for real-time analysis of key activities and improved information for decision making.
Program 1.3: Education and communication
National Electoral Education Centre The centre provided 2 463 electoral education sessions to 87 245 participants – the second highest number of sessions and overall attendance on record. In a University of Canberra survey measuring school group attractions in the Australian Capital Territory and the surrounding region, the centre was ranked equal first for visitor satisfaction and second for teacher satisfaction.
Workshops for voters from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds Education workshops were delivered to groups of electors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, to help address the high rate of informal voting in certain electorates. The program was trialled prior to the 2010 federal election, with a view to future national implementation.
Parallel election A parallel election is a learning exercise that replicates a 'real' election – students vote a week before the election for actual candidates. Before the 2010 federal election, the AEC successfully piloted parallel elections in two secondary schools. The students enthusiastically took on the roles of electoral officials and voters, and feedback from both students and teachers was positive.
Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP) The IEPP has developed a comprehensive program that will provide a firm foundation for strategies and activities in future. The program reaches into almost every Indigenous community in Australia, giving the AEC access to the communities and allowing the communities access to electoral information, education and enrolment.

A key component of the program is the employment of 23 field officers, 18 of whom are Indigenous.
Services supporting all programs
Implementation of legislative changes The AEC's implementation of provisions in the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Pre-poll Voting and Other Measures) Act 2010 and the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (How-to-Vote Cards and Other Measures) Act 2010 improved the efficiency and flexibility of electoral services.

For example, electors who are already on the electoral roll are now able to use the AEC's online enrolment application to submit updated enrolment details online without providing a paper enrolment form.
Online performance management system The new Performance Management Program is an important component of the AEC's Investing in Our People program. The performance management approach is focused on frequent and open feedback from managers, and a commitment to responding to training and development needs. The new program has enabled the Individual Performance Plan process to be simpler and more effective, and helped the AEC to collate and respond to training needs at a national level. An online performance management system was implemented, and has been strongly taken up by all employees.
Improvements in agency health indicators Each year, the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) conducts a survey of a random selection of employees across the Australian Public Service (APS). The results are published in the State of the service employee survey results report and referred to in the State of the service report, the APSC's annual benchmarking report for APS agencies.

Of the 175 AEC employees randomly selected to participate in the 2010 survey, 71 per cent responded. This was higher than the APS average (64 per cent).

The 2010 results revealed many promising indicators for the AEC when compared with the previous year's AEC results and current results for the wider APS. For example:
  • 71 per cent of AEC staff members are confident that the AEC is addressing issues identified in last year's survey – a good result, particularly when compared to the APS average of 19 per cent.
  • Staff views of AEC senior managers have improved significantly, and are currently more positive than the APS average.
  • There has been significant improvement in staff views of how change is managed in the AEC, and in the proportion of staff who think the AEC is a good place to work and feel valued for their contributions.
The AEC's Investing in Our People program includes a new recruitment guide, the Recognition and Rewards program, the Performance Management Program and a course in people management.