The Electoral Act recognises the AEC as an independent agency. A range of legislation underpins AEC business processes, purpose, values and leadership.

Table 1: Legislative framework
Legislative instrument AEC function
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 Conduct Torres Strait Regional Authority elections

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

Conduct federal elections
Maintain and update the Commonwealth
electoral roll
Promote public awareness of electoral and parliamentary matters through information and education programs
Provide international electoral assistance in cases approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs
Conduct and promote research into electoral matters and other matters that relate to AEC functions
Register political parties
Pay public funding to election candidates and parties, and publish financial disclosure returns of political parties and others
Determine representation entitlements (redistributions)
Electoral and Referendum Regulations 1940 Conduct federal elections and referendums and provide voter information
Fair Work Act 2009 Conduct protected action ballots
Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 Conduct industrial elections
Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 Manage public money and property
Freedom of Information Act 1982 Hold and release documents
Privacy Act 1988 Store, use and disclose personal information
Public Service Act 1999 Ensure the effective and fair employment, management and leadership of AEC employees
Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 Conduct federal referendums
Representation Act 1983 Set numbers for Senate elections
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