There is a range of avenues in which AEC administration can be scrutinised by external people or organisations.
Certain of the AEC’s administrative decisions, under the Electoral Act, are subject to merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman, under the Ombudsman Act 1976, manages complaints about matters of administration relating to AEC functions.
Entities can lodge complaints about breaches of privacy rights with the Privacy Commissioner, at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, under the Privacy Act 1988. The Australian Information Commissioner and the Freedom of Information Commissioner deal with complaints and delays in the handling of requests for access to information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
The Australian Human Rights Commission, under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986, manages complaints that claim the AEC may have unlawfully discriminated against a person.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal reviewed one matter, involving the AEC, during 2012–13.
The matter involved an AEC decision to change the Register of Political Parties to recognise Mr Stephen Rawson as the NSW State Secretary of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP). On 27 June 2012, the AEC wrote to Mr O’Donohue, the former secretary of the DLP, informing him that the AEC had changed the Register of Political Parties following an application from Mr Rawson to be the NSW State Secretary of the DLP. On 20 July 2012, Mr O’Donohue lodged an application with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of the decision. On 21 January 2013, the Deputy President of the Tribunal finally dismissed the application from Mr O’Donohue (see O’Donohue and Australian Electoral Commission  AATA 23).
During 2012–13, the Commonwealth Ombudsman approached the AEC on two matters.
One was the time taken to process a claim for updating the address of a voter. The other was whether a person could nominate as a candidate prior to the issue of the writs for the election.
Both matters were finalised during the year and there were no findings of administrative deficiency recorded against the AEC.
There were no privacy complaints or determinations in 2012–13 through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner under section 52 of the Privacy Act 1988.
There were no matters involving the AEC subject to review by the Australian Information Commissioner or the Freedom of Information Commissioner under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
The AEC did not receive any complaints in 2012–13 through the Australian Human Rights Commission.