AEC Annual Report 2016–17

Industrial and commercial elections

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The AEC conducts:

  • industrial elections in accordance with the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009, the associated regulations and the relevant organisation’s rules
  • protected action ballots in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009, the associated regulations and Fair Work Commission orders
  • fee-for-service elections and ballots.

Industrial elections

Industrial elections are office bearer elections for organisations registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009. These can be either trade unions or employer bodies.

Protected action ballots

Protected action ballots provide employees with an opportunity to formally vote on proposals for industrial action. These ballots can only occur in the period that an enterprise agreement is being negotiated.

Fee-for-service elections and ballots

Fee-for-service elections and ballots are conducted at full cost recovery for clients who approach the AEC. Authority for the AEC to both do this work, and charge for it, comes from sections 7A and 7B of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

The AEC has minimum standards (published on the website) that must be met before it will consider conducting fee-for-service elections or ballots. Most fee-for-service work is for the conduct of a ballot on a proposed enterprise agreement.


A total of 812 elections and ballots were conducted in 2016–17. Of these, 299 were industrial elections, 423 were protected action ballots, 85 were fee-for-service elections and ballots, and five were other types of elections/ballots. See Table 38 in Appendix G.

A major project for the Industrial and Commercial Elections Program was the replacement of its legacy electoral event management system with a modern, fit-for-purpose system. This is due for implementation in October 2017.

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