AEC functions

The functions which deliver the AEC’s purpose,
with highlights and data from the year

  • One federal election and six by-elections
  • 3.3 million enrolment transactions
  • Three redistributions
  • 151 electoral divisions

AEC functions

The functions we perform to deliver our purpose are:

  • ensuring confidence in the electoral roll
  • conducting successful electoral events, including federal elections, by-elections and referendums
  • administering political party registrations and financial disclosure
  • supporting electoral redistributions
  • undertaking public awareness activities

The AEC also provides a range of electoral information and education programs overseas in support of Australia’s national interests.

Active electoral roll management

The Commonwealth Electoral Roll—the list of Australians eligible to vote at federal elections—is integral to election delivery. The AEC’s key electoral roll activities are:

  • encouraging eligible voters to enrol and keep their enrolment up to date
  • targeted enrolment programs
  • enrolment processing
  • measuring accuracy of the roll

The AEC also supports state, territory and local government elections and by-elections by managing the electoral roll through joint roll arrangements.

Information from the roll is provided to authorised people and groups in accordance with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act). See appendix C.

Highlights of the year

Largest ever electoral roll continues to grow

Australia has the largest and most complete Commonwealth Electoral Roll since Federation, with 16.4 million Australians enrolled to vote at 30 June 2019.

The Commonwealth Electoral Roll grew by 337,000 in 2018–19, and the enrolment rate of 97.1* per cent continues to exceed the AEC’s target of 95 per cent. With this growth, the number of eligible Australians not enrolled has declined, from 810,904 at 30 June 2018 to 628,547 at 30 June 2019.

In the lead-up to the 2019 federal election, the AEC processed 476,646 enrolment transactions during close of rolls.

* as at 30 June 2019.

The Indigenous enrolment rate

A key aim of the AEC’s Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP) is to increase the enrolment of Indigenous Australians. Reliable Indigenous enrolment rates inform and enable more effective, evidence-based policy settings and targeted activities to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s electoral participation.

To support this, during 2018–19 the AEC designed, tested and implemented a new methodology to more accurately estimate Indigenous enrolment rates. While final data was not available at 30 June 2019, future data will be published annually on the AEC website

Roll data and extracts

Under the Electoral Act, the AEC is required to provide electoral roll data or extracts to registered political parties, government departments, and other recipients as specified. This includes providing electoral roll information to companies that provide identity verification services to other businesses.

A list of the current companies entitled to receive roll information for identity verification is set out in Regulation 8 of the Electoral and Referendum Regulation 2016. Under subsection 90B(4) of the Electoral Act, private sector organisations may receive roll information for identity verification processes related to the Financial Transactions Reports Act 1988 and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.

Government departments and agencies are also entitled to receive electoral roll information if they are a ‘prescribed authority’, under item 4 of subsection 90B(4) of the Electoral Act. Each department and agency must justify access through its statutory functions and the Privacy Act 1988. The distribution of roll data was suspended following the issue of the writs for the 2019 federal election on 11 April 2019.

A list of registered political parties, government departments, and other recipients of roll data and extracts is in appendix C. More information on access to electoral roll data is on the AEC website

Data highlights

  • The electoral roll continues to grow, exceeding last year’s achievement as the largest and most complete since Federation. In 2018–2019:
    • more than 16.4 million electors enrolled
    • the enrolment rate at 30 June was 97.1 per cent
  • 3.3 million enrolment transactions were processed
  • Ninety-nine non-election roll information extracts were provided to state electoral bodies during the year under the joint roll arrangements. Roll data or extracts were also provided to:
    • 31 registered political parties
    • 48 Senators and House of Representative members
    • 14 government departments
    • six other recipients
  • Fifty-four roll closes were provided to support:
    • one federal election
    • one federal by-election*
    • two state elections
    • 56 single jurisdiction elections (state and local government area by-elections and elections)

* For the five by-elections on 28 July, rolls closed in June 2018 and were reported in the previous financial year.

For more information go to:

Conducting successful electoral events

The AEC provides polling services for federal elections, by-elections and referendums. It is compulsory for all eligible Australian citizens to enrol and vote in these electoral events. The AEC supports this by:

  • providing a range of voting options
  • monitoring and responding to voter turnout and formality

The AEC also provides polling services for by-elections and conducts Senate special counts.

It also delivers other elections and ballots as required or authorised by legislation. These include elections for the Torres Strait Regional Authority board and registered organisations, and protected action ballots.

In 2018–19 the AEC delivered a federal election and six by-elections.

Highlights of the year

2019 federal election

On 18 May 2019 the AEC delivered a federal election for both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The federal election was announced by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, on 11 April 2019, and the writs were issued later that day.

In the lead-up to polling day, the AEC encouraged eligible Australians to enrol before the close of rolls at 8pm on 18 April 2019.

With a record number of eligible Australians on the roll, this was the largest election conducted in Australia, and a significant event for the AEC.

Changes to legislation

In the weeks before the event, legislative changes were introduced that affected the election’s conduct. The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Modernisation and Other Measures) Act 2019 received Royal Assent on 1 March 2019 and introduced changes to the nominations process. These included:

  • increasing the cost of nominating for the House of Representatives (from $1,000 to $2,000) in line with the Senate
  • introducing a mandatory qualification checklist relating to eligibility under section 44 of the Constitution, that the AEC had to publish on the AEC website

The Modernisation Act also contained measures to create efficiencies and consistency in the conduct of electoral processes, such as streamlining the processes for counting and packaging ballot papers. By taking a proactive approach to potential legislative changes well in advance of the federal election, the AEC was well prepared to implement these processes.

Community engagement

The AEC focused considerable effort and investment towards enhancing community engagement for the 2019 federal election.

The AEC developed videos in 11 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages to support and increase electoral participation in remote communities. Available on social media, they provided information on how to enrol, how to vote and promoted temporary employment opportunities.

The AEC also partnered with:

  • sporting bodies to promote youth and Indigenous enrolment and electoral awareness
  • the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation to recruit and employ electoral awareness officers across three Indigenous communities
  • Cherbourg Aboriginal Council, Queensland, to deliver electoral education to Indigenous youth
  • Big Issue, enabling community access to electoral education and enrolment checks

Easy read guides were translated into Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), French, Hindi, Spanish and Vietnamese, to further support electors from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, as well as those with disability.

Educational videos on enrolling and voting in federal elections, and assistance available for electors with disability, were provided in Auslan with voiceovers and plain English captions.

Accessible voting centres were piloted during pre-poll for those with disability. Voting centres featured:

  • greater physical accessibility, increased floor space and adjustable lighting
  • two-person tables and voting screens for people who wish to be supported by a family member, friend or carer (assisted voting)
  • a low sensory stimulation environment (where possible)
  • digital visual communications linking deaf or hard of hearing people with Auslan interpreters

Candidate nominations

Nominations for candidates for both the Senate and the House of Representatives closed on 23 April 2019. There were 458 Senate candidates and 1,056 House of Representatives candidates. During this time, the AEC received over 16,000 pages of information from candidates. A breakdown of candidate numbers is at appendix D.

Election logistics

In the five days between the declaration of candidates and the start of early voting, election logistics are most complex. Between Wednesday 24 April and Sunday 28 April, the AEC formally declared candidates, designed, printed and securely delivered around 52 million ballot papers, and prepared more than 500 early-voting locations in Australia and overseas for the start of polling.

At the same time, training began across the country for the temporary election workforce.

The range of voting services available to Australians—combined with Australia’s geography—make a federal election a complex and unique logistical undertaking. With millions of Australians casting their votes away from home, both interstate and overseas, the AEC must predict when and where Australians are most likely to vote. A new nationally-consistent approach to improving election event logistics, planning and execution was implemented for the first time on a national scale. Ballot papers were securely transported using over 40,000 transport routes. Transport, to move ballot papers over the Anzac Day weekend included a dedicated fleet of 737 and smaller aircraft.

The new approach improved transport and material distribution, while maintaining the integrity of the supply chain and providing greater assurance of the AEC’s ballot paper principles.

Public awareness

Advertisements across digital, social media, television, radio, newspapers, outdoor and cinema reminded Australians to turn up to vote and to vote formally. The national Your vote will help shape Australia public information campaign ran from the issue of the writs to election day. The official guide to the federal election was sent to all households, a practise voting tool was available on the AEC website, and information materials and advertising were translated in 30 languages and up to 18 Indigenous languages. A national social media advertising campaign titled Stop and consider, encouraged voters to check the source of electoral communications to avoid being misled by disinformation. During the federal election, the AEC responded to an average of 214 media enquiries a week, and participated in about 25 broadcast media interviews each week.

Cyber security

To ensure election integrity, cyber security is critical. For the 2019 federal election, the AEC:

  • engaged with partner security agencies, including the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), to mitigate cyber threats. A service provider was also engaged to enhance the AEC’s cyber monitoring capability through the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC)
  • re-established the Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce used for the 2018–19 by-elections. The taskforce undertook 24-hour monitoring to safeguard against cyber-attack or interference

No serious cyber security threats were detected during the 2019 federal election.

Voter services

Early voting began on Monday 29 April 2019 and saw the continuing trend of a significant uptake of early voting services. Pre-poll voting accounted for nearly one third of all votes issued. The AEC planned for and managed this by critically analysing the number and location of early voting centres, and providing a range of voter services including pre-poll, postal and mobile voting. By the end of the three week pre-poll period, over 500 pre-poll or early voting locations had been provided across Australia and more than 1.5 million postal vote packages had been issued.

To ensure all eligible Australians had equal access to participate in the electoral process, more than 550 mobile polling teams visited over 3,000 locations. This included 42 remote polling teams to service electors living in remote locations. Remote polling teams visited isolated communities, town camps and mining sites, and delivered remote polling to over 300 communities.

Polling day

On polling day—Saturday 18 May 2019 — the AEC provided 6,751 polling place locations across Australia servicing almost 9 million voters who cast votes for both the House of Representatives and the Senate. A temporary workforce of 90,000 people were employed for the event.

The AEC’s investment in learning and development for both AEC staff and the temporary election workforce resulted in the AEC’s most trained and professional workforce to ever deliver a federal election. The past year’s by-elections and the federal election provided quality practical involvement through the Election Experience Program (EEP). Participants worked at polling centres on polling day and at out-posted centres after polling day.

Training videos supported the AEC’s temporary election workforce to perform their roles. Over 20 videos were available to staff through QR codes and the AEC’s YouTube channel to reinforce learning and support just-in-time training. Significant improvements were made to online learning for both permanent and temporary staff.

Sixteen language-specific telephone interpreter information lines, and a multi-language line, handled almost 5,000 calls, including over 3,000 using the translator service to speak directly to AEC staff.

Computer-based modelling and data analysis of polling places was used to reduce queues, better manage ballot papers and to minimise the working hours of polling officials. Results from the voter survey show that modeling and data analysis had a positive effect, with the majority of Australians reporting a smooth voting experience and the ability to cast their vote without waiting too long.

Electronic Certified Lists

The AEC extended its use of devices to access an Electronic Certified List (ECL), allowing polling officials to efficiently search the list of eligible electors and record that an elector had been handed a ballot paper. More than 4,500 ECLs—and more than 2,700 printers—were deployed for the election. While the AEC cannot provide ECLs in every polling place due to cost, nearly three times as many were used for the 2019 federal election than in 2016.

ECLs provide many benefits over printed certified lists. They can improve the voter experience, reduce wait and queuing times, and allow ballot paper stocks to be monitored in real time. They also contribute to streamlining the preliminary scrutiny process for divisions.

Counting the votes

The vast majority of House of Representatives votes were counted on polling night, which marks a major achievement following the surge in early voting and associated complexities of counting early votes.

After 6pm in polling places, the AEC counted more than 20 million ballot papers to deliver an election night result, culminating in the most votes ever counted on election night. During the night, seats that were likely to remain close were identified to ensure counts were progressed, as much as possible, on the night.

The receipt of overseas votes back to Australia after polling day—to allow counting to progress towards official seat declarations—is a significant logistical undertaking. With more than 60,000 votes repatriated to Australia from over 80 countries—as far afield as Accra in Ghana and Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia—votes must be swiftly sorted for distribution to their home divisions for counting.

Senate scrutinies were conducted in capital cities. Counts were completed and writs were returned ahead of schedule. To do this, all used Senate ballot papers were scanned and processed at a central site in each state and territory. Over 15 million ballot papers were transported to scanning sites in 38,000 containers, where over 105 million preferences were captured and verified.

Turnout

Starting with a record enrolment of 96.8 per cent of eligible Australians, 91.9 per cent of enrolled electors voted in the 2019 federal election. This compares with a turnout of 91.0 per cent at the 2016 federal election, and saw 80,000 more Australians voting in the 2019 federal election than in 2016.

Informal voting

Public information campaigns helped ensure that total informality remained relatively low. Overall, the informality rate has held relatively steady since the 2016 federal election. At 30 June 2019, the national informality rate of 3.81 per cent, represented a decrease of 0.13 per cent from the 2016 federal election. A breakdown of informal votes for both the Senate and the House of Representatives is at appendix D.

After polling day

Writs for all 151 House of Representatives elections, and for the Senate elections in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, were returned to the Governor-General on 21 June 2019.

The AEC now moves from ‘mobilisation and delivery’ into the ‘evaluate and learn’ phase of the electoral cycle. Through the lessons management framework, staff observations, workshops and other data are analysed. This information is used to inform AEC priorities and preparations for future electoral events.

2019 federal election data highlights

  • Over 16 million Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll
  • More than 15 million votes were cast
  • More than 7,000 polling day and pre-poll voting locations across Australia
  • More than 1.5 million postal vote packages were issued
  • The enrolment rate was 97 per cent*
  • 1,514 candidates nominated
  • Over 10 million households received The Official guide to the federal election
  • More than 90,000 temporary staff were employed in almost 100,000 positions
  • 80,000 more Australians voted in the 2019 federal election than in 2016
  • 52 million ballot papers were printed
  • Over 75,000 ballot boxes were supplied
  • 15,088,616 House of Representatives and 15,184,085 Senate votes were counted
  • More than 4.9 million people cast pre-poll votes
  • How to vote information was provided in 29 languages
  • 557 mobile polling teams visited over 3,000 locations across Australia
  • 42 remote polling teams visited over 300 remote locations
  • 85 overseas posts took 60,710 votes
  • Over 4,500 electronic certified lists were prepared
  • 91.9 per cent of electors turned out to vote
  • More than 30 million visitors to the AEC website
  • 24.2 million visitors went to the AEC’s virtual tally room
  • The contact centre responded to:
    • 379,141 phone calls
    • 27,607 emails
    • 3,605 social media enquiries
  • 214 media enquiries and 25 broadcast media interviews were conducted each week
  • 4,851 calls were managed through 16 language-specific telephone interpreters, information lines and a multi-language line
  • A total of 3,163 callers used the translator service to speak directly to AEC staff

* The published enrolment rate at the close of rolls was 96.8 per cent and based on preliminary population estimates. The figure has now been revised to 97.0 per cent for the 2019 federal election.

For more information go to:

Other highlights of the year

By-elections for the House of Representatives

In 2018–19 the AEC conducted six by-elections for the House of Representatives for the federal electoral divisions of:

  • Braddon, Fremantle, Longman, Mayo and Perth on Saturday 28 July
  • Wentworth on Saturday 20 October

Two of these by-elections were triggered by parliamentary resignations, and four by parliamentary resignations following judgements of the High Court of Australia.

On 24 May 2018 the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith, announced a multi by-election event to be held on Saturday 28 July 2018. The writs were issued on Friday 15 June with the close of rolls at 8pm on Friday 22 June, and the close of nominations at midday on Thursday 5 July.

Changes to the nominations process—including the use and approval of the Section 44 Qualification Checklist—allowed candidates to provide information on their eligibility to be elected to Parliament. An optional checklist was available in May 2018 and in place for all six by-elections in 2018–19.

A taskforce to safeguard the five by-elections from cyber-attack or interference was established for the 28 July by-elections, and included other key agencies across government. No serious cyber threats were identified throughout this event.

The AEC applied significant resources to quickly declare the results, with the writs for Braddon, Fremantle and Mayo returned on 6 August, and Longman and Perth on Monday 13 August 2018.

The Wentworth by-election was announced on 12 September and the writ was issued on 17 September for a polling day of Saturday 20 October. The writs were returned on Monday 5 November 2018. Data from all six by-elections is in Tables 9 and 10 at appendix D.

By-elections demonstrated a clear demand for a range of voter services. Pre-poll and postal voting accounted for an average of 30 per cent of all votes issued at by-elections, continuing the trend of increased early voting.

The improved and more consistent appearance of out-posted centres with clearly defined work and secure zones, and clearly identifiable staff, reflects the AEC’s agility, resilience, skills and professionalism. This was also evident through our improved training for both permanent and temporary staff through the ERP and the Election Experience Program (EEP).

Managing our supply chain

By-elections provided an opportunity to progressively test and refine the AEC’s work with industry experts, and to establish a professional, nationally-coordinated logistics capability to improve supply chain management. This included distributing and returning election materials and equipment to and from multiple locations.

Work priorities

The 2016 federal election evaluation resulted in eight lessons and 13 cross-agency work priority projects focused around four key themes:

  • consolidate and coordinate
  • training and recruitment
  • communication and information management
  • planning

At 30 June 2019 all work priorities from the 2016 federal election had either been implemented—or used to inform—the planning and delivery of the 2019 federal election. Individual projects and associated activities are referenced in the performance statements.

Lessons management framework

Throughout 2018–19 the Lessons Management Framework was further developed with an enhanced observation register launched for the 2019 federal election. Throughout the 2019 election, the register generated real-time trending data based on staff election activity observations. This allowed the AEC to respond to emerging trends during and after the election. These observations, along with other data collected, will inform the lessons and priorities to be implemented in the next electoral cycle. This allows the AEC to further define and shape future organisational capability and to continue modernising the model for delivering elections.

Polling place data analytics

The AEC’s work with Deakin University to develop a computer-based model of polling places was implemented at the 2018–19 by-elections. This allowed the AEC to analyse the effect of different staffing levels on various polling place sizes. Adjustments could then be made to reduce queues, better manage ballot paper stocks and improve the working hours of polling officials. This information was used to inform 2019 election planning.

Information communications and technology infrastructure

A strong technology platform is vital to the AEC’s ability to quickly scale-up to deliver an election. In preparation for the 2019 federal election, the AEC implemented changes or enhancements to:

  • mobile end-user services for the temporary election event network
  • server, network and backup capability
  • information management systems

A Mobile Office Solution allowed election staff at out-posted centres to access the AEC network during election events. This capability also supports short-term office relocations, and business continuity options for small offices.

Cyber security

The AEC works to consistently enhance its cyber security posture. In response to the emerging threats of cyber and foreign interference in the global electoral environment, the AEC was supported by the Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce. This new taskforce—a multi-agency grouping—included security agencies and was governed by a board co-chaired by the AEC and the Department of Finance. Piloted during the by-elections on 28 July, the taskforce was used to mitigate cyber threats at the federal election. In addition, the AEC:

  • undertakes regular security testing activities using external authorities and experts to assure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of AEC systems
  • runs incident response workshops for internal and external service providers to support the AEC’s cyber response
  • implements mitigation strategies to protect the AEC network, including the ASD Top 4 and Essential 8 to mitigate cyber intrusions
  • ensures staff complete mandatory security awareness training
  • continually improves the AEC’s technical and people capability to manage cyber risks

Modernisation business case

During 2017–18 the AEC commenced a business case to modernise the main election and enrolment systems as part of the AEC’s budget measures for 2019–20.

The modernisation program team is delivering and strengthening a second-pass business case to modernise core AEC processes and systems. The team includes both internal and external members and provides support across four areas:

  • business user requirements
  • IT system requirements
  • procurement
  • project management

The second pass business case will be ready for submission in December 2019.

Industrial and commercial elections

The AEC conducted 906 industrial and commercial elections or ballots during the year.

Torres Strait Regional Authority elections

There were no Torres Strait Regional Authority elections held in 2018–19. Planning is underway for elections expected in 2019–20.

Data highlights

This year the AEC conducted:

  • one federal election
  • six by-elections
  • 906 industrial and commercial elections and ballots

For more information go to:

Undertaking public awareneses

To support an Australian community that is well informed about electoral matters, the AEC delivers education, community engagement and communication activities.

All Australian citizens aged 18 years and over are required by law to enrol and vote. Ensuring Australians know and understand this right and obligation requires the AEC to engage with the community and provide information and advice to all eligible voters.

The National Training and Education Unit (NTEU) leads and coordinates AEC internal training and electoral education to external audiences. Schools can visit the National Electoral Education Centre (NEEC) in Canberra for electoral education programs. The AEC for Schools website provides free educational resources and programs, including election materials to run school elections. Professional learning is provided to teachers to encourage electoral education in primary and secondary schools. The NEEC continues to run at full capacity, and in 2018–19 the Get Voting website had over 19,000 visitors and sent 521 election packs to schools to run school elections.

The AEC provides information and advice to voters, including those with diverse needs. Education and communication initiatives are in place to meet the needs of Australians with disability. Community engagement aims to increase electoral knowledge, enrolment, turnout and vote formality through targeted activities. The Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP) delivers culturally appropriate services to Indigenous Australians to support Indigenous electoral participation.

Under section 7(1)(fa) of the Electoral Act the AEC assists international electoral management bodies. Help is provided by deploying AEC officers overseas, delivering international training programs, and hosting international counterparts visiting Australia. These activities further strengthen our international relationships. Together with international partners, the AEC delivers the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) professional development program.

Highlights of the year

Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP)

IEPP services are delivered Australia-wide through partnerships with community groups and other government agencies. In 2018–19 IEPP services supported Indigenous electoral participation in all six by-elections and implemented the national plan for the 2019 federal election.

Cultural awareness training and staff development continued as part of the AEC’s Reconciliation Action Plan. Information on the AEC’s Indigenous Employment Strategy is in section 5.

Electors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

In the lead up to both the NSW State Election in March and the 2019 federal election, the AEC worked with the NSW Electoral Commission and the Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW. Efforts were focused on increasing electoral awareness within CALD communities in western Sydney. Facilitators generated content for ethnic radio stations by interviewing community members about their attitudes and experiences of enrolment and voting, and participating in radio interviews. Podcast content was made available on the Vote Talk website.

People with disability

The AEC collaborates with the disability sector through its Disability Advisory Committee (DAC). The committee works to promote greater accessibility, inclusion and participation in the electoral process by people with disability. Through the committee the AEC seeks and receives feedback from Australian peak disability organisations on the programs and services it delivers, as well as new and emerging issues. In refining services for the 2019 federal election, the committee focused on:

  • preparing and delivering a video promoting the various electoral support services available to people with disability at the polling place
  • an educational video for AEC staff on how to assist voters who need help at a polling place
  • the AEC’s pilot of fully accessible voting centres

The AEC website is fully accessible and includes enrolment forms. The AEC also helps electors to vote at a polling place, through postal and mobile polling options, and offers telephone voting for voters with a vision impairment.

Information is available in large print, etext, MP3 and Braille. Easy read guides are available in multiple languages and cover enrolling to vote, voting at a polling place and voting by mail.

Communication

In 2018–19 the AEC’s advertising, public relations and communication strategies focused predominantly on federal electoral events—the six federal by-elections and the 2019 federal election.

Throughout the year, proactive and reactive information was provided to the media on a range of election administration matters. Topics included redistribution processes, introduction of the mandatory candidate qualification checklist, record enrolment rates, and the progression of election processes like early voting and counting.

Information was regularly published on the AEC website as data and media releases, and through the AEC’s Twitter account.

For the six by-elections, communication activities included advertising, public relations, collateral including official guides, intermediary outreach and the availability of AEC public engagement channels.

The national Your vote will help shape Australia public information campaign for the 2019 federal election facilitated successful participation among eligible voters. This was an integrated, multi-channel campaign implemented from the issue of writs to election day across the three key election phases of enrolment, voter services and formality. Campaign materials were adapted to ensure messages were clear, and to apply updated authorisation requirements for electoral communications.

Advertising was placed in up to 30 languages for CALD audiences, and radio ads were produced and broadcast in 18 Indigenous languages.

The Stop and consider, social media campaign encouraged voters to check the source of electoral communication to avoid being misled by disinformation. Advertising across social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google yielded 56,404,717 impressions and more than 100,000 clicks through to the AEC website.

International services

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funds the AEC to lead a number of bilateral electoral capacity building efforts, particularly in the Pacific region. This year, the AEC undertook activities in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tonga.

DFAT has also provided funding and support—for over 20 years—for the AEC’s major electoral capacity building program through the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators Network (PIANZEA). Through PIANZEA, the AEC provides secretariat services, is a representative on the network’s advisory group, and facilitates peer to peer support for electoral administrators across the Pacific. In 2018–19 the AEC:

  • helped the PNG Electoral Commission, including through two BRIDGE workshops, to embed its new corporate plan
  • provided technical assistance to the Tonga Electoral Office, including training officials and developing procedures
  • hosted the 2019 PIANZEA Network senior officials meeting and three concurrent BRIDGE workshops in Brisbane
  • deployed four advisers across the Fiji islands to work alongside the Fijian Elections Office to support delivery of the 2018 election
  • deployed three advisers to Solomon Islands to assist with logistics, operations and training to support delivery of the 2019 election

The AEC also continues as an integral part of the BRIDGE partnership with the:

  • International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)
  • International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)
  • United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

This long-standing partnership supports the continued development and maintenance of one of the world’s leading electoral professional development programs. In 2018–19 the AEC hosted the BRIDGE partners meeting which agreed to a five year strategic plan and to develop a new version of the BRIDGE curriculum.

The AEC also hosted key international partners and study programs from several countries throughout the year. Participants met with senior executive staff and technical experts arranged through the Australian Political Exchange Council, universities and intergovernmental visits. Delegations came from the United States, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, China, Timor Leste, Japan and India.

Data highlights

Education

  • 2,773 free education sessions delivered to 95,944 visitors from all 151 electoral divisions
  • programs provided to 81,776 primary schools students, 6,144 secondary students and 8,024 adults as part of their civics and citizenship studies
  • engagement with more than 1,500 visitors during an open day at Australia’s Parliament House
  • 240,000 visitors to the AEC for Schools website
  • 521 election packs sent to schools through Get Voting
  • 60 educators completed the Voting in the Classroom online learning module
  • 15 professional development sessions provided to 237 in-service teachers
  • presentations to seven universities and more than 1,095 pre-service teachers
  • workshops delivered to more than 75 participants at five civics education conferences

Communications

  • one national public information campaign
  • 42.1 million visits to the AEC website
  • 56 million social media impressions for Stop and consider
  • advertising placed in up to 30 languages

International

  • 22 advisors deployed to four Pacific nations
  • seven BRIDGE workshops conducted for 14 Pacific nations
  • 44 delegates and two international organisations from 25 countries hosted as part of the 2019 Federal Election Visitor Program

For more information go to:

Supporting electoral redistributions

A redistribution of electoral boundaries is undertaken in accordance with Part IV of the Electoral Act. Redistributions ensure—as close as practical—that an equal number of electors are in each electoral division for a state or territory. Each member in the House of Representatives represents an electoral division.

For the 2019 federal election, the number of members was 151 (see figure 2 for a list of Australia’s 151 electoral divisions at 30 June 2019). A redistribution is required when:

  • there is a change in the number of members in the House of Representatives to which a state or territory is entitled to
  • the number of voters in more than one third of the electoral divisions of a state deviates from the average divisional enrolment by over 10 per cent for a period of more than two months
  • seven years has elapsed since the last redistribution

Redistributions are conducted by two bodies: the Redistribution Committee and the augmented Electoral Commission. The Redistribution Committee is responsible for making a proposed redistribution.

Australia's 151 divisions as at 30 June 2019

Highlights of the year

Redistributions

In 2018–19 the AEC completed three redistributions:

  • one in the Australian Capital Territory
  • one in Victoria
  • one in South Australia

In December 2018 the AEC placed notices in newspapers in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. These advised changes to the names and boundaries of electoral divisions and are required under the Electoral Act. Letters were also sent to over 930,000 households advising them that their electoral division had changed.

See appendix F for redistribution process milestones in 2018–19.

Data highlights

  • Three redistributions completed
  • 151 electoral divisions

For more information go to:

Administering political party registrations and financial disclosure

The AEC helps stakeholders carry out their obligations and responsibilities under the Electoral Act. This includes maintaining the funding and disclosure scheme and providing information on requirements for political party registration.

The AEC maintains the Register of Political Parties and, under the Commonwealth funding and financial disclosure scheme, requires groups and individuals to lodge annual or election period financial disclosure returns. Returns disclose detailed financial information about donations to political parties and election campaigns, and can be securely lodged online through the AEC’s eReturns system. The AEC undertakes annual compliance reviews of disclosure returns.

The AEC administers public funding for political parties and candidates contesting federal elections and by-elections. Election funding rates are available on the AEC website.

Highlights of the year

Changes to election funding and disclosure laws

In 2018–19 changes were made to election funding and disclosure laws in the Electoral Act as a result of the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Act 2018 (FAD Reform Act). The FAD Reform Act introduced new laws that affect political parties, their associated entities and other non-party political actors. The changes, which came into effect on 1 December 2018 and 1 January 2019, represent a significant change to funding and disclosure legislation.

In response to these changes, the AEC created a Transparency Register which was available on the AEC website from 1 December 2018. The register contains information about political parties, associated entities, third parties, political campaigners and donors, and candidates registered with, or recognised by, the AEC.

Information on other changes resulting from the FAD Reform Act is on the AEC website.

Data highlights

  • 14 new political parties registered
  • Three political parties deregistered
  • Five applications requesting a review of a delegate’s decision not to approve an application for registration as a political party. Three still under consideration at 30 June 2019

Financial disclosure returns

  • Received 68 election returns
  • Reviewed 653 annual financial disclosure returns and amendments
  • 79 per cent of returns completed online
  • 16 compliance reviews of disclosure returns resulted in 15 amended returns being lodged by the party or entity

The number of returns lodged for the past three financial years is at appendix G.

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