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Performance statement – agency direction one

Deliver high quality electoral services

The AEC is focused on providing consistent, high quality, and impartial electoral services to the Australian public and stakeholders that comply with legislation, and are delivered with integrity. These services encompass the core elements of the AEC’s purpose and include enrolment, polling services, targeted communication and education activities on electoral matters, and political party registration, funding and disclosure.

Intended result and performance criteria in AEC corporate plan*

Link to purpose


Explanation of result

1.1 Successfully deliver federal electoral events

Election writs returned within the timeframe specified in the writ

Election result delivered with integrity and withstands scrutiny

Efficient delivery of polling services


On Saturday 18 May the AEC delivered the 2019 federal election. The election writs were returned on 21 June 2019 within the specified timeframe.

At the time of publication, the AEC was aware of three petitions filed with the Court of Disputed Returns but does not comment on matters currently before the court.

The AEC also successfully delivered five by-elections on 28 July 2018 for the electoral divisions of Braddon, Fremantle, Longman, Mayo and Perth. A further by-election for the division of Wentworth was held on 20 October 2018. For all six by-elections, the election writs were returned within the specified timeframes and with no challenges to the results.

1.2 High level of confidence in the electoral roll

Completeness, accuracy and integrity of the electoral roll

Accessible enrolment and updates for eligible electors

Timeliness and accuracy of enrolment processing

Active electoral roll management

Support electoral redistributions


At 30 June 2019, electoral roll completeness—measured through the enrolment rate—remained at an historic high of 97.1% with over 16.4 million Australians enrolled to vote. This exceeds the AEC’s target enrolment rate of 95%.

The published enrolment rate at the close of rolls for the 2019 federal election was 96.8%. This rate was based on preliminary population estimates. The figure has now been revised to 97%.**

At 30 June 2019, accuracy and integrity of the electoral roll—at the divisional and individual address level—remained high at 97% and 93% respectively.

The AEC provides a range of accessible options for eligible voters to enrol and update their enrolment, including online. In 2018–19, the public most frequently used the online option. Approximately 49.4% of enrolment transactions were processed using the AEC’s online enrolment system, with 53.2% of these transactions system approved.

In 2018–19 the AEC’s target of 95% for enrolment processing over five days was not achieved. The five-day processing rate of 85.2% fell below the 95% target and the 30-day processing rate of 99.3% fell marginally below the 99.5% target. This was due to the increased number of declaration envelopes and forms submitted for major state and federal election events between November 2018 and May 2019.

Accuracy rates for enrolment processing are not included in 2018–19, as reporting was deferred due to consecutive state and federal elections.

1.3 Support electoral participation and voting formality through targeted education and public awareness activities that inform all Australians of electoral matters

Accessible public information and communication that is benchmarked and measured for effectiveness

Accessible, relevant and appropriate electoral education services and materials

Delivered targeted community engagement based on data and evidence

Targeted education and public awareness programs


For the 2019 federal election the AEC delivered a public information campaign incorporating mass media advertising, public relations activities, social media engagement and direct mail.

Of the 97.1% of eligible voters on the electoral roll, 91.9% voted at the 2019 election. This compares to turnout at the 2016 election of 91%.

Public awareness activities in 2019 were based on the 2016 federal election campaign, and revised to reflect:

  • contemporary AEC business objectives
  • changes in the media landscape
  • greater use of digital channels

The 2019 campaign was both broad and specific. It included delivery of the Official guide to the federal election to Australian households, as well as print and radio information in up to 30 languages and up to 18 Indigenous languages.

In the lead up to the federal election, the AEC undertook a social media advertising campaign called Stop and consider. This encouraged voters to check the source of electoral communications to avoid being misled by disinformation.

Further work was undertaken to develop our targeted approach to community engagement. The majority of performance targets for AEC education were also met.

1.4 Make available timely and accurate information and services to stakeholders when carrying out their legislative responsibilities and obligations

Maintain and publish a list of current registered political parties in accordance with the Electoral Act

Compliance reviews of political entities with disclosure obligations completed and published

Number of industrial and commercial election events supported annually and compliant with relevant legislation and rules

Administer political party registrations and financial disclosure

Efficient delivery of polling services

Conduct industrial and commercial elections


The AEC provides information and services to political parties as they carry out their responsibilities and obligations under the Electoral Act.

During 2018–19 the AEC maintained an up-to-date publicly available Register of Political Parties, consistent with the Electoral Act.

The AEC published annual and by-election funding disclosure returns by legislative deadlines.

The AEC also completed and published 16 compliance reviews of political parties and associated entities.

A total of 906 industrial and commercial election events were conducted in 2018–19. Compliance with legislation and rules was consistently monitored with 2.32% of events requiring further AEC management. This partly met the performance target.

An important element of this performance measure is the ongoing commitment to continually improve and modernise our delivery of industrial and commercial elections.

*Source: AEC Corporate Plan 2018–2022, p.8–9.

**The enrolment rate for the 2019 federal election was 97.0%. The enrolment rate as at 30 June 2019 was 97.1%

What we did

In 2018–19 the AEC:

  • delivered polling services and event management at one federal election and six by-elections. Delivery of elections was underpinned by:
    • strategies, policies and procedures to enable AEC staff to deliver electoral events and services that are consistent with legislation
    • published service plans for each event describing the electoral services the AEC would provide to the public and stakeholders
    • a public information campaign targeting Australian citizens over 18 years old—including special audiences—for the 2019 federal election. A benchmarking survey was also undertaken as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign
    • strategic communication activities which supported delivery of six federal by-elections
  • actively managed the Commonwealth Electoral Roll which is integral to election delivery and ensures the public and stakeholders have confidence in the roll’s completeness, accuracy and integrity. Through joint roll arrangements, the AEC also supported state, territory and local electoral events. The ongoing high enrolment rate is sustained by:
    • increased enrolment activity from federal and state electoral events
    • online enrolments through the Online Enrolment System
    • the Federal Direct Enrolment and Update Program which allows the AEC to place eligible people on the electoral roll based on data from external agencies
  • supported the timely conduct of three federal redistributions. These were determined for the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia in July 2018, increasing the number of electoral divisions to 151. Affected electors were notified in accordance with legislative obligations, including electors affected by redistributions completed in 2017–18 (Queensland and Tasmania)
  • developed public engagement materials relating to federal redistributions and by-elections, new candidate nominations processes and working at the 2019 federal election event. Information was provided to the public and stakeholders throughout the year through the AEC’s multiple communication channels
  • maintained highly accessible communication channels. This included creating a permanent web page aton the AEC website to support voters with disability or mobility restrictions. This initiative was promoted in the lead up to and during the federal election, and included Auslan videos and easy read guides
  • worked with communities and groups that may face barriers to electoral participation. This included:
    • defining a new community engagement framework targeting five clear cohorts (Indigenous Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse voters, young people, people with disability and homeless voters) through work with a range of partners
    • implementing strategies at the 2019 federal election for disability, remote participation, homelessness and the Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP)
    • conducting a range of pilots using a new model of engagement and targeting different communities after initial analysis of the electoral roll or other data
    • designing, testing and implementing a new methodology to more accurately estimate the Indigenous voting age population and enrolment rates
    • identifying and collating lessons from these activities to inform how the AEC can provide information, educate, and assist these groups in the future
  • continued to deliver targeted electoral education activities for schools, teachers and school children that maintained currency with the Australian curriculum and electoral changes during the year. These included:
    • the National Electoral Education Centre in Canberra continued to run at capacity for much of the year. More than 95,000 visitors came through the centre in 2018–19 from all 151 electoral divisions. This is an increase from more than 90,000 visitors in 2017–18. In 2019 an online booking system was introduced to make access easier for tour operators and teachers
    • face-to-face or online professional learning opportunities for 1095 pre-service and 237 in-service teachers. This is a significant increase over last year’s participation
  • maintained the AEC for Schools website, which received 240,000 visitors. In addition, 521 new schools ordered their own election kits to participate in the AEC school outreach program, Get Voting. This spike in visitors suggests increased engagement with the education community in an election year
  • progressed election readiness for the 2021–22 federal election
  • engaged regularly with key stakeholders and provided information and services that allowed them to carry out their obligations and responsibilities under the Electoral Act, including recent significant changes to funding and disclosure legislation. This covered:
    • initial information on nominations and citizenship, including an optional qualifications checklist in place for by-elections
    • a mandatory qualifications checklist in place for the 2019 federal election as part of the candidate nomination form
    • administering a Transparency Register of publicly available information about political parties, associated entities, third parties, political campaigners and donors, and candidates registered with, or recognised by, the AEC
  • continued to modernise delivery of industrial and commercial elections (ICE). This included developing modern support tools for staff to produce high quality outcomes and establish appropriate compliance and quality management processes

In 2019–20 we are:

  • finalising all legislative requirements associated with delivering the 2019 federal election
  • progressing with election readiness for the 2021–22 federal election
  • delivering federal electoral events in accordance with legislation and the AEC’s strategies, policies and procedures
  • continuing to maintain high levels of enrolment by actively managing the electoral roll
  • providing Australians with targeted, accurate and impartial information and education on electoral matters
  • developing a self-service platform to more efficiently engage with political parties and associated entities as they carry out their legislative responsibilities and obligations
  • delivering industrial and commercial election events and defining a future operating model for ICE