Go to top of page

Corporate governance - principles and objectives

The AEC has the following structures in place to implement the principles and objectives of corporate governance:

  • an executive leadership team which monitors performance, ensures accountability and steers the agency
  • decision-making management committees – see appendix B for a list as well as functions and membership

Ethical standards

The AEC’s ethical standards are implicit in:

  • our values of electoral integrity through professionalism, agility and quality
  • our Enterprise Agreement 2016–2019, and staff conduct policies
  • the AEC’s strategic planning framework
  • the Australian Public Service ICARE values of impartiality, committed to service, accountable, respectful and ethical
  • the ethical standards of the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct

AEC valuesCircular diagram of the AEC values of professionalism, quality and agility, with electoral integrity at the centre

Internal audit

The Business Assurance Committee and the Internal Audit program oversee the AEC’s internal audit arrangements and approach.

The committee provides independent assurance that the AEC’s risk management, governance and internal control processes are operating effectively. The scope, responsibilities and independence requirements for audit functions are in the AEC audit charter endorsed by this committee.

Risk management

The AEC’s operating environment is complex. It requires a workforce that is capable of managing uncertainties that may impact the AEC’s ability to achieve its objectives. Considerable actions were undertaken throughout 2018–19 to further mature our risk capability including:

  • reviewing the AEC Risk Management Policy to better align with the nine elements of the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy
  • developing the AEC’s first Risk Appetite Statement
  • revising the risk matrix and consequence criteria for assessing risks
  • developing formal escalation rules
  • delivering workshops to enable risk communication and capability building

We continue to build capability, enhance and shape our risk culture, and support organisational priorities and objectives. To support these corporate requirements, the AEC manages its risk through the following governance committees:

  • Executive Leadership Team
  • Business Assurance Committee
  • Organisational Health Committee
  • Fraud Control Committee
  • National Election Delivery Committee
  • Capability Committee

More information on committees is in appendix B.

We assess risk maturity by participating in Comcover’s annual risk management benchmarking survey.

Fraud control

The AEC Fraud Control Plan highlights the low tolerance of fraud that is related to AEC operations and services. As required by section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, we have:

  • prepared fraud risk assessments and fraud control plans
  • appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation, recording and reporting mechanisms that meet the AEC’s specific needs
  • taken all reasonable measures to deal with fraud appropriately

The AEC Fraud Control Plan outlines strategies to prevent, detect and respond to fraud, including prevention strategies for both corporate and electoral fraud. The Fraud Control Committee (see appendix B) is responsible for monitoring AEC fraud controls.

The AEC examined all allegations of suspected fraud during the year, including complaints related to the 2019 federal election.

Information on reporting suspected fraud is available:

  • to staff through the intranet and mandatory fraud awareness training
  • for the public through www.aec.gov.au

Internal planning processes

The AEC’s corporate planning processes support corporate governance and are undertaken in line with the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). The corporate plan, available on the AEC website, informs operational planning and performance, and is reflected in the AEC’s business planning documents. Internal reporting and mid-term performance assessments help track progress against performance criteria. Information on how the corporate plan contributes to specified outcomes is in Section 3 – Performance report .

Corporate planning documents—including internal monitoring and reporting mechanisms—are listed in appendix B.