Engage with our stakeholders through education and public awareness activities
The AEC delivers education, community engagement and communication activities to support an Australian community that is well informed about electoral matters.
Ensuring Australians know and understand how to fully participate in an election requires engagement to ensure all eligible voters have the information and advice they need.
Our education and public awareness activities target all eligible voters and consider Australia’s diverse population. Targeted information, services, tools and strategic partnerships are developed for priority groups, including those who may experience some barriers to electoral participation.
Undertaking public awareness activities
Our website www.aec.gov.au always has a range of electoral information focused on supporting informed participation, and building greater understanding, of Australia’s electoral system. The AEC’s digital channels—our website and social media—are used to promote and engage on key participation messages, and to provide updates on electoral activities such as redistribution and funding and disclosure matters.
The AEC also provides information and advice to voters with diverse needs. This includes information tailored for First Nations voters and translated information in a range of languages to support culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Public awareness resources available on www.aec.gov.au range from videos to fact sheets and are designed to meet the needs of various community groups. Education and communication initiatives are also in place to meet the needs of Australians with disability, and resources are translated into a range of other languages. Community engagement activities aim to increase electoral knowledge, enrolment, turnout and formality.
The Indigenous Electoral Participation Program delivers culturally appropriate services to Indigenous Australians to support Indigenous electoral participation.
Under section 7(1) (fa) of the Electoral Act, and in close cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the AEC also helps international electoral management bodies.
The National Training and Education Unit (NTEU) leads and coordinates the training and professional development for the AEC’s workforce, and delivers 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 materials to run school elections. Professional learning opportunities are also provided to teachers to encourage electoral education in primary and secondary schools.
The AEC is building on several community engagement resources and initiatives, and is supporting the electoral participation of audiences, including:
- Indigenous Australians
- people with disability
- people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- people experiencing homelessness
- young people
- people who are in prison.
Initiatives and resources are delivered to increase enrolment, turnout and formality, and to build the number of people from our targeted audiences who are available for AEC temporary election employment at electoral events.
Our approach to community engagement is to target these Australians strategically by:
- harnessing existing relationships through partner organisations
- extending the AEC digital reach and footprint
- using evidenced-based activities.
The AEC is working to increase electoral participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP). This national community-enabled initiative includes developing and sharing culturally appropriate electoral participation resources, and engaging with local partners to deliver these.
Our community partners have delivered a range of local engagement activities such as education sessions, election information materials and support for community events. They also help promote election-related employment opportunities and collaborate with the AEC to facilitate community discussions on enrolment and voting.
The AEC has expanded its library of videos developed for the 2019 federal election in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. These resources are used by the AEC and its partners online — including social media channels — and on radio. They aim to encourage the electoral participation of Indigenous peoples in remote, rural and metropolitan locations.
Video resources with culturally significant messages have also been developed to:
- highlight the importance of enrolling and voting during an electoral event
- explain the voting process
- promote the importance of participating in an election, including the opportunity to work.
The AEC is working to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are represented as part of the AEC’s Temporary Election Workforce. The AEC has established hundreds of Indigenous identified polling assistant positions based on population data, to support Indigenous electors at the next election.
The AEC Chairs the Electoral Council of Australia and New Zealand (ECANZ) Indigenous Electoral Participation Working Group. This forum allows members to share knowledge and resources, and to collaborate to improve electoral participation by Indigenous Australians at federal, state and local levels. The working group focuses on developing an Indigenous engagement strategy for young people and is collaborating across jurisdictions to promote inclusive elections. The group also works to support Indigenous Australian employment as part of election workforces across jurisdictions.
People with disability
Initiatives to enhance services for people with disability are being developed and implemented. This work — which accords with the AEC’s Disability Action Plan 2020–2023 — includes increasing accessibility at polling places and developing resources to support electoral participation for all voters. The AEC also provides accessible materials, and has implemented disability training to support our people and our temporary election workforce.
The AEC’s Disability Advisory Committee is the primary mechanism to communicate with — and understand the issues for — people with disability. It is promoting greater accessibility, inclusion and participation in the electoral process, and seeks feedback from peak disability organisations on AEC programs and services. The AEC also collaborates with ECANZ to deliver accessible electoral services across jurisdictions.
Electors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
The AEC is expanding resources to meet the needs of electors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The AEC is working with a service provider to produce culturally appropriate in-language electoral participation resources to support people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This includes developing podcasts, discussions on ethnic radio and community conversations about elections, voting and how to make your vote count.
Easy-read guides explaining how to enrol and how to vote at a federal election have been translated into several languages. A suite of in-language videos covering enrolment, explaining the voting process and promoting temporary election employment opportunities, has also been developed to support electoral participation.
People experiencing homelessness
People experiencing homelessness or with no fixed address are also supported to vote. Homelessness service providers and other relevant organisations help distribute AEC resources promoting enrolment and electoral participation.
The AEC supports young people to exercise their democratic rights and responsibilities as eligible voters. Digital and non-digital channels are available to promote electoral participation resources for young people. The AEC is also partnering with youth-led organisations — particularly those with a strong online presence — to deliver electoral education and engagement for Indigenous young people.
People in prison
For people in prison who are eligible to vote, the AEC shares targeted information on the electoral process. The AEC produces podcasts that provide electoral information and promote election participation. The AEC works with prison radio stations to play the podcasts.
PERFORMANCE STATEMENT – KEY ACTIVITY THREE
Use tracking research to understand if information related to key objectives identified in AEC’s public awareness campaign strategy for the next federal election can be met
AEC public information strategy and associated campaign evaluation, benchmarking and tracking reports.
Identified benchmarks are met in accordance with the AEC public information strategy.
The public awareness campaign for the 2021–22 federal election (estimated) meets benchmarks.
Deliver public awareness and education products that target all Australian citizens aged 18 years and over
Specific communication activities delivered for mainstream and identified special audience groups.
Campaign is delivered in accordance with objectives outlined in the campaign strategy.
Explanation of result: Preparations for the Groom and Eden-Monaro by-elections included a new and expanded voter awareness campaign. The Plan Your Vote campaign was a mix of advertising, social media and media relations, and stakeholder and community outreach. The intention was to facilitate electoral participation while delivering integrity requirements and COVID-19 health protection measures to voters.
Independent market research undertaken after the campaign will help develop and improve public information for the upcoming federal election.
Non-campaign advertising and communication activities were also delivered during the year to support federal redistributions and to provide a range of electoral information.
Percentage of 18 to 24-year-old Australians enrolled (youth enrolment rate)
Roll data from AEC enrolment systems and ABS population data.
Rates calculated monthly and published quarterly.
Explanation of result: The national youth enrolment rate is 84.5%. A total of 1.6 million electors aged 18 to 24 were enrolled at 30 June 2021.
Expand access to electoral information amongst priority groups by increasing AEC’s digital information presence
Digital sources of electoral information (including video and podcasts) for priority groups and data usage.
Digital products and usage as part of community engagement activities.
Extent of digital presence. Establish a baseline in 2020–21 for the uptake of digital products among priority groups.
Explanation of result: Digital products were produced for each target group, establishing a baseline offering of digital products in 2020–21. Digital products — including a range of videos, factsheets and in-language resources — were published on www.aec.gov.au and provided to partners for further distribution.
Annual visitors to the National Electoral Education Centre (NEEC)
AEC visitor data captured via the NEEC online booking system.
New baseline determined in 2020–21.
Explanation of result: The NEEC was significantly affected by travel restrictions and the closure of domestic borders by federal and state governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A considerably reduced number of schools were able to travel to Canberra and attend a NEEC education session.
As a result, a new visitor baseline was established in 2020-21.
In the 2020-21 reporting period, the NEEC delivered 793 education sessions to a total of 27,788 visitors (comprising 23,865 primary school students, 1,632 secondary students and 2,291 adults).
Ongoing uncertainty about COVID-19 - and the resulting impact on NEEC participation, as well as the NEEC refurbishment - resulted in the AEC establishing a new visitor rate baseline for 2022-23.
Visitor satisfaction rates at the NEEC
AEC NEEC visitor data.
Method & frequency
Visitor satisfaction surveys captured for each education program.
Explanation of result: Satisfaction surveys were collected from teachers and students after the NEEC education sessions. Satisfaction rates averaged 98% for teachers and students.
Alternative mechanisms have been introduced to capture visitor satisfaction rates since COVID-19. Surveys were collected from February 2021 onwards for teachers, and May 2021 onwards for students.
Maintain the number of unique online visitors to AEC for Schools website
AEC for School website
Method & frequency
www.aec.gov.au analytics of unique visits to AEC for School website https://education.aec.gov.au/
Explanation of result: There were 181,745 unique website views of the AEC for Schools website during the reporting period, and a total of 266,809 total page views.
The AEC for Schools website saw an 18% decline in visits during the second half of the reporting period, falling just short of the performance target of ≥ 200,000. COVID-19 may have had an impact on this measure, as students and teachers moved repeatedly between at-home and classroom-based learning during the year. Consequently, some education providers rationalised the content being delivered, with focus on core learning skills such as literacy and numeracy.
The AEC is implementing an annual review for all AEC for Schools education resources beginning in 2021–22. This aims to ensure that resources remain relevant and useful for teachers. It is expected that two newly released resources — Democracy Rules and Media Literacy — may help to improve website numbers over 2021–22.
Teacher professional learning participant numbers
Record of attendance.
Method & frequency
Professional learning participation rates.
New baseline determined in 2020-21
Explanation of result: We have observed considerable uncertainty in the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and the unknown ongoing impact on attendance at in-person programs. As a result, the AEC has established a new visitor rate baseline for the teacher professional learning program for the 2020–21 reporting period.
A significant portion of the teacher professional learning program requires in-person training for pre-service or in-service teachers, which has been affected by COVID-19.
In total, the program delivered training to 993 in-service and pre-service teachers. This comprised:
- 177 in-service teachers over seven workshops, including the online delivery of a virtual workshop in collaboration with a group of national institutions in Canberra
- 401 pre-service teachers at six universities
- 415 in-services teachers who completed the online Voting in the Classroom module.