In a busy year that included a federal election, the Department worked with a number of agencies to support the democratic process.
Electoral Integrity in the 2019 Election
The Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce was a multi-agency network formed to provide expertise to the Australian Electoral Commission to address potential issues related to interference in the 2019 federal election. The Department of Finance co-chaired this Taskforce, along with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), and worked collaboratively with all agencies represented on the Taskforce to facilitate a whole-of-government approach to these matters.
The Department, with policy responsibility for elections, will continue to work closely with the AEC on matters of electoral integrity.
Ministerial and Parliamentary Services election response and support
The 2019 federal election was a busy period for Finance as we welcomed new parliamentarians and MOP(S) Act staff and provided support and assistance to those who departed the Parliament. In the lead-up to the election, Finance published extensive guidance material and answered almost 2,000 inquiries. Finance also launched a new self-help tool for MOP(S) Act employees which allowed individuals to assess the impact of the election outcome on their particular employment circumstances. The tool provided MOP(S) Act employees with the ability to access information at their convenience without having to contact the M&PS Help Desk.
Immediately following the election, Finance worked closely with other parliamentary agencies to provide an induction to the 46 new Senators and Members, including providing each with a personalised briefing on their employment responsibilities and obligations under the work expenses framework. As a result of electoral redistributions and the location of incoming parliamentarians, Finance has facilitated a significant number of electorate office relocations and establishments.
Machinery-of-government support and implementation
In 2018, in collaboration with PM&C and the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), Finance undertook a review of the processes and associated guidance materials that support the implementation of machinery-of-government changes. As a result of the review, Finance released updated guidance materials—in particular, the Machinery of government changes—a guide for agencies—which was jointly released with the APSC in April 2019 to capture lessons learned from prior experience.
On 29 May 2019, after the federal election, the Prime Minister announced changes to the Administrative Arrangement Orders, which resulted in the movement of a number of functions between portfolios. Finance worked closely with impacted entities to implement the machinery-of-government changes, utilising the updated processes and guidance. Through effective collaboration, the changes were substantially implemented by 1 July 2019. The revised machinery-of-government arrangements were incorporated into the Appropriation Bills introduced on 25 July 2019.