Australian Electoral Commission

Functions of the AEC

Updated: 23 December 2014

As outlined in the 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements, the AEC has one outcome for which we are funded, namely:

Maintain an impartial and independent electoral system for eligible voters through active electoral roll management, efficient delivery of polling services and targeted education and public awareness programs.

Three programs outlined in the 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements meet this outcome:

Program 1.1: Electoral Roll Management

Objective: Voter entitlement for Australians and support for electoral events and redistributions through maintaining an accurate and up-to-date electoral roll.

To do this the AEC delivers:

  • Electoral roll management: the AEC maintains multiple streams of contact with voters to encourage them to enrol and keep their enrolment details up to date.
  • Support services for electoral redistributions: the AEC provides support for the redistribution process and provides updated electoral boundary redistribution maps and advice to voters in redistributed divisions.

Program 1.2: Election Management and Support Services

Objective: Access to an impartial and independent electoral system for Australians through the provision of election services, assistance and advice.

To do this the AEC delivers:

  • Federal elections, by-elections and referendums: the AEC provides products and services to support the conduct of a federal election or referendum.
  • Party registrations: the AEC maintains the Register of Political Parties as required by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) and assists people applying for party registration.
  • Funding and disclosure services: the AEC ensures transparency and accountability in political funding and expenditure by participants in the political process at the federal level. It maintains products to help people meet reporting obligations to lodge accurate and timely returns in accordance with the Electoral Act.
  • Industrial elections and protected action ballots: the AEC conducts timely and transparent industrial elections in accordance with the requirements of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 and each organisation's rules. The AEC conducts protected action ballots in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 and Fair Work Australia orders.
  • Torres Strait Regional Authority elections: the AEC delivers products and services to support the conduct of the Torres Strait Regional Authority elections, conducted in line with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005.
  • Fee-for-service elections: the AEC delivers elections and ballots for authorities and organisations on a full cost recovery basis in accordance with the AEC's minimum standards. The AEC also assists with conduct of state, territory and local government elections where requested by the relevant electoral body.
  • Advice and assistance in overseas elections: the AEC provides advice and assistance in matters relating to elections and referendums to authorities of foreign countries or to foreign organisations in cases approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Program 1.3: Education and Communication

Objective: Informed Australians through the provision of information services on electoral matters.

To do this the AEC delivers:

  • Electoral education: the AEC provides electoral education through a variety of programs and services, including online technology.
  • Communication strategies and services: the AEC delivers public awareness and communication strategies to support the conduct of federal elections and referendums. It makes use of contemporary technology to deliver modern products and services in line with community preferences for online services.
  • Community strategies: the AEC provides education and assistance to a range of audiences – in particular to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the Indigenous Electoral Participation Program.