On Saturday 9 October 1999 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia voted to elect representatives to the thirty five Regional Councils of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).
Regional Councils are bodies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people elected to represent the interests of their people in a particular region.
This is the fourth round of ATSIC Regional Council elections. The first election was held in 1990, the second in 1993 and the third in 1996. The 1999 elections, which were conducted for ATSIC by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), were to fill between 9 and 12 positions on each ATSIC Regional Council.
Regional Councils are made up of between one and five Wards. A total of 1 044 nominations were received for the 387 Regional Council vacancies.
Elections were not required in the Carpentaria Ward of Mount Isa Region, Longreach Ward of Rockhampton Region, Bandaral Ngadu Ward of Broome Region, Moora Ward of Narrogin Region or Daly River and Wadeye Wards of Jabiru Region because the number of nominations equalled the number of positions in each of those Wards.
Elections were also not conducted in the Yarleyel Ward of Kununurra Region, Wauchope Ward of Tennant Creek Region and Palmerston Ward of Darwin Region because the number of nominations received was less than the number of positions to be filled. Further elections were subsequently conducted on Saturday 4 December 1999 to fill the remaining positions.
All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were enrolled on the Commonwealth electoral roll were eligible to vote.
Voting was not compulsory, and all votes cast were cast as declaration votes. This meant voters filled out a voter card with their name, address and date of birth details, marked the ballot paper and sealed it in the voter card envelope before presenting it to a Liaison Officer in the polling place.
Each voter's personal details were later checked against the Commonwealth electoral roll to ensure they were correctly enrolled. Only after the voter card was checked was the ballot paper admitted to the count. For the sake of secrecy of the ballot, voter cards with personal details were kept separate from envelopes containing ballot papers.
Voters casting either a postal or pre-poll vote were required to provide both a statutory declaration and a confirmation of Aboriginality certificate to certify their entitlement to vote in an ATSIC Regional Council election.
The Commonwealth electoral roll does not differentiate between indigenous and non-indigenous electors. Because of this the AEC was not able to accurately determine how many people were eligible to vote in the elections. ATSIC provided estimates that there were 219 997 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people eligible to vote, if enrolled, in this election.
A total of 49 252 of the estimated 219 997 eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people voted at 122 pre-poll voting centres, 525 static polling places, 44 hospitals and 65 prisons. Five hundred and three mobile polling stations were also visited. These figures also include the voting arrangements for the further elections conducted on 4 December 1999.
The elected members of the Regional Councils in turn elected 16 Commissioners to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (see Regional Council Officeholder Elections).
A meeting of the Commissioners took place in Canberra on 16 December 1999, at which time the AEC conducted elections for the positions of ATSIC Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and Alternate Deputy Chairperson. This was the first time that the AEC has conducted the elections for these positions. At this meeting Mr Geoff Clark was elected as Chairperson, Mr Ray Robinson was elected as Deputy Chairperson and Mr Steve Gordon was elected as Alternate Deputy Chairperson.
|New South Wales|
|Bourke||NSW Far West||3||6||425||440||395||9||36||99||27/10/99|
|Ipswich and South Coast||4||17||729||678||594||20||64||119||27/10/99|
|Carpentaria||1||1||255||N/A||No election required in this ward||27/10/99|
|Longreach||1||1||N/A||No election required in this ward||27/10/99|
|Derby||Bandaral Ngadu||5||5||740||N/A||No election required in this ward||25/10/99|
|Moora||1||1||37||N/A||No election required in this ward||25/10/99|
|Wangka Pulka North||4||12||262||372||320||5||47||65||22/10/99|
|Wangka Pulka South||3||6||153||162||138||3||21||35||22/10/99|
|Nulla Wanga Tjuta North||1||5||59||72||66||2||4||34||27/10/99|
|Nulla Wanga Tjuta South||5||17||361||420||366||5||49||62||27/10/99|
|Alice Springs||Alice Springs||10||27||938||1042||784||24||234||72||28/10/99|
|Daly River||1||1||337||N/A||No election required in this ward||21/10/99|
|Wadeye||2||2||375||N/A||No election required in this ward||21/10/99|
|Tennant Creek *||Alpurrurulam||1||2||1135||91||85||2||4||43||26/10/99|
Some wards may have been renamed since the 1996 Regional Council elections.
* These regions were previously made up of a single ward.
** Further elections for these wards were conducted on 4 December 1999.
|Gazettal of notice fixing polling day:||Friday 9 July 1999|
|Nominations open:||Tuesday 10 August 1999|
|Close of nominations:||Wednesday 8 September 1999|
|Close of receipt of candidates' photos:||Wednesday 15 September 1999|
|Close of rolls:||Friday 24 September 1999|
|Commencement of mobile polling:||Monday 27 September 1999|
|Polling Day:||Saturday 9 October 1999|
The AEC Education Section oversees the Information and Education campaign that aims to ensure that Indigenous electors are aware of ATSIC elections and the election procedures.
For the 1999 ATSIC Elections the AEC employed 52 Community Electoral Information Officers (CEIOs) to conduct information campaigns in every ATSIC region in Australia. CEIOs operated in urban, rural and remote areas.
Information materials were developed for use by the CEIOs and for distribution to
Indigenous electors. These materials included enrolment and voting posters and stickers, a voting procedures and candidates information video, an election guide and T-shirts for use by mobile polling staff. The artwork for the election guide and the T-shirts was purchased from an Indigenous artist from Darwin.
Election advertising was also broadcast through Indigenous radio stations throughout Australia.
|NSW Far West
Jones, Desmond Edward Murray,William
Rose, George (Bandit)
Bates-Canty, Patricia (Lolly)
Bell, Michael John
Thorne (Deshong), Michelle
Davis, Kathleen (Kate)
Briggs, Edward William
|COFFS HARBOUR||SYDNEY||WAGGA WAGGA|
Kelly, Ray (Jnr)
Gibson, Raymond (Jack)
Hutchison, Kerrie Anne
Peachey, Eunice Joyce
Ipswich and South Coast
Yanner, Murrandoo Bulanyi
Connolly, Jason Raymond
McKeon, Elaine D.
Robinson, Ray (Sugar)
Martin, Garry (Sonny)
Weatherall, Grace (Lucas)
Murray, Sammy Joe
Malone, Clarissa (Ky Bligh)
Ah Kee, Merv
Savage, Peter M.
Johnson, Colin A.
Woolla, Alison Kornamyuh
Woodley, Eddie R. (Mooka)
Accoom, Rodney Daniel
Pearson, Gerhardt (Joe)
Harrigan, Nakia Armand
Reuben, Sylvia (Jeanie Mack)
Hore, Genua Akee, Angie M.
Akee, Helen (Allyonn)
Edwards, Brendan Couzens, Ivan K.
Bamblett, Alfred John Martin, Caroline
Swindle, Irene A
Briggs (Cooper), Graeme
Sainty, Roy (Rocky)
Tatnell, Helen (Faye)
Gower, Neil John
Clements, Charles (Charla)
Champion, Brian (Bee)
Dimer, Edward (Snowy)
Sambo, Rosemary Anne
Tucker, Ian Rodney
Cole, Gordon (Noddy)
Hayward, Karen Rose
Taylor, Dianne (Turvey)
Yarran, Murray (Icko)
Wilkes (Bulmurn), Richard
McPhee, Ivan (Kurijinpi)
Kogolo, Annette (Wayuwu)
Bedford, Eric (Dickie)
Chulung, Donald (Duck) Trust, Ian
Brahim, Adrian (Ducko)
Councillor, Phillip (Patchy)
Davies, Arthur (Sandy)
Laudehr (Gregory), Maxine
Curley, Phillip (Philo)
Bellottie, Laurence (Ben)
Colbung, Oscar Williams, David
Williams, Glenda Miriam
Jetta, Dennis P.
Dimer, Joyce Amy
Michael, Peter (Snr)
Williams, Glenda Miriam
Thomas, Preston (Mr T)
Landy, Nyaburu (Billy)
Wanganeen, Klynton (Kandy)
Wilson, Wilbur (Whoopy)
Graham, Cecil (Shells)
Wangka Pulka North
Coleman, Heather Carmel
Milera, Phillip Bruce
Champion, Malcolm B.
Wangka Pulka South
Miller, Harry Douglas
Walker, Robin Dean
Nulla Wanga Tjuta North
Nulla Wanga Tjuta South
Tilmouth, William Roy
Van Iersel, Eileen
Wauchope, Wayne John
Narndu, Theodora Darrnunji
Binalany, Tony One
Daymirringu, Weluk John
Garrawurra, Fay Matjarra
Wunungmurra, Bobby M.
Jampajimba, Jasper Haines
Allen (Nungari), Marie
Johnson, Doug Japanangka
George (Crow), Norman
Miller, Apaak Jupurrula
Rogers (Golbong), Walter
Lauder (Naparula), Amy
Tennyson, Brian Japananga
|Following the Regional Council elections, the elected members on each ATSIC zone elected a Commissioner to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. These elections, called Zone elections, were conducted between 22 November and 14 December 1999. The results are as follows:|
|New South Wales (East)
New South Wales (Metropolitan)
New South Wales (West)
Norhern Territory (Central)
Northern Territory (North)
Queensland (Far North West)
Western Australia (Central)
Western Australia (North)
Western Australia (South East)
Western Australia (South West)
Ray (Sugar) Robinson
Marion Hansen *
Eric (Dickie) Bedford
|* Ms Marion Hansen was elected as Commissioner for Victoria Zone at a supplementary election conducted on 28 January 2000, to fill the position made vacant as a result of Mr Geoff Clark's election as ATSIC Chairperson.|
There are two systems of counting the votes, depending on whether the ward is electing one person to represent them or more than one person.
In wards where only one representative was to be elected, the successful candidate had to obtain more than half the votes in the count for that ward. If a candidate obtained more than half the first preference votes, then he or she was elected.
If no candidate obtained more than half the first preference votes, then the votes of the candidate with the fewest first preference votes were passed on to the candidate who had been given the voter's second preference. These preference votes were added to the first preference votes those remaining candidates already had and if any candidate now had more than half the votes, then that candidate was elected.
This process of excluding the candidate with the lowest number of votes and distributing his or her votes to candidates still in the count, continued until a candidate gained more than half the votes in the count for that ward.
This system is similar to the method of electing Members of the House of Representatives at federal elections.
In wards where there were two or more representatives to be elected the successful candidate had to obtain a quota to be elected. The quota was calculated by dividing the number of formal ballot papers by the number of positions plus one and then adding one to the result (disregarding any remainder):
(total number of formal ballot papers)+1
number of positions + 1
For example, if there were 500 formal ballot papers and 12 positions to be filled the quota would have been:
(12 + 1 ) +1 = 39
Any candidate who obtained the quota was immediately elected. Any votes that a candidate gained which were over the quota (in this case 39) were called 'surplus' votes.
This surplus was distributed to the candidates who received the second preference. All ballot papers were transferred at a fraction of the full vote. This fraction was calculated like this:
total number of candidate's ballot papers
Any votes that candidates received from this distribution of surplus votes were added to the votes already obtained. If a candidate reached the quota, then he or she was elected. Any surplus votes of this candidate were then transferred to the remaining candidates.
If all surplus votes were transferred and there were still vacancies, then the candidate with the lowest number of votes was excluded and his or her votes were transferred to the candidate who had been given the next preference on the ballot paper. This process continued until all vacancies were filled.
This system (known as 'proportional representation') is similar to the method of electing Senators at federal elections.
Following their election, Regional Councillors voted to elect a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson for their Council. These elections were held between 26 November and 4 December 1996 and the results are as follows:
|New South Wales|
|Deputy Chairperson||Kevin Knight|
|Coffs Harbour||Chairperson||Jimmy Budd|
|Deputy Chairperson||Louise Campbell|
|Deputy Chairperson||Iris White|
|Deputy Chairperson||Chris Williams|
|Deputy Chairperson||Stella Lamb|
|Wagga Wagga||Chairperson||Hewitt Whyman|
|Deputy Chairperson||Robert Carroll|
|Deputy Chairperson||Herb Bligh|
|Deputy Chairperson||Raymond Wallace|
|Deputy Chairperson||Eddie R. (Mooka) Woodley|
|Mount Isa||Chairperson||Noel Sarmardin|
|Deputy Chairperson||Roger Kelly|
|Deputy Chairperson||Heather Toby|
|Deputy Chairperson||Randall Taylor|
|Deputy Chairperson||Angie M Akee|
|Deputy Chairperson||Ron James|
|Deputy Chairperson||Judy Monk|
|Deputy Chairperson||Helen (Faye) Tatnell|
|Deputy Chairperson||Linda Dean|
|Deputy Chairperson||Ivan (Kurijinpi) McPhee|
|Geraldton||Chairperson||Arthur (Sandy) Davies|
|Deputy Chairperson||Helen McNeair|
|Deputy Chairperson||Ian Rodney Tucker|
|Deputy Chairperson||Ted Carlton|
|Deputy Chairperson||Richard Bennell|
|Deputy Chairperson||Doreen Nelson|
|South Hedland||Chairperson||Adrian (Ducko) Brahim|
|Deputy Chairperson||John Cedar|
|Deputy Chairperson||Bruce Hogan|
Electoral Commissioner (02) 6271 4400
Deputy Electoral Commissioner (02) 6271 4410
Mark Cunliffe (acting)
Anthea Wilson (acting) (02) 6271 4415
Assistant Directors, Information
Bernadette O'Meara (02) 6271 4548
Silvana Puizina (02) 6271 4431
Margaret Meneghel (02) 6271 4505
The administration of federal elections and referendums are under the control of the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for that State or Territory.
AEOs may be contacted on the following numbers.
Ph. (02) 9375 6333
Fx. (02) 9281 9384
Ph. (03) 9285 7171
Fx. (03) 9285 7178
Ph. (07) 3834 3400
Fx. (07) 3831 7223
Ph. (08) 9470 7299
Fx. (08) 9472 3551
Ph. (08) 8237 6555
Fx. (08) 8231 2664
Ph. (03) 6235 0500
Fx. (03) 6234 4268
Ph. (08) 8982 8000
Fx. (08) 8981 7964
NATIONAL ENQUIRY SERVICE 13 23 26.
The AEC produces a range of information materials for political parties, journalists and other people interested in the electoral process.
These are available from all AEC offices and the AEC internet website.