Australian Electoral Commission

Supply of elector information for use in medical research

Updated: 4 August 2016

The AEC may provide Commonwealth Electoral Roll (the electoral roll) information for the purpose of conducting medical research. This is permitted under item 2 of the table in subsection 90B(4) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).

All applications for electoral roll information are governed by regulation 11 of the Electoral and Referendum Regulation 2016. It requires medical researchers to adhere to the National Health and Medical Research Council Guidelines under Section 95 of the Privacy Act 1988 (the NHMRC Guidelines).


To be eligible medical research must involve the diagnosis and/or treatment and/or prevention of disease or be epidemiological research, and be relevant to public health and safety.

In addition, medical research projects:

  • must be approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)
  • must adhere to the NHMRC Guidelines.

Please note that the AEC's first obligation is to the elector. Applications will be rejected if there is a risk that medical research will breach elector security and privacy, is politically biased or has the potential to discourage electoral participation.

Electoral roll information

The AEC may provide the following electoral roll information:

  • elector name
  • elector address
  • elector sex (gender)
  • age range (each age range must cover a minimum of two years).

This information may be provided as a random sample from:

  • all electorates within a specific state(s) and/or territory(s)
  • specific electorates.

Preparing an application

  1. Requests to the AEC for the provision of electoral roll information must include:
    • a copy of the research project proposal sent to the HREC
    • a copy of the HREC approval for the project (letter and/or email)
    • a list of the names of the HREC that approved the research.

  2. Researchers must demonstrate the project's adherence to the NHMRC Guidelines by:
    • providing detailed responses to all questions contained in section 2 of the NHMRC Guidelines, including all points listed under paragraph 2.4
    • ensuring that information to be sent to potential participants includes notification of the matters set out in paragraph 2.6 of the NHMRC Guidelines.
      (Please answer all questions sequentially as they appear in the NHMRC Guidelines)

  3. Researchers must include the following information:
    • evidence that the research topic qualifies as medical research
    • the number of elector records needed to conduct the research, and a justification for how this number was calculated, including evidence on the expected response rate
    • an explanation of the mechanisms and procedures in place to protect the electoral roll information from further use or disclosure to prevent a breach of section 91B of the Electoral Act
    • any additional information to be sent to potential participants (e.g. introduction letters, questionnaires/surveys).

Lodging an application

Applications must be made by either:

  • Emailing applications to: Please include the subject line: Request to access the Roll – Medical Research

  • Mailing applications to:
    Australian Electoral Commission
    Medical Extracts at Roll Management Branch
    Locked Bag 4007
    Canberra ACT 2601


The AEC will endeavour to assess applications within four weeks. However, the AEC's core business will take priority and delays can be expected around the federal election period.


If an application is approved, applicants are required to pay the processing costs associated with extracting the electoral roll information.

Cost per extract – $1 976.35 (incl. GST)

Further conditions

Before the AEC provides any elector information:

  • the person in charge of the study must sign and return a safeguard agreement protecting the data from unauthorised use
  • any persons with access to the elector information, including any sub-contractors, must sign and return Deed Polls agreeing to the conditions
  • payment must be received.


Elector information will be supplied:

  • on a CD-Rom
  • as a delimited text file
  • password encrypted
  • by registered post.

If you have any questions regarding making a request for the provision of electoral roll information please contact