Working at the 2017 New England by-election

Updated: 31 October 2017

What to expect on by-election day

Inside the polling place

Polling officials work inside the polling place, issuing votes and assisting electors.

Outside the polling place supporters of candidates and political parties distribute how-to-vote material. These people are not employed by the AEC and are not polling officials.

What's it like to be a polling official on the by-election Day?

Election Day starts early for a polling official. The Officer-in-Charge (OIC) is at the polling place by 6.30am in the morning and most other polling officials arrive by 7am for their face to face briefing with the OIC. There's a lot to do before polling starts at 8am. Once the briefing is finished the ballot papers need to be distributed to the issuing points, and the ordinary issuing officers need to open the certified lists. Everything has to be in order so that polling can start at exactly 8am.

Mornings in the polling place tend to be the busiest time as most people like to vote early. The rest of the day is quite steady. While it will be a busy day in polling places it is still important for staff to take adequate breaks in accordance with the following:

  • Employees will have at least a 30 minute meal break after each 5 hours of continuous work. Meal breaks will generally be at the direction of the manager or supervisor based on workflow.  To accommodate this, an employee’s break may occur between 4 and 6 hours of continuous work.
  • It is the responsibility of AEC employees to ensure they take this break. If you have any special requirements or there are medical reasons that may require you to consume food at regular intervals you should advise your supervisor or manager at the time of commencing duty.

Staff working on polling day should ensure that they bring sufficient food and drinks to sustain themselves through the day.

What happens once the voting has finished?

After the poll closes at 6pm, ordinary issuing officers and declaration vote issuing officers reconcile the ballot papers, return materials to the OIC and then assist with the sorting and counting of ballot papers.

Sorting and counting ballot papers

Once the ballot papers have been unfolded, staff commence work sorting the ballot papers into piles for each candidate. Polling staff carefully check each ballot paper to see if it is formal or informal. Informal ballot papers are placed in a separate pile for the OIC to check.

The ballot papers for each candidate are counted in bundles of 50. Once counting has finished the polling official supervising the counting records the result. These figures are rechecked and reconciled with the number of ballot papers issued at the polling place.

Roles and Duties

Which temporary positions are available?

Temporary positions
Role General description
Declaration Vote Issuing Officer / Inquiry Officer Issuing and Inquiry Officers are responsible for supporting absentee and provisional voters by completing declaration vote certificates, and documentation which tracks the issued materials.
Early Voting Liaison Officer Early Voting Liaison Officers are a senior position responsible for acting as a representative of the Divisional Returning Officer. They provide assurance that policies and procedures are being adhered to, assist the Officer in Charge and manage emerging complex problems.
Electoral Visitor Electoral Visitors work as part of a small team to deliver voter services to identified institutions (locations such as nursing homes and hospitals). Duties include the management and security of materials such as ballot papers.
Electoral Visitor in Charge Electoral Visitors in Charge act as representatives for the Divisional Returning Officer. They are responsible for supervising a mobile team that delivers voter services to identified institutions, oversee the management and security of materials, liaise with voters and party workers, and undertake scrutiny management and return of materials.
Officer in Charge (OIC) / Second in Charge (2IC) OICs and 2ICs are leadership positions with responsibility for managing a polling place, which includes the preparation and set up of the polling place, supervision of staff, management and security of materials, liaison with voters and party workers, scrutiny management and return of materials.
Polling Assistant Polling Assistants are one of the most common polling official positions during an election, and are generally asked to rotate through a range of tasks such as issuing ballot material, guarding ballot boxes, queue management and scrutiny.
Polling Place Liaison Officer Polling Place Liaison Officers are a senior position responsible for acting as a representative of the Divisional Returning Officer. They provide assurance that policies and procedures are being adhered to, assist the Officer in Charge and manage emerging complex problems. A PPLO will visit up to five polling places at varying times and will require the use of a private motor vehicle.
Pre-poll / Interstate Voting Centre Issuing Officer Issuing Officers issue ballot material in a pre-poll voting centre or interstate voting centre, as well as issuing both declaration and ordinary ballot material, guarding ballot boxes, queue management and scrutiny.
Scrutiny Assistant Scrutiny Assistants typically work on polling night from 5:30pm to 9:30pm and help to ensure the timely completion of post-voting tasks and assist in unfolding ballot papers (however they are not permitted to assist with the count of the ballot papers).
Voter Information Officer Voter Information Officers are responsible for assisting electors in Indigenous communities, or communities with a large number of culturally and linguistically diverse people that have been identified as having high informal voting rates.

FAQs

Pay and conditions:

What terms and conditions apply to my employment?

The terms and conditions for staff employed by the AEC during the 2017 New England by-election period are set out in the Collective Determination 2017/1 made by the Electoral Commissioner under section 35(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

How much will I be paid?

If you are employed to work on by-election day only, you will receive a set remuneration package according to your position, as detailed in Schedule 1 of the Collective Determination:

Classification - Electoral Officer Work classification and work code Remuneration package (excluding superannuation) Superannuation contribution
EO1 Scrutiny Assistant (015) $125.74 na
EO2 Interstate Voting Officer (011) $558.89 $31.81
EO2 Issuing Officer (013) $408.78 na
EO2 Declaration vote issuing Officer (023) $535.79 $29.62
EO2 Inquiry Officer (024) $535.79 $29.62
EO2 Part day Polling Assistant 2:   (5 hrs) (030) $157.03 na
EO2 Part day Polling Assistant 1:  (8 hrs)(014): $212.46 na
EO4 OIC 1-3 issuing points (001) $806.54 $46.08
EO4 Second in Charge (2IC) (008) $698.63 $41.10
EO4 Interstate Voting OIC (009) $740.59 $43.59
EO5 OIC 4-6 issuing points (002) $854.00 $49.90
EO5 OIC 7-10 issuing points (003) $907.87 $55.01
EO5 OIC 11+ issuing points (004) $988.68 $62.69
EO5 Polling Place Liaison Officer (005) $832.46 $52.45

If you are employed to work during the election period, you will be paid at the hourly rate assigned to your position. For more information please refer to Schedule 2 (page 14) of the Collective Determination 2017/1.

When will I be paid?

If you are employed to work on the 2017 New England by-election Day only, you can expect to be paid within three weeks following the by-election Day.

If you are employed to work during the election period, you will be paid weekly in arrears. Your pay week is from Thursday to Wednesday and your pay is processed on Fridays. Most employees receive their pay on the Thursday of the next week.

How will I be paid?

You will be paid by electronic funds transfer to the bank account you entered in AEC Employment.

Am I entitled to receive overtime?

If you are employed to work on by-election day only, you will receive a set remuneration package according to your position that covers all hours you work on the day and any mandatory training that's required for your role.

If you are employed to work during the election period you may be entitled to overtime as per the conditions set out in Part D, section 23.1 (page 11) of the Collective Determination 2017/1.

Please note that employees are paid a 25% casual loading in lieu of all paid leave, and that no casual loading will be paid for any hours for which an employee is paid at overtime rates.

Will I receive a superannuation contribution from the AEC?

If you earn more than $450.00 within a 30 day period, the AEC will deposit a superannuation contribution into your nominated superannuation fund.

Will payments from the AEC affect my Centrelink benefit?

For advice on how by-election work may affect any government benefits please read the information provided on the Department of Human Services website.

What hours am I required to work?

You will be notified of your specific start time once you log on to AEC Employment and accept your offer of employment.

If you are employed to work during the election period, the span of ordinary hours for work performed during the election period is 7am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. The length of the shift you work during these hours will vary depending, but is usually not longer than 7.5 hours.

As you will be employed on a casual basis, the AEC will offer you employment as and when required by the AEC. The AEC does not guarantee you a minimum or maximum number of hours or shifts throughout the course of your temporary employment.

If you are asked to work the AEC guarantees you a minimum shift length of:

  • 1 hour for a day on which the employee is required to undertake training; or
  • 3 hours on any day where the employee is otherwise directed to perform duties.
An employee will be required to work the following hours on by-election Day
Work classification Start time Finish time
Polling Place Liaison Officer 6.30am When all required duties are complete in the polling place (does not include the counting of ballot papers after 6pm)
Officer-in-Charge (OIC) 6.30am When all required duties are complete in the polling place (including the counting of ballot papers after 6pm)

Second-in-Charge (2IC)

OIC Interstate Voting Centre

6.30am When all required duties are complete in the polling place (including the counting of ballot papers after 6pm)

Polling Place Staff

Declaration Vote

Issuing Officer

Inquiry Officer

Issuing Officer

Interstate Voting Centre

7am When all required duties are complete in the polling place (including the counting of ballot papers after 6pm)

Part Day Polling Assistant 1

Part Day Polling Assistant 2

Start time as advised by DRO Finish time as advised by DRO
Scrutiny Assistant 5pm 9.30pm

Do I need to complete a timesheet?

If you are employed to work on the by-election Day only you are not required to fill in a timesheet.

If you are employed to work during the by-election period you are required to ensure your start and finish times (and any breaks) are accurately recorded on a timesheet.

When does my employment end?

Each period of casual employment terminates automatically at the end of the employment period detailed in section 1 of your Offer of Casual Employment letter. If you are employed to work on the by-election Day only, your employment will cease following the completion of duties on the by-election Day.

The AEC may terminate your employment immediately without notice, with or without cause. In all circumstances, regardless of whether notice is provided, the AEC will only pay you up to the end of your last period of casual employment, and you will not be entitled to payment in lieu of notice.

When will I receive a payment summary (group certificate) from the AEC?

All polling official will receive a payment summary after June 30 of the financial year in which you were employed.

Employment:

Where can I find out more about the duties involved in my role?

Please visit the roles and duties section of this website for detailed information about each polling official position.

When will I know if my application has been successful and what role I'll be offered?

These offers are to be sent out progressively, so if you haven't received an offer yet that does not mean you won't be offered employment over coming weeks. The majority of offers for employment on by-election Day (December 2, 2017) are sent out by mid-November 2017.

As the AEC runs an ongoing election recruiting process, there is no fixed date by which you'll know if your application is successful.

Can I choose when and where I work?

Yes. As part of the Registration of Interest process through AEC Employment you will be asked to nominate your preferred location and timing of employment (e.g. by-election Day only or throughout the election period). As part of this process you can also nominate for a specific position, but the AEC does not guarantee you will be offered your nominated position.

What personal information will I need to provide to the AEC?

As part of the application process (submitting a Registration of Interest) you will need to provide your Tax File Number, preferred superannuation account details and preferred bank account details so we can pay you.

If you are required to undergo a character check (see below) you may need to supply additional information.

Do I need to undergo a character check?

Some temporary employees may be required to undertake a character clearance check. This involves agreeing to have a police record check into your background.

Please be aware if you are required to undergo a character check you will receive an email from Equifax, who are carrying out this process on behalf of the AEC, providing instructions on how to complete the process through an online portal. Please read these instructions carefully before proceeding with the check.

Will I receive a meal?

You will have access to drinking water at your AEC work location, but other food and drinks are not supplied. Also be aware you might not be based near a shop or café – so make sure you bring enough food and drink to see you through your shift.

What else should I bring on the day?

In addition to food and drink, you are encouraged to bring any medication you are prescribed or require. You should also consider bringing a torch to move safely to and from the venue, as the AEC cannot guarantee sufficient external lighting at each venue.

What should I wear?

The AEC does not have a specific dress code for temporary election staff, but you are expected to exercise common sense and wear practical and inoffensive clothing (examples of impractical or inappropriate clothing includes singlets, thongs, or t-shirts with offensive or political images or messages).

You are also strongly encouraged to wear flat, practical and supportive footwear, and to consider the weather conditions and venue when choosing what you'll wear.

What are the rules about political neutrality while employed?

The AEC operates in a politically sensitive environment. Any person who is, or is seen to be active in political affairs, and intends to publicly carry on this activity, may compromise the strict political neutrality of the AEC. If you do not adhere to the standard of political neutrality your employment may be terminated.

What are the rules about using social media while employed?

The AEC Social Media Policy for temporary employees establishes guidance, procedures and protocols for temporary employees considering accessing or using social media in all its forms.

Does the AEC offer assistance for Indigenous applicants?

The AEC is committed to creating a staffing profile at polling places that reflects the cultural diversity of the communities we serve, and to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage in electoral participation.

Staff from the AEC's Indigenous and Community Engagement Team are available to assist Indigenous applicants with information on available jobs, working conditions and preparing and submitting an application.

If you are interested in temporary employment at a polling place please contact the AEC's Indigenous and Community Engagement Team.

Do I have to be an Australian citizen to work for the AEC?

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 does not specifically require applicants for temporary employment to be Australian citizens, however certain categories of temporary employment require the witnessing of documentation, and thus must be undertaken by enrolled electors.

Do I have to be at least 18 years old to work for the AEC?

Under Section 203(4) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, no person under the age of 18 can be employed as a presiding officer, deputy presiding officer or assistant presiding officer. For all other roles the employment laws of the relevant state or territory apply.

In practice this means that temporary election workers who are under 18 may not issue ballot papers to electors in any capacity. However, they may count, sort and package ballot material should they be offered positions that perform these duties such as Divisional Scrutiny Assistant, Polling Day Scrutiny Assistant, Materials Assistant, or when undertaking other activities assigned to them by their supervisor.

Can I still work as a polling official if I've received a redundancy from the public service?

Yes.

What should I do if I can't work on the day?

If you find yourself unable to work for any reason please contact your divisional office using the contact details provided at the bottom of your Offer of Casual Employment letter as soon as possible. If you don't have those contact details at hand please call 13 23 26.

Training requirements:

What training do I need to complete?

All temporary election workers are required to undertake some form of training, and if you are working on by-election Day this includes a mandatory face-to-face briefing from the Officer in Charge from 7am. Please visit the roles and duties section of this website to view the specific training requirements for each position.

Do I need to enrol in my online training?

You will be automatically enrolled in any required online training courses through the Election Training System. Once you login you will be taken to the 'Training Plan' screen, which will show you the specific training modules you are required to complete.

You do not need to enroll to access the optional courses available on this website.

How do I access my online training?

Polling officials access online training through a system called the Election Training System. If you are required to complete online training, your login details for the Election Training System will be sent to you in an email shortly after you receive your Confirmation of Casual Employment letter.

Once you login you will be taken to the 'Training Plan' screen, which will show you the specific training modules you are required to complete.

Does the training have to be completed online?

If you are required to undertake online training it has to be completed through the Election Training System (ETS).

Face to face training will be held at a designated training venue.

When do I have to complete my online training?

If your position requires you to attend a face-to-face training prior to your commencing employment, it is preferable that you complete the online training before attending your face-to-face training.

I'm having problems accessing my training – who do I contact?

For any problems accessing the Election Training System please contact the ETP Helpdesk via:

I have worked at previous elections, do I need to complete the training again?

The training is a great way for you to be familiar with changes made since the last federal election, and even if you have worked at previous electoral events you will be required to undertake the new online training that's been created for the 2017 New England by-election.