It is with great pleasure that I present this report on the conduct of the 2 March 1996 federal election. It is the first stand alone report published for the Australian community by the Australian Electoral Commission as part of its electoral information and education program.
Elections are fundamental to our democratic processes. To maintain the confidence of the Australian public in those processes, it is essential that an election is, and is seen to be, run fairly and impartially by the Electoral Commission. For many Australians there is a mystique about the arrangements that are essential to the conduct of an election. This report provides a chronology of events that took place following the announcement of the 1996 federal election through to the first meeting of the 38th parliament. It is intended to provide an insight into the various elements that combine to enable over 11.7 million Australians to elect their representatives in the federal parliament.
It should also be recognised that the conduct of the election was very much a community affair. Some 60 000 Australians worked as polling officials on election day with dedication and enthusiasm. That the election was conducted so effectively and professionally by those involved can be a source of great pride, not only for them, but for all Australians.
I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes story of the 1996 federal election.
Bill Gray AM Electoral Commissioner