Compliance & Enforcement Activities

Campaigning reminder distributed to all federally registered political parties: March 2022.

As Australia’s national electoral agency, the AEC plays the leading role in maintaining the integrity of the Australian electoral system. The AEC is responsible for conducting federal elections and referendums and maintaining the Commonwealth electoral roll in accordance with the Electoral Act. The AEC also undertakes a broad range of compliance and enforcement activities related to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

This page sets out recent compliance and enforcement actions of the AEC. An annual summary of significant enforcement activities the AEC has undertaken is also available in the AEC Annual Report.

Enforceable Undertakings

In the event of an alleged contravention of Part XX or XXA of the Electoral Act, the AEC may, as an alternative to court proceedings, accept an enforceable undertaking given by the person who is alleged to have committed the contravention in accordance with Part 6 of the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 (Regulatory Powers Act). An enforceable undertaking is used where the alleged contravention is of a serious nature.

An enforceable undertaking is a legally binding agreement between the AEC and the person who proposed the undertaking. Once accepted by the AEC, the enforceable undertaking obliges the person to carry out specific activities outlined in the enforceable undertaking.

Enforceable Undertakings that have been accepted by the AEC are published on the Transparency Register and outlined in the below table.

Name of party

Date of acceptance

Legislative provisions

Enforceable undertaking

Senator Pauline Hanson as party agent for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

15 June 2021

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 – section 317(1)

Pauline Lee Hanson – Enforceable undertaking [PDF - 802KB]

Ms Kim Swanson

3 March 2021

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 – sections 304 and 309

Kim Swanson – Enforceable undertaking [PDF - 369KB]

Mr Christopher James

26 February 2021

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 – sections 304 and 309

Christopher James – Enforceable undertaking [PDF - 389KB]

Mr Tony Pecora

10 February 2021

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 – sections 304 and 309

Tony Pecora – Enforceable undertaking [PDF - 378KB]

Civil Penalties

There are civil penalties for the offences in Parts XX and XXA of the Electoral Act. Section 384A of the Electoral Act provides that civil penalty provisions are enforceable under Part 4 of the Regulatory Powers Act. These offences include:

The Electoral Commissioner may apply to a relevant court for an order that a person, who is alleged to have contravened a civil penalty provision, pay the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty.

Pecuniary penalty orders are published on the Federal Court’s Digital Law Library and outlined in the table below.

Name of Matter

Date of Order

Legislative provisions


Electoral Commissioner v Futter [2021] FCA 876

29 July 2021

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 – section 304 and 309

Barry Futter - Civil Penalties

Electoral Commissioner v Wharton (No 3) [2021] FCA 742

1 June 2021

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 – sections 304 and 309

Wayne Wharton – Civil Penalties

Criminal Penalties

Parts VIII, XV, XVA, XVI, XX, XXA and XXI of the Electoral Act establish the following electoral offences:

Compulsory enrolment requires all Australian citizens aged 18 years to be enrolled on the Commonwealth electoral roll. British subjects who were enrolled on 25 January 1984 are also entitled to remain on the electoral roll. Under section 101 of the Electoral Act, an eligible individual who fails to enrol to vote may be issued a fine not exceeding 1 penalty unit.

More on enrolment.

It is an offence under section 245 of the Electoral Act if the elector fails to vote at an election without a valid and sufficient reason for that failure. Electors who fail to vote will be sent a penalty notice seeking the confirmation whether the elector voted, has a valid and sufficient reason for not voting, or failing that pays an administrative penalty of $20.

Where an elector fails to do any of these things, the elector may be prosecuted in accordance with section 245(15) of the Electoral Act.

More on compulsory voting.

It an offence under section 189B of the Electoral Act to obtain the information about postal vote applicants without a permitted purpose. Senate or House of Representative candidates and registered political parties can be provided a list of postal vote applicants for the purposes listed in section 189B.

The Electoral Act requires that scrutineers must not interfere with voters, or attempt to influence any voter within a polling place and must not exhibit or leave any printed material that directs, instructs or is intended to influence an elector on how to vote. Scrutineers must not disclose any knowledge or information they have acquired about how an elector has voted. The penalty for misconduct by scrutineers is 6 months imprisonment or 10 penalty units, or both.

More on the role of scrutineers

With one limited exception the Electoral Act does not regulate truth in electoral advertising. Section 329(1) of the Electoral Act makes it an offence to print, publish or distribute, or cause, permit or authorise to be printed, published or distributed, any matter or thing that is likely to mislead or deceive an elector in relation to the casting of a vote. The maximum penalty for a contravention of section 329(1) is a fine not exceeding 100 penalty units or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years, or both, for a person; or a fine not exceeding 500 penalty units for a body corporate.

More information on misleading or deceptive publications.

The Electoral Act also lists a range of other criminal offences including bribery in relation to voting or interfering with a voter attempting to vote.

More information on polling place and other offences can be found on our website here and in the Electoral Act.

The AEC may refer a person engaging in activity that may breach an offence to the AFP for investigation. The AFP may then refer the matter to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration, in accordance with the Commonwealth Prosecution Policy, as to whether a prosecution is initiated.

Criminal investigations of contraventions, or possible contraventions of electoral offences can be found here on our website. Prosecutions of criminal offences are outlined in the below table:

Name of Matter

Date of Report

Legislative provisions

Investigation Report

Black Bull QLD Pty Ltd

20 December 2018

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918
section 316

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Others


The Electoral Commission, and ‘candidates’ in an election, are able to seek an injunction under section 383 of the Electoral Act against any conduct that is contravening or would contravene the Electoral Act. A court ordered injunction can prohibit certain conduct or to require certain conduct to be performed.

If an injunction is granted against a person, failure to comply with the injunction order may constitute contempt of court, for which the Federal Court can order arrest and detention.

Updated: 11 April 2022