New program engaging NT communities in the electoral process

Updated: 9 July 2018

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has implemented a pilot program in the Northern Territory aimed at improving understanding of and engagement in the electoral process.

The Electoral Commissioner, Tom Rogers, said the Electoral Awareness Officer (EAO) program is tackling enrolment and voting issues in remote communities in the Northern Territory.

“The EAO program aims to improve electoral education, reduce informal voting and address under enrolment in remote Indigenous communities,” Mr Rogers said.

“Electoral Awareness Officers are members of the local Indigenous community, and work with AEC staff to help them understand the unique environment within each community they visit, advise on local issues and help the AEC to spread the word about the importance of enrolling and voting.

“Electoral Awareness Officers provide unique insights into how the AEC can develop appropriate information and materials to help local communities to better understand the importance of enrolling and voting. A key element of this has been the ability of the Electoral Awareness Officers to talk to community members in their language about these issues.”

The program initially operated in the remote community of Galiwin’ku, located on Elcho Island off the Arnhem Land coast.

“For two weeks five Electoral Awareness Officers worked with the local community in Galiwin’ku to help people enrol to vote, and educate the community on how they can have their say through enrolling and voting.

“Following their time in Galiwin’ku, AEC project officers are now heading to the nearby communities of Milingimbi and Ramingining to roll out the next phase of the pilot program,” Mr Rogers said.

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