With the Government committing to a constitutional referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, an important question has become whether the Referendums (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 (Referendums Act) remains fit for purpose. Australia has two main pieces of legislation that cover the conduct of federal electoral events. The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) covers federal elections and election-related issues. Alongside this is the Referendums Act, which covers constitutional referendums. While the Electoral Act has seen various reforms over recent parliaments, including to the enrolment process and telephone voting, the Referendums Act may be showing its age. Read more...
On 21 May 2022, Australians will go to the polls to vote for the next government. The date is also the 60th anniversary of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being granted the right to vote in federal elections. Receiving Royal Assent on 21 May 1962, the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1962 granted all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the option to enrol and vote in federal elections. However, it was not until 1984 that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were included with other eligible electors under compulsory enrolment requirements. Read more...
Federal elections are expensive. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) reported that the 2019 federal election cost around $303 million to run (excluding public funding, which is discussed below). This included about $103 million was for staffing (with an additional $38 million on labour hire), $22.5 million on advertising and $32 million on post and freight.
The likely cost to the AEC, and thus the federal budget, of the 2022 federal election is difficult to currently estimate. The AEC received total appropriations of around $458 million in 2021–22 and is budgeted to receive around $241 million in 2022–23. Most of the election costs will be spread over the two financial yea... Read more...
Australians have embraced early voting with considerable enthusiasm over the last several federal elections. At the 2019 federal election, early votes—mostly driven by the steady rise in pre-poll ordinary votes (votes before election day cast at a pre-poll or early voting centre)—constituted over 40 per cent of all votes. If the trends continue, up to half of all votes might be cast before the election day in 2022. Read more...
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