THE ISSUES

Protected Bureaucracy

  1. Too much independence harms accountability. 
  2. Australia’s public-service watchdog, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), monitors performance of Australia’s bureaucracy
  3. Australia’s Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) conducted investigations into the “Integrity of the Electoral Roll” in 2002, 2004, 2010 and 2014 and found many problems in the Electoral Roll. 
  4. On 4/11/2015, the ANAO wrote that the AEC has “not adequately and effectively addressed the matters that led to recommendations being made.” (ANAO Report 6, November 2015)  
  5. The AEC claims it needs more money to improve technology and processes.

 

The AEC recognises that problems exist with roll accuracy.  It blames Commonwealth Electoral Act for preventing overdue improvements.  The following is from Ed Killesteyn, AEC Commissioner

  • ‘In 2012 the Australian government passed legislation to allow the AEC to directly enrol and update the details of electors based on data from other government agencies….’
  • Due to the requirements of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act), the AEC has been unable to add electors who have been directly enrolled in New South Wales and Victoria to the federal roll without having received a signed enrolment form from the elector…’
  • ‘Despite the AEC sending these enrolment forms to these people encouraging them to enrol, many have not been returned. This has led to a divergence between the state and federal rolls in Australia's two largest states, with the potential to cause considerable confusion for those affected in regard to their enrolment status for forthcoming electoral events …’
  • The Electoral Act requires the AEC to take action to remove the names of electors from the roll if the AEC has reasonable grounds for believing that those electors are no longer living at their enrolled address.’ (source)

 

How do we fix this?

  • If Australians want fair elections, then the elections bureaucracy should have more scrutiny from the public through parliament.
  • Australians need to tell Canberra to change the legislation to make the AEC directly answerable to Australians through the minister and parliament and not through a parliamentary committee.

 

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