Australian Electoral Commission

From Academic Kids

The Australian Electoral Commission, or the AEC, is the federal government agency in charge of organising and supervising federal elections. Local and state elections are overseen by the State Electoral Office of each state.

The Australian Electoral Commission also maintains the Commonwealth Electoral Roll for all three levels of Australian government - federal, state and municipal. It also plays a leading role in electoral education.

Contents

History and Structure

The AEC was first established in 1902, as a branch of the Department of Home Affairs. In 1973 it became the Australian Electoral Office, a name it retained until February 21, 1987 when it became the Australian Electoral Commission, a Commonwealth statutory authority.

The AEC consists of a Chairperson (a Judge or a retired Judge of the Federal Court); the Electoral Commissioner and a non-judicial member (usually the Australian Statistician). The Electoral Commissioner has the powers of a Secretary of a Department under the Public Service Act and the Financial Management and Accountability Act. The Chairperson and the third, non-judicial member both hold their offices on a part-time basis.

The AEC has a Central Office in Canberra and Head Offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Each federal electorate has a Divisional Returning Officer responsible for administration regarding elections within their division.

Responsibilites

The AEC's major responsibilities are to run federal elections, by-elections and referendums. Election Rolls must always be up-to-date to run these votes, and the AEC must also follow up electors who fail to vote and publish detailed election results. The AEC is answerable to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/em/index.htm)] of the Parliament of Australia, and must report on how elections were carried out and the success of the elections in general.

The AEC also plays a major role in electoral education, aiming to educate citizens about the electoral process by which representitives are elected, and by which the constitution is changed (referendums).

See also

Australian electoral system

External links

References

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