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Australian Electoral Commission

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Australian Electoral Commission
Agency overview
Formed 21 February 1984
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Headquarters Canberra
Minister responsible Gary Gray, Special Minister of State
Agency executives Mr Ed Killesteyn, Electoral Commissioner
The Hon. Peter Heerey QC, Chairperson
Mr Brian Pink, Non-judicial member
Parent agency Department of Finance and Deregulation

The Australian Electoral Commission, or the AEC, is the Australian federal government agency in charge of federal elections and referendums. State and local government elections are run by the Electoral Commission in each state and territory.

The AEC also draws the boundaries for seats and makes regular changes to keep all seats roughly equal in population numbers. It organizes Commonwealth electoral roll which is a list of people who can vote in elections. The electoral roll is used by the state and territory Electoral Commissions to for their elections.

The AEC also plays a leading role in electoral education and industrial voting (votes on industrial action).

History and structure

The AEC began in 1902, as a part of the Department of Home Affairs. In 1973, it became the Australian Electoral Office. In February 1984 it became the Australian Electoral Commission.

The AEC is run by a Chairman who is a Judge, or a retired Judge, of the Federal Court, the Electoral Commissioner and a non-judicial member who is usually the Australian Statistician). The Electoral Commissioner has the powers of a Secretary of a Department under the Public Service Act 1999 and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1998. The Chairperson and the third, non-judicial member both hold their offices on a part-time basis.

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

Each federal electorate has a Divisional Returning Officer responsible for the House of Representatives elections within their division. Each State also has an Australian Electoral Officer responsible for the Senate elections.


The AEC's major duties are to run federal elections, by-elections and referendums. Election Rolls must always be up-to-date. The AEC must also follow up people who do not vote. After the election the AEC provides detailed election results. The AEC is answerable to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters[1] of the Parliament of Australia. It reports to Parliament on how elections were carried out and the success of the elections in general.


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