Australian Electoral Commission

Overview of the AEC

Updated: 21 February 2014

The role of the Australian Electoral Commission is –

to deliver the franchise: that is, an Australian citizen's right to vote, as established by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

The AEC is responsible for conducting federal elections and referendums and maintaining the Commonwealth electoral roll. The AEC also provides a range of electoral information and education programs and activities.

Between 1973 and 1984 it was known as the Australian Electoral Office and was first established as a branch of the Department of Home Affairs in 1902.

On 21 February 1984 following major amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 the Australian Electoral Commission was established as an independent statutory authority.

Functions of the AEC

The AEC implements the Parliament's directives on electoral policy as embodied in the legislation. As outlined in the 2012–13 Portfolio Budget Statements, the AEC has one primary outcome for which we are funded, namely:

  1. Maintain an impartial and independent electoral system for eligible voters through active electoral roll management, efficient delivery of polling services and targeted education and public awareness programs.

It does this through three programs:

Program 1.1: Electoral Roll Management

Program Objective – Voter entitlement for Australians and support for electoral events and redistributions through maintaining an accurate and up-to-date electoral roll.

Program 1.2: Election Management and Support Services

Program Objective – Access to an impartial and independent electoral system for Australians through the provision of election services.

Program 1.3: Education and Communication

Program Objective – Informed Australians through the provision of information services on electoral matters.

The AEC has seven core business functions. This means we:

  1. manage the Commonwealth electoral roll
  2. conduct elections, referendums, including industrial and fee-for-service elections and protected action ballots
  3. educate and inform the community about electoral rights and responsibilities
  4. provide research, advice and assistance on electoral matters to the Parliament, other government agencies and recognised bodies
  5. provide assistance in overseas elections and referendums in support of wider government initiatives
  6. administer election funding, financial disclosure and party registration requirements
  7. support electoral redistributions.


The AEC's ABN is 21 133 285 851