AEC organisational structure

Updated: 13 February 2017
Organisation Chart

Leadership

The Electoral Commissioner is responsible for the overall management and operation of the Australian Electoral Commisson (AEC). Assisting the Electoral Commissioner are the Deputy Electoral Commissioner and two first assistant commissioners.

State managers, who hold the statutory appointment of Australian Electoral Officer (AEO), are responsible for electoral activities within their state or territory. The New South Wales (NSW) State Manager has national program responsibility for industrial and commercial elections and fee-for-service elections.

Office network

The AEC has a three-tier structure:

  • a national office in Canberra
  • state and territory offices, and
  • divisional offices.

There are two divisions in the national office – the Network Operations, Election Operations and Reform Division and the Capability Division – headed by the agency's two first assistant commissioners. The First Assistant Commissioner Network Operations, Election Operations and Reform Division is the National Election Manager.

State offices are located in each state capital. The Northern Territory office is in Darwin. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) office is managed by the NSW State Manager except during election periods, when an AEO for the ACT is appointed.

Divisional offices are responsible for electoral administration within each electoral division. There are 150 electoral divisions in Australia and each electoral division is represented by a member of the House of Representatives. Divisional offices administer the conduct of elections, manage the electoral roll and carry out public awareness activities. Some divisional offices stand alone, while others are co-located in larger work units.

Each electoral division has a Divisional Office Manager appointed under section 22 of the Public Service Act 1999, who performs the functions of Divisional Returning Officer under subsection 32(1) Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Statutory appointments under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918
Position Legislative provision for existence of role Current occupant Current term
Electoral Commissioner
Australian Electoral Commission
Subsection 18(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Tom Rogers 5 years from 15/12/2014
Deputy Electoral Commissioner Subsection 19(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Jeff Pope APM 5 years from 19/12/2016
Australian Electoral Officer NSW Subsection 20(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Doug Orr 5 years from 01/03/2010
(reappointed from 01/03/2016 to 30/06/2017)
Australian Electoral Officer Vic Subsection 20(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Vacant 1 Vacant. Term not to exceed 7 years
Australian Electoral Officer Qld Subsection 20(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Thomas Ryan 5 years from 03/09/2015
Australian Electoral Officer WA Subsection 20(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Vacant 2 Vacant. Term not to exceed 7 years
Australian Electoral Officer SA Subsection 20(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Martyn Hagan 5 years from 8/12/2016
Australian Electoral Officer Tas Subsection 20(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 David Molnar 5 years from 8/12/2016
Australian Electoral Officer NT Subsection 20(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Vacant 3 Vacant. Term not to exceed 7 years
Chairperson Australian Electoral Commission Subsection 6(2)(a) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 The Hon. Dennis Cowdroy OAM QC 5 years from 23/03/2015
Non-judicial member Australian Electoral Commission Subsection 6(2)(c) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 David Kalisch 5 years from 30/04/2015
  1. These duties are being performed by Steve Kennedy in an acting capacity
  2. These duties are being performed by Gabrielle Paten in an acting capacity
  3. These duties are being performed by Geoff Bloom in an acting capacity

The rules for federal elections are contained in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. Rules for referendums are contained in the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984.

The Special Minister of State is the Minister responsible for electoral matters.

The Australian Electoral Commission

Section 6 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) establishes the Australian Electoral Commission (the Commission), a three person body which holds responsibilities outlined under section 7 of the Electoral Act. This entity is separate to the AEC, which is established under subsection 29(2) of the Electoral Act as a statutory agency.

The Commission is headed by a Chairperson, who must be an active or retired judge of the Federal Court of Australia. The other members are the Electoral Commissioner and a non-judicial member.

The current members of the Commission are:

  • Mr Tom Rogers, Electoral Commissioner
  • The Hon. Dennis Cowdroy OAM QC, Chairperson
  • Mr David Kalisch, Australian Statistician (non-judicial member).