Research Report 9 - Pilot Project on Informality in Port Adelaide: V Conclusions

Updated: 30 May 2013

V Conclusions

In Port Adelaide, informality increased from 6.86 to 7.08 percent in between 2001 and 2004. Informality decreased at targeted polling places where a significant percentage (30 to 87 percent) of electors received voter education letters from the Australian Electoral Commission. This suggests that voters in households with non-English speaking backgrounds who received a letter were more likely to vote formally.

However, while there was a decrease in the informality levels amongst those polling places where electors attended who had received a letter, the decrease in different types of informality by category varied by polling place with no one category decreasing across all polling places. This is less instructive in understanding how the letter may have impacted informality levels.

Further analysis revealed that some NESB electors may be more likely to vote informally than others. Regardless of the amount of education and political campaigning, the voter must have more than a basic understanding of the English language to vote effectively.

Many voters not proficient in English arrive from countries with voting systems different to Australia's. [12] Furthermore, some electors may be 2nd or 3rd generation Australian and their proficiency of the English language may be excellent. This may not be the case for more recent arrivals. The results suggest that the decrease in informality among Vietnamese electors may be attributed to the letter they received from the Australian Electoral Commission.

The results of the pilot project strongly suggest that voter education campaigns can be further refined and target specific language-speaking populations to reduce overall informality levels.

  1. Medew, 2003. P. 14.