Open Government Partnership – Australia

4.1 - Confidence in the electoral system and political parties

Objective and description:

To enhance integrity and confidence in Australia’s electoral system.

We will do this by working with the Parliament and the public to investigate the conduct of the 2016 election, use of technology in elections and the framework of donations to political parties and other political entities.

Status Quo:

The Government has asked Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JCSEM) to investigate a range of matters relating to the conduct of the 2016 federal election, with particular attention to:

  • the potential application of new technology to casting, scrutinising and counting votes, and whether current authorisations requirements could be applied to all forms of communication; and

  • donations to political parties and other political entities, including the extent of donations being received from foreign sources and the options available to Parliament to regulate these types of donations. JSCEM will also be asked to look at the current donations disclosure regime.

A range of matters and areas for potential improvement were raised by civil society regarding this commitment during the public consultation period, particularly in regards to political donations. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has transmitted these civil society comments to the JSCEM for consideration as part of its inquiry.

Ambition:

To ensure that public confidence in Australia’s electoral system continues to be strong.

Relevance:

This commitment will advance the OGP values of accountability, transparency and access to information by:

  • reducing the risk of undemocratic behaviour and conduct, which leads to the perception or reality of corrupt behaviour by politicians and political parties; and

  • increasing public confidence in Australian democracy.

OGP Grand Challenge:

Increasing Public Integrity

Timeframes:

September 2016 – 2017

Lead agency:

Department of Finance and Australian Electoral Commission

Other actors involved: 

  • Government / Parliament - Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters and the Parliament of Australia. Committee Secretariat contact: em@aph.gov.au

  • Non-government - The Parliamentary Committee is anticipated to engage with political parties, non-government organisations and the public

Milestones:

  • JSCEM inquiry and report.

    • Commenced - 2017 (subject to Committee reporting)

  • Government considers recommendations.

    • 2017 - 2017 (subject to Committee reporting)

  • Parliament and other relevant stakeholders address Government decisions.

    • 2017 - Ongoing