Open Government Partnership – Australia

4.1 - Confidence in the electoral system

Overall status:
On-track

This commitment will enhance the integrity of and confidence in, Australia’s electoral system.

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.

Current status

The Government asked Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) to investigate a range of matters relating to the 2016 federal election.

In response, the JSCEM has tabled three interim reports to date:

  • Interim Report on the authorisation of voter communication (tabled 9 December 2016);

  • Second interim report on the inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 federal election: Foreign Donations (tabled 10 March 2017); and

  • Third interim report on the inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 federal election: AEC modernisation (tabled 21 June 2017).

These reports were based on an extensive public consultation process, which involved the receipt of 133 public submissions and 12 public hearings at locations across Australia. The JSCEM continues to work with the civil society through further public hearings, with additional reports expected to be tabled later in 2017.

The Government is taking action to enhance integrity and confidence in Australia’s electoral system, informed by JSCEM’s findings. On 30 March 2017, the Government tabled the Electoral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (Electoral Bill). The Electoral Bill addresses many of the recommendations of the JSCEM First Interim Report, and is expected to contribute to OGP Commitment 4.1 by enhancing the transparency of communication with voters.

The Prime Minister has made public the Government’s commitment to introduce legislation in the Spring Sittings (August to December 2017) to prohibit foreign political donations. This legislation will address the second JSCEM interim report.

Contact

Department of Finance

Email: electoralpolicy@finance.gov.au

Other stakeholders

Government: Australian Electoral Commission, Attorney-General’s Department, JSCEM.

Non-Government: JSCEM is anticipated to engage with political parties, non-government organisations and the public.

Steps to implementation

Implementation Step Status

JSCEM inquiry and reporting.

  • JSCEM has released three interim reports

(2016 - 2017 - further progress subject to Committee reporting)

On-track

 Government considers recommendations.

  • Legislation has been tabled to address the recommendation of the first interim report; and

  • The Prime Minister has committed to introduce legislation prohibiting foreign political donations before the end of 2017.

(2017)

On-track

Parliament and other relevant stakeholders address Government decisions.

  • The Electoral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill is scheduled to be debated in the House of Representatives in the Spring Sittings 2017.

(2017 - Ongoing)

On-track
Last updated: 25/07/2017

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