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4.1 - Confidence in the electoral system and political parties

Overall status:

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:

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 civil society through further public hearings, with additional reports expected to be tabled later in 2017.

Informed by JSCEM’s findings, the Government is taking action to enhance integrity and confidence in Australia’s electoral system. On 15 September, 2017, the Electoral and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (Electoral Act) became law. The Electoral Act addresses many of the recommendations of the JSCEM First Interim Report, and is expected to contribute to this commitment by enhancing the transparency of communication with voters.

The Government has committed to introducing legislation in the Spring Sittings (August-December 2017) to prohibit foreign political donations. This legislation will address the second JSCEM interim report.

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 Implementation Period Status

JSCEM inquiry and reporting.

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

Government considers recommendations.

2017 On-track

Parliament and other relevant stakeholders address Government decisions.

Ongoing On-track

Status updates for commitments are provided approximately every two months. With each update, agencies are encouraged to provide further and better particulars of the commitment and its steps to implementation, which may result in changes to timelines outlined in Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18.

Last updated: 01/12/2017

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