Australia has never been afraid to challenge the operation of our electoral system and modernise it in response to community expectations.
In the past, Australia has been a world leader in electoral reform–both the United States and Britain adopted the ‘Australian ballot’ after a secret ballot was guaranteed as a right in the Australian states in the 1800s, led by South Australian in 1856.
The 2016 election continued the modernisation of our system; introducing fundamental reforms to the method of voting for the Senate. This reform, a double dissolution election, and the events that occurred in the 2013 election leading to a rerun of the Western Australian Senate election, put particular pressures on the delivery of the 2016 election.
This report is the Committee’s assessment of the conduct of the 2016 election. The Committee has issued three prior interim report on matters related to the election which the Committee considered required urgent attention:
- the authorisation of voter communications;
- the extent and use of foreign donations; and
- Australian Electoral Commission modernisation
This report addresses the remainder of the issues from the 2016 election. It looks at the effects of the double dissolution election and the Senate voting reform. With the voting reform measures proving successful, the report considered the need for improvements to the count methodology for the Senate, based on advice by a number of electoral experts.