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|Report of the Inquiry on the future conduct of elections operating during times of emergency situations||395.07 KB|
A federal election is the biggest peacetime logistical event in Australia. In each electorate, hundreds of individuals – from candidates to party volunteers, to poll workers, are required to ensure that elections proceed in a free, fair and democratic manner.
It is essential that elections are conducted in a manner which assures public trust in the electoral and democratic process. Trust in democracy and in governments at all levels can only be assured if there is trust in elections. States of disaster have the potential to significantly disrupt the conduct of elections and damage confidence in Australia's democracy.
The bushfires of the 2019-20 summer followed by the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the daily life of all Australians have focussed attention on the need for a strategy to deal with the conduct of elections during times of emergency which now must consider communicable disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and restrictions on movement and assembly.
This inquiry provided the Committee with an opportunity to examine Australia’s electoral preparedness during challenging circumstances and whether there is flexibility within the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) to adapt to these challenges.