Closing the Gap - Indigenous electoral participation program

Closing the Gap - Indigenous electoral participation program

Australian Electoral Commission

Key Elements

The Australian Government will provide $13.0 million over four years to:

  • improve electoral knowledge in Indigenous communities, particularly about how and when to enrol and how to vote formally in Federal, State and Local Government elections; and
  • encourage Indigenous people to participate in the electoral system, in particular, to increase enrolment levels, voter turnout and formal voting.

The measure is also designed to increase the number of Indigenous people working in remote mobile polling teams and as polling officials in regional and urban areas.

The measure will meet these objectives through:

  • consulting with Indigenous communities to determine the most appropriate education and enrolment activities for each local area and to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the program;
  • engaging field staff and local Indigenous liaison agents and building partnerships with Indigenous organisations, including educational institutions, and federal, state and territory government agencies to deliver an ongoing continuous enrolment and education program;
  • developing a suite of information and education products and resources designed specifically for Indigenous audiences;
  • developing and maintaining a national information system to support, plan and monitor the effectiveness of the program; and
  • undertaking dedicated research to gain a better evidence base to improve targeting of Indigenous communication and identify enrolment and voting issues for Indigenous people.

Background

This measure is aimed at closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage in the area of electoral awareness and participation. The proposal is to establish a more substantial program of electoral education and promotion of enrolment and voting tailored to the needs of Indigenous communities in remote, regional and urban areas. The major component of this measure will be visits to Indigenous communities by field staff, the establishment of a network of local Indigenous liaison officers and partnerships with local Indigenous organisations to deliver some electoral services. The measure will also establish partnerships with other government and non-government agencies and educational institutions to deliver electoral services to Indigenous communities.

The measure highlights the need to consult with local Indigenous communities to tailor activities to suit local needs. It involves a mix of field staff visiting communities, engaging local Indigenous organisations and/or agents and developing a range of specific education and information products. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and other field staff will be located in a number of cities and regions around Australia to deliver this program.

Implementation

  • Consultation program with Indigenous organisations and government agencies, including state and territory electoral bodies – completed February 2010.
  • Procurement of program consumables – completed February 2010.
  • Build information management system – commences July 2009, completed January 2010.
  • Engagement of field staff – commences March 2010, start field work July 2010.
  • Identification and training of Indigenous agents – commences after consultation program completed.
  • Development of Indigenous-specific education resources – initial suite completed prior to field work commencing.

Total Government Funding

$13.0 million over 4 years.

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