Acknowledgement of Country


The Electoral Commission of South Australia acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the State’s first people and recognises their traditional relationship with Country.

We acknowledge that the spiritual, social, cultural and economic practices of Aboriginal people come from their traditional lands and waters, and that the cultural and heritage beliefs, languages and laws are still of importance today.

A message from the Electoral Commissioner


One of the great privileges and responsibilities of conducting state and council elections is supporting every eligible South Australian to vote, regardless of their location or personal circumstances. 

For most South Australians, voting is a relatively straight-forward exercise that is successfully done in a matter of minutes every four years. For South Australians living with disability, however, the act of voting can be much more challenging. 

As Commissioner, I am conscious of my responsibility in creating a culture of awareness, acceptance and celebration of diversity not only within the workplace, but also for elections. 

This Disability Access and Inclusion Plan sets out a range of tangible targets that will allow Electoral Commission SA (ECSA) to continue to deliver a range of inclusive and innovative measures to support all voters in our community. 

Following on from consultation with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee, I am pleased to share with you ECSA’s Plan. This will help ECSA empower all South Australians to participate in elections with the respect and understanding that they deserve. I see this as a flexible and agile document that we will update as required, and we welcome any feedback or enquiries about the Plan.

I would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of the members of our Electoral Disability Advisory Committee for their valued advice which has been integral to the development of the ECSA Plan.

I am optimistic that with ongoing guidance from the Committee as well as public feedback, ECSA is heading in the right direction to continue to improve how we engage with and support people living with disability to participate in democracy in South Australia.

Mick Sherry 

Electoral Commissioner 

About the Electoral Commission SA


The Electoral Commission of South Australia (ECSA) is an independent agency responsible for: 

  • conducting and administering South Australian state and council elections
  • ensuring electors are enrolled to vote
  • registering political parties
  • maintaining the electoral roll in conjunction with the Australian Electoral Commission.

In line with the Disability Inclusion Act 2018 (SA), ECSA is committed to tailoring these responsibilities to include access and inclusion planning for people living with disability. 

Strategic priorities


ECSA’s Strategic Priorities focus on providing high quality electoral services for South Australians, community and stakeholder engagement, investment in electoral research and cultivating a high performing organisation. 

To ensure that these priorities are applicable to people living with disability, ECSA has developed this draft Disability Access and Inclusion Plan framework in accordance with the State Disability Inclusion Plan 2019-2023 and the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020.

Our vision for disability access and inclusion


To provide accessible and inclusive electoral services to people living with disability, ensuring that all South Australians are respectfully included in the democratic process and their voices heard. 

Staff profile


As at June 2020 ECSA employed 28 people under the Public Sector Act 2009, with no employees identifying as having a disability.

ECSA also employees a number of people under the Electoral Act 1985, including 7,282 roles undertaken at the 2018 State Election. ECSA did not collect data on the disability status of these employees at the 2018 State Election. Employing people living with disability at the 2022 State Election and collecting relevant data is a major focus of this Plan, as detailed in actions 4.2.1, 4.2.2 and 4.3.3

Disability Access and Inclusion Plan Development


Consultation process

ECSA, as a State Authority for the purpose of the Disability Inclusion Act, has committed to a four-year Disability Access and Inclusion Plan. This will allow for preparation for the state and council elections held every four years, as well as post-election evaluation and analysis (the results of which will be used for the next Disability Access and Inclusion Plan iteration).  

Development of the ECSA’s draft Disability Access and Inclusion Plan began late 2019. 

The first phase involved detailed consultation with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee, an advisory group representing the disability sector. 

The role of Electoral Disability Advisory Committee was to determine potential barriers experienced by people living with disability throughout the election process, and in the ECSA workplace, and provide guidance and advice to develop strategies to address these challenges. 

The Electoral Disability Advisory Committee members are:

The second phase involved public consultation, which was hosted on ECSA’s website from 6 August 2020 to 4 September 2020. 

The Disability Access and Inclusion Plan was available in the following formats:

  • A draft online Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (Plan) was accessed 154 times.
  • A draft PDF Plan was downloaded 82 times. 
  • A PDF Easy Read Plan was downloaded 80 times. 
  • A plain text Easy Read Plan was downloaded 12 times. 
  • Multilingual and print alternative texts were also offered on request (no requests).

The consultation was promoted through: 

  • The Electoral Disability Advisory Committee networks 
  • ECSA’s Facebook and Twitter channels 
  • Online paid advertisements
  • The YourSAY network 
  • An email campaign targeted at 153 additional organisations representing the following sectors was undertaken:
    • Aboriginal  
    • Carers networks 
    • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities (CALD) 
    • Disability  
    • Homeless 
    • Youth.

The public was able to provide feedback through four channels: 

  • An online survey, with 18 responses received 
  • Email, with 10 responses received 
  • Phone, with five responses received 
  • In person, with no requests received.

Thirty three comments and contributions were received in total. Twenty three of these were from individuals, and 10 were from organisations.

Of the survey responses:

  • 61% were female, 33% were male and 6% identified as other 
  • 5% were 12-25 years old 
  • 89% were 26-65 years old 
  • 6% were over 65 years old 
  • 6% identified as Aboriginal 
  • 12% identified as CALD 
  • 65% identified as a person living with disability 
  • 35% identified as a carer or a family member of a person living with disability 
  • 84% said they had experienced barriers enrolling or voting. 

Main themes of feedback

Four main themes emerged through the public feedback: 

  1. Accessibility of polling places 
  2. Disability parking 
  3. Sensory issues 
  4. Unsound mind 

Finally, there was a small amount of feedback about:

  • Telephone voting, and 
  • More diversity on the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee. 

ECSA collaborated with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee to review all feedback received and made numerous changes to the Plan.

Relationships to other legislation, policies, strategies, & frameworks


ECSA has developed the draft Disability Access and Inclusion Plan framework in accordance with these State and Federal legislation, policies and documents:

  • Disability Inclusion Act 2018
  • The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth)
  • State Disability Inclusion Plan 2019-2023
  • The South Australian Equal Opportunity Act 1984
  • Code of Ethics for South Australian Public Sector Employees
  • Public Sector Act 2009
  • National Disability Strategy 2010–2020
  • Electoral Act 1985
  • Electoral Commission SA Strategic Plan 2017-2020.

In accordance with the State Disability Inclusion Plan, the focus areas of the ECSA Disability Access and Inclusion Plan are:

  1. Inclusive communities for all
  2. Leadership and collaboration
  3. Accessible communities
  4. Learning and employment.
Previous achievements


2014 - ECSA publishes its State Election Disability Access and Inclusion Plan.

2014 - A dedicated polling booth for people with disability is used for the State Election. 

2014 - The Office of the Public Advocate and JFA Purple commend the efforts of ECSA for producing resources to assist people living with disability to vote at the State Election.

2017 - ECSA, Orana and the City of West Torrens are nominated for their collaboration in civic participation for the Community Excellence Award in the 2017 National Disability Awards.

2018 - ECSA publishes a new State Election Disability Access and Inclusion Plan.

2018 - The first unassisted voting system for blind and low vision electors is trialled during the State Election.

2019 - ECSA establishes an ongoing Electoral Disability Advisory Committee.

Acknowledgements


ECSA acknowledges the members of Electoral Disability Advisory Committee for their assistance in the development of the ECSA Disability Access and Inclusion Plan framework. 

1: Inclusive communities for all


Social inclusion is a priority for people living with disability as it affects all aspects of their lives. It is our aim that the contributions and rights of people living with disability are valued and understood by all South Australians and that their rights are promoted, upheld and protected. We want to ensure that people living with disability are supported to advocate for their own rights. 

Priority 1: Involvement in the community.
Priority 2: Improving community understanding and awareness.
Priority 3: Promoting the rights of people living with disability.

Outcome Actions Measurable Target
1.1  Electors can participate in accessible community engagement events. 1.1.1  Develop an internal parliamentary elections community accessibility and engagement tool kit.
 
1.1.2  Develop an internal local government elections community accessibility and engagement tool kit.

Tool kits for use at parliamentary and local government elections are created and used for each event.
1.2  Electors can access accessibility information via the EasyVote app.

1.2.1  Incorporate wheelchair and other disability-access friendly features such as text to voice conversion and Easy Read into the EasyVote mobile application.

1.2.2 The app and its features are promoted to potential users. Information is distributed in other formats for those who do not have access to or use computers or mobile phones.

1.2.3  Incorporate multilingual capabilities into the EasyVote mobile application.

1.2.4  Pilot the EasyVote mobile application with a user test group of people living with disability.

EasyVote mobile application incorporates these features.

EasyVote mobile application is user tested prior to official launch.
1.3  The experiences of people living with disability at state and local government elections are evaluated. 1.3.1  The voting experiences of electors living with disability are captured after voting on the day or through post-election surveys.

1.3.2  A post-election review of ECSA’s support for people living with disability will be conducted in partnership with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee.
Post-election surveys of electors living with disability are conducted immediately after the 2022 State and Local Government elections.

ECSA and the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee conduct a review of services for electors with disability following the 2022 State and Local Government elections.
1.4  The experience of people living with disability during federal elections and other state and territory elections is evaluated. 1.4.1  Senior ECSA staff attend meetings of the Australian Electoral Commission’s national Disability Access Committee to ensure consistency of services for electors living with disability between state and federal elections.  A senior ECSA staff member participates in every meeting of the Australian Electoral Commission’s Disability Access Committee and provides a summary of discussion to the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee.
1.5  Improved disability awareness amongst ECSA head office staff.

1.5.1  All ECSA head office staff undertake mandatory disability awareness training as part of their induction training package. Refresher training will also be periodically provided to ongoing staff.

1.5.2  ECSA head office holds an annual event to celebrate the International Day of People with Disability, including a guest speaker.

1.5.3 – ECSA head office will invite a guest speaker or host an event to educate staff on cultural barriers to enrolling and voting regarding Aboriginal voters, including those living with disability.

100% of ECSA head office staff have completed the training.

An event is held on 3 December 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.

An event is held to improve staff awareness of Aboriginal voters living with disability prior to 2022 State Election.


1.6  Improved disability awareness amongst ECSA election staff. 1.6.1  Senior election staff receive a presentation from a member of the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee as part of their face to face training.

1.6.2  All election staff required to watch a co-designed training video about how to offer appropriate support to voters living with disability as part of their training material.

1.6.3  Hardcopy and online training materials for election staff include guidance on how to offer appropriate support to voters living with disability, which is drafted in partnership with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee.
All returning officers, assistant returning officers and polling booth manager have improved their disability awareness.

A video is created to be used in training all election staff, with viewing of the video recorded.

All training materials for the 2022 State and Local Government elections include appropriate guidance for supporting electors living with disability.
1.7  ECSA’s Disability Accesses and Inclusion Plan is endorsed and promoted to staff and electors. 1.7.1  Ensure ECSA’s Disability Access and Inclusion Plan is endorsed and championed by the Electoral Commissioner.

1.7.2  Engage electors and carers in the review and discussion of the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan by seeking their advice, incorporating their feedback and endorsement of plan. Ensure the views of hidden and vulnerable people who live with disability are sought.

1.7.3  Develop a communication plan to support the implementation of the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan.

1.7.4  Publish an easy read version of the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan.
After being endorsed by the Electoral Commissioner, the Commissioner has launched the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan to all ECSA staff and has regularly monitored and reported on its implementation.

The Disability Access and Inclusion Plan is created on the basis of consultation with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee and the broader community through the YourSAy platform and invitations for feedback through a range of other channels.

Disability Access and Inclusion Plan progress is highlighted to staff through regular intranet articles and discussion at all staff meetings, as set out in a communication plan.

An easy read version of the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan is created and disseminated in partnership with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee.
2: Leadership and collaboration


People living with disability need to have a greater role in leading and contributing to government and community decision-making. It is our aim that the perspectives of people living with disability are actively sought and that they are supported to participate meaningfully in government and community consultation and engagement activities.

Priority 4: Participation in decision-making.
Priority 5: Leadership and raising profile.
Priority 6: Engagement and consultation.

Outcome Actions Measurable Target
2.1  Young electors living with disability are enabled to participate in decision-making.  2.1.1  Design and implement an awareness strategy to support participation of young electors living with disability in state and local government elections

2.1.2  Work with one or more youth disability organisations to co-design and disseminate resources.
A strategy is designed and implemented at the 2022 state and local government elections.

Co-designed resources are created and disseminated.
2.2  People living with disability are enabled to participate in decision-making. 2.2.1  Design and implement an awareness strategy to support participation of electors in state and local government elections.

2.2.2  Work with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee to co-design and disseminate resources. This will also include stakeholders representing the CALD, Aboriginal and Auslan.
A strategy is designed and implemented at the 2022 State and Local government elections. 

Co-designed resources including Easy Read and Auslan are created and disseminated.
2.3  Strategies to engage and support electors living with disability are designed, delivered and evaluated based on consultation and collaboration with sector stakeholders. 2.3.1  An ongoing Electoral Disability Advisory Committee is established and meets regularly.

2.3.2  Sector stakeholders are consulted to identify challenges and opportunities for engaging and supporting people living with disability.
The Committee meets at least twice annually, and more frequently in the lead up to an election.

Consultation with the SA disability sector occurs prior to the 2022 State and Local government elections.
3: Accessible communities


Universal access to the built environment, quality services and information is key to ensuring people living with disability are included and can equally participate in all aspects of community life. 

Priority 7: Universal Design across South Australia.
Priority 8: Accessible and available information.
Priority 9: Access to services.

Outcome Actions Measurable Target
3.1  Improved awareness and accessibility of attendance voting locations. 3.1.1  A new accessibility checklist for polling places will be developed and endorsed by the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee to ensure the checklist meets the needs of electors living with disability as well as the requirements set out in relevant legislation and guidelines.

3.1.2  Returning officers will be instructed on the importance of securing fully accessible polling places. The selection of a non-accessible polling place will only be approved through a formal exception process.

3.1.3  ECSA will liaise with the Australian Electoral Commission, councils and other government agencies to identify a pool of accessible polling places in the lead up to a state election.

3.1.4  Polling places will have at least two accessible parking spaces within close proximity to the polling place entrance. At polling places without permanent accessible parking spaces, the polling booth manager will use signage to establish temporary accessible parking spaces wherever possible.

3.1.5  A dedicated early voting centre for people living with disability and sensory needs will be promoted and available in the Adelaide CBD and will be staffed by people living with disability. ECSA will investigate the feasibility of providing additional early voting centres in the north and south. 

3.1.6  Accessible attendance voting locations are promoted on the EasyVote Card, the app, the website, and through Electoral Disability Advisory Committee members and other relevant organisations in the disability sector.
A new checklist is created in partnership with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee and utilised at the 2022 State Election.

Percentage of accessible polling places utilised.

A pool of accessible polling places is created by ECSA and utilised by state election returning officers.

All polling places will have at least two permanent or temporary accessible parking spaces.

One or more early voting centres are established with their success to be evaluated through postelection surveys and the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee post-election review.

All relevant ECSA promotional material includes polling place accessibility information.

Information about accessible voting locations have been widely disseminated through disability sector partners.
3.2  Improved accessibility of the attendance voting experience. 3.2.1  At least one desktop voting screen will be available in every polling place to support electors using a wheelchair or mobility aid to cast a secret ballot.

3.2.2  Voting compartments will be edged with black strips to provide improved contrast for electors with vision impairment.

3.2.3   A queue priority system will be promoted and offered to electors living with disability, pregnant women, electors accompanied by children, the aged, the infirm, and with mobility issues.

3.2.4  Voting services will be promoted and made available outside of the polling place for voters who are unable to leave their vehicle. Signage will include the mobile number of the polling booth manager so they can be easily contacted for assistance.

3.2.5  Voting centres with accessible resources will be promoted and available in selected polling places (maxi pens, hearing loops, Auslan and other deaf friendly resources and electronic large print magnify readers).

Every polling place has at least one desktop voting screen.

All voting compartments feature black strip edging.

Queue priority is highlighted in staff training materials with its success to be evaluated through post-election surveys and the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee post-election review.

Voting outside the polling place is highlighted in staff training materials with its success to be evaluated through post-election surveys and the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee post-election review.

Selected polling places have accessible resources available.
3.3  Improved awareness and accessibility of non-attendance voting services. 3.3.1  Investigate the feasibility of a telephone voting method for electors with a vision-impairment and expand the legislated eligibility criteria to allow people with other types of disability to use it.

3.3.2  Promote the Register of Declaration Voters to electors with a disability, enabling them to have their voting material issued by post on an ongoing basis for every state election.

3.3.3  Promote the option to request the attendance of mobile voting teams at relevant locations to provide on-the-spot voting facilities.

3.3.4  Liaise with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee to identify locations that will benefit from having a mobile voting team offer voting services.

3.3.5  Promote the option that if the elector is unable to complete and sign a postal vote application and postal ballot themselves, the elector can apply to have the materials filled in and signed by a person of their choice if the necessary requirements are met.

3.3.6  Promote the option to be enrolled as a silent elector to people living with disability, who are potentially more vulnerable to risk of abuse or exploitation, particularly women.

3.3.7  Promote that electors can be assisted to complete their ballot papers and associated declarations by a trusted person of their choice.
If deemed feasible, a  new telephone voting method is designed and implemented in collaboration with the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee.

An awareness campaign is implemented, resulting in higher numbers of electors with disability signing up to the Register of Declaration Voters.

Increased mobile voting services offered to electors with disability compared to the previous state election.

Increased awareness amongst electors living with disability. 

Increase in the number of electors living with disability becoming silent electors.

Widespread awareness within the disability sector of the option to seek assistance, with success to be evaluated through post-election surveys and the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee post-election review.
3.4  All publications, information and promotional material use inclusive language, correct symbols and access information (where relevant). Apply accessible design principles and readily provide information in alternative formats upon request. 3.4.1  Review information and awareness material for accessibility and representation of people who live with a range of disabilities.

3.4.2  Develop alternative formats for public facing information.
All public facing information has been reviewed for accessibility and is available in alternative formats including multilingual and Auslan.

Wherever possible, material is written in plain English in line with South Australian Government guidelines.
3.5  Information on the website is available in appropriate formats and website content complies with accessibility standards. 3.5.1  Ensure ECSA’s website is accessible to all South Australians.
Refer to the online accessibility toolkit (external link).

3.5.2  Easy read publications and materials are co-designed and made available for people with an intellectual disability or low literacy.

ECSA’s website will be audited and user tested to ensure it is WCAG 2.1 compliant.

Readspeaker text-to-speech software will be available on the website.

ECSA’s website will be Dyslexia friendly.

A dedicated webpage is created with information for electors living with disability.

A suite of co-designed easy read materials are available covering key information about enrolling and voting.
3.6  ECSA’s feedback and complaint systems are simple, flexible and accessible. 3.6.1  Educate relevant ECSA staff on accessible complaint and feedback processes, including the variety of formats these can be submitted (e.g. verbal, written etc.).

3.6.2  Provide simplified information regarding the complaint and feedback systems so that all electors understand their rights and responsibilities.

3.6.3  Ensure complaints are fed back to the staff responsible for the DAIP to inform safety and quality systems.

Post-election surveys of electors living with disability include questions on the accessibility of providing complaints and feedback.

A simplified guide to providing feedback and complaints is available on the relevant ECSA webpage. All complaints will be confidential and 90% will be actioned within two weeks.

All complaints relating to disability and accessibility are provided to the Community Awareness and Research Branch for review and collation for the consideration of the Electoral Disability Advisory Committee.

3.7  Improved process around the removal of person from enrolment list due to disability. 3.7.1.  Ensure that this action is accessible and straightforward. 
4: Learning and employment


Workforce participation is fundamental to social inclusion. It provides economic independence and choice, social connections and friendships, value, identity and belonging. It is our aim that people living with disability have access to inclusive places of study and that education and training provides pathways to meaningful and inclusive employment and volunteering opportunities.

Priority 10: Better supports within educational and training settings.
Priority 11: Skill development through volunteering and support in navigating the pathway between learning and earning.
Priority 12: Improved access to employment opportunities and better support within workplaces.

Outcome Actions Measurable Target
4.1  ECSA head office encourages applications from people living with disability.  4.1.1  All recruitment advertising includes diversity statements encouraging applications from people living with disability. Increase in applications from people living with disability.
4.2  Create opportunities for election employment for people living with disability so that the election workforce reflects the diversity of the South Australian population. 4.2.1  Develop and implement a campaign to encourage people living with living disability to apply for election work, in partnership with sector stakeholders. 

4.2.2  ECSA works with senior election staff to ensure positions offered to people living with disability.

4.2.3  Ensure the employment system used for the 2022 State Election allows ECSA to generate reporting on staff  livingwith disability.
A campaign is rolled out in late 2021.

At least 3% of the 2022 State Election workforce is people living with disability. 

Data is collected and reported from the new employment system.
Glossary and definitions


Ballot paper
Paper containing names used for voting in an election.

Best practice
A method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are better to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things.

Co-design
A range of activities and processes used in the design of services and products that involve people who use or are affected by that service or product.

ECSA
The Electoral Commission of South Australia.

Elector
A person who is entitled to vote at an election.

Electoral roll
A list of names of people who can vote in an election.

Polling booth
The physical location where a person can vote in private.

RDV
A list of names of people who are sent a postal vote at every election.

Silent elector
A person whose name and address is hidden on the electoral roll for safety reasons. 


ECSA is legislatively empowered to conduct, promote and publish research into electoral matters. We value the important role that research plays in informing our decisions and improving the way that elections are run in South Australia.

ECSA conducts innovative research and analysis on a broad range of electoral issues. We monitor the quality of elections and carry out surveys on public attitudes and knowledge about voting and democracy. We seek to better understand the experiences and expectations of electors, candidates and election staff. We collate and analyse data and information about elections and publish the findings on our research webpage.

The objectives of our research program are:

  • To improve knowledge and understanding of electoral matters
  • To develop and publish research projects that inform and influence change
  • To influence changes to legislation and operational procedures
  • To produce research that is used or referenced by external stakeholders
  • To build research partnerships and to encourage research into electoral matters.

Information about ECSA’s research program and approach to conducting, supporting and publishing electoral research is explained in the ECSA Research Framework.

Research Publications

ECSA carries out impartial analysis and statistical research into topical issues related to South Australian elections. This research and analysis is published online to create a research knowledge base about elections.

Research publications are presented in a variety of different formats that are free to read: Trends and Issues Papers, Briefing Papers, and Electoral Backgrounders. New publications will be added regularly.

The author of the publications is ECSA’s Senior Research Officer, Dr Daniel Marx. Daniel is a political scientist with a particular interest in elections and has been an electoral observer in a number of Middle East-North African countries. He holds a Master’s in Political Science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (France) and a PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). His PhD thesis was titled ‘How to rig elections. An analysis of electoral manipulation strategies in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, 1989-2009.’ Daniel’s research interests are: electoral systems, political representation, election integrity and electoral fraud.

Electoral Trends & Issues Papers

Data and analysis about single topical issues relating to South Australian elections, presented in a concise, one-page, rapid-response format.

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The dangers of an ageing election workforce & how to transform one

Daniel Marx, January 2021

At the recent US election, COVID-19 underscored the dangers of relying on an elderly workforce to run elections. Australia has an ageing election workforce too. This paper looks at why more young people are needed to run elections and at a blueprint from Victoria for rejuvenating an election workforce.

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Pay to play - the cost of candidate nomination deposits around Australia

Daniel Marx, October 2020

Before running for parliament anywhere in Australia candidates must pay a deposit. The amount charged varies but South Australian deposits are the highest in the country. This Paper explores why deposits are high here and the effects (positive and negative) that raised entry costs can have on democracy.

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Indirect elections to South Australia’s Legislative Council

Daniel Marx, August 2020

In April, Ms Nicola Centofanti became South Australia’s newest MP after she was selected by a joint assembly to serve in the Legislative Council. This Paper looks at indirect elections to fill vacancies in the upper house, and highlights a legal grey area that could complicate these elections in future.

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The decline in support for major parties in South Australia

Daniel Marx, July 2020

This paper highlights the decline of the Labor and Liberal parties’ vote at South Australian elections. Despite winning 94 per cent of all House of Assembly seats since 1980, in this period the two major parties’ share of the vote has dropped by 20 percentage points.

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Who are South Australia’s non-voters?

Daniel Marx, July 2020

After the 2018 State Election, 37,480 South Australians were issued fines for failing to vote. This paper uses ECSA’s data from the 2018 State Election to provide a demographic snapshot of who the non-voters are.

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Turnout at South Australian elections since colonial times

Daniel Marx, June 2020

South Australia has held parliamentary elections without interruption since 1857. This paper analyses historical voter turnout, showing the impact of the extension of voting rights and the introduction of compulsory voting.

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Why South Australians fail to vote at council elections

Daniel Marx, June 2020

South Australia’s council elections are among the largest elections in the country not to be held under a compulsory voting regime. This Paper looks at electors’ reasons for not voting when there is no legal obligation on them to do so.

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Charting the rise of pre-poll voting in South Australia

Daniel Marx, May 2020

This Paper charts the rise of pre-poll voting over the past 35 years in South Australia, initially extremely slowly but then surging spectacularly since 2010. Understanding why pre-poll voter numbers have increased and how to cater to them is one of ECSA’s current research priorities.

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South Australians’ attitudes towards internet voting

Daniel Marx, April 2020

Electoral commissions are regularly told that internet voting is an overdue replacement to pencil-and-paper voting. The South Australian public has a more nuanced attitude. This Paper looks at survey data showing South Australians’ likelihood to vote online and their confidence in the security of internet voting.

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The decline of ordinary voting and its consequences

Daniel Marx, March 2020

There has been a steady decline in the past 35 years in the proportion of electors voting at a polling booth in their own electorate on polling day. This Paper charts this decline and considers the significant repercussions for voters, for candidates and for ECSA.

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Turnout at Australian by-elections

Daniel Marx, February 2020

Turnout at by-elections around Australia is on average over 10 percentage points lower than at general elections. This paper collates and compares turnout data at the three most recent by-elections in each Australian jurisdiction and compares it with the most recent general election held there.

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South Australia’s Register of Declaration Voters

Daniel Marx, January 2020

This paper tracks the growth of South Australia’s Register of electors who automatically vote by post at each election. Since it was introduced in 1985, the Register has grown greatly both in numbers of electors registered and in the categories of electors entitled to register.

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Briefing Papers

Timely, impartial analysis and research about electoral issues currently relevant to ECSA and its stakeholders.

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What’s in a name? The naming conventions of electorates around Australia

Daniel Marx, October 2020

Electorates in South Australia are named after geographical names, Aboriginal names or increasingly to honour famous dead people. But there are big disparities in who gets naming honours. This Paper explores these disparities, as well as the different naming conventions around Australia and the pros and cons of each naming option.

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The under-representation of women in South Australia’s Parliament

Daniel Marx, August 2020

South Australia once led the nation in granting women the right to vote and stand for parliament, but now has the fewest female MPs of any Australian jurisdiction and is alone in falling below the UN’s critical threshold of 30% female representation. This Paper looks at key data about women in parliament and considers the factors hampering women's participation in politics.

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Low awareness of pre-poll voting in South Australia

Daniel Marx, June 2020

South Australia lags at the tail end of Australasia in pre-poll voting for a number of reasons. This Paper focuses on electors’ low awareness of the existence of pre-poll voting and on a unique provision of the state’s electoral law designed to discourage pre-poll voting for convenience by obliging ECSA to only promote and encourage the casting of votes on polling day.

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Electoral campaigning in the time of COVID-19

Daniel Marx, April 2020

COVID-19 has disrupted many aspects of life and elections are no exception. In the lead-up to a recent council election, a number of intending candidates claimed that the pandemic would negatively impact their ability to campaign, thereby undermining the integrity of the election. This Paper explores the functions of electoral campaigns and whether these are affected by COVID-19.

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Electoral Backgrounders

Papers exploring more complex aspects of South Australian elections in depth.

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Voting tickets – a unique feature of South Australia’s lower house elections

Daniel Marx, September 2020

South Australian lower house elections have a unique feature known as the voting ticket designed to ‘save’ informal votes that are incompletely numbered. This Backgrounder explores how voting tickets function, how many votes they save, some of the benefits and concerns associated with their use and what alternatives exist to address the state’s high levels of informality.

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South Australia’s council supplementary elections

Daniel Marx, March 2020

Every year ECSA conducts an average of ten council supplementary elections – the equivalent of by-elections in the parliamentary system. This paper explores the frequency of these elections, the reasons why they are held, levels of participation both of voters and candidates, as well as the costs and administrative burden associated with holding them.

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ECSA research publications are released under a Creative Commons licence. Any content republished must be attributed to the author and not be altered, transformed, or built upon, nor used for commercial purposes without our permission (Research Paper copyright).

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Department of Premier and Cabinet established new guidelines for Annual Reporting with reforms stipulating only information required by Act, Regulation or public complaints by the Ombudsman to be included with audited Financial Statements.

In support of legislative annual reporting requirements, ECSA have developed this ‘Year in Review’ with highlights of 2016–17 together with other information reporting on performance.

Contents within Year in Review include:

  • Highlights for Reporting Year 2016–17
  • Elections
    • Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Executive Board elections
    • Other election services
    • Supplementary elections and casual vacancies
  • Local Government Representation Reviews
  • Enforcement of compulsory voting
  • Funding and Disclosure
    • Online lodgement system
    • Disclosures
    • Special assistance funding 
  • Reciprocal arrangements with electoral commissions
    • Interstate Elections 2016–17
    • WA Secondments
  • Community awareness and information
    • Community engagement events
    • Consultative stakeholder engagement meetings
  • Promoting a healthy and safe work environment
    • Wellness and engagement
    • Risk management
    • Work health and safety workshops and training
    • WHS risks

Highlights for Reporting Year 2016–17

Appointment of new Electoral Commissioner

On 20 February 2017, Mick Sherry was appointed the South Australian Electoral Commissioner. Upon appointment, a key priority for the remainder of 2016-17 was to ensure ECSA was structured and operating effectively to deliver future key priorities including the State Election and Local Government Elections in 2018.

New Strategic Plan for ECSA

After a significant planning process, a new four-year strategic plan was implemented. The Strategic Plan 2017-20 focuses on our purpose of providing high quality electoral services for South Australians and is built around the following four strategic priorities:

  • Delivering high quality elections services
  • Engaging the community and stakeholders to promote awareness, participation and compliance in electoral matters.
  • Conduct research into a range of electoral matters
  • Cultivate a high performing values-based organisation.

To assist shaping the culture of the organisation, the new Strategic Plan also included the following new organisational values:

Independent: acting with impartiality and transparency
Professional: demonstrating respect, integrity and accountability at all times
Innovative: an agile, creative, engaged and responsive organisation

An organisational realignment was implemented to ensure ECSA was positioned to deliver the four strategic priorities of the strategic plan.

Strategies to improve internal communication and a new governance framework including the introduction of an Organisational Health Committee to monitor ECSA’s corporate responsibilities were
implemented.

Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission

ECSA provided considerable support during 2016-17 to the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission (EDBC) with the development and support of a dedicated website to deliver all information relating to the deliberations of the EDBC. Additional administrative assistance assisted in the development of a separate records management system for the EDBC, relating to current and past EDBC records.

Voting data from the 2014 State Election was extracted and used to undertake a geographic analysis of boundary changes and political consequences. Budgeting and finance services were also provided along with procuring printing services for both the EDBC’s Draft and Final Reports.

Following the unsuccessful Full Court challenge against the Order of the EDBC, considerable effort was put into identifying and encoding the necessary boundary changes into the national Roll Management System (RMANS) to enable rolls to be prepared for the next election.

Working together with other electoral commissions

The Electoral Council of Australia and New Zealand (ECANZ) is the peak body comprising Electoral Commissioners from the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and each of the States and Territories. ECANZ has promoted the establishment of national working groups to focus on various operational and administrative areas of election administration.

Staff from the ECSA are currently serving as members on working groups including, Materials Management, Internet Voting and Indigenous Participation. An additional workshop was convened during the year to enable officers responsible for administration of Funding and Disclosure legislation to meet and share experiences in this new and complex area of electoral law.

Several ECANZ meetings were held during the year with the schedule programming a joint meeting and workshop hosted by ECSA in November 2016. Following the ECANZ meeting, a full day facilitated workshop was held on stakeholder management with Prof Dean Jaensch AO and the Hon John Hill MP, former Minister for Health and the ALP State Secretary participating in a round-table discussion on stakeholder expectations. The major session of the day, attended by Electoral Commissioners and senior elections administrators, provided a hypothetical crisis management situation with the group tasked with identifying processes, procedures and stakeholder management challenges where a polling official was the subject of a one-punch attack with the polling place becoming a crime scene. A report on the outcome of the workshop was prepared and presented to ECANZ at a later meeting.

Forward focus

Over the next 12 months, the focus of the organisation will be on preparing and delivering the State Election in March 2018. Significant changes will be involved for the next election including:

  • a new voting method for the Legislative Council;
  • additional voting options for sight impaired electors;
  • a new funding and disclosure portal; and
  • the introduction of an EasyVote Card App that will provide important information to electors.
Elections

 Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Executive Board elections

Elections for the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Executive Board are held every three years. The board has 14 members, with two members elected from each electorate. Each electorate will be represented by one female and one male board member.

Management of elections for the APY Executive Board present significant challenges due to the remoteness of each of the communities within the APY Lands, located some 1200–1400 kilometers from Adelaide, particularly with a seven-day nomination period.

Figure 1: Map of the seven APY electorates

 

As with past electoral practices, the services of interpreters were engaged by ECSA to translate important election information into Pitjantjatjara language in support of the supplementary elections.

School principals were appointed as electoral officials to oversee the election process including managing the receipt of nominations and providing voting services on polling day.

Several in-language election posters were printed and dispatched for display in prominent areas within the electorates such as the Community stores, Community Council offices and Health Clinics to advertise and inform voters of the upcoming elections.

Figure 2: APY election poster

Voting for the APY Executive Board election was conducted between 9:30am and 3:00pm on Wednesday 5 April 2017.

Supplementary elections for three female members of the APY Executive Board also occurred during 2016-17 for the electorates of Mimili (1 female vacancy), Pukatja, Yunyarinyi,Anilalya, Turkey Bore
(1 female vacancy) and Iwantja, Amuruna, Railway Bore, Witjintitja, Wallatinna (1 female vacancy).

Following the close of nominations, candidate eligibility was checked, and it was determined that no voting was necessary to fill the supplementary elections.

APY Executive Board Election results 2017

Electorate   Candidate Name Results No. of votes Total votes
Pipalyatjara and Kalka Men Richard Kanari Elected Unopposed
  Women Sally Scales Elected Unopposed
Kanypi, Nyapari, Angatja and Watarru Men David Miller   7  31
    Anton Baker Elected 24
  Women Marita Baker Elected Unopposed    
Amata and Tjurma Men Frank Young Elected  46 89 
    Owen Burton    43
  Women Tjutjana Susan Burton Elected Unopposed
Kaljiti, Irintata and Watinuma Men Wayne Ken   5   38
     Arnie Frank   4
    Murray George Elected 29
  Women Mantuwa George   1  37  
    Nyukana Norris Elected 24
    Jennica Waye   7
    Veronica Burton   5
Pukatja, Yunyarinyi, Anilalya and Turkey Bore Men Gary Lewis   45   107
    Trevor Adamson   11
    Donald Fraser Elected   51
  Women Lois Fraser Election Failed
    Makinti Minutjukur
Mimili Men Willy Martin Elected Unopposed
  Women No Candidates Election Failed
Iwantja, Amuruna, Railway Bore, Witjintitja and Wallatinna Men Ronnie Brumby   24  55
    Bernard Singer Elected 31
  Women No Candidates Election Failed  
Total Votes     357

Other election services

Additional election services provided by ECSA during the period have included:

Organisation Date Election Type No of electors
Adelaide Festival Centre – Professional & Administration Enterprise Agreement ballot July 2016 Enterprise Agreement 115
Shine SA – Election of 2 Board Members September 2016 Board Members 20
Dept of Treasury and Finance – Enterprise Agreement ballot for Assistants to Members of the South Australian Parliament September 2016 Enterprise Agreement 199
Architectural Practice Board of South Australia - Election of 3 persons to the Board November 2016 Board Members 709

Supplementary elections and casual vacancies

Supplementary Elections are held when it is necessary to fill a casual vacancy on a Council. The Electoral Commissioner assumes the role of Returning Officer for these elections.

Supplementary elections can be conducted either entirely by ECSA, or in partnership with the council.

During 2016-17, eleven supplementary elections were held, all of which were conducted entirely by ECSA.

Summary of Elections Conducted in 2016–17

Council Name Election Ratio of Candidates Number of Electors Returned Ballot Material Voter Turnout %
     Election Type Date to Vacancy On Roll Contested Elections    
Clare & Gilbert Valleys
     Area Councillor
11.07.2016 4:1 6600 6600 2252 38.3
City of Whyalla
     Mayor
08.08.2016 7:1 15221 15221 7102 46.7
City of Mitcham
     The Park Ward
12.09.2016  6:1 7162 7162   1902  26.6
Adelaide Plains Council
     Lewiston Ward
10.10.2016  4:1 2167 2167  319 14.7
City of Tea Tree Gully
      Water Gully Ward
10.10.2016   4:1 12378  12378   2183 22.7
Southern Mallee District Council
      Bews Ward
30.01.2017  1:1 756 N/A  N/A N/A 
City of West Torrens
      Keswick Ward
30.01.2017  4:1 5779 5779  1225  21.2
Northern Areas Council
      Rocky River Ward
06.03.2017  2:1 1154 1154  363  31.5 
District Council of Streaky Bay
      Eyre Ward
06.03.2017  2:1  785 785  406  51.7
City of Salisbury
      Levels Ward
08.05.2017  8:1 12640  12640  2456  19.4
City of Tea Tree Gully
      Balmoral Ward
13.06.2017  9:1  11793 11793  2037  19.4
TOTAL 44635 43875 10675 27.9
Local Government Representation Reviews


Councils are required to conduct a representation review once during a period to determine if their community would benefit from an alteration to their current composition andstructure. These reviews
are prescribed by the Minister for Local Government, but Council can also voluntarily undertake them at any time or as directed by the Electoral Commissioner.

The Electoral Commissioner is required to certify that the reviews have met the requirements for reviews set out in the Local Government Act 1999

During the reporting year nine local government representation reviews were submitted and certified.

Council Name Revised Structure
Kangaroo Island Council Retain the principal member of Mayor, retain a no ward structure and nine area councillors.
District Council of Kimba Retain the principal member of Chairperson (with the title of Mayor), retain a no ward structure and seven area councillors.
City of Campbelltown Retain the principal member of Mayor, retain a ward structure of five wards with each ward represented by two councillors. Wards to retain the existing names of Hectorville, Gorge, Newton, River and Woodforde.
City of Mount Gambier Retain the principal member of Mayor, retain a no ward structure and reduce the number of area councillors from ten to eight.
City of Port Lincoln Retain the principal member of Mayor, retain a no ward structure and reduce the number of area councillors from ten to nine.
Berri Barmera Council Retain the principal member of Mayor, retain a no ward structure and eight area councillors.
The Barossa Council Retain the principal member of Mayor, retain a no ward structure and 11 area councillors.
District Council of Grant Retain the principal member of Mayor, retain a no ward structure and 11 area councillors.
Southern Mallee District Council Retain the principal member of Chairperson (with the title of Mayor) abolish the existing ward structure and reduce the number of elected members from nine to seven.

During 2016-17, Adelaide Hills Council submitted a representation review, but failed to achieve certification. The Adelaide Hills Council have been asked to undertake corrective actions and re-submit their review.

The following ten councils submitted representation reviews prior to 30 June 2017 and are pending assessment:

Northern Areas Council City of Salisbury
City of Playford City of Port Adelaide Enfield
District Council of Yankalilla Clare & Gilbert Valleys Council
City of Victor Harbor District Council of Barunga West
City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters District Council of Loxton Waikerie

A further 17 councils have commenced representation reviews with a final gazettal date of 12 December 2017.

District Council of Ceduna District Council of Cleve
District Council of Coober Pedy Copper Coast Council
District Council of Karoonda East Murray Kingston District Council
District Council of Lower Eyre Peninsula Naracoorte Lucindale Council
District Council of Orroroo Carrieton City of Onkaparinga
District Council of Peterborough City of Port Augusta
Renmark Paringa Council City of Tea Tree Gully
District Council of Tumby Bay Corporation of the Town of Walkerville
City of Whyalla  

 

Enforcement of compulsory voting


Under section 85 of the Electoral Act 1985 an elector must not fail to vote without a valid and sufficient reason or fail to respond to the Notice provided by the Electoral Commissioner. This Apparent Failure
to Vote Notice is sent by the Electoral Commissioner, within 90 days after the close of the election, to electors who appear to have not voted at an election under the Electoral Act 1985.

If an electors does not respond to the apparent failure to vote notice or provides an invalid reason as to why they did not vote, they are issued with an expiation notice. This is followed up with an expiation
reminder notice with a late fee if it is still unpaid. All outstanding expiated offences are then sent to the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit (FERU) within the Attorney-General’s Department. FERU take
enforcement action and can restrict vehicle registration, suspend driver’s licenses and garnish money from bank accounts. There are currently 9,001 fines pertaining to the 2014 State Election and 449 fines
pertaining to the 2014 Fisher and 2015 Davenport by-elections currently outstanding.

The 2016–17 year also saw minimal failure to vote activity relating to previous state elections and by-elections. These numbers are not reported.

 

Funding and Disclosure


Online lodgement system

A large part of election planning has involved working with developers to develop an online lodgement system to assist stakeholders with their lodgement obligations. ECSA aims to have an online lodgement system available by January 2018.

Disclosures

Half-yearly disclosures were lodged in July 2016 and January 2017 (relevant entity returns and donor returns). Stakeholders are becoming more familiar with the process as they complete each half-yearly lodgement cycle and there have been no issues with lodgements over the past year.

Special assistance funding

Valid special assistance funding claims were received from the eligible parties for both half yearly periods, resulting in just under $230,000 being paid out for these claims during the 2016–17 financial year.

Reciprocal arrangements with electoral commissions


Pre-poll voting facilities were provided for six Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) during the reporting year. A reciprocal arrangement between EMBs allows electors travelling outside their home State to cast their vote at a State or Territory electoral office whenever a by-election, referendum or general election is held in their absence.

The following table shows the election activity for 2016–17:

Interstate Elections 2016–17

Jurisdiction Election Date Type Chamber District/Division No. of votes issued
Queensland 16.07.16 By Legislative Assembly Toowoomba South Nil
Northern Territory 27.08.16 GE Legislative Assembly   52
Australian Capital Territory 15.10.16 GE Legislative Assembly   42
New South Wales 12.11.16 By Legislative Assembly Canterbury, Orange, Wollongong Nil
Western Australia 11.03.17 GE Legislative Assembly   183
New South Wales 08.04.17 By Legislative Assembly Gosford, Manly, North Shore Nil
Tasmania 06.05.17 GE Legislative Council Launceston, Murchison, Rumney 2
By = By-election, Ref = Referendum, GE = General election


WA secondments

ECSA has an arrangement with other Electoral Management Bodies where staff are seconded to other states’ major electoral events to gain valuable experience and provide specialist advice and support. Two ECSA staff were seconded to the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) to work at the Western Australian State General Election held on 11 March 2017.



One staff member spent six weeks as a supervisor in the WAEC call centre where they gained valuable insight into how an election call centre is managed. This included the provision of staff, training methodologies, and observation of day-to-day duties, challenges and escalations. The handling of large call volumes and rostering of staff was also closely monitored.

The other staff member worked as a supervisor at the WAEC Declaration Vote Processing Centre. Both ECSA staff reported that their secondment experience was a valuable development opportunity and will, where appropriate, lead to the incorporation of several ideas and processes into ECSA business operations.

Community awareness and information


Under section 8(1)(c) of the Electoral Act 1985, ECSA is required to ensure that the public is adequately informed of their democratic rights and obligations. To meet these legislative requirements ECSA undertakes various community and stakeholder engagement activities including annual attendance at the Tauondi College Open Day, and its long-term commitment and sponsorship to Youth Parliament. Ongoing consultative stakeholder engagement allows ECSA to assess its current and future projects through community feedback and participation.

In addition, ECSA has embraced the state government’s Digital by Default Declaration in using digital technologies to provide online, mobile-ready, easy to use and accessible services. The website is ECSA’s primary communication tool for the delivery of information on all aspects of electoral matters.



Community engagement

Youth Parliament

ECSA continued to work with the YMCA through sponsorship and support for Youth Parliament. We take pride in continuing to promote the value of democracy to the youth of South Australia

APY Lands

The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2016 resulted in significant legislative amendments being introduced for the conduct of elections for the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Executive Board. The legislative changes support gender balance representation on the APY Board with each electorate requiring a male and a female representative to be elected. Eligibility to stand for election to the Executive Board and to vote in the elections require enrolment on the State electoral roll. Further eligibility requirements for prospective candidates now require the introduction of criminal history checks as a test of suitability to serve on the Executive Board.

The APY elections saw the introduction of electronic voting through ‘touch-screen’ computer technology with electors being able to select the male and female candidate of their choice by touching their photo on a large format screen. The new system was well received and provided the opportunity to introduce voting across each of the seven electorates within the APY Lands, as required under the amended legislation. The electronic voting system also provided the ability for electoral officers to visit hospitals in Adelaide and Alice Springs to enable Anangu located outside the APY Lands to participate in their Executive Board elections. Information briefings were delivered to the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, officers of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation and through the Paper Tracker radio program. The briefings provided updates on the changes in the electorates; male and female positions; eligibility for candidacy and voting; and the electronic voting system.

A two-day workshop in Umuwa was conducted to provide information and training on the new nomination processes and ‘touch-screen’ voting system to principals and school workers. ECSA attended and convened several events, meetings and workshops during 2016-17 including the following;
  • The federal election visitor program provided valuable understanding of the changes to the Senate voting system which have flowed through to the Legislative Council election.
  • The launch of the ‘Democracy Machine’ and opening ceremony at the Migration Museum.
  • Attendance at the National Annual Disability Access Committee meeting in Canberra provided valuable opportunities to engage with stakeholders and to gain further insight into expectations.

Community engagement events

  • Tauondi College Open Day – 27/10/16
  • NAIDOC Family Fun Day – 11/7/16
  • 2016 Youth Parliament

Consultative stakeholder engagement meetings

  • Aboriginal and Indigenous people
  • Blind and vision impaired
  • Multicultural stakeholders
  • Youth sector

Going forward, ECSA is looking at redesigning the agency’s website and engaging with the community through an active social media strategy.

Promoting a healthy and safe work environment


ECSA is committed to the South Australian Government’s Work Health and Safety strategies and initiatives and aims to fulfil all legislated obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 and associated regulations.

Wellness and engagement

ECSA values its employees and is committed to providing a safe and supportive workplace with systems of work that ensure that all staff are safe from injury and risks to their health while they are at work.

WHS-related information is regularly disseminated to all staff, via discussions, meeting minutes and direct emails. Additionally, ECSA provides work place safety reference materials and health and safety initiatives that are accessible to staff at all times, including:

  • SafeWork SA ‘stretching your productivity’ desk card
  • Ergonomic Mesh Chair adjustment instructions
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Annual influenza vaccination program
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • WHS & IM policy fact sheets
  • SafeWork SA publications.

Risk Management

ECSA understands the importance of risk management as a planning tool and is committed to ensuring that agency management systems integrate safety and wellbeing planning into all operations.

A small number of facilities-related issues were raised by ECSA staff during the 2016-17 year. These were addressed immediately where possible or referred to building management for action. ECSA’s Leadership Group and WHS Committee review incidents and follow up on outcomes in keeping with the commitment to continuous improvement. Staff are kept informed of actions being undertaken.

Work Health and Safety Workshops and Training

In 2016-17 the following WHS aligned activities were undertaken:

  • CPR Training with St John
  • EAP introduction session & promotion of services
  • Training on Duress alarm and fire alarm procedures.

WHS Risks

ECSA conducts regular WHS audits and inspections of the facilities and staff are encouraged to be proactive about reporting risks in the workplace. ECSA is committed to ensuring that any identified issues are investigated and dealt with promptly.

This annual report is presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of Public Sector Act 2009, Public Sector Regulations 2010 and Public Finance and Audit Act 1987 and meets the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting.

This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia. Submitted on behalf of the Electoral Commission of South Australia by:

Mick Sherry

ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER

Content included in 2016-17 Annual Report below:

  • Section A: Reporting required under the Public Sector Act 2009, the Public
    • Sector Regulations 2010 and the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987
    • Agency purpose or role
    • Objectives
    • Key strategies and their relationship to SA Government objectives
    • Agency programs and initiatives and their effectiveness and efficiency
    • Legislation administered by the agency
    • Organisation of the agency
    • Other agencies related to this agency (within the Minister’s area/s of responsibility)
    • Employment opportunity programs
    • Agency performance management and development systems
    • Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs of the agency and their effectiveness 
    • Fraud detected in the agency
    • Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud
    • Whistle-blowers’ disclosure 
    • Executive employment in the agency 
    • Consultants
    • Financial performance of the agency
    • Other information requested by the Minister(s) or other significant issues affecting the agency or reporting pertaining to independent functions
  • Section B: Reporting required under any other act or regulation
    • Nil to report
  • Section C: Reporting of public complaints as requested by the Ombudsman.
  • Summary of complaints by subject
  • Appendix: Audited financial statements 2016-17
Section A

Section A: Reporting required under the Public Sector Act 2009, the Public Sector Regulations 2010 and the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987

Agency purpose or role

To provide services which enable the fair and independent election of government and governing bodies and which help and encourage the community to participate with confidence and trust in the democratic processes of representation.

Objectives

The Electoral Commission of South Australia (ECSA) conducts fair and independent state, local government and nominated agency government elections and utilises its skill base to support non-government electoral activities and offer electoral advice across all community sectors.

A range of electoral services and products are provided, covering the parliamentary and non-parliamentary sectors, including:

  • conduct of elections for representatives to sit in the state parliament, local
  • government authorities and other organisations (attendance or postal voting)
  • monitoring and reporting disclosures of donations and campaign expenditure for registered political parties, candidates, agents and third parties
  • administering the public funding for election campaigns for registered political parties and candidates
  • reimbursements of administrative expenditure incurred by registered political parties
  • electoral education and information provision for the South Australian community
  • research and evaluation of electoral matters
  • electoral roll products and maps
  • support for parliamentary electoral district boundary and council boundary representation reviews.

Key strategies and their relationship to SA Government objectives

Key strategy SA Government objective
 Achieve greater efficiencies and effectiveness in the conduct of elections  Public Sector Act 2009 Principle 4 Excellence 14. A Modern Public Service /   Innovation
 Improve support provided to stakeholders to enable them to participate more   effectively  Target 23: Social participation: Increase the proportion of South Australians   participating in social,   community and economic activities by 2020.
 Achieve business continuity and efficiencies through responsive and flexible work   practices  Public Sector Act 2009 Principle 5 Employer of Choice and Target 13 Work-life   balance (detail below)
 Invest in our people and promote our values  Target 13: Work-Life Balance: Improve the quality of life of all South Australians   through maintenance of a healthy work-life balance.
 Promote a healthy and safe work environment   Target 21: Greater Safety at work: Achieve a 40% reduction in injury by 2012 and a   further 50%   reduction by 2022.

Agency programs and initiatives and their effectiveness and efficiency

Program: Parliamentary Electoral Services

Ensures the delivery of parliamentary electoral services for the South Australian community.

Indicators of performance/effectiveness/efficiency

  2017–18 Target   2016–17 Estimated Result   2016–17 Target   2015–16 Actual  
 No. of elections challenged and upheld due to administrative error -- -- -- --
 % of monthly member of parliament electoral roll extracts provided within seven days of end of   month processing 90% 100% 90% 100%
 % of people eligible to vote enrolled on the roll >90% >90% >90% 96.1%
 Size of the variance between initial results and any required recount 0.002 n.a. 0.002 n.a.
 % of parliamentary elections declared within 18 days of poll close 98% n.a. 98% n.a.
 No. of education activities delivered 3 5 5 3
 No. of research projects completed 2 4 4 4


Comments

Enabled eligible South Australians to be enrolled on the electoral roll and to understand their democratic rights and obligations.

Program: Non-Parliamentary Electoral Services

The delivery of non-parliamentary electoral services for South Australian organisations and the community at large.

Indicators of performance/effectiveness/efficiency

    2017–18 Target     2016–17 Estimated Result     2016–17 Target    2015–16 Actual  
 No. of elections challenged and upheld due to administrative error -- -- -- --
 % of rolls provided to councils within five days of roll closure 95% 100% 95% 100%
 No. of information and research programs 3 5 5 3
 Size of the variance between initial results and any required recount 0.002 n.a. 0.002 n.a.
 % of non-parliamentary elections and polls provisionally declared within 12 working hours from  poll close 95% 100% 95% 100%


Comments

Provided election and information services to the community at the local level.

Legislation administered by the agency

The Electoral Commissioner is responsible for the administration of the Electoral Act and, as at 30 June 2017, was the mandated electoral authority for the following: 

 Enabling legislation                                                                   Recipient                                           Members Elected        Term              Due
 Electoral Act 1985 State of South Australia 47 HA
11 LC
  4 years      Mar 2018  
 City of Adelaide Act 1998
 Schedule 1
City of Adelaide Lord Mayor
11 Councillors
  4 years      Nov 2018
 Local Government
 (Elections) Act 1999
All other councils
(excl Roxby Downs)
50 Mayor
645 Councillors
  4 years      Nov 2018
 Superannuation Funds Management
 Corporation of South Australia Act 1995
 Superannuation Funds Management
 Corporation of South Australia Regulations 1995
South Australian
Superannuation Funds
Management Corporation
1   3 years      Sept 2018 
 Superannuation Act 1988
 Superannuation Regulations 2001
Superannuation Board 2   3 years      Sept 2018  
 South Eastern Water Conservation
 and Drainage Act 1992
South Eastern Water
Conservation and
Drainage Board
3   3 years      Sept 2019
 Anangu Pitjantjatjara
 Yankunytjatjara Land
 Rights Act 1981
Anangu Pitjantjatjara
Yankunytjatjara (APY)
Lands Council
10   3 years      Aug 2018

 
Other administered items the Commissioner is responsible for include:

  • serving as a member of the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission that convenes following each State election to review House of Assembly electoral district boundaries
  • ensuring that boundary changes are effected onto the roll management database
  • certifying local government elector representation reviews under the Local Government Act

Organisation of the agency

The  Electoral Commission SA is composed of five branches that provide professional and impartial electoral services for South Australians.

Other agencies related to this agency (within the Minister’s area/s of responsibility)

Nil to report

Employment opportunity programs

The Commission did not have any employment opportunity programs in 2016-17.

Agency performance management and development systems

 Performance management and development system  Assessment of effectiveness and efficiency
 
 The Commission’s Performance Management and Development Program has been an ongoing   process of formal and informal discussions with each permanent employee.

 All permanent employees have received a documented review and discussion regarding the     individual’s performance management in relation to the year ended  30 June 2017.

Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs of the agency and their effectiveness

 Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs                                                                                                  Effectiveness
 Safety and wellbeing is part of the induction process. All new employees have been given a detailed, structured briefing from a Health and Safety Representative covering work health and safety (WHS) processes and procedures during their induction.
 WHS Committee established under section 75 of the Work Health and Safety Act All new employees have been given a detailed, structured briefing from a Health and Safety Representative covering work health and safety (WHS) processes and procedures during their induction.
 Accountability for safety and wellbeing. Staff have been encouraged to utilise leave and flexible working arrangements to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

WHS matters are discussed at each staff meeting, with regular updates provided to staff via the Health and Safety Representatives, email, the WHS noticeboard and work place safety reference materials and initiatives.

In 2016-17, WHS issues were addressed immediately where possible, or referred to building management for action and follow up.
 Employee assistance program (EAP) The EAP provides confidential counselling and support from professionally qualified psychologists and counsellors to all employees and immediate family members for issues that are impacting on their wellbeing.

A new provider, Corporate Health Group, was engaged in 2016-17 to provide a secure, confidential service to employees.

Fraud detected in the agency

There were no instances of fraud detected by the Commission during 2016-17.

Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud

The following strategies are employed to prevent and control fraud:

  • The Commission has adopted the all-purpose policy with respect to the prevention, detection and control of fraud, corruption and other criminal conduct, maladministration and misconduct in connection with the activities of the agency issued by the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment during the year.

  • All employees are required in the course of the performance of their duties to take action to prevent, detect and report suspected fraud or corruption by an employee, contractor or third party in accordance with the Commission’s Fraud and Corruption Control Policy.

  • The Auditor-General’s department reviews financial and internal control procedures to reduce the risk of fraud.

Data for the past five years is available from previous Annual Reports.

Whistle-blowers’ disclosure

There have been no occasions on which public interest information has been disclosed to a responsible officer of the agency under the Whistle-blowers’ Protection Act 1993.

Data for the past five years is available from previous Annual Reports.

Executive employment in the agency

  Executive classification    Number of executives  
  Electoral Commissioner (ELECCM)    1
  Deputy Electoral Commissioner (ELEDCM)    1

Data for the past five years is available at previous Annual Reports.

For further information, the Office for the Public Sector has a data dashboard for further
information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.

Consultants

No external consultants were engaged by the Commission in 2016-17.

Data for the past five years is available from previous Annual Reports.
See also Tenders SA for a list of all external consultancies, including nature of work and value. See also the Consolidated Financial
Report of the Department of Treasury and Finance for total value of consultancy contracts across the SA Public Sector.

Financial performance of the agency

The following is a brief summary of the overall financial position of the agency compared with the previous financial year. The information is unaudited. Full audited financial statements for 2016-17 are attached to this report. A comparison of the results with the State Budget is contained in the financial statements.

Overview – Controlled activities

The Commission’s net cost of providing services was $4.309 million in 2016-17 compared with $3.975 million in 2015-16, an increase of $334,000, mainly due to the derecognition of capitalised costs amounting to $467,000 in relation to internally developed computer software. Allowing for this expense, the net cost of providing services was slightly less than the previous year.

Summary income statement

 $’000  Actual result  
2016-17
   Actual result  
2015-16
    Variance  
 Expenses 5034 4798 236
 Income (excluding revenue from government) 725 823 (98)
 Net cost of providing services 4309 3 975 334


Expenses by category 2016-17

Expenses by category pie chart for the 2016-17 financial year.

Income from operating activities was $725,000 in 2016-17, compared with $823,000 in 2015-16, a decrease of $98,000, mainly due to the conduct of the Super SA board election in 2015-16.

Summary statement of financial position

 $’000 Actual
 2016-17  
Actual
   2015-16  
   Variance  
 Current assets 4682 4206 476
 Non-current assets 412 656 (244)
 Total assets 5094 4862 232
 Current liabilities 441 369 72
 Non-current liabilities 547 520 27
 Total liabilities 988 889 99
 Net assets 4106 3973 133

 
Overview – Administered activities

The net result of activities administered by the Electoral Commission SA in 2016-17 was a surplus of $21,000, compared with a surplus of $80,000 in 2015-16.

Summary income statement

 $’000 Actual
 2016-17  
Actual
 2015-16  
 Variance  
 Expenses 512 720 (208)
 Revenues (including revenue from government) 533 800 (267)
 Net result 21 80 (59)


Expenses in 2016-17 were $512,000, compared with $720,000 in 2015-16, a decrease of $208,000 mainly due to lower salary costs following the retirement of the previous Electoral Commissioner in March 2016 and the appointment of the current Electoral Commissioner in February 2017.

Revenues in 2016-17 were commensurately lower, combined with lower appropriation required in relation to the conclusion of the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission activities in the current year.

Other financial information

Nil to report

Other information requested by the Minister(s) or other significant issues affecting the agency or reporting pertaining to independent functions

Nil to report

Section B

Section B: Reporting required under any other act or regulation

 Name and date of act or regulation 

 Nil to report

Section C

Summary of complaints by subject

 Public complaints received by Electoral Commission of SA
 Category of complaints by subject Number of instances 
 Service quality/delivery 0
 Behaviour of staff 0
 Service access/processes/procedures 0
 Other complaints 0


At the time of reporting, ECSA is in the process of drafting a Feedback and Complaints Policy and associated procedures. It is anticipated that this will be issued in the next reporting period.

 

Appendix: Audited financial statements 2016-17

Appendix: Audited financial statements 2016-17

For this section please refer to the PDF  
Annual Report 2016-2017 (PDF 839 KB)