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 has 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 help shape 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

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.

 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
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 and structure. 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 help stakeholders with their lodgement obligations. ECSA aims to have an online lodgement system available by January 2018.


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.