FAQs - the Commission

When was the (3 member) NSW Electoral Commission established?

In 2013, the NSW Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters recommended a new electoral Act for NSW that would cover the conduct of State elections and the regulation of campaign finance and disclosures, and the new Act be administered by a single statutory authority.

In December 2014, the Election Funding Authority was abolished and its  roles, responsibilities and powers  transferred to a new statutory body.    Called the NSW Electoral Commission, it consists of a former Supreme Court Judge as Chairperson, a member with financial or audit skills and qualifications, and the Electoral Commissioner.  This 3 member Commission is like a board to the wider agency also called the NSW Electoral Commission.  The 3 member Commission meets throughout the year and makes final decisions about payment of funding for campaign finance expenditure and compliance with NSW electoral laws.

Also, the NSW Electoral Commission was empowered to investigate and undertake enforcement actions for breaches of electoral laws and the work performed by the now abolished Election Funding Authority.

What is the role of the Electoral Commissioner and the (3 member) NSW Electoral Commission?

The Electoral Commissioner leads the staff agency called the NSW Electoral Commission and is responsible for the conduct of elections, the electoral roll and the management of the staff agency including its Funding Disclosure and Compliance Branch.

If the Electoral Commissioner believes that a decision is required from the Commission, this is done by formally attending a meeting of the 3 member Commission and providing the 3 member Commission with information so it can make a decision.

The 3 member Commission cannot make decisions about the conduct of elections or the electoral roll.

Is the (3 member) NSW Electoral Commission separate to the responsibilities of the Electoral Commissioner?

Yes.  The NSW Electoral Commission was reconstituted in December 2014 and is a statutory, independent authority made up of 3 members.  It is chaired by a former Supreme Court Judge and the other two members are a person with financial and auditing experience, and the Electoral Commissioner.

Who makes the decision to launch an investigation for a possible breach of electoral laws?

The Funding Disclosure and Compliance Branch of the Electoral Commissioner's staff agency is responsible for investigations and when a decision is made to investigate a matter, the investigation is commenced and conducted by one of the Branch's Inspectors.

The 3 member Commission makes final decisions about enforcing NSW electoral laws.

Is the (3 member) NSW Electoral Commission independent from the government of the day?

The 3 member Commission is independent.  It does not report to Parliament.  The Premier or government ministers cannot direct it in any way.

The Electoral Commissioner is answerable to the NSW Parliament via the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

How does the (3 member) NSW Electoral Commission and the Electoral Commissioner report on its respective activities?

The 3 member Commission publishes relevant information about its work in an annual report.  This report also includes the Electoral Commissioner led agency reporting too.  See the current annual report.

The 3 member Commission publishes statements via this website about certain final decisions it makes about compliance, disclosure, and enforcement actions including when it commences a prosecution.

The NSW Electoral Commission's annual report, and much more information like policies and handbooks and the actual disclosures received are publicly available.   Public information is available from this website.

What information about the decisions of the (3 member) NSW Electoral Commission are public and why?

The 3 member Commission publishes information throughout the year of final decisions it makes about campaign finance and enforcement of NSW electoral laws.

It is important to keep the public informed because confidence in the electoral system is vital.   Releasing statements about the final decisions made is one way of ensuring accurate information is available.

The Chair of the 3 member Commission first published public information about enforcing NSW electoral laws in 2015 and all statements are on this website.