Senator The Hon Don Farrell
Special Minister of State
Date: Tuesday, 9 May 2023
The Albanese Government is strengthening and safeguarding our precious democratic system with investments to protect our electoral integrity, boost enrolment and bolster our institutions.
The 2023-24 Budget includes $364.6 million to deliver the promised referendum, including $160 million provisioned in the 2016-17 Budget, for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, giving Australians a say in this historic change to our founding document.
The Government is also investing so that the Australian Electoral Commission can commence the second tranche of its ICT replacement program.
This overdue work seeks to modernise Australia’s election management systems, to ensure the systems that deliver our democracy year after year are able to cope with changing technology and emerging threats.
This investment will further safeguard our data by replacing old election management systems with modern, secure, and protected technology.
It will also bolster the AEC’s ability to deliver future elections, including the anticipated Voice referendum, in a safe, secure and timely way.
Alongside strengthening the systems that deliver our elected representatives, comes strengthening the institutions themselves.
The Government is continuing to invest in the Parliamentary Expenses Management System (PEMS), correcting the errors of the former Coalition Government, and restoring transparency and integrity in the use of public money.
The challenges of a pandemic, fires, floods and a decade of Coalition cuts, have seen more and more Australians rely on their local elected representative for help and assistance.
The Government will provide $159 million over four years from 2023-24 to provide additional frontline electorate staff resources across the country.
This investment means boosting the capacity of local parliamentarians to communicate and serve their community – helping Australians with everything from access to government services, to representing their views in the nation’s capital.
Our local communities should drive our democracy, which is why the Government is focused on boosting local resources, in local electorates – alongside improvements to enrolment and participation.
Investing in our democratic institutions and electoral integrity may not be front of mind for many Australians – but the strength of our system is vital to each and every one of us.