Frequently asked questions

Why do we need this review?

Modern and accessible electoral law is important for our democracy to function well. As democracy comes increasingly under threat around the world, this review is a chance to take a thorough look at how to strengthen and future-proof our electoral system.

The main piece of legislation, the Electoral Act 1993, has become outdated. Its basic structure was established by the Electoral Act 1956, and substantial portions of it have remained unchanged for over 60 years.

There has not been a comprehensive review of electoral law since the report of the Royal Commission on the Electoral System in 1986, ahead of the introduction of MMP in 1993. In recent years, legislative change has primarily focused on targeted changes rather than broader reform.

What is the review covering?

The review covers almost everything to do with how parliamentary elections work. Some of the issues include:

  • Voting methods
  • Overseas voting
  • Voting age
  • Changes to MMP
  • Political donations
  • Funding political parties
  • Election campaigns
  • Term of parliament

Local elections, broader constitutional matters, and online voting are not being considered by the review. You can find out more about the scope of the review in the Terms of Reference.

What is the timeframe for the review?

The review has two stages of engagement before the final report is delivered to the Government by the end of November 2023. The first stage is now complete.

Stage 1 engagement

13 September – 14 November 2022

Understand issues and opportunities

Stage 2 engagement

May – June 20233

Invite feedback on draft recommendations

Final report

End of November 2023

Final report delivered to the Minister of Justice

Read the review timeline and engagement strategy [PDF, 343KB] for more information.

What happens as a result of the review?

The panel will deliver its report, including any recommendations, to the Minister of Justice. The Government will determine what happens next. If the panel recommends changes, and the Government accepts those recommendations, there could be changes to legislation and referendums may need to be held. If this does happen, it is important to note that there will be more opportunities for the public to engage on any changes through the parliamentary process.

Last updated: 9 November 2022

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