About the NT Electoral Commission
The Northern Territory Electoral Commission (NTEC) is an independent government agency responsible for the impartial conduct of Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and local government (Council) elections.
The NTEC was established on 15 March 2004, following assent to the 2004 Electoral Act. Before the Commission was set up, electoral administration was carried out by the Northern Territory Electoral Office, a unit of the Department of the Chief Minister. The office was then headed by a Chief Electoral Officer for the Northern Territory.
Under the 2004 Act, the Commission assumed all of the responsibilities of the former Northern Territory Electoral Office. It was also charged with new responsibilities, including the promotion of public awareness of electoral matters, the conduct of electoral research and the administration of party registration and financial disclosure by political parties, political entities, candidates and donors.
Following amendments to the (Local Government Act) and Local Government (Electoral) Regulations the NTEC became the service provider for the conduct of all Council elections from 1 May 2012.
Purpose and functions
The major function of the NTEC is to conduct government elections for the Legislative Assembly and local government authorities.
It also conducts government referendums and elections for a broad range of non-government clients.
Other functions include:
- Assistance with maintenance of electoral rolls
- Provision of information and advice on election matters to the Minister, Cabinet, political parties, candidates and Territory authorities
- Undertaking public awareness to educate and provide information to the public including school children on electoral matters
- Researching electoral matters
- Registration of political parties
- Administration of financial disclosure by political parties, candidates and related entities
- Assistance towards redistribution of electoral boundaries.
Goal and key areas
The NTEC’s goal is to provide high quality electoral services that are fair, impartial, effective, efficient and delivered in accordance with the law and accessible by the whole community.
It has to meet challenges and legislative obligations in four key areas:
Enrolment - maintaining a complete, accurate and secure electoral roll of eligible Northern Territory electors in partnership with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).
Elections - conducting parliamentary and non-parliamentary elections efficiently and effectively.
Education - providing information and advice to raise awareness in the community of voting systems, electors’ rights and obligations, electoral processes and the services available to electors.
NTEC (Corporate Support) - providing the necessary staff and infrastructure to meet agency business and operational needs, including financial, human resources and ITC functions.
Since 2004, the chief executive officer of the NTEC is the Electoral Commissioner who is appointed by the Northern Territory Administrator following advice from the Chief Minister. Before an appointment is made, the Chief Minister consults with the leader of each political party represented in the Legislative Assembly and any independent member of the Legislative Assembly who is not affiliated to a political party. The Commissioner is appointed for a fixed term of 5 years.
The Commissioner oversees the conduct of all parliamentary and council elections, referendums and may be appointed as returning officer for fee for service elections and industrial ballots.
Iain Loganathan was appointed to head the Commission in April 2014.
A small number of permanent staff is employed in the NTEC’s two offices in Darwin and Alice Springs. During general Legislative Assembly or council elections, over 400 people are employed to fill polling positions and provide corporate support.
The Northern Territory Electoral Act sets out the functions and operations of the Northern Territory Electoral Commission and prescribes its electoral procedures and reporting arrangements. Importantly the Act establishes the Commission as an independent Agency with a statutory independent Electoral Commissioner who oversees the conduct of all Northern Territory parliamentary elections and referenda. This also includes the capacity to be appointed as returning officer for fee for service elections and industrial ballots.
The Act provides for a number of functions for the Commission, especially promotion of public awareness and electoral education, including the conduct and promotion of electoral research. The Act also requires the Commission to administer the registration of political parties and financial disclosure by political parties.
Laws and regulations that guide the NTEC’s electoral operations, how it conducts and reports elections are detailed on the legislation page.
Local Government responsibilities
Under local government legislation, the NTEC conducts general council elections every 4 years and by-elections when required. Responsibilities include:
- Ensuring council electoral roll data are correctly updated
- Providing roll products for electoral events
- Approving certain electoral forms for use in elections
- Organising roll and nomination closures, election polling, public awareness campaigns and co-ordination of results, and
- Being consulted over elector representation reviews.
Vision, mission and values
The vision of the NTEC is to be widely recognised for expertise and excellent performance in electoral administration.
To achieve this vision, the NTEC’s mission is to provide impartial, high quality and accessible electoral services that are effective, efficient and delivered in accordance with the law.
The following corporate values are considered vital to its success:
- Transparency and accountability
- Commitment to high standards of service delivery
- Commitment to continuous improvement, and
- Respect for the law.