Privacy policy

Updated 24 Dec 2019

This policy applies to personal information collected by the ACT Electoral Commission (Elections ACT). The purpose of the policy is to:

  • clearly communicate the personal information handling practices of Elections ACT;
  • enhance the transparency of Elections ACT’s operations; and
  • provide individuals with a better and more complete understanding of the sort of personal information Elections ACT holds and the way Elections ACT handles that information.

The specific legal obligations of Elections ACT when collecting and handling your personal information are outlined in the Information Privacy Act 2014 and in particular, in the Territory Privacy Principles (TPPs) found in the Act. The TPPs set out standards, rights and obligations for how we handle and maintain personal information. This includes how we collect, store, use, disclose, quality assure and secure personal information, as well as your rights to access or correct your personal information.

This statement is made in accordance with Territory Privacy Principle 1.3 of the Information Privacy Act.

The ACT Electoral Commission is an independent statutory authority established by the Electoral Act 1992. The Commission and the Electoral Commissioner exercise powers under the:

In general, you have the right to interact anonymously or pseudonymously with Elections ACT. There are circumstances, however, where it is impractical for us to deal with individuals without knowing the identity of the individuals. This is particularly the case when interacting with Elections ACT in the performance of our statutory functions relating to the enrolment of electors and the conduct of elections. As these matters involve the exercise of individual rights and obligations, Elections ACT will require evidence of identity to enable the administration of those statutory functions to take place.

In general contact with Elections ACT, it is unlikely that you will be required to provide your real identity for that purpose and it is unlikely that you will be disadvantaged by dealing anonymously or pseudonymously with us.

Elections ACT will not engage in the disclosure of information about one person to another person except in limited, specified circumstances. Those circumstances do not include requests by third parties for access to personal information held by Elections ACT, including requests by authorised representatives of an individual unless there is a specific authorisation that refers to the particular information in the possession of Elections ACT.

Elections ACT will need to establish your identity prior to disclosing confidential or personal information related to you. This is for the purpose of protecting you against the unauthorised disclosure of personal information that is in the possession of Elections ACT.

If you wish to deal anonymously or pseudonymously with Elections ACT, please advise us as early as possible.

Means of collection

Elections ACT, in carrying out its functions and activities, usually collects personal information about individuals directly from those individuals or their authorised representatives. Elections ACT may also obtain personal information from third parties including information that is collected by other Australian, state and territory government bodies.

Such information is collected only when it is necessary for, or directly related to Elections ACT functions or activities under the Electoral Act and the Referendum Act and subordinate laws made under those Acts (collectively referred to as ‘Electoral Legislation’).

We collect this personal information in a variety of ways, including paper-based forms, by electronic means including online (through our website, as well as email), over the telephone and by fax.

Kinds of personal information collected

Elections ACT only collects personal information where that information is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, one or more of our functions or activities.

Elections ACT maintains an impartial and independent electoral system for eligible voters through active electoral roll management, efficient delivery of polling services and targeted education and public awareness programs.

The personal information we collect and hold will vary depending on what we require to perform our functions and responsibilities. Depending on the function being performed by Elections ACT and your connection to Elections ACT, it may include:

  • name, address and contact details (such as telephone, email and facsimile)
  • information about your identity (such as date of birth, country of birth and drivers license details)
  • other personal circumstances information (such as age, gender, marital status and occupation)
  • information about your financial affairs (such as payment details including bank account and superannuation details and information about business and financial interests)
  • information about your employment (such as applications for employment, work history, referee comments and remuneration)
  • government identifiers (such as Australian Government Service numbers)
  • the management of contracts
  • correspondence from members of the public or organisations to Elections ACT
  • complaints (including complaints relating to privacy) and feedback provided to us
  • requests made to us under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act)
  • legal advice provided by internal and external lawyers
  • employment and personnel matters for our staff and contractors.

Sensitive information is handled with additional protections under the Information Privacy Act.

Sensitive information is information that is about an individual’s:

  • racial or ethnic origin
  • religious beliefs
  • health (including information about medical history and any disability or injury)
  • biometrics.

Social networking services

If you communicate with Elections ACT using social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, your information may also be collected by those social networking services in accordance with their own privacy policies. Elections ACT may have limited or no control over the ways in which your information might be used or disclosed by those services.

Elections ACT collects and holds personal information for the purpose of carrying out its functions and activities. In some cases, Elections ACT may use or disclose personal information for a purpose other than that for which it was collected, but we will not give your personal information to other government agencies, private sector organisations, or anyone else unless you consent or one of the following exceptions applies:

  • you would reasonably expect us to use the information for that other purpose
  • it is legally required or authorised, such as by the ACT Electoral Act, or court or tribunal order (this includes express statutory provisions, as well as the more general application of the common law and the exercise of the Executive authority of an Australian government)
  • we reasonably believe that it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual, or to public health or safety
  • we have reason to suspect that unlawful activity, or misconduct of a serious nature, that relates to our functions or activities has been, is being or may be engaged in and we reasonably believe that it is necessary in order for us to take appropriate action in relation to the matter.
  • The ACT Electoral Act provides for public inspection of the ACT electoral Roll.

    The ACT Electoral Act provides for lawful disclosure of electoral Roll information to a range of organisations for a prescribed purpose as outlined in the Electoral Act but it also precludes any further use or disclosure of that personal information for other than a permitted purpose.

    Access to personal information by third parties including requests by authorised representatives of an individual is only permitted when there is a specific authorisation that refers to the particular information in the possession of Elections ACT.

    There is nothing in the ACT Electoral Act that authorises the recipient of a power of attorney to do anything that an elector is required to do merely by virtue of holding that power of attorney. Accordingly Elections ACT will not disclose personal information in the absence of a specific authorisation even where a power of attorney has been given.

    Sharing information with service providers

    Elections ACT will occasionally contract service providers to support it in carrying out specific activities and functions. In some circumstances it may be necessary for Elections ACT to share personal information with these service providers to enable them to perform their functions efficiently and effectively.

    In these situations we protect personal information by only entering into contracts with service providers who agree to comply with Territory requirements for the protection of personal information.

    Disclosure of personal information to overseas recipients

    It is unlikely that Elections ACT will disclose personal information collected and held by Elections ACT to any overseas third party

Accessing your personal information

You have a right to access personal information we hold about you. That right of access must be exercised by you as an individual and not your nominated representative unless you have given a specific authorisation that refers to the particular information in the possession of Elections ACT. A power of attorney will not suffice as the authorisation.

If you wish to request access to your personal information, please contact Elections ACT. Before providing access to personal information about you, we will require you to verify your identity.

Refusal to give access to information

The Information Privacy Act 2014  and the Freedom of Information Act 1989 sets out circumstances in which Elections ACT can decline access to information.

Generally, where we refuse to give you access, we will give you written notice of the reasons for refusal and the mechanisms available to you to dispute that decision.

Correcting your personal information

You also have a right under the Information Privacy Act 2014 to request corrections to any personal information that we hold about you if you think the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading.

If we agree to correct information and that information has previously been shared with another agency, you may request that we notify the other agency of the possible need for them to correct that information.

If we refuse to correct that information, we must give you written notice of why we have refused to correct your information and how you may complain about our decision, within 30 days.

If we refuse to correct your personal information, you can ask us to attach or link a statement that you believe the information is incorrect to the information.

If you wish to correct your personal information, please contact Elections ACT. Before correcting personal information about you, we will require you to verify your identity.

Accessing or correcting personal information under FOI

It is also possible to access and correct documents held by us under the FOI Act. In some circumstances we will suggest that you make your request under the FOI Act. This is because:

  • an FOI access request can relate to any document in our possession and is not limited to personal information
  • the FOI Act contains a consultation process for dealing with requests for documents that contain personal or business information about another person
  • you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner about what we do under the FOI Act
  • if you are refused access under the FOI Act you have a right to apply for internal review or Information Commissioner review of the access refusal decision.

Find out more information about how to make a request under the FOI Act on the Freedom of Information page.

The Information Privacy Act requires us to take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we hold is protected from misuse, interference and loss and is also protected from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

We are also required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information that we collect is accurate, up-to-date and complete. This may include correcting your personal information where it is appropriate to do so.

Security of personal information

We aim to protect your personal information from loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure, and against other misuse. Among other things, we safeguard our information and communications technology (ICT) systems against unauthorised access and ensure that paper-based files are secured. We also ensure that access to your personal information within our systems is only available to those people who need to have access in order to do electoral work.

If a data breach occurs, such as if personal information that we hold is subject to unauthorised loss, use or disclosure, we will respond in line with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Data breach notification —A guide to handling personal information security breaches. We will aim to provide timely advice to you to ensure you are able to manage any loss—financial or otherwise—that could result from the breach.

Retention and destruction of records

Records and electoral documents held by Elections ACT, including records containing personal information, are created, kept and destroyed in accordance with the Territory Records Act 2002 and the preservation and destruction provisions in the ACT Electoral Act.

When the personal information that we collect:

  • is no longer required, and there is no  legal requirement for it to be maintained, or
  • becomes subject to the destruction requirements in the ACT Electoral Act we will delete or destroy it in a secure manner.

Complaints

If you believe Elections ACT has breached any of the TPPs, you may submit a complaint to Elections ACT. Complaints must be made in writing to the Deputy Electoral Commissioner at the email or postal address listed in this policy.

You may submit a complaint anonymously. However, in order to properly consider and respond to your request, Elections ACT may require further information from you. Therefore, please include your contact details if you submit a complaint unless you wish to remain anonymous.

Elections ACT will respond to complaints within 30 days of receipt. If you are dissatisfied with Elections ACT’s response to a complaint, you may complain to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). The OAIC is an independent external body. Under an arrangement between the ACT Government and the Australian Government, the Australian Information Commissioner is exercising some of the functions of the ACT Information Privacy Commissioner. These responsibilities include handling privacy complaints against, and receiving data breach notifications from, ACT public sector agencies, and conducting assessments of ACT public sector agencies’ compliance with the Information Privacy Act.

Elections ACT is committed to protecting privacy online in accordance with the Guidelines for Federal and ACT Government Websites issued by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Where Elections ACT collects personal information submitted directly by a user, those electronic records are stored securely in databases managed on behalf of Elections ACT by its ICT providers and in accordance with the Elections ACT’s ICT security policies and practices.

Where personal information is held in electronic files, access to it is restricted to Election ACT employees whose duties require access to the information.

When you browse our website, our system automatically makes a record of your visit and logs the following information for statistical purposes:

  • your server address
  • Top level domain name (for example: .com, .net, .gov, .au)
  • The type of browser and operating system you used
  • Date and time of your visit
  • The previous site visited
  • Which pages are accessed
  • The time spent on individual pages and the site overall
  • Which files were downloaded
  • geographic location
  • the address of the referring site, such as the previous site that you visited before Elections ACT's website

This information is generally only used to:

  • identify generic online resource usage patterns; and
  • improve our services

This information is used only for statistical analysis and systems administration purposes. No attempt is made to identify users or their browsing activities, except in the unlikely event of an investigation by a law enforcement agency.

A ‘cookie’ is an electronic token that is passed to your browser which passes it back to the server whenever a page is sent to you.

Elections ACT’s website uses a cookie to maintain contact through a session. The cookie allows the website to recognise you as a unique user as you move from one page of the website to another. The cookie will expire when the browser session is closed or the computer is shut down. No attempt will be made to identify anonymous users or their browsing activities unless legally compelled to do so, such as in the event of an investigation.

The Elections ACT website uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google Inc. Google Analytics uses cookies and JavaScript code to enable analysis on usage of these websites and online facilities.

Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of our website, compiling reports on website activity for website operators and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google may transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google's behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.

By using Elections ACT’s website, you consent to Google processing data about you in the manner and for the purposes set out above. Please refer to Google's Privacy Policy.

You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser. Please note that if you do this, you may not be able to use the full functionality of Elections ACT’s website and online facilities.

The Elections ACT website contains links to other sites. Elections ACT is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such websites and has no knowledge if cookies or other tracking devices are used on linked websites.

These other sites may use web measurement tools, customisation technologies and persistent cookies to inform the service they provide to their users. You should read the privacy statement published on each website that you visit.

Elections ACT will only record your email address in the event that you send a message by email; you provide your email address when completing an electoral form, online or otherwise, for the purposes of such things as, but not limited to, enrolment, postal voting, applications for casual work or in relation to party registration or financial disclosure; or your email address is provided by a third party. Your email address will only be used for the purpose for which you have provided it and will not be added to any mailing lists without your consent by way of a specific request in writing. Elections ACT will not use or disclose your email address for any other purpose, without your prior written consent.

If you are listed on one or more of our media or subscriber email lists you can opt out at any time. You can unsubscribe by email to elections@act.gov.au.

Elections ACT is required to take reasonable steps to ensure that personal information it holds is safe and secure. Every effort is taken to protect your personal information from misuse, interference or loss from unauthorised access, use or modification or disclosure in accordance with the Information Privacy Act.

The Territory Records Act 2002 establishes frameworks for the management of your personal information if it is held within the files or data systems of Elections ACT or the ACT government. Elections ACT will also handle your personal information in accordance with any requirements set out by the legislation under which it was collected.

Comprehensive protections are employed to guard against unauthorised access to both paper and electronic files. Access to Elections ACT’s premises is controlled.

While Elections ACT attempts to secure information transmitted to the Elections ACT website over the internet, there may be inherent risks associated with the transmission of information via the Internet and there is therefore a possibility that this information could be accessed by a third party while in transit.

For those who do not wish to use the Internet, contact Elections ACT via the telephone or via the post using the contact details below.

If you wish to contact Elections ACT about a privacy-related matter, including questions about this policy, please contact the Elections ACT’s Deputy Electoral Commissioner.

Email: elections@act.gov.au

Post: Deputy Electoral Commissioner
Elections ACT
PO Box 272
Civic Square ACT 2608

Telephone: 02 6205 0033

You can also obtain further information from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website, or by telephone on 1300 363 992.