Work of the Commission

The three member Commission meets at least six times per year. It functions in a similar way to a board, in that it issues agendas, minutes are taken and decisions are made. Decisions include enforcing certain provisions of three Acts of the NSW Parliament. The Commission cannot direct the Electoral Commissioner in how the public service agency conducts its roles and responsibilities including the conduct of elections and matters about the electoral roll.

The Commission enforces provisions of the following NSW Acts and their regulations:

The Commission provides advice to the Electoral Commissioner if required.

The Electoral Commissioner is one of the three members of the Commission and may bring matters to the attention of the Commission, in case a final decision needs to be made at a Commission meeting.

For example, the Commission will meet and make final decisions about:

  • Approving payment of claims for public funding
  • Enforcement of breaches of funding, expenditure or disclosure requirements, lobbyist requirements or election obligations
  • Whether to commence a prosecution
  • Any submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, except submissions about the functions of the staff agency.

Increasing public awareness

Awareness about the work and final decisions of the Commission is important. Transparent decision making and timely release of information means the public is better informed about election campaign funding, and how key participants in the electoral process – candidates, parties and others – comply with relevant legislation. This transparency helps the public have confidence in the democratic process including their participation in it as a voter. The Commission's focus on transparency is consistent with the recommendations made by the Government's Panel of Experts in 2014 and the Electoral Commissioner's submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in October 2015.

Statements issued by the Chair of the Commission are published on this website.

See Frequently Asked Questions about the Commission.

Members of the Commission

The New South Wales Electoral Commission is an independent, three person statutory authority established under the Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912.

As at 1 March 2016, the members are:

  1. A former judge appointed by the Governor as the Chairperson
    Hon Keith Mason AC QC BA LLB LLM
    Photo of Keith Mason
    Keith Mason was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1972 and appointed  a Queen's Counsel in 1981. From 1985 to 1987 he was Chairman of the NSW Law Reform Commission, and again from 1989 to 1990. He was Solicitor-General of NSW from 1987-1997, until his appointment as President of the NSW Court of Appeal in 1997. Keith retired from the Court in 2008 and is currently a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of New South Wales.
    In 2013 Keith chaired the redistribution of NSW Electoral Districts required by the Constitution Act 1902 (NSW).
  2. A person appointed by the Governor who has financial or audit skills and qualifications relevant to the functions of the Commission
    Len Scanlan BBus BA MPubAd Company Directors Diploma
    Photo of Len Scanlan
    Len Scanlan was Auditor-General of Queensland from 1997 until 2004, during which time he was also the CEO of the Queensland Audit Office. Len has since pursued a successful career as an independent consultant which has included service on audit committees, as a Non-Executive Director and general consulting work. Len is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland.
  3. The New South Wales Electoral Commissioner
    John Schmidt BA LLB MA
    Photo of Linda Franklin
    John Schmidt was appointed Electoral Commissioner from 8 August 2016. From 2009 to 2014 he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Transactions Reports & Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). Previously he held senior NSW Government positions within the Department of Premier & Cabinet and the Department of Fair Trading. John was admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales in 1979.