Elections and COVID-19

Electoral Regulation Research Network recorded video

Friday 3 July 2020


  • Michael Maley, Electoral Process Specialist, formerly Australian Electoral Commission
  • Wade Lewis, Assistant Electoral Commissioner, Electoral Commission Queensland
  • Graeme Orr, Professor of Law, University of Queensland


  • Paul Kildea, UNSW Law School

About the Talk:

This webinar examined the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for the conduct of elections in Australia. It considered how the spread of the coronavirus prompted questions about whether elections should go ahead and, where they do, how voting, campaigning and counting can be conducted in a safe manner. This webinar was particularly timely given the Eden-Monaro by-election took place on Saturday, 4 July.

This webinar was a joint initiative of the Electoral Regulation Research Network (ERRN) and the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the University of New South Wales.

The Speakers:

Michael Maley had a 30 year career at the AEC from 1982 to 2012, focusing primarily on electoral and legal reform, and the provision of international electoral services.  He also has worked for the United Nations, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), and the Commonwealth Secretariat; and is a member of the editorial board of the Election Law Journal. He was the recipient of the Public Service Medal in 2001, and IFES’s Joe C.Baxter Award for 2015.

Wade Lewis is the Assistant Electoral Commissioner at Electoral Commission Queensland.

Professor Graeme Orr is a law professor at the University of Queensland, specializes in the law of politics. He has authored The Law of Politics (2010 and 2019), Ritual and Rhythm in Electoral Systems (2015) and, with Ron Levy, The Law of Deliberative Democracy (2016). Until 2015 he was International Editor of the Election Law Journal. Graeme’s other interests lie in symbolic politics, speech and the law, and labour law. In 2014 he became a member of the Australian Academy of Law.

Dr Paul Kildea is a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Law School and the Director of the Referendums Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law. His primary areas of research are referendums, election law and federalism. He is a co-editor of Tomorrow’s Federation: Reforming Australian Government (Federation Press, 2012) and has published in law and political science journals, both within Australia and internationally, including the Public Law Review, the Australian Journal of Political Science and the Election Law Journal. Paul is currently undertaking research into the use and regulation of referendums in Australia, the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.