5-6 November 2015
On 5-6 November the UNSW Law School hosted the fourth biennial Electoral Regulation Research Network (ERRN) workshop. The event was a joint initiative of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and the ERRN.
The workshop brought together leading academics and practitioners in electoral law and politics. Australian Electoral Commissioner, Tom Rogers, opened the workshop with a paper on electoral integrity, in which he noted the challenges of operating in a highly complex electoral environment, and discussed the measures the AEC has adopted to enhance confidence in its management of elections. Over the next two days, speakers addressed a variety of contemporary issues in electoral regulation, including political finance, early voting, voter ID, Senate reform and electronic voting. A particular highlight was the launch of Graeme Orr’s new book, Ritual and Rhythm in Electoral Systems (Ashgate, 2015). Michael Maley launched the book with a warm and generous speech that acknowledged Graeme’s influential contribution to electoral law scholarship over the past 20 years.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the workshop was the opportunity to engage with deeply informed people who approach elections from such diverse perspectives. Workshop discussions and conversations over tea and coffee ranged widely from political philosophy to the fine details of election delivery – from talk of ‘the will of the people’ to the challenge of enforcing poster bans at polling places. This not only reflected the richness of this field of practice, but also the open and generous spirit with which delegates approached the workshop.
Report by Paul Kildea and Anika Gauja