Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ participation in Australian elections and referendums

Recording available here



In this seminar, Mr Jeff Pope APM, Deputy Electoral Commissioner, Australian Electoral Commission, will provide a broad ranging overview of Indigenous participation in Australian elections and referendums. Since 2017, there has been year-on-year growth in the estimated Indigenous enrolment rate. Despite these steady increases, in 2023 the estimated Indigenous enrolment rate remains lower than Australia’s national enrolment rate. Mr Pope will outline the broad history of Indigenous voting rights since Federation and consider some of the challenges that Indigenous people may face with fully participating in elections and referendums. Mr Pope will discuss how the AEC is using an evidence-based approach and working with Indigenous communities and service providers to deliver a range of initiatives to support Indigenous electoral participation.

About the speaker:

Mr Jeff Pope is the Deputy Electoral Commissioner of the Australia

Electoral Commission (AEC). He was first appointed as the Deputy Electoral Commissioner in December 2016. Since then, he has played a critical role in the successful delivery of the 2019 and 2022 federal elections and over a dozen by-elections. Mr Pope has led several key AEC initiatives, including the development of the Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce (of which he Chairs). He leads the AEC’s International Program which provides election support throughout the Pacific Region and regularly represents Australia internationally. He also manages the Indigenous Electoral Participation Program which is a national program working directly with Indigenous communities and with Indigenous partner organisations to deliver improved electoral participation services to First Nations peoples in their communities. Mr Pope first joined the AEC in mid-2013 as the State Manager and Australian Electoral Officer for Victoria. In that role he successfully delivered the 2013 and 2016 federal elections across Victoria. Prior to joining the AEC, Mr Pope had a distinguished career spanning 23 years in policing with Victoria Police and at Commonwealth intelligence agencies. He concluded his policing career as the Assistant Commissioner of Intelligence and Covert Support at Victoria Police and in 2013 was awarded the Australian Police Medal for his outstanding contribution. Mr Pope holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2012 Mr Pope spent a month on an intensive Executive Management Program at Insead International Business School in Singapore.

Date & time

Wed 26 Jul 2023, 12–1.30pm




Mr Jeff Pope APM


Liza Brachtendorf


Updated:  6 September 2023/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications