Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission (PNGEC) Twinning Project – Not One But Two!

23 December 2010

BRIDGE has played a stimulating and initiating role as part of two Study Programs organised under the AEC / PNGEC Twinning Project.  Funding and support was provided by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), AEC National Office and AEC offices in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ).

The objective of the AEC/PNGEC Twinning Project is: “To develop the capacity of the PNGEC, to deliver effective electoral administration.”  The PNGEC’s strategic planning process highlighted that training, staff development, professionalism and succession planning were key issues for the organisation.  As a result, one of the “Key Issues” listed in the PNGEC Corporate Plan is:  “Designing and implementing effective staff training and development strategies that will enhance the skills of PNGEC staff.”  The Twinning Project will assist PNGEC in achieving this outcome.

Similarly the AEC’s Strategic Plan focuses on three themes Modernisation, Collaboration and Investing in Our People.  Conducting BRIDGE for PNGEC, AEC and ECQ colleagues strongly intersects with all three themes.

The first of the workshops conducted in Australia focussed on Human Resources and Financial Issues within electoral management bodies.  Participants in Workshop 1 were drawn from PNGEC Finance and Human Resources areas and branches in the AEC National Office – People Services, Finance and Business Services and Strategic Capability.  Three days of BRIDGE commenced the PNGEC Study Tour.  The tour then continued with intense daily work with their AEC counterparts covering topics which included recruitment, induction, performance appraisals, record keeping and corporate training.

The second workshop concentrated on Electoral Education, Information and Communication.  The content was taken from the BRIDGE Voter Information Module and the Civic Education Module.  Participants in Workshop 2 included participants from the PNGEC and the PNG Electoral Support Program, AEC offices in Queensland, NSW and Victoria, members of the Indigenous Electoral Participation Program and representatives from the Election Commission of Queensland.

The subsequent Education and Public Awareness counterpart program is designed to explore as many options for electoral education and public awareness as are currently in use by the AEC and PNGEC, or are planned for the future.  BRIDGE was used to initiate the study tour.  BRIDGE methodology ensures an exchange of ideas and an analysis of possibilities and appropriateness of strategies to the cultural, social and economic circumstances of PNGEC.  The objective is for PNGEC and AEC staff to take away a set of electoral education and awareness strategies, options, ideas, plans, budgets, and information about technological possibilities.

At the conclusion of the workshops feedback was sought.  Some of the comments were as follows:  “There are so many different ways to present and learn and think outside the square and to explore these was very beneficial.  It really motivates me to find new ways to explore delivery of the information I teach.”

“Gender and cultural issues are complex and important to ensuring effective public awareness sessions.  It hasn’t taken much time or effort to come up with innovative activities – there is an amazing amount of creativity across the group.  This is very stimulating!”

The BRIDGE Facilitation team in Canberra included Belinda Bennett, Alistair Legge and Cate Thompson and it was gratifying to be able to accredit Jenny Pettigrove, NEEC Manager as a BRIDGE Workshop Facilitator.  In Brisbane the team included David McKenzie, Gordon Marshall and Cate Thompson and it was a pleasure to accredit Lisa Bradford, Division of Wide Bay.  Congratulations to both Jenny and Lisa on your achievements to become Workshop Facilitators.

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