The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) joined forces to present a five-day BRIDGE workshop – Introduction to Electoral Administration – at the VEC in Melbourne from 24 to 28 August 2015.
Ten participants from the VEC, eight from the AEC and one independent participant engaged in a range of activities aimed at developing key understandings relating to the principles and procedures of electoral administration in a global context, including values and ethics, legal frameworks, electoral systems, public outreach and the conduct of elections. This highly reflective group was quick to demonstrate their willingness to participate in activities using role play, creative arts, technical knowledge and intellectual approaches to add value to every task. Throughout the week, participants and facilitators showed a generosity of spirit that brought humour, action and deep learnings about electoral administration in a relaxed and collaborative manner. Overwhelmingly positive evaluation and feedback from participants indicated that most had achieved their stated aims for the week and had developed deeper understandings and curiosity about the global electoral arena.
This workshop also provided the opportunity for three semi-accredited facilitators – Brett Lambden (AEC), Heather Oke (VEC) and Aileen Duke (VEC) – to achieve workshop accreditation. With the support and guidance of experienced accrediting facilitator, Bel Bennett (AEC), they presented information, led discussions, and used hands-on activities to explore fundamental themes and consolidate a wide range of learning outcomes using BRIDGE curriculum and methodology.
These active learning sessions from the BRIDGE curriculum were supplemented with ice-breakers and energisers aimed at getting to know each other, team building and reinforcement of concepts behind electoral administration and project management. A chorus of varying drum beats echoed the multi-layered focus and skill required to manage the implementation of multiple tasks by many teams at varying paces during an election. Similarly, the importance of good communication skills was highlighted with a silent numbering activity and sleep masks, and the sharing and reinforcement of five days of learning was achieved in a fun way using election management acrostics.
Following BRIDGE methodology, the workshop was customised for the breadth of experience among participants, which ranged from a few months to over twenty years. Cross cutting themes included access, gender, integrity and sustainability, and participants were able to enrich discussions bringing their experiences to the group no matter what their electoral background.
Victorian Electoral Commissioner, Mr Warwick Gately AM, and Australian Electoral Officer and State Manager for the AEC in Victoria, Mr Jeff Pope APM joined participants and facilitators at the end of the workshop to present certificates of achievement and celebrate the success of the week. Both dignitaries expressed their pleasure with the accomplishment of the workshop and their hopes for an active future for BRIDGE in Victoria and globally.