A new network established at the University of Melbourne will put a spotlight on the regulation of elections across Australia.
The Electoral Regulation Research Network is the first of its kind in Australia and has been established to encourage research and debate on the regulation of elections among academics, electoral commissions, political parties, parliamentarians and other interested groups.
It is a collaborative project between the Melbourne Law School, the New South Wales Electoral Commission and the Victorian Electoral Commission.
Director of the Network, Associate Professor Joo-Cheong Tham from the Melbourne Law School said the network had tremendous potential to enliven and enrich Australian policy and scholarship in the field of electoral regulation, thus enhancing the quality of Australia's democracy.
The Network will run seminars and workshops throughout Australia and publish newsletters and working papers. Upcoming events include seminars on the regulation of money in the 2012 American Presidential Elections, the regulation of communication during elections and contemporary issues in electoral laws in the US and the UK.
Associate Professor Tham said one of the main reasons the Network was established was because of the need to create forums for debate and discussion on electoral rules beyond the parliamentary setting.
"The establishment of the Network affirms the crucial role of universities to contribute to public debate in highly contested areas such as the regulation of elections. It reflects the belief that principled discussion is not only possible but vital when there are disagreements regarding laws and policies," he said.