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1.0                Purpose and Scope

1.1                 Context

The University is required to conduct elections for:

  • the eight elected members of Senate (s15(2) of the Act); and

  • elected members of the Academic Board under the Academic Board Policy.

Section 26AA of the Act requires the Senate to make an election policy about the conduct of elections for elected members of the Senate. 

Section 35(2) of the Act provides that the Senate must determine the membership of the Academic Board. The Senate has established the Academic Board Policy which identifies that certain members of the Academic Board are to be elected.

Capitalised terms used in this policy are defined in section 6.

1.2                 Purpose

This Policy sets out the framework for the conduct of the Senate elections and the Academic Board elections and seeks to ensure the integrity and security of those election processes.

This Policy applies to all staff, students, candidates nominated for election and all other persons who are eligible to participate and vote in a Senate election or Academic Board election.

2.0                 Principles and Key Requirements

The University will ensure that the election of members of the Senate and the Academic Board is open, transparent and fair. 

The Returning Officer is responsible for the conduct of Elections, including ensuring that no person who is eligible to vote in these Elections is improperly influenced during an Election.

Subject to the provisions of the Act and section 2.18 of this Policy, the decision of the Ad Hoc Senate Electoral Committee or the Review Committee on all complaints lodged in accordance with section 2.17 is final.

2.1                 Eligibility to vote in an Election

2.1.1              Senate Elections

Section 15(2) of the Act lists the classes of persons from which the Senators are elected as members of the Senate.

The persons who are eligible to vote for each class of member for the Senate are set out in the table below:

Relevant section of the UQ Act

No of elected members

Class of person to be elected to the Senate

Persons eligible to vote for that class of person

15(2)(a)

1

Academic Board of the University

All members of the Academic Board.

15(2)(b)

1

University full time or part time academic staff

  • All members of the full-time academic staff; and
  • Those members of the part-time academic staff employed under a contract with a term of employment of 6 months or more requiring at least 18 hours of work each week.

15(2)(c)

1

University full time or part time general staff

  • All members of the full-time general staff; and
  • Those members of the part-time general staff employed under a contract with a term of employment of 6 months or more requiring at least 18 hours of work each week.

15(2)(d)

1

Undergraduate Student of the University

All undergraduate students.

15(2)(e)

1

Postgraduate Student of the University

All postgraduate students.

15(2)(f)

3

Graduates of the University other than persons eligible for membership under Sections 15(a), (b), (c) (d) or (e) of the UQ Act

All graduates.

Where a person is a member of more than one class mentioned in section 15(2) of the Act (class), that person may only be nominated to stand for election in one class at any one election but is eligible to vote for each class.

2.1.2              Academic Board Elections

The candidates who are eligible to vote in an election for an elected member of the Academic Board are set out in the Academic Board Policy.

A person may only vote for the class of membership of the Academic Board for which they are on the Electoral Roll.

2.2                 Eligibility to be nominated

2.2.1              Senate Elections

A person who is a member of a class of persons mentioned in section 15(2) of the Act is eligible to be nominated to stand for election for that class of elected member provided that person is also eligible to vote for that class of elected member as set out in the table in section 2.1.1 of this Policy.

Where a person is a member of more than one class, that person may only nominate to stand for election in any one class at any one election but is eligible to vote for each class of which he is a member.

2.2.2              Academic Board Elections

The candidates who are eligible to be nominated to stand for a position as an elected member of the Academic Board are set out in the Academic Board Policy.

2.3                 Electoral Rolls

2.3.1              Creation of Electoral Rolls

The Returning Officer will create electoral rolls for each Senate and Academic Board election (Electoral Rolls) in the classes mentioned below:

  1. For Senate elections:

    1. Members of the Academic Board;

    2. Full-time academic staff and part-time academic staff;

    3. Full-time general staff and part-time general staff;

    4. Undergraduate students;

    5. Postgraduate students; and

    6. Graduates of the University.

  2. For Academic Board elections:

    1. Professors;

    2. Members of non-professorial teaching or research staff employed under a contract with a term of employment of 12 months or more requiring at least 18 hours of work each week at Level A or above;

    3. Postgraduate students; and

    4. Undergraduate students.

2.3.2              Particulars to be included in Electoral Rolls

The following details may be recorded in the Electoral Roll:

  1. full name of the voter;

  2. qualification for inclusion on the roll (if relevant);

  3. an electronic address for service of notices, which in the case of a student or member of staff, is the student’s or staff member’s university email account;

  4. other particulars prescribed by the Returning Officer.

2.3.3              Closure and Amendment of Electoral Roll

The relevant Electoral Rolls close at 4pm on the final day prescribed for receipt of nominations. Any person eligible under section 2.1 of this Policy for inclusion in an Electoral Roll and whose name has not been entered onto that Electoral Roll, may apply to the Returning Officer before closure of the Electoral Rolls for inclusion on the roll. If the Returning Officer is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to be enrolled, the Returning Officer must enter the person’s name on the appropriate Electoral Roll.

Where any person who appears in a class of the Academic Board Electoral Roll and has lost, prior to the election, the eligibility to be in that class or becomes otherwise disqualified, the Returning Officer will remove that person’s name from that Electoral Roll or transfer it to the class for which that person is or will be eligible. 

2.4                 Mode of election

Elections will be held by electronic ballot through an electronic voting system.

The Returning Officer may, in circumstances the Returning Officer considers appropriate, issue hard copy ballot papers containing information set out in section 2.9 of this Policy. Hard copy ballots will be posted to the nominated address.  

At each Election, the voting must be conducted by secret ballot. 

2.5                 Notification of an election

2.5.1              Senate Elections

The Returning Officer will, where reasonably possible, notify by email all persons on the relevant Electoral Roll and eligible to vote in the class that an Election is to be conducted.

The Returning Officer will announce the Senate election by a notice on the University’s website. 

The notice must be provided at least 30 days before the start of the relevant Voting Period and must:

  • state the number of members to be elected and each electoral class;

  • invite nominations of persons for election and detail the method for nominating a person; and

  • prescribe a date and time, which shall be no less than 14 days after the day on which nominations were called, by which nominations must be delivered to the Returning Officer.

2.5.2              Academic Board Elections

For Academic Board elections, the Returning Officer will, where reasonably possible, notify by email all persons on the relevant Electoral Roll and eligible to vote in the class that an Election is to be conducted.

2.6                 Voting period

For every Election, the Returning Officer will prescribe the Voting Period, which must be a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 14 days.

For Senate elections, the start of the Voting Period must be no less than 30 days after the notice of the Election under section 2.5.1.

For Academic Board elections, the start of the Voting Period must be no less than 7 days after the notice of the Election under section 2.5.2.

2.7                 Nominations

2.7.1              Process for nomination

To be a candidate in an Election a person must be nominated in accordance with this section.

Nominations must:

  • be made in the prescribed form approved by the Returning Officer;

  • be signed by the candidate;

  • contain a declaration from the candidate confirming their eligibility to stand in the Election in the class they are nominating for;

  • acknowledge that the candidate will comply with the expected standards of behaviour as set out in this Policy and the Electoral Code; and

  • be received by the Returning Officer by 4pm on the final date prescribed for the receipt of nominations.

Nominations lodged after 4pm on the final day prescribed for receipt of nominations will not be accepted.

Where a candidate is eligible for nomination in more than one class in an election, the candidate must:

  1. notify the Returning Officer of the class to which the nomination relates; and

  2. only stand in that nominated class.

A candidate wishing to withdraw their nomination must do so in writing to the Returning Officer no later than 3 days before the commencement of the Voting Period.

2.7.2              Returning Officer to confirm

The Returning Officer will review and confirm:

  1. the eligibility of nominated candidates to present themselves for nomination at the Election under section this Policy; and

  2. for Senate elections, that the candidate has signed the declaration confirming that the candidate is not ineligible to be a member of Senate under section 23 of the Act.

2.7.3              Disqualification of candidate before commencement of the voting period

If a candidate is disqualified before the Voting Period commences, the Returning Officer will use their best efforts to remove the name of such disqualified candidate from the Election.

2.7.4              Disqualification of candidate after commencement of the voting period

If a candidate is disqualified after the commencement of the Voting Period, the Returning Officer will use their best efforts to inform those persons eligible to vote of the disqualification and to remove the name of such disqualified person from the ballot.

If votes have been cast for the disqualified candidate, then those votes will be counted and will be distributed among the remaining candidates in accordance with section 2.12 of this Policy.

2.8                 Requirement for an Election

If, when nominations close, the number of candidates equals or is less than the number of positions to be filled, the Returning Officer may declare the nominated candidates duly elected. In cases where there are still positions to be filled:

  1. for Senate elections, section 20A of the Act which deals with casual vacancy in the office of an elected member applies; or

  2. for Academic Board elections:

    1. in the case of elected members, the Returning Officer may, after consultation with the President, conduct another Election under this Policy; or

    2. in the case of postgraduate and undergraduate members, the Returning Officer must invite the Council of the University of Queensland Union to nominate postgraduate and undergraduate students to fill the vacancies.

If, when nominations close, the number of candidates exceeds the number of positions to be filled, the Returning Officer must conduct an Election by vote.

2.9                 Electronic voting

2.9.1              Election Website

The Returning Officer will, where reasonably possible, make available to each person entitled to vote access to the Election website (Website).  The Website will set out:

  1. details of how to vote, the Voting Period and the last date and time by which a vote must be submitted in order to be included in the vote count of the Election;

  2. a link to the electronic voting system;

  3. information on each candidate’s academic and professional qualifications and/or information as determined by the Returning Officer in alphabetical order;

  4. a candidate statement, which may include:

    1. a recent photograph of the candidate in a form used in passports; and

    2. further information about the candidate in not more than 150 words.

2.9.2              Electronic Voting System

The Returning Officer will make available to each person entitled to vote, access to the electronic voting system (Voting System). The Voting System will enable the voter to cast their vote and indicate their preference/s among the candidates.

The Voting System will:

  1. display the names of the candidates in an order determined by lots drawn by the Returning Officer; and

  2. not make any comment on candidates or groups of candidates.

2.10   Hard copy ballot

If hard copy ballot papers are issued to persons eligible to vote in the Elections, the voter must follow the instructions accompanying the hard copy ballot paper.

The voter must lodge a hard copy ballot paper, completed in accordance with the instructions set out in the ballot before the close of the Voting Period.  This ballot paper is to be lodged at the address set out in the ballot paper.

Subject to Section 2.1 a person cannot vote more than once in an Election.

2.11              Observers and scrutineers

2.11.1  Observers

In order to ensure security of the Election in respect of electronic voting, the Returning Officer will appoint two persons as observers. In the case of votes cast electronically, the role of an observer is to:

  1. be present when the results are released;  and

  2. confirm the outcome of the electronic election and comment on the legitimacy of the election process.

Where hard copy votes are cast in an election, the Returning Officer can appoint an observer to also be a scrutineer.  In this case, the role of the scrutineer is to:

  1. observe the counting of votes;

  2. (where relevant) observe the entry of votes into the Voting System; and

  3. confirm the outcome of the electronic election and comment on the legitimacy of the election process.

Observers and Scrutineers must not disclose the results of an election before the Returning Officer declares the result in the election under section 2.13.2.

2.11.2           Results

The results of an Election are not invalidated because an observer or scrutineer failed or refused to carry out their duties under this Policy, or failed to maintain confidentiality in the Election process.

The Returning Officer may appoint another person as an observer or scrutineer for the Election in the place of any observer or scrutineer who fails or refuses to carry out their duties in that Officer’s sole discretion.

2.12             Counting of votes

Only valid votes will be included in the count. In the case of votes cast by use of the Voting System, voter validation will take place at the time of logging into the Voting System to cast a vote. Once a voter logs off the Voting System, the vote is deemed to be permanently cast and cannot be altered.

In the event that the Voting System or Website is temporarily unavailable, there will be no extension of the Voting Period except if the interruption occurs in the 24-hour period before the Election closes, in which case the Voting Period will be extended by the length of time that the Voting System or Website was unavailable.

2.12.1           Only one member to be elected

For Elections where one member is to be elected as a member of Senate or the Academic Board, votes are counted as follows:

  1. each vote is of equal value;

  2. if there are two candidates, the one with more first preference votes is elected;

  3. if there are more than two candidates, a further count assigning preference votes will be conducted, and if necessary repeated, until only two candidates remain.

  4. for section 2.12.1(c) of this Policy, a further count assigning preference votes is conducted by:

    1. excluding the candidate with the fewest votes in the previous count, and reassigning the excluded candidate’s preference votes as follows:

      1. excluding votes on which there is not recorded a preference vote for a candidate who has not yet been excluded; and

      2. assigning each preference vote recorded to the candidate who:

        1. is next in the order of an elector’s preference; and

        2. has not been excluded; and

    2. counting the number of votes (first-preference votes for a candidate together with any preference votes assigned to the candidate) for each candidate who has not been excluded.

  5. If 2.12.1(d)(i) cannot be applied because 2 or more candidates (1 of whom must be excluded) have the least number of votes and these candidates all have the same number of votes, these candidates are to be excluded and their preference votes assigned by:

    1. excluding votes on which there is not recorded a preference vote for a candidate who has not yet been excluded; and

    2. assigning each preference vote recorded to the candidate who:

      1. is next in the order of an elector’s preference; and

      2. has not been excluded; and

    3. counting the number of votes (first-preference votes for a candidate together with any preference votes assigned to the candidate) for each candidate who has not been excluded.

  6. The Returning Officer must repeat the process under sections 2.12.1(c), (d) and (e) until only two candidates remain. The candidate with more votes (first preference votes together with any preference votes assigned to the candidate) is elected.

  7. If, after the counting of votes under section 2.12.1(f), no candidate has received the most number of votes (due to the candidates being excluded for receiving the same number of votes), the Returning Officer must conduct a re-election under section 2.15.

2.12.2           More than one elected member

For Elections where more than one member is to be elected as a member of Senate or the Academic Board in a specific class, votes are counted as follows:

  1. Each vote is of equal value.

  2. If there are more candidates than the number of positions to be filled, a further count assigning preference votes must be conducted, and if necessary repeated, until the number of candidates equals the number of positions to be filled.

  3. For section 2.12.2(b), a further count assigning preference votes is conducted by:

    1. excluding the candidate with the fewest votes in a previous count and reassigning the excluded candidate’s votes as follows:

      1. excluding votes on which there is not recorded a preference vote for a candidate who has not yet been excluded; and

      2. assigning each preference vote recorded to the candidate who:

        1. is next in the order of an elector’s preference; and

        2. has not been excluded; and

    2. counting the number of votes (first-preference votes for a candidate together with any preference votes assigned to the candidate) for each candidate who has not been excluded.

  1. If 2.12.2(c) cannot be applied because 2 or more candidates (1 of whom must be excluded) have the least number of votes and these candidates all have the same number of votes, these candidates are to be excluded and their preference votes assigned by:

    1. excluding votes on which there is not recorded a preference vote for a candidate who has not been excluded for the count or a previous count; and

    2. assigning each preference vote recorded to the candidate who:

      1. is next in the order of an elector’s preference; and

      2. has not been excluded; and

    3. counting the number of votes (first-preference votes for a candidate together with any preference votes assigned to the candidate) for each candidate who has not been excluded.

  2. The Returning Officer must repeat the process under sections 2.12.2(c) and (d) until the number of candidates equals the number of positions to be filled.  Each candidate remaining under this section is elected.

  3. If, after the counting of votes under section 2.12.2(e), the number of candidates is fewer than the number of positions to be filled (due to two of more candidates being eliminated for receiving the same number of votes), the Returning Officer must:

    1. declare the remaining candidates with the most number of votes elected; and

    2. conduct a re-election under section 2.15 for the vacant position or positions.

2.13             Counting of votes

2.13.1              Actions by the Returning Officer

At the close of voting, a printed report of the total votes cast will be prepared in the presence of the Returning Officer.

In the presence of the observers and scrutineers (if applicable), the Returning Officer will examine the reports of the votes cast and record the total number of votes cast for each candidate. The Returning Officer and the observers (and scrutineers, if applicable) will then sign and confirm that the reports are a true and correct record of the votes cast in the Election.

2.13.2            The Returning Officer to declare the result of the Election

The Returning Officer will declare the result of the Election by:

  1. giving notice in writing to the candidates of the result of the Election;

  2. giving notice in writing of the names of elected candidates to the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor or, where appropriate, the President of the Academic Board (for Academic Board elections); and

  3. publishing the names of the elected candidates on the University’s website for a period of 28 days.

2.13.3             Website or Electronic Voting System not available

In the event that the Website or the Voting System is temporarily unavailable, there will be no extension of the Voting Period except if the interruption occurs in the 24-hour period before the Election closes, in which case the Voting Period will be extended by the length of time that the Website or the Voting System was unavailable.

2.14             Validity of election

An Election remains valid even where there has been:

  1. an inadvertent failure to include a voter in the Electoral Rolls and/or send a voter any Election documents; or

  2. a procedural irregularity, provided that the irregularity was not likely, in the opinion of the Returning Officer, to have affected the result of the Election.

2.15             Holding a re-election

2.15.1            When is a re-election required

The Returning Officer must conduct a re-election if:

  1. in the opinion of the Returning Officer, a procedural irregularity which was likely to have affected the result was identified with the original Election; or

  2. a re-election is required under sections 2.12.1(g) or 2.12.2(f); or

  3. there has been breach of the Electoral Code and the ad hoc Electoral Committee invalidates a candidate’s election under section 2.18 of this Policy.

2.15.2            Procedure for conducting a re-election

The Returning Officer must follow the procedure set out below in conducting the re-election:

  1. notify relevant candidates of the requirement to conduct a re-election;

  2. inform the relevant candidates that they may withdraw their nomination at any time three days before commencement of the voting period;

  3. notify all persons on the relevant electoral roll of the re-election by:

    1. where reasonably possible, email to each person eligible to vote in the class; and

    2. a notice on the University’s website; and

  4. follow the voting procedure set out in this Policy in the conduct of the re-election.

This Policy applies to any re-election with any necessary modifications relevant to it being a re-election.

2.16             Electoral Code

The Electoral Code sets out the conduct required of candidates during an Election campaign and includes provisions to ensure that no person who is eligible to vote is improperly influenced.

The Returning Officer must publish and may amend from time to time the University’s Electoral Code.

Nominated candidates must comply with the Electoral Code, as amended from time to time.

If, in the opinion of the Returning Officer, a nominated candidate is found to have failed to comply with the Electoral Code, the Returning Officer may:

  1. issue a written warning to the candidate; or

  2. refer the candidate's conduct to the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee for determination.

2.17            Complaints

2.17.1          Complaints to Returning Officer

A person may lodge a complaint with the Returning Officer about the way an Election has been conducted or about the behaviour of individuals (including a candidate) during an Election. All complaints must be made in writing to the Returning Officer at uqelections@uq.edu.au.

Complaints must be made by an individual and cannot be made on behalf of a group of individuals.

The Returning Officer will acknowledge the complaint, investigate and reach a decision as soon as practicable.

A person may apply to the Review Committee for a review of the decision of the Returning Officer under this section. The Review Committee comprises the Provost, the Chief Operating Officer and another member appointed by the Vice-Chancellor.  An application must be made in writing to the Chief Operating Officer citing the decision of the Returning Officer. The decision of the Review Committee with respect to the outcome of a review of a complaint is final.

2.17.2           Complaint about the Returning Officer

A person may lodge a complaint about the conduct of the Returning Officer during an election under the Complaints Management Policy.

In the event of any uncertainty about whether a complaint falls under section 2.17.1 or 2.17.2, the Chief Operating Officer will determine the appropriate section.

2.18            Ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee

2.18.1          Committee and breach of the Electoral Code

If an allegation of a breach of the Electoral Code is referred to the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee (ad hoc Committee) for consideration, the Chancellor must appoint three (3) external members of Senate, one of whom is appointed as chair, to be members of the ad hoc Committee to hear the allegations.

The Chief Operating Officer may appoint a person to act as secretary to the ad hoc Committee.

2.18.2         Power of ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee

If an alleged breach of the Electoral Code is referred to the ad hoc Committee by the Returning Officer, the ad hoc Committee must conduct a hearing pursuant to the procedures set out in section 2.18.3 of this Policy. The ad hoc Committee may take any of the following actions in response to allegations of breaches of the Electoral Code:

  1.  determine there is no case to answer;

  2. give a written warning to the candidate;

  3. cancel a candidate’s nomination; and/or

  4. invalidate a candidate's election.

If the ad hoc Committee decides to invalidate the election of a candidate as a result of a breach of the Electoral Code that candidate is not permitted to stand in any re-election under Section 2.15.

The ad hoc Committee's decision is final.

2.18.3          Procedure for ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee

When dealing with a referral from the Returning Officer for a breach of the Electoral Code, the ad hoc Committee must proceed to consider the breach in the way the ad hoc Committee chair decides, but it must observe the following requirements:

  1. the secretary of the ad hoc Committee must give the candidate notice of the time and place of the hearing at least five (5) business days before the date of the hearing;

  2. the University and the candidate are entitled to be represented by a legally qualified person; and

  3. the ad hoc Committee must determine whether a breach of the Electoral Code occurred on the basis of evidence adduced by the University and the candidate.

2.18.4        Basis for decision

In considering a breach of the Electoral Code, the ad hoc Committee must make a decision based on sound reasoning and relevant evidence.

2.18.5       Relationship with other policies and procedures

Any action under section 2.18 of this Policy does not prevent the University from taking action against a candidate for a breach of any other University requirements, for example, the Student Integrity and Misconduct Policy.

3.0                Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

3.1                 Chief Operating Officer

The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for appointing an appropriately qualified person to be the Returning Officer.  The Returning Officer must not be a person who is more senior than the Chief Operating Officer.  The Returning Officer for a Senate Election or an Academic Board Election need not be the same person.

3.2                 Returning Officer

The Returning Officer is responsible for the conduct of Elections under this Policy.  The Returning Officer may publish, and amend from time to time, an Electoral Code to assist in the conduct of an Election.

3.3               Candidates

Candidates running in an election under this Policy are required to comply with the expected standards of behaviour as set out in this Policy and the Electoral Code.

3.4               Ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee

The ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee considers allegations of breaches of the Electoral Code as set out in section 2.18 of this policy.

4.0                Monitoring, Review and Assurance

The Returning Officer is required to ensure that Senate and Academic Board elections are conducted in accordance with the principles and key requirements of this Policy.  The Returning Officer will review and provide an annual assurance report to the Chief Operating Officer on the adequacy, efficiency and effectiveness of this Policy.

5.0               Recording and Reporting

After the declaration of the result of an Election, the Returning Officer must retain printed copies of the electronic records of voting for the period of time required by the Public Records Act 2002, after which time the Returning Officer must destroy or delete the electronic records.

6.0                Appendix

6.1                 Definitions

Act means the University of Queensland Act 1998.

Candidate means a candidate nominated under section 2.7 of the policy.

Committee means the ad hoc Senate Electoral Committee established under section 2.18 of this policy.

Election means the election of elected members to the Senate or the Academic Board.

Electoral Code means the University of Queensland Electoral Code.

Electoral Rolls means those lists of voters created or maintained by the Returning Officer of persons eligible to vote for Senate and Academic Board Elections.

Policy means the policy governing the election of elected members of the Senate and the Academic Board as contained in this document.

Postgraduate student means a student enrolled in a course or program leading to the award of a postgraduate certificate or diploma, or a master’s or doctoral degree of the University.

Procedural irregularity means a procedural breach of this Policy.

Returning Officer means the officer of the University appointed under Section 3.1 of this Policy.

Undergraduate student means a student who is not a postgraduate student.

University means The University of Queensland.

Voting Period means the period from the first day of voting to the last day of voting as notified under section 2.6 of this Policy.

Custodians
Chief Operating Officer Mr Greg Pringle