What is the Australian Election Study?

The Australian Election Study is a significant national study being carried out by The Australian National University. It is the largest survey of its kind and has taken place after every federal election since 1987.

The study aims to provide a long-term perspective on stability and change in the political attitudes and behaviour of the Australian electorate. It investigates how our society has changed since the 1980s.

The Australian Election Study is funded by the Australian Research Council and The Australian National University and data collection is being carried out by the Social Research Centre. The research is being conducted by Professor Ian McAllister, Professor Toni Makkai, and Dr Jill Sheppard, researchers at The Australian National University.

Further information on the AES, including published results from previous years, are available at www.australianelectionstudy.org.

Why is it important?

In addition to the long-term goal of monitoring political attitudes and behaviour, the study examines the political issues and personalities at the time of each specific election and evaluates their importance in shaping the election result.

Participating in the Australian Election Study provides a real opportunity to have your views on Australia’s social, political, and economic progress included in this significant Australian study.

How was my household selected?

Your address was randomly sampled from the Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF). The G-NAF is a database of all the physical addresses in Australia. The database is publicly available from contributors including the land agencies in each state and territory of Australia.

If you are a member of the AES panel, your address will have been selected in 2016 from the G-NAF or the Australian Electoral Roll. Thank you to all panellists who have provided their updated contact details.

Why do you need my help?

We have randomly selected 4,000 addresses from the G-NAF, along with 1,200 panellists, and invited one person from each household to participate.

For the results to be accurate, and to reflect the views of different groups in our society, we need involvement from as many households as possible.

What is involved?

The questionnaire asks about a range of topics and will take about 40 minutes to complete. You can easily complete the questionnaire online, on any device, in one or more sittings.

How do I participate?

To complete the questionnaire online, use the login details provided in the invitation letter.

Go to www.srcentre.com.au/aes and enter your unique login code to start the survey.

To complete the questionnaire in more than one sitting, just save your answers and close the browser. When you next log on, you will be returned to where you left off.

If you do not have access to the internet, or cannot otherwise complete online, you can complete on paper. We will recontact households who do not complete online with a paper questionnaire and reply-paid envelope.

Do I have to participate?

Participation in the project is entirely voluntary and you may decline to take part or withdraw from the survey at any time without providing an explanation. If you do withdraw prior to the results being published, your data record will be retrieved and destroyed without any penalty.

If you do choose to participate, you can still refuse to answer any question throughout the survey.

Are there any benefits?

By participating in this survey, you are helping to improve our understanding of how Australian society is changing, and how our society compares with others around the world.

We will send an additional $20 gift card if you complete the survey as thanks for your time.

Are there any risks involved?

In any collection of personal information, there is some risk that third parties could access confidential data. The researchers have a host of systems in place to minimise this risk. The information will be securely stored for at least five years following any publications arising from the research.

All the information collected is confidential and it will not be possible to identify individuals. At the end of the research, only aggregate results will be presented.

How will my information be used?

The data will be collected, confidentialised and securely stored by the Social Research Centre (a subsidiary of The Australian National University).

The data will be analysed and results reported by The Australian National University. Along with the published report, results will be communicated in national media and used for further academic research.

The confidentialised data will then be archived in the Australian Data Archive for at least five years following publication of the results.

How is my confidentiality protected?

The information that you provide will remain strictly confidential. We do not identify individuals, and any potentially identifying information attached to your response – such as your address – will be securely destroyed. The results will only be reported in aggregate form.

Your confidentiality is protected by the Australian Market and Social Research Organisation’s Privacy Principles (www.amsro.com.au) which governs how the researchers collect, use, keep secure and disclose personal information. Both The Australian National University and the Social Research Centre abide by the principles of the Australian Market and Social Research Society of Australia's Code of Professional Behaviour (www.amsrs.com.au).

In collecting your personal information within this research, the ANU must comply with the Privacy Act 1988. The ANU Privacy Policy is available at policies.anu.edu.au/ppl/document/ANUP_010007 and it contains information about how a person can:

  • Access or seek correction to their personal information
  • Complain about a breach of an Australian Privacy Principle by ANU, and how ANU will handle the complaint.

Queries and concerns

If you have any questions about your participation, or you would like to opt out, please call the Social Research Centre on 1800 023 040 or email: aes@srcentre.com.au.

If you have any questions or concerns about the research, please contact:

Professor Ian McAllister School of Politics and International Relations College of Arts and Social Sciences The Australian National University Acton ACT 2601

Phone: 02 6125 5553

Email: ian.mcallister@anu.edu.au

Ethics

The ethical aspects of this research have been approved by the ANU Human Research Ethics Committee (Protocol 2010/079). If you have any serious concerns or complaints about how this research has been conducted, please contact:

Ethics Manager
The ANU Human Research Ethics Committee
The Australian National University

Phone: 02 6125 3427
Email: Human.Ethics.Officer@anu.edu.au