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Richard Kidd – Principal


Richard KiddRichard Kidd, Principal of Australian Election Company; and formerly, General Manager – Elections, of a competitor provider, Principal of Ballot & Election Solutions, and Director, Operations election.com. Has had more than 26 years experience working with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in ballot/election management, including Federal Parliamentary and Industrial Elections and Certified Agreement Ballots, for private and public sector clients. Also possesses specific knowledge and experience of the logistics associated with the conduct of remote area elections for structured forums for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. His final (AEC) position was that of Queensland State Director, Industrial Elections.

In addition to parliamentary elections, legislation, policy and procedure, Richard also claims experience in the administration, management and conduct of Industrial Elections and other non-parliamentary elections, including the consideration of relevant Court precedents and the analyses and interpretation of organisation’s rules.

Richard privately funded, resourced, organised and managed Queensland’s first ever totally outsourced Local Government Election. He conducted the 2001 NRMA Board of Directors Elections (a combined Internet / Online and Postal Election) as Returning Officer, under the auspices of election.com, a US based Election Company. He again conducted the NRMA Board of Directors Elections (also Internet / Online and Postal Voting) as Returning Officer (in 2003), but this time on behalf of another provider.

During March 2004, he performed the duties of Returning Officer for the Maroochy Shire Council Elections. The Maroochy Shire Council Elections, as well as those for nine (9) other Queensland Shires, were totally outsourced and under his overall management. He conducted the 2005 NRMA Board of Directors Elections as Principal Returning Officer.

As General Manager, Elections, of a competitor provider, Richard was responsible for the co-ordination and management of all Ballots/Elections conducted. Other clients on behalf of whom he has either supervised or conducted Ballots/Elections include; Australia Post, the Australian Electoral Commission, Centrelink, Ergon Energy, and Mayne Health.

His role as General Manager, Elections also involved the provision of specialist guidance and advice to staff in respect of all ballot/election matters (including most relevant legal matters). He frequently provided consultancy services to clients to review/re-constitute their ballot/election governance requirements. Most recently he prepared and submitted a formal submission to the Victorian State Parliamentary Inquiry into Electronic “e” Democracy. He appeared before the Committee of Inquiry in Canberra.

Duke Ellis – Technical Manager


Duke has been involved with technical aspects of computer usage since 1967 when he commenced his career as a computer operator with the Queensland Department of Main Roads. He has had extensive experience in computer operating, programming and system design. In 1982, he formed his own contracting company which was engaged in the development, support and maintenance of commercial computer systems both within Australia and in several Pacific Islands.

Having had some association with the Australian Electoral Commission while employed by ICL Computers Limited in 1981, he was contacted by the Queensland AEC Industrial Elections branch in 1982 with a view to developing roll maintenance and vote counting software, primarily for use in conducting Industrial Ballots.

This software was progressively expanded to encompass a wide variety of counting methods and roll management processes for a period of over twenty years. Over this time it was distributed to several of the AEC State Industrial Elections branches and several State Electoral Commissions for use in their Industrial Ballots and Local Government Elections. Counting methods which are currently supported include First Past the Post, Optional Preferential, Full Preferential, Multiple Preferential (two variants), Proportional Representation (twenty-three variants) with both fixed and reducing quota and affirmative action available in some cases. The software was also widely used in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elections which are decided by a complex proportional count similar to the Australian Senate.

In 2001/2002, the contractual arrangement with the AEC was terminated when the Commission took the decision to develop in-house software more compliant with their operating systems.

Since 2002, Duke has kept abreast of Ballot and Election processes by providing contract services, including supervision and processing of the more complex preferential and proportional counts. He has also performed the duties of Queensland Local Government Deputy Returning Officer or Returning Officer on a number of occasions.

He joined the Australian Election Company team in April 2006.

Allan Wilcox – Election Specialist

Allan retired from the Australian Electoral Commission in 2008 as the Divisional Returning Officer for Cowper. Allan possesses 31 years continuous professional electoral experience; he commenced in the then Australian Electoral Office in 1977.

Allan has project managed and conducted some 42 electoral events as a Returning Officer for Australian federal House of Representatives and Senate Elections; Elections for the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and; for Local Government (Council) Elections in New South Wales and Queensland. A very recent Returning Officer assignment was that of Returning Officer for the Shire of Barkly in the Northern Territory. He also was Returning Officer for the inaugural March 2008 Election for the Northern Peninsula Regional Council based in Bamaga, far North Queensland.

Allan has provided electoral developmental capacity building assistance to the previous Fijian Government. Allan is a specialist in project managing the conduct of electoral events in remote, traditional indigenous settings. As an electoral practitioner, Allan is knowledgeable, mature, responsible, and pragmatic. He respects and acknowledges individual, social, gender and cultural differences.

Allan has been responsible for the planning and execution of all phases of an election/ballot cycle including pre–event planning; budgeting, voter registration; security; polling procedures; polling official training; mechanical and computerized voting systems; liaison with political parties and candidates and; adjudication of electoral disputes.

Allan presently is a resident of Central Coast, New South Wales.

Tristam Van Twest – Election Specialist


Tristam (Tris) retired from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in 2000 as the Divisional Returning Officer for the Electoral Division of Griffith. As Divisional Returning Officer, he conducted six Federal Elections, one Referendum and the Constitutional Convention in 1999.

Tris has specialist experience in election management and administration, enrolment systems and procedures development. As well, Tris performed the duties of Divisional Field Supervisor for the 1991 Census for inner south-side of Brisbane Central and he worked as the Scanning Co-ordinator at Electoral Commission, Queensland following the 2001 State Election.

Tris spent considerable time in the Australian Electoral Commission’s (AEC) State Office on various secondments as Assistant Director, Elections and Enrolments responsible for the co-ordination of all matters relating to election administration for all Electoral Divisions in the State and also as a Research/Project Officer responsible for assessment, review and development of operational electoral policies and procedures. He played a significant part in the development of current AEC Election Management Systems including the Election Night Results System.

In 2001, Tris was the Deputy Returning Officer to Mr Kevin Melton when election.com Pty Ltd successfully conducted the June 2001 Caboolture Shire Council Division “2” By-Election. He also assisted in developmental and logistical activities leading up to the conduct of 10 Elections at the March 2004 Queensland Local Government Elections. He conducted the 2004 Pine Rivers Shire Council Election as Returning Officer and more recently the 2006 and 2007 Gladstone City Council By-Elections. Tris was also heavily involved in the 2001, 2003 and 2005 NRMA Motoring & Services Board of Directors’ Elections as one of the senior experienced Supervisors. De facto he performed the duties of Deputy Returning Officer at the 2005 NRMA Motoring & Services Board of Directors’ Elections. He performed the duties of Election Specialist for election.com and a competitor provider where he developed and compiled a Procedure Manual for the conduct of Certified/Enterprise Bargaining Agreement Ballots. Recently he became Consultant Election Specialist at Australian Election Company.

Tris is a qualified CPA Society member.

Gordon Taylor – Election Specialist (Remote Areas)


Gordon Taylor became Divisional Returning Officer for Leichhardt in the Australian Electoral Office (subsequently Australian Electoral Commission) in 1979, having worked in the Leichhardt (Cairns Nth.Queensland) Divisional Office since 1965. Gordon remained as Divisional Returning Officer for Leichhardt until his retirement from the Commonwealth Service in August 1998.

During his electoral career, Gordon developed a thorough appreciation of electoral policy and procedures and he engendered or facilitated many enhancements to national operational electoral and election processes.

Gordon also developed an absolutely detailed knowledge and understanding of culture and life in the remote indigenous Communities. Gordon traversed and visited all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities on numerous occasions and he accordingly developed specialised instructions and techniques for recruiting, training, liaising and networking with indigenous polling officials. Gordon remains well respected in Community circles.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Gordon Taylor possesses an absolutely intimate knowledge of, and highly developed experience in, the arrangement, management and conduct of Federal, ATSIC and Community Council Elections in the far North Queensland Aboriginal, and the Torres Strait Islander Communities.

Further, Gordon possesses unmatched knowledge of the geography of, and experience in, the organisation, arrangements and logistics associated with conducting parliamentary elections in remote North Queensland. Gordon is intelligent, innovative and pragmatic; he possesses all the qualities required to effectively and efficiently conduct electoral events in remote community settings.

He has also conducted as Returning Officer, every National Aboriginal Conference or ATSIC electoral event held during the currency of his term as Divisional Returning Officer. He has also conducted the Cairns City Council Elections as Returning Officer and additionally was on a number of occasions, Divisional Field Supervisor for conduct of the National Census in Queensland’s remote far Northern Aboriginal and Torres Strait Communities.

During March 2004, Gordon supervised the operations of all 32 Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy (DATSIP) Community Council Elections, and ensured delivery of professional, accurate Election Results. More recently he has conducted By-Elections for Mabuiag and Poruma Island Councils, as well as assisting in the conduct of By-Elections in Burketown Shire and By-Elections for the Kowanyama and Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Councils.

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