A new exhibition commissioned by the Morrison Government will help educate Australians about our nation’s democratic history, voting system and how they can play a more active and informed role in it.

The 2020-21 Budget will deliver $6 million to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to design and curate a new interactive public exhibition located within the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) at Old Parliament House and to upgrade the National Electoral Education Centre, which hosts 90,000 students annually.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the exhibition will help boost understanding of how Australia’s system of democracy works and will be suitable for all ages on a self-tour basis.

“The AEC’s highly acclaimed education centre has successfully taught many thousands of students about Australia’s democracy and electoral system since 2001, but there has never been a space for public visitors to Old Parliament House to have the same educational experience,” Senator Cormann said. 

“This funding will also deliver upgrades at the AEC’s education centre which will greatly improve the quality of group learning experiences, including by replacing of out of date touch screen technology allowing those facilities to be used by a wider range of groups than just students.”

The Joint Standing Committee’s on the National Capital and External Territories 2019 report on the inquiry into national institutions recommended that the NEEC be resourced to also offer a walk-up experience for impromptu visitors. 

Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters, Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, welcomed the investment and said it would further enrich the national capital visitor experience.

“There is no better place than Canberra to learn more about Australia’s electoral system and this investment will improve the knowledge base of visitors to Old Parliament House.” 

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Hon Ben Morton, said it was fitting the AEC’s new interactive exhibition be housed at Old Parliament House given its responsibility to educating, inspiring and engaging visitors.

“This new exhibition will give visitors a better understanding about how our democracy works. By improving citizens’ knowledge base about our electoral system they feel more empowered to play a role in it,” said Assistant Minister Morton.

“I am consistently impressed by the education program delivered by the AEC at their education centre, which generates both understanding of and enthusiasm for citizens’ roles in democracy through the electoral process.

“I look forward to Old Parliament House visitors gaining a greater understanding of our nation’s democratic history and leaving inspired and excited about their agency in Australia’s political system and how they can play a more active part in it.

“Australia’s voting system has led the world and is a story that should be told further.”

The AEC will manage the design, curation and installation of the new public exhibition and the upgrade of the NEEC.