Three-member statutory authority
The NSW Electoral Commission is an independent, three-member statutory authority constituted under the Electoral Act 2017.
The chief responsibilities of the NSW Electoral Commission statutory authority are to:
enforce the electoral laws
approve or decline the payment of public funds to eligible political participants
commence prosecutions for breaches of electoral laws
conduct and promote research into electoral matters.
The Commission meets at least six times each year to consider matters that are raised and to make decisions.
The Commission is different to a board because it does not direct or decide on the activities of the Electoral Commission agency (led by the Electoral Commissioner) or the conduct of elections.
The NSW Electoral Commission provides advice to the Electoral Commissioner when requested, but cannot direct the public service agency, the conduct of elections or matters relating to the electoral roll.
Statements by the Chair of the NSW Electoral Commission
The Chair of the NSW Electoral Commission issues statements on matters or decisions of public interest from time to time. Statements made by the Chair are published and archived on this website.
Members of the NSW Electoral Commission statutory authority
Arthur Emmett AO KC, BA LLB LLM LLD
Chairperson of the NSW Electoral Commission
The Hon Arthur Emmett AO KC, BA LLB LLM LLD graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (1964), Bachelor of Laws (1967) and Master of Laws with honours (1976). In 2009, the University conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). Arthur has been Challis Lecturer in Roman Law at the University of Sydney since 1990. In 2016 Arthur was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia.
In 1967 Arthur was admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales, in 1978 he was admitted as a barrister in New South Wales and in 1985 was appointed Queen's Counsel. Arthur was a judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 1997 until 2013, a Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 2013–15, and for six years from October 2015, was an Acting Judge of Appeal, also sitting in the Commercial and Real Property Lists of the Equity Division.
From October 2007 to March 2011, Arthur was the President of the Copyright Tribunal of Australia.
Prior to commencing as Chair of the NSW Electoral Commission, Arthur served as Chair of the Electoral Districts Redistribution Panel to determine the 2021 redistribution of names and boundaries of NSW electoral districts.
Sandra Boswell BEc, Dip.Ed
Member of the NSW Electoral Commission
Ms Sandra Boswell graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Economics and a Graduate Diploma of Education and has over 25 years’ experience in professional services.
Ms Boswell is a Partner of Grant Thornton Australia where she assists companies regarding innovation in Australia. Prior to this, she was a partner for 15 years with PwC Australia during which time she led businesses within PwC and was also a member of the Australian Governance Board of Partners. Ms Boswell chaired the Finance and Operations (Audit) Committee whilst on the Board and was a member of several other committees. In 2017 she was appointed as a member of the PwC Asia Pacific Board.
Ms. Boswell is also a Non-Executive Director of the Global Legal Identity Foundation (“GLEIF”) based in Switzerland where she is currently a member of the audit committee having been chair of that committee from 2019- 2021. She has had held several other Board appointments previously including being a board member and Chair of the Audit Committee on Sisters of Charity Foundation as well as a board member of the Heart Research Institute where she chaired the Commercialisation Committee.
John Schmidt BA LLB MA
NSW Electoral Commissioner
John Schmidt was appointed NSW Electoral Commissioner by the Governor of New South Wales and began his term on 8 August 2016. From 2009 to 2014 John was the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Transactions Reports & Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), after serving in senior NSW Government positions within the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Fair Trading.
John holds a Bachelor’s degree in Laws, and a Master’s degree in Arts.
Alan Robertson SC BA LLB
Deputy to the Chair, NSW Electoral Commission
The Hon Alan Robertson SC graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (1972) and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (1980). Alan was admitted in 1980 as a Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.
After working in the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department from 1980 to 1983, Alan moved to the New South Wales Bar and, in 1995, was appointed Senior Counsel.
Alan was a part-time member of the Administrative Review Council between 1992 and 1997 and was appointed a judge of the Federal Court in April 2011, retiring from that court in 2020. While a judge of the court, Alan was a Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and a Deputy President of the Australian Competition Tribunal.
Alan is an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University and President of the Australian Academy of Law.