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NSW Electoral Commissioner John Schmidt retires

After almost eight years serving as the Electoral Commissioner for New South Wales and almost 40 years in public service, John Schmidt will serve his final day at work on Friday, 5 April before retiring.

As Electoral Commissioner, Mr Schmidt oversaw transformational change to the organisation with the implementation of the Electoral Act 2017 and the Electoral Funding Act 2018. He delivered the 2016, 2017 and 2021 Local Government general elections, the 2019 and 2023 NSW State elections, the 2019 and 2024 NSW Aboriginal Land Council elections, 15 State by elections, 26 Local Government by elections, and the 2021 Redistribution of NSW electoral boundaries.

During Mr Schmidt’s tenure there has been a significant focus on governance and advocating for investment to create a sustainable ongoing workforce for the NSW Electoral Commission and to upgrade the agency’s aging election systems to ensure electoral integrity and the running of independent, fair and accessible elections in New South Wales.

Mr Schmidt has effectively led public trust in election integrity within NSW through closer engagement with other agencies to support safe and secure elections. His work with electoral commissioners across Australia and New Zealand and as chair of the Electoral Council of Australia and New Zealand (ECANZ) from 2017-2022, has continued to strengthen election delivery and regulation across the region.

Throughout his time as Electoral Commissioner, Mr Schmidt has led the NSW Electoral Commission to increase collaboration with other government agencies, to advocate proposals for legislative change, and to engage with the public to make it easier for people to understand and participate in the democratic process. 

On behalf of NSW public sector agencies and citizens, the NSW Electoral Commission thanks Mr. Schmidt for his hard work, commitment and dedication.

Dr Matthew Phillips, Executive Director for Corporate division, has been appointed as Acting Electoral Commissioner for New South Wales by Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales. He takes up the role from Saturday, 6 April 2024.