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How Google supported the Australian Federal Election

A new Labor Government led by Anthony Albanese was elected following the recent federal election on 21 May. Google congratulates the Prime Minister and his Government, and we look forward to working with all Members and Senators of the 47th Parliament.

As we shared prior to the election being called, Google worked in many ways to support the election in Australia, including by supporting voter participation, protecting election integrity, and helping campaigns manage their digital presence. These efforts are part of our elections program which Google runs worldwide to support democracy and civic engagement.

Engaging Voters

We worked with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to surface official information on our platforms about enrolment and voting to help ensure all Australians could have their say. This included an ‘enrol to vote’ prompt and a prompt to go and vote on election day.

With 19 million Australians using Google Search each month, we were proud to promote voter enrolment on the Google Search home page. Through these and many other efforts, the AEC created the largest and most complete electoral roll in the nation's history with more than 17.2 million Australians, or 96.8% of eligible Australians enrolled.

On election day, we featured a specially designed Google Doodle which included the AEC’s new environmentally friendly, “raw” brown cardboard ballot boxes. On YouTube, we featured a homepage promotions raising up authoritative content on ‘How to Vote’, where to vote and election results, as well as helped users watch election results with a special news shelf.

A picture of Google’s Australian Election Day Doodle

Caption: Google’s Australian Election Day Doodle

Protecting Integrity

To protect the integrity of the election, Google worked with our partners to tackle misinformation, increase transparency of election advertising and keep campaigns secure through our world-leading tools and services.

To tackle misinformation, we consistently enforced our Google Ads policies and YouTube Community Guidelines, and removed content which violated either Australian law or these additional safeguards.

We launched Google’s political advertising transparency report in Australia in November 2020. This required anyone wishing to run an election ad on Google to be verified as an Australian citizen or entity - a measure to help prevent foreign interference. We also provide increased transparency around election ads by publishing the creative, the name of the advertiser, the approximate spend for the ad, any targeting options used, and the approximate number of views.

This data is available publicly, including as a public data set on Google Cloud BigQuery to provide additional options for analysis. More information about the political advertising transparency report is also available in the FAQs.

To help campaigns, candidates, and parties secure their campaigns, we conducted briefings and shared tools including the Advanced Protection Program and Project Shield and best practices such as 2-Step Verification and using our Security Checkup and Password Checkup Tools.

Google’s Threat Analysis Group also proactively monitored the Australian election for interference. We will continue to work with the Australian Government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to counter interference globally, including in Australia.

Google was pleased to work closely on election integrity with the AEC’s Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce and we look forward to continuing the close collaboration with all electoral commissions in Australia.

Equipping Campaigns

We worked with candidates, parties, journalists, the Australian Electoral Commission, and civil society to ensure that everyone was able to make the most out of digital tools to communicate, report on, and engage with voters throughout the campaign.

This included briefings and training sessions, and a weekly Google Trends newsletter on key election topics. Our election microsite provided real-time insights on Search interest relating to political parties, leaders, and key issues through the campaign.

Google’s election microsite provided real-time insights on key election topics,  candidates and parties.

Caption: Google’s election microsite provided real-time insights on key election topics, candidates and parties.

Our elections and civics training centres continue to provide many helpful free resources for elected officials, governments, and the Google News Initiative training centre helps journalists to learn the best ways to use Google tools for reporting and storytelling.