The Australian Electoral Commission has referred allegations against 27 electors in the Victorian division of Indi to the Federal Police.
The irregularities involve suggestions that the electors falsely declared they were eligible to enrol in Indi at the 2013 federal election. Some of the electors are thought to have been students in Melbourne and some are believed to be former residents who had moved away.
Indi was won by Cathy McGowan. She defeated the sitting Liberal member, Sophie Mirabella, by 439 votes. McGowan’s insurgent campaign surprised the Liberal Party, which had represented Indi since 1977. Mirabella held the seat for 4 terms from 2001. The seat had been held by Liberal and Country/Nationals members since 1931.
The time allowed for challenges to the election result has passed. In any event, the 27 votes would have been insufficient to affect the result.
Media release from the Australian Electoral Commission.
Statement from the Australian Electoral Commission: Division of Indi
As reported in the media recently, the AEC has been examining the enrolment details of a number of electors enrolled in the Division of Indi at the 2013 federal election.
The AEC is committed to maintaining the integrity of the electoral roll and takes any allegations of potential electoral irregularities very seriously. The current allegations involve 27 electors enrolled in the Division of Indi at the time of the 7 September 2013 election.
Mr Tom Rogers, acting Electoral Commissioner, last week reiterated his ongoing focus on all forms of electoral integrity. In line with this, he tasked the AEC’s Electoral Integrity Unit, established in July 2014, with examining these allegations as a matter of the highest priority.
The Electoral Integrity Unit has completed its examination and Mr Rogers subsequently determined that questions remain regarding the accuracy of the information that the electors concerned provided to the AEC when they were enrolled in the Division of Indi. As a number of Commonwealth laws may have been breached, Mr Rogers has referred the allegations to the Australian Federal Police.
Given these matters have now been referred to the Australian Federal Police, the AEC intends to make no further public comment.
Mr Rogers reminds all Australians that maintaining up-to-date and correct details on the electoral roll is an individual responsibility. Significant penalties apply for making a false declaration on an electoral enrolment application.