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Electoral Commission Asks Court Of Disputed Returns To Void W.A. Senate Result

The Australian Electoral Commission has lodged a petition with the Court of Disputed Returns asking it to declare void the result of the Western Australian Senate count.

The petition’s argument rests on the 1,370 missing ballot papers that could not be included in the recount that saw 3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Greens and 1 Sports Party candidates elected. Due to the closeness of the result, the missing ballots had the potential to affect the result.

The AEC’s petition all but guarantees a new election in Western Australia next year.

The High Court will sit as the Court of Disputed Returns to decide on the petition.

Media release from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Petition lodged with Court of Disputed Returns

The three-person Australian Electoral Commission today authorised the Electoral Commissioner to lodge a petition with the Court of Disputed Returns in respect of the 2013 Western Australian Senate election.

The petition was lodged at approximately 2:30pm AEDT today.

The petition seeks an order from the Court that the WA Senate election of six senators be declared void.

Given the closeness of the margins that favoured the final two declared candidates, the petition is based on the premise that the inability to include 1370 missing ballot papers in the recount of the WA Senate election means that the election was likely to be affected for the purposes of s 362(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

As the matter is now before the Court the AEC will not be making any further comment.

The AEC recently appointed Mr Mick Keelty AO to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the missing ballots. Mr Keelty’s inquiries are continuing.

Editorial note: For copies of the petition, please contact the High Court Registry’s public information officer (Canberra) during their business hours. The AEC will not be posting or distributing the document.


Missing W.A. Senate Votes Would Have Produced A One-Vote Turnaround

The Australian Electoral Commission has released preference information about the missing Western Australian Senate ballot papers which shows a probable reversal of the official result by just one vote.

After the first count of votes, the final two positions went to the Palmer United Party and the ALP. The result hinged on a 14-vote difference between preferences flowing to the Australian Christians and the Shooters and Fishers party.

The result was overturned by the recount and saw the Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and the Sports Party candidate, Wayne Dropulich, elected. This time, the outcome was decided by a difference of 12 votes between the Christians and the Shooters.

The recount did not include 1,375 votes which had mysteriously disappeared since the first count. However, since all the missing ballots were above-the-line votes, the first count result is available and regarded as accurate. [Read more…]


Keelty Begins Inquiry Into Missing Senate Votes

The former Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, has begun his inquiry into the missing Western Australian Senate ballot papers.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, five members of staff are assisting Keelty.

Media release from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Australian Electoral Commission statement: Mr Mick Keelty AO APM commences inquiry

Yesterday Mr Mick Keelty AO APM commenced his inquiry into the circumstances of the missing ballot papers identified during the recent recount of Senate votes in Western Australia.

The inquiry will include identifying any administrative process and/or procedural failures that may have occurred as well as providing findings and recommendations to the Australian Electoral Commission.

Mr Keelty has been offered the full cooperation of the AEC in conducting his independent inquiry. Five Canberra-based AEC staff are currently assisting Mr Keelty with his inquiry, with further resourcing available should it be requested.

Mr Keelty is in Canberra this week receiving briefings from the AEC. He is expected to travel to Perth next week to progress the inquiry and is due to provide an interim report by the end of November.

Mr Keelty’s report will be considered by the full Electoral Commission, who will determine further actions after due consideration of the report’s findings and recommendations.

In the meantime, the AEC is presently considering its position in relation to a possible petition to the Court of Disputed Returns in relation to the WA Senate outcome.

Editor’s note: Mr Keelty is currently not available for interview. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.


W.A. Senate Result Declared

The result of the Western Australian Senate count has been officially declared, in Perth today.

Peter Kramer, the Australian Electoral Officer for Western Australia, declared the result which saw 3 Liberals, 1 Labor, 1 Greens and 1 Sports Party candidates elected. He then took questions about the conduct of the ballot. [Read more…]


Greens And Sports Party Prevail In WA Senate Count; Next Stop Court Of Disputed Returns

The Greens and Sports Party candidates have prevailed in the recount of the Western Australian Senate election but their success may be shortlived as a legal challenge to the result looms.

The official recount concluded today after the Australian Electoral Commission computer conducted a full distribution of preferences. The Australian Sports Party candidate, Wayne Dropulich, was elected to the fifth position, whilst Greens Senator Scott Ludlam was re-elected to the final position.

Ludlam

Dropulich and Ludlam missed out in the first count. A 14-vote margin in one of the distributions led to the ALP’s Louise Pratt being re-elected and the Palmer United Party picking up a seat. The recount has overturned that result. [Read more…]


Clive Palmer Wins Fairfax By 53 Votes After Recount

Clive Palmer has won the seat of Fairfax by 53 votes, following a recount in the Queensland electorate.

Palmer

Palmer’s margin has increased by 46 votes over his 7 vote victory in the first count.

It is possible that the LNP might challenge the result on behalf of its candidate, Ted O’Brien, but this seems unlikely given the outcome of the recount.

The result in Fairfax will be officially declared tomorrow morning.

A total of 50,099 votes out of 89,173 (56.18%) were challenged and referred to the Fairfax Divisional Returning Officer during the recount. Of these, 43,942 votes were referred to the Australian Electoral Officer for a final ruling.

The final result of the election is now officially: Coalition 90 seats, ALP 55, KAP 1, PUP 1, Greens 1, Independent 2. The Abbott government’s majority is 30. After providing the Speaker, the government will have a majority of 29 on the floor of the House of Representatives.

  • Watch Clive Palmer’s interview with Leigh Sales on 7.30:

Statement from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Declaration of the poll in the electorate of Fairfax

The recount of the House of Representatives election in the electorate of Fairfax has been finalised, the Australian Electoral Commission announced today.

The candidate elected to represent the electorate of Fairfax is Mr Clive Palmer from the Palmer United Party with a final margin of 53 votes.

The official declaration of the result will take place at 12 noon on Friday 1 November 2013 at the Maroochydore Scrutiny Centre, in the Ex-Global Living Furniture premises, where the WIN TV Building is located, on the corner of Evans Street and Millwell Road, Maroochydore.

All candidates, the media and members of the public are welcome to attend.

Background

The recount began at 9am on Thursday 3 October with the process finalising at about 3pm on Thursday 31 October 2013.

The full recount involved a fresh look at every vote cast by voters for the electorate of Fairfax in the 2013 Federal Election, involving more than 89,000 ballot papers. View the detailed explanation of the process undertaken for the recount in the electorate of Fairfax.


AEC Loses 1,375 Votes In WA Senate Count; Mick Keelty To Investigate

There has been an extraordinary development in the Western Australian Senate count, with 1,375 votes missing and Mick Keelty, the former Federal Police Commissioner, called in to investigate.

KeeltyThe Australian Electoral Commission says 1,375 votes “could not be located, rechecked or verified”. The total included 120 informal votes and 1,255 formal above-the-line ballots.

The Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn, described the lost ballot papers as a “serious administrative issue”. He said he had reassured himself “that exhaustive efforts have been made to find the missing ballots at all premises where WA Senate votes were stored or moved during the 2013 federal election”. [Read more…]


Electoral Commissioner Orders Senate Recount In Western Australia

The Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn, has ordered a recount of Senate votes in Western Australia.

The Commissioner has instructed the Australian Electoral Officer for Western Australia to conduct a full recount of all above the line ballots and all informal ballots. This represents over 96% of all votes casts. It excludes ballots where electors voted below the line.

The decision follows a request by two defeated candidates, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and the Australian Sports Party’s Wayne Dropulich. At issue is a 14-vote margin that resulted in a preference flow that defeated Ludlam and Dropulich and elected the ALP’s Louise Pratt and the Palmer United Party’s Zhenya Wang. [Read more…]


AEC Defers Declaration Of W.A. Senate Poll To Consider Recount Request

The Australian Electoral Commission has deferred the declaration of the Western Australian Senate poll whilst it considers requests for a recount.

The declaration was due to take place at 11.30am today, W.A. time.

Recount requests were made by the defeated Greens senator, Scott Ludlam, and the Australian Sports Party candidate, Wayne Dropulich. The request was denied by the AEC yesterday. Senator Ludlam last night appealed against the decision, as he is entitle to do under Section 278(2) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. [Read more…]


Electoral Commission Refuses Request For Senate Recount In W.A. – Greens To Appeal

The Australian Electoral Commission has denied requests from the Greens and the Sports Party for a recount of the Senate ballot in Western Australia.

The count was finalised yesterday, resulting in the defeat of Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and the elimination of Sports Party candidate Wayne Dropulich. Both candidates requested a partial recount.

The AEC said neither request for a recount identified “any specific issues” that would “have warranted the conduct of a recount”. It appears that neither candidate has been able to find any irregularities in the count and their appeal is simply based on the fact that the result was close.

In a statement tonight, the defeated Greens senator, Scott Ludlam, said he would appeal the decision. Under Section 278(2) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, the appeal has to be lodged with the Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn, before the declaration of the poll. The declaration is scheduled for 11.30am tomorrow, W.A. time.

Ludlam said: “As none of the elected senators will be required to take their seats in the Senate before 1 July 2014, there is time to ensure the result is correct.”

The AEC’s Western Australian State Manager, Peter Kramer, explained the decision to deny a recount on ABC radio tonight.

Media release from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Australian Electoral Commission statement: WA Senate recount requests declined

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has released its decisions today on the WA Senate recount requests submitted by the Australian Sports Party candidate, Wayne Dropulich and the Greens (WA) candidate, Scott Ludlam.

The AEC received the two requests prior to the formal declaration originally scheduled for 3.00pm (WST) on Wednesday 2 October 2013.

The requests for a recount did not identify any specific issues, which would have warranted the conduct of a recount and as a result the requests have been denied.

Mr Dropulich and Senator Ludlam have the option of appealing the decision to the AEC Electoral Commissioner under Section 278(2) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 before the declaration of the poll.

The formal declaration of the poll for the WA Senate election has been rescheduled for 11.30am on Friday, 4 October 2013 at Level 13, 200 St Georges Tce Perth. All candidates, media and the public are invited to attend.

Media release from the Australian Greens.

Greens will appeal Electoral Commission decision

Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam will appeal the Australian Electoral Commission’s decision this afternoon not to recount Senate votes despite a difference between the respective parties at last count of just 14 votes.

“There have been Senate vote recounts both in this state and other jurisdictions when the margin has been far greater, and in more than one occasion those re-counts have led to a different result,” Senator Ludlam said.

“In such a marginal decision, with such important consequences for two Senate seats, only a recount can ensure that the votes receive the scrutiny needed to exclude human error.

“As none of the elected senators will be required to take their seats in the Senate before 1 July 2014, there is time to ensure the result is correct.”