The fate of the Western Australian Senate election will hang in the balance today when the Court of Disputed Returns sits in Melbourne. The court has been asked by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to find the poll void, so it can mount a rerun. The case comes after the embarrassment to the AEC over the loss of 1,370 ballot papers after last year’s September election. The votes were discovered to be missing when a recount was ordered, after a challenge by two of the candidates, the Green’s Scott Ludlam and the Sporting Party’s Wayne Dropulich. The dispute is over the fifth and sixth Senate positions.
In the initial count which included the lost ballot papers, the winners were Labor’s Louise Pratt and the Palmer United Party’s Zhenya Wang.
The pair had won on preferences from a losing candidate, the Shooters and Fishers Party’s Murray Bow.
But the results were very close and on the recount the Australian Christian Party’s Jamie Van Burgel was ahead, and his preferences led to the election of Senator Ludlam and Mr Dropulich.