The head of the Australian Electoral Commission, Ed Killesteyn, and his most senior colleague in Western Australia have quit in the wake of the state’s bungled Senate election. Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson announced on Friday that Mr Killesteyn had formally tendered his resignation to Governor-General Quentin Bryce. The High Court this week declared last September’s West Australian Senate result void – paving the way for a fresh election in the state – after more than 1300 ballot papers went missing during the counting process. Mr Killesteyn is currently on personal leave and will remain on leave until his resignation takes effect on July 4. Deputy electoral commissioner Tom Rogers will act as commissioner. ”Events in Western Australia mean that the Australian Electoral Commission must regain the confidence of the community,” Senator Ronaldson said in a statement. ”The government will in due course announce a new electoral commissioner who will be charged with the restoration of that confidence.”
Peter Kramer, the Australian Electoral Officer for Western Australia, who acts as the returning officer for Senate, also quit on Friday. His resignation will take effect from May 9 however his last day of work will be February 28.
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer, who has been a fierce critic of the AEC for losing the ballot papers, said Mr Killesteyn had done the right thing by resigning.
”He has done a very honourable thing and has accepted responsibility, because responsibility did rest with him, to ensure the good security of Australia ballots and the protection of democracy,” he told Fairfax Media.