Two Australian politicians have been forced to leave their seats in the Senate after they discovered they were ineligible to stand because they held dual citizenship with other countries. Greens senator Larissa Waters resigned on Tuesday after revealing she also held Canadian citizenship, days after her party colleague Scott Ludlam was forced to step down after discovering he held dual citizenship with New Zealand. Australia’s constitution bars dual citizens from eligibility for elected office, unless they can show they have taken reasonable steps to sever foreign ties. Although Ludlam served in the upper house for nine years and Waters for six, the revelations mean they were technically never senators. A visibly emotional Waters apologised for failing to conduct the necessary checks to ensure she was eligible to sit in parliament. She said she had learned with “shock and sadness” she was a dual citizen after checking last week.
Articles about voting issues in the Commonwealth of Australia.
The deputy leader of an Australian political party announced Friday that he was ending his nine-year career in Parliament because he had discovered he had technically never been a senator. Scott Ludlam, the 47-year-old deputy leader of the minor Greens party, said he was “personally devastated” to learn that he was a citizen of New Zealand as well as Australia, which made him ineligible for the Senate job he has held since July 2008. The constitution states that a “citizen of a foreign power” is not eligible to be elected to the Australian Parliament. … Born in in Palmerston North in New Zealand, Ludlam moved to Perth, Australia, when was 3 years old. He became an Australian as a teenager and said he hadn’t realized that New Zealand citizenship “might be something that sticks to you in that way.”
Labor has launched a high court challenge to the right of a National party MP to sit in the parliament, which could remove the Coalition government’s one-seat majority. Labor’s national executive confirmed the decision on Friday morning to challenge the assistant health minister and National MP for Lyne, David Gillespie, over a potential commercial interest with the commonwealth. If the case were successful, a byelection would be triggered in the safe National party seat on the New South Wales mid-north coast. If the Coalition candidate lost, the Turnbull government would lose its one-seat majority. Gillespie won the seat after the former independent Rob Oakeshott retired at the 2013 election. Oakeshott ran at the 2016 election in the nearby safe National seat of Cowper but failed to unseat MP Luke Hartsuyker after a three-week campaign.
Australia: Cloud infrastructure, biometric ID could be used by New South Wales’s iVote system | Computerworld
The New South Wales Electoral Commission (NSWEC) is eyeing potential changes to its iVote platform ahead of the NSW’s 2019 election. iVote offers both browser-based Internet voting and telephone voting. It was used in the 2011 and 2015 NSW state elections, and as well as in the 2017 Western Australia election and a number of by-elections. … In 2015, cyber security researchers uncovered a vulnerability in iVote that could potentially be exploited to stage man-in-the-middle attacks to subvert votes. “We found a serious security hole that exposed the browsing session both to an attack called the FREAK attack and another attack called the Logjam attack,” one of the researchers, Dr Vanessa Teague from the University of Melbourne, last year told the hearing of a NSW parliamentary inquiry.
Australia: Potentially thousands of prisoners prevented from voting in federal elections, FOI documents reveal | ABC
Correctional services in Australia’s most populous states barred Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) staff from entering prisons to conduct voting in successive federal elections, new documents show. Potentially thousands of prisoners were prevented from voting in the 2010, 2013 and 2016 elections due to a failure to enrol them and register their ballots. The revelations come in the form of hundreds of AEC documents, including internal memos, emails and records, obtained by the ABC under freedom of information legislation. The documents show the AEC went to great lengths to ensure prisoners were correctly enrolled and equipped to vote, but the efforts had little effect.
The third interim report by the Australian Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters into the conduct of the 2016 federal election has recommended that the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) be modernised and have its 25-year-old technology systems updated, as well as conduct a pilot of electronic counting and scanning of House of Representatives ballot papers. With changes to the way preferences were allocated in the Senate before the federal election in 2016, the AEC introduced a semi-automated process to scan Senate ballot papers. Due to Australia’s complex Senate quota system, the counting was already handled electronically. Handing down its report [PDF] on Wednesday, the joint committee endorsed plans by the AEC to extend the scanning and counting to Australia’s lower house. … But the report by a joint parliamentary committee stops short of any suggestion of introducing major-scale electronic voting to Australian elections. At this stage only the scanning and counting of votes should be done electronically – and the report says this needs expensive new technology.
The NSW Electoral Commission scored $5.4 million in this year’s state budget to rebuild its iVote online voting system in time for the next state election in 2019. The funding is part of a $23 million package to improve the agency’s online systems, which will also see the introduction of “an end-to-end solution for the disclosure of political donations, expenditure and the lodgement of public funding claims,” budget documents state. Last month the NSWEC asked the market to suggest off-the-shelf software that could replace the online voting system’s current core platform. “The RFI [request for information] process will give suppliers the opportunity to demonstrate new or innovative solutions that may better meet the needs of the NSWEC,” the agency said at the time.
The federal police chief says it would be “naive” to dismiss the threat of Russian interference in a future Australian election. AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin will head to the United States soon for talks with his counterparts on counter-terrorism and cyber security. American intelligence and security agencies say there was Russian interference – ranging from the spreading of disinformation to data theft – in the 2016 US presidential elections and 2017 French elections. Mr Colvin said the issue would be on his agenda. “I think we would be ignorant and naive if we didn’t think this is a real threat,” Mr Colvin told the National Press Club on Wednesday.
The internet and social media pose an unprecedented threat to Australia’s democratic systems and an urgent response is needed to safeguard against attacks, according to a new report. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report drew on case studies from the US and found technology had enabled malicious foreign forces to potentially influence elections on a “scale and scope previously unseen”. “Two critical elements of the democratic process are under assault,” said the report’s author, Zoe Hawkins. “The security of our election infrastructure — think hacked voting machines — and the integrity of our public debates — think fake news.
A Victorian parliamentary inquiry has backed the roll out of Internet-based voting for state elections, but only in limited circumstances. A report by the state parliament’s Electoral Matters Committee on the issue was tabled yesterday. The inquiry endorsed the use of remote electronic voting for electors who are blind or have low vision, suffer motor impairment, have insufficient language or literacy skills, or who are eligible to vote but interstate or overseas. Internet-based voting should be backed by the “most rigorous security standards available” to the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC), the report recommended.