The electoral commission has been forced to call in the services of respected former federal police commissioner Mick Keelty for an investigation after 1375 Senate ballots vanished during a critical Western Australian recount. The missing ballots are a substantial reputational embarrassment for the Australian Electoral Commission, raise serious questions over the integrity of the electoral system, and could ultimately trigger a re-run of the WA Senate election. The special minister of state, Michael Ronaldson, has issued a strong public rebuke to the AEC.
“I have personally expressed to the electoral commissioner my strong view that this situation is totally unsatisfactory and that I, as the responsible minister, view this matter very dimly.”
Ronaldson said in a statement that “incidents such as this go to the heart of the AEC’s reputation”.
“As is appropriate in the circumstances, the electoral commissioner has moved to establish an independent inquiry into the missing ballot papers to be led by Mr Mick Keelty,” he said.
“I would expect no less and neither would the wider community.”