Former police commissioner Mick Keelty says the whereabouts of the missing 1,375 votes from the disputed West Australian Senate election may remain a mystery. Keelty, who has been called in by the Australian Electoral Commission to investigate the loss of ballot papers in the 2013 Western Australia Senate election, told reporters in Perth on Monday: “We may never get to the bottom of this. Nearly six weeks down the track and there is no indication of where these ballots are.” The contested senate election result in Western Australia is now bound for the high court, and the AEC has left open the prospect of petitioning the court itself in a gesture to restore faith in the electoral process. The court has several options, including ordering a fresh election.
Keelty said on Monday his investigation had turned up allegations suggesting votes had been lost in other elections – allegations he would pursue. “I have had emails sent to me by people working in other electoral commission officers around the country indicating to me these things are commonplace but they don’t have such a big impact on the elections,” Keelty said.
The current investigation is meant to provide the AEC with recommendations about how to proceed. The former police commissioner indicated on Monday that he hoped he would be in a position to provide his advice to the electoral commission either by the end of next week, or failing that, by the end of November.