Electoral officials have applied to the High Court for a re-run of the West Australian Senate election, following the loss of 1370 ballot papers. Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn today lodged a petition with the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, to declare all six Senate places void following the loss of the ballot papers during a controversial recount. The petition comes before the conclusion of the investigation into the missing ballot papers by former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty. “Given the closeness of the margins that favoured the final two declared candidates, the petition is based on the premise that the inability to include 1370 missing ballot papers in the recount of the WA Senate election means that the election was likely to be affected for the purposes of s 362(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918,” the Australian Electoral Commission said in a statement.
Despite the lost ballot papers, the AEC was forced to declare that following a recount, the Greens’ Scott Ludlam and the Australian Sports Party’s Wayne Dropulich had won two final, contested, Senate spots.
In the original result following the September 7 election, Palmer United Party candidate Zhenya “Dio” Wang and Labor’s Louise Pratt were announced to have won the two spots in a tight contest that swung on the distribution of 14 votes at a crucial point in the preference count.