The 2001 US Presidential election was notable for the ‘hanging chad’ and other irregularities. The US became a bit of a laughing-stock. Australia, we were told, had a much superior voting system oversighted by the unimpeachable Australian Electoral Commission.
With revelations that 1300 Senate voting papers have gone missing in Western Australia, on top of various voting irregularities in the 2013 election, the AEC should not be treated as a protected species. It has failed the people of Australia. Fortunately the result of the election was so decisive that these failings did not alter the overall election result. But they could well have resulted in the ‘election’ of some individuals to the House and to the Senate who would otherwise have been defeated.
I wrote previously of the re-appointed Australian Electoral Commissioner, Edward Killesteyn, who has been resistant to any reform efforts such as mandatory ID checking at polling places. Killesteyn was reappointed by the previous government to a new five-year term commencing 4 January 2014.
Killesteyn should resign, and the Government should appoint a new Electoral Commissioner of unimpeachable integrity who will drive the needed process of electoral reform to ensure the veracity of the electoral roll and the continued confidence by the Australian people in election outcomes. Killesteyn is not the person who can oversight this reform process.