WA Senate Re-Count in Doubt

Senator Scott Ludlum at a press conference earlier today.

Senator Scott Ludlum at a press conference earlier today.

The question of who will represent Western Australia in the upper house of the federal remains unanswered as the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) announce that they have lost some of the votes from the original count.

The first count of the senate election saw Labor’s Louise Pratt and Zhenya ‘Dio’ Wang from the Palmer United Party slip into the last two seats. Their success came through a small number of preference votes. The result saw incumbent Senator Scott Ludlum from The Greens lose his position in parliament and the candidate from the Sporting Party miss out on a position.

Senator Ludlum was successful in his application for a partial recount of the result, and for the past month millions of votes have been reassessed.

Today the AEC revealed that it had lost  of the original ballots, in a statement the organisation charged with ensuring elections are conducted fairly admitted 1,375, which had been verified in the first count, were now missing.

The missing ballots were 1,255 formal above-the-line ballots and 120 ballots that had been declared informal. The missing votes were from people in the electorates of Pearce and Forrest.

The loss of the votes has been widely condemned, Senator Ludlum told ABC radio earlier today that the loss of the votes was “inexcusable”, while Michael Ronaldson, the Special Minister of State said he looked ‘dimly’ on the event. Liberal Deputy Leader Julie Bishop labeled the situation as “disturbing”.

Clive Palmer, the leader of the Palmer United Party signaled that he would push for a fresh election for the WA senate seat if the original result was not upheld, speaking to Leigh Sales on the ABC’s program ‘7:30’ this evening Mr Palmer said;

“There was a count on a full number of votes and our candidate won. Secondly, there was a recount and they lost the votes. Well you can’t rely on the recount; you’ve got to go back to the full count or you’ve got to have a new election. It doesn’t affect our candidate’s electability. If they lose the votes, you can’t use the count.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Palmer had suggested that the AEC may have been trying to manipulate the results of the election.

While the AEC has called in former Federal Police Commissioner Mick Kelty to investigate the missing ballot papers.

Senator Ludlum called on the AEC to delay declaring the results of the senate until further investigations can be completed.

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