LOOKS LIKE THE ELECTORAL OFFICE HAS STUFFED UP AGAIN!
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
The following are instructions on how to vote in the Senate from the AEC’s web page. Similar instructions are shown on the AEC’s television advertising. The trouble is that the instructions are plain wrong... or else the enacted legislation is wrong.
What you need to know
To vote for Senators in your state or territory at the 2016 federal election, you must fill in your ballot paper in the order of your choice. You can do this by voting either above the line or below the line. [correct]
Voting above the line
If you vote above the line, you must number at least six boxes from 1 to 6. [incorrect, you can vote simply 1, or 1 to 6 or any number you want in order. If you make a mistake your voting will be valid up until that mistake is made. In other words if by accident you vote 1,2, 3, 5, it is valid up to and including 3.]
By voting above the line, your preferences will be distributed in the order that the candidates appear below the line for the party or group you have chosen. Your preferences will first be distributed to the candidates in the party or group of your first choice, then to candidates in the party or group of your second choice and so on, until all your preferences have been distributed.
Voting below the line
If you vote below the line, you must number at least twelve boxes from 1 to 12. [incorrect, same as above the line, you can vote in order for as many or as few as you wish IN ORDER.] By voting below the line your preferences will be distributed to the individual candidates as numbered on your ballot paper, in the order of your choice.
You can check the AEC’s web page instructions here: http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/How_to_vote/files/senate-how-to-vote-2016-large%20print.pdf
You can compare the legislation here:
COMMONWEALTH ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL 2016 c
So I called the AEC to ask for an explanation. After the usual run around, with press 1 for this and 2 for that, I finished up in the legal office asking how can this be. “Yes we know about that”, said someone called Brian, “yours is not the only phone call we have had”.
“Okay” I replied. “When will you be pulling the TV ads and correcting the web page information?”
“Oh we won’t be doing that”, Brian said. “You see that’s only an amendment and we are only authorised to publish the information in the original legislation.” “But it’s bloody wrong”, I said.
“Yes I agree it IS (my emphasis) wrong.” Brian admitted. “Do you realise if voters follow the way you have framed the instructions it will favour the major parties?”, I asked. “Yes, it appears it will”, he said. “Maybe that’s the way they want it”, I thought as I hung up. And who will complain?
It seems the AEC might have to re-run a Senate election across Australia and not just in WA like last time if this false information is allowed to stand!
And someone forgot to tell the legal dept of the AEC that amendments to legislation are still law. And someone forgot to tell a lady called Andrea in the AEC Office how to explain to people asking for information. She maintained the web page was correct.
Crumbs, where are you Mr Trump?