Page 153

THe Last Sentry at the Gate 1

PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Question QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE Australian Electoral Commission Tuesday, 11 February 2014 Clive Palmer – Member for Fairfax Responder Abbott, Tony, MP The SPEAKER: I call the Hon. the Leader of the Opposition. I am sorry; I did not see the honourable member for Fairfax. My apologies to the member. I am sorry I did not look in your direction initially, Member for Fairfax. You have the call. Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (14:31): I take that as a compliment, Madam Speaker. My question is for the Prime Minister. The AEC sends written instructions to all polling booths in Australia, approximately seven days before an election, directing AEC staff to distribute preferences to two candidates chosen by the AEC, regardless of the number of votes by Australians for each candidate as shown on the ballot paper. Shouldn’t the AEC be impartial? Will the government stop this biased practice? Why have an election if the AEC can decide, weeks before an election is held, who preferences will be distributed to? Is this really a democracy? Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Prime Minister) (14:31): I thank the member for Fairfax for his question and I can certainly understand some of his anxieties that were expressed in his question. Obviously all of us have been dismayed by the fact that some 1,000 ballot papers appear to have been lost for the Western Australian Senate election. All of us are dismayed and dumbfounded as to how this could possibly have occurred. But there is, as we know, a case before the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, dealing with, amongst other things, the way the AEC conducted the Senate count and the Senate ballot in Western Australia. There is also a report due from the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, and I think I would like to wait for that case to be concluded and that report to be delivered before I further comment on the Australian Electoral Commission. Clive Palmer and school children from Fairfax electorate Clive Palmer and team from Nova breakfast Radio The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 131


THe Last Sentry at the Gate 1
To see the actual publication please follow the link above