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SPEECH National Press Club Address On Reform Of The AEC 12 February 2014 In his second address to the National Press Club as an elected MP, Clive Palmer discusses the role of the AEC and highlights the need for reform. Thank you, Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, fellow Australians. The right to vote, to freely choose who shall govern us and how we shall be governed, is the legacy that all Australians owe to all other Australians that have gone before them. Our security, and the nation's, rests on the right of our citizens. The validity of the government and the laws that we live by are derived from the people for the people. A good debate has its victim. I don't mind being a victim, provided the truth will prevail over injustice. We must always keep an open mind when we look at these electoral issues. An open mind allows us to continue to think and grow as individuals. An open mind allows us to be receptive to ideas and to come to the right conclusion considering all not just some. And finally, an open mind allows us to understand other people's points of view, even if we don't agree with them. Having an open mind allows us to avoid conflict. It allows us to engender respect and unite different points of view and to achieve a positive result. Parliament was meant to be the supreme forum for the real debate to establish the nation's agenda. I've been critical of the Australian electoral laws and procedures. Today I will tell you why and how I experienced them in my election in the 2013 federal election as a candidate for the seat of Fairfax. And my conclusion is surely they need to be changed. You may not agree with me but that's okay. We live in a diverse society where the differences of our nationalities are one of our main strengths. Not many Australians are members of political parties. I was surprised to find that many of the temporary AEC officers employed for the election were in fact card-carrying members of our major political parties. I think it would be appropriate and a fair election process to exclude from temporary offices of AEC current members of a registered political party. And there's a good reason for it, as it removes any conflict and supports the independence of our democracy. As well as having an electoral process that oozes with integrity and impartiality. Australia must have an election process that has the appearance of incorruptibility. Approximately two weeks before the date of any election, the Australian election office informs in writing the AEC officer at each polling booth in the nation of which two candidates in each federal division is to have the preferences distributed to them on the close of voting on the Election Day. It's provided to them in a sealed envelope to be opened at 6pm. AEC officers at each polling booth in every division are directed in writing regardless of the result on the ballot paper, regardless of the vote of Australians, they are required as employees of the AEC to follow the AEC's direction. In my case, I was among the first top two candidates in Fairfax. And the AEC polling captain started to distribute my votes and my preferences to members of the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. Contrary to where I finished on the ballot paper. It was only my personal intervention at the behest of my scrutineer and a threat to immediately injunct the AEC in 234 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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