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the High Court on the night of the election which stopped them distributing me out of the election. Why does the AEC do such undemocratic practices? What role does the AEC have giving anyone a direction on who they will distribute preferences to in writing? Surely that undermines our democracy. Surely that gives the impression that they're seeking to rig an election outcome even when they know it's wrong, even when the ballot says something else. Is this just the entrenchment of the two-party system? This practice, brought in under the Hawke's legislation setting up the AEC, destroys independence and the very idea of an impartial election. This practice has to stop. So does the practice where the AEC predicts the election results and the two-party preferred results - and that often happens before voting stops in Western Australia - or publishes the results prior to the polls closing, as I said in Western Australia. How can the AEC be as independent as it should be when it has a role in the outcome of the election on knowing whether its predictions are right or wrong, or knowing whether the preferences have been distributed in accordance with its instruction? When it instructs its officers to act contrary to what's on the ballot paper, it creates a very dangerous precedent for our democracy. As the so-called losing of the five ballot boxes in Western Australia confirms, the whole election process in Australia is not reliable and is untrustworthy. And it's very uncomfortable for you as Australians to believe that, but it's very important that we have an open debate and an open discussion about these factual matters, so that we don't take our democracy for granted, and we realise that we too have to be ever vigilant to maintain it. The accountability of the AEC to a parliamentary committee has shown to be less than acceptable. Let's consider the election process itself. Firstly, there are too many dead people on the roll. Laughter Well, one could argue there are too many dead people in Parliament. The AEC does not strike out someone off the roll when they die. The AEC does not monitor that process. The AEC does not monitor who votes for them at elections, which has been known to happen. They should be required to make changes to the roll by searching the deaths between elections and removing dead people from the rolls. And of course, this sort of abuse can happen because no ID is required to vote in Australia. If you want to buy a pharmaceutical, if you want to board a plane, they require your photographic ID. They don't require ID to exercise your franchise as a citizen of this country to elect people to parliament. Isn't that strange? Why don't they do it? We must demand that they do in future. If no ID is shown, how do we know who votes? How do we know that they are Australian citizens? How do we know that they are the people they say they are on the roll? And when a person votes at one of the polling booths - in some of our federal divisions we have up to 80 different polling booths, you'll have experienced it yourself - they get a ruler and cross your name off a pad, leaving your name as not having voted in the 79 other polling booths. So if someone wants to vote twice they just have to go to another polling booth; and that's happened. That's been documented; it's happened. Why don't we have a network, or an electronic system that when you're marked off in one polling booth it automatically marks you off right across the electorate? It doesn't have to be on the internet. It can just be on a network set up between each federal division. If all the booths were linked by a computer they could ensure that a person was recorded as having voted in one booth. They could be simultaneously marked off the roll in all the other booths. It would stop people using other people's names to vote more than once or voting more than once themselves. Electors, as happened with my father-in-law who's here today, with a foreign-sounding name, are used to vote multiple times in multiple booths, returning multiple votes in the election. And the elector knows nothing about it. He was given a notice saying he'd voted five times in the last federal election when in actual fact he'd only voted once. Because people saw him on the roll as a new Australian - well, he looked to be a new Australian by his vote, by his name - and someone had voted for him on four other occasions, he was picked up on that by the AEC and asked why he did it. And he didn't do it at all of course. The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 235


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