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THe Last Sentry at the Gate 1

The elector is given a ballot paper. Upon the AEC issuing the ballot paper, it's initialled up the top. You'll have all experienced that. Someone handing in the ballot paper, initialling it and giving it to you. This is done to give the impression that the AEC is concerned about the integrity of the election and the integrity of the ballot paper. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my election to the Australian Parliament, when it was clear to my scrutineers that ballots had been tampered with and ballot boxes interfered with - which I'll go into in a minute - when my scrutineers requested access to the initials of those initialling the ballots to verify the ballots being counted matched, the AEC denied such request and wouldn't give them any access to who had actually initialled the ballots. Over 10,000 ballots were challenged by my scrutineers and were eventually included in the count for my opponent. On each occasion the AEC refused to verify the ballots by reference to the person initialling the ballots in the future. Then when the ballot papers are issued to you the elector is directed to go to a booth to find a pencil attached to a piece of string. Presumably so it won't be stolen. Why use a pencil? Well, the answer is simple. A mark made with a pen can't be rubbed out but a pencil can. And when you looked at some of the votes that were counted later in my election, there are a number of votes that didn't have a ‘1’ that had been rubbed out, or erased, or the person just forgot to put them there. In Fairfax there were five different colours and five different types of ballot papers. As well as that, under the AEC Act you don't even have to use a ballot paper. If you like and if the AEC approves it, you can hand-write out by pen and pencil the names of who you want to vote for and reproduce the ballot paper in pen, number it and put it in the ballot box. In my election, the ballot papers of this nature were found, they were challenged by my scrutineers as not being properly issued, not being proper ballots and they were approved by the AEC for my opponent. And there is no way of knowing where a ballot has been cast - from which booth it came. And it's very easy to move votes to other booths when it's needed. For ballots to be colour coded for each booth, to be printed in sufficient quantities, accounted for, audited and reconciled at the end of election, should be a fundamental requirement of any election in any democratic country. The numbering and accounting of ballots - whether you number the ballots or whether you colour code them - will eliminate one of the real issues I faced as being the elected member for Fairfax. At the Coolum Beach polling booth in the 2013 election, there were approximately, on the AEC's website, 750 more votes cast in the House of Representatives than there were votes cast in the Senate. So there were around 750 more votes cast in the House of Representatives and this was put up on the AEC website. And the AEC quickly removed them after we pointed out to them the discrepancy. They then advised us that they'd found the 750 senate votes up at Buderim booth which was some 15 kilometres away and that that they hadn't gone on the website yet, so would we just agree to change the labels on where the votes were cast? I didn't accommodate them in that. Instead we went to the Federal Court and the evidence had to be preserved that there were 750 ballots cast in the House of Representatives at Coolum Beach without Senate ballot papers. And that's a matter of great concern. The reason I in the end got elected at Fairfax was because nobody wanted to appeal this case because they were worried about the evidence being presented in the court. It seems to me the answer is quite obvious; 750 people voted in 4000 electoral booths, voted in the House of Representatives, holding their Senate papers, they all simultaneously hopped in their cars, drove 20 kilometres and voted for the Senate. How stupid I am that I couldn't accept that! How unreasonable I am according to the AEC! Anyway, what happened, those 750 votes coincidentally were all given to my opponent, not to me. A remarkable feat where people were thinking the same. They thought they'd vote in the House of Representatives, go up and vote for the Senate and all vote for my opponent. Fantastic! That's what the evidence showed and that's what actually happened. What was disappointing was that the AEC again refused my scrutineers' request to check the initials on the ballots. And when we examined the ballots we could say 350 of them had no initials. They were just cast. If ballots from each polling booth had their own colour this anomaly would not happen or it would be exposed. 236 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


THe Last Sentry at the Gate 1
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