14.2 C
Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Ballot anomalies boost Ludlam’s fight

Latest News

MAYDAY – MAYDAY – One hundred years ago today

One hundred years ago this week, around noon on Saturday 14 May 1921, the 2,000 tonne steamship Wollongbar ran aground on Belongil beach.

Other News

Cartoon of the week – 12 May, 2021

Letters to the editor We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters...

OCA a ‘diamond in the rough’

Around four years ago a group of like-minded friends started a Syntropic Farm project. Since that time, they have...

Flickerfest tour returns to the Northern Rivers

Celebrating 30 years in 2021 Flickerfest is bringing its National Tour to The Regent Cinema Murwillumbah for one big film packed this weekend

Humans suck

Hannah Grace, Ocean Shores I heard on the local news late this afternoon (April 20) that a 370kg tuna ...

Eating vegan is no longer like Mac Vs PC

Remember back in the bad old days when you used either a PC or Mac? Those were your choices, and never the twain could meet. They were so many miles apart in operations that they were like different countries with different languages and appearances

Developers push swamp boundaries – will council push back?

It has once again been left to residents to raise serious issues in relation to a development application (DA) that is pushing to overdevelop at 6 Keats Street, Byron Bay at the expense of the environment, in particular the Cumbebin Swamp.

Senator Robert Ludlam rallying for refugees. Photo Greens MPs/Flickr
Senator Scott Ludlam rallying for refugees. Photo Greens MPs/Flickr

Andrew Crook, Crikey

Fresh independent scrutiny of the WA Senate race has revealed a series of ballot-box anomalies that if fully investigated could see Greens Senator Scott Ludlam returned to his place on the red leather.

Analysis conducted overnight by financial modelling and Senate outcomes specialist The Original Truth Seeker shows 21 separate instances of discrepancies at booths in Western Australia divisions where the number of upper and lower house ballot papers varies by more than 10 votes.

The total number of discrepancies one way or another is 351 votes.

At the crucial ‘choke point’ in the WA count, Ludlam’s fate hinges on a 14-vote lead claimed by the Shooters and Fishers Party over the Australian Christians.

If eight votes went in the opposite direction, then Ludlam and the Sports Party’s Wayne Dropulich would be elected instead of Labor’s Louise Pratt and the Palmer United Party’s Dio Wang.

According to the Truth Seeker, the gap between the two tallies should be very close, only varying by one or two when a voter has misplaced a House or Senate ballot paper after being handed both by AEC officials.

Ludlam and Dropulich have lodged a formal appeals to Australian Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn and the AEC announced on Friday morning it had deferred the declaration of the WA Senate count, originally scheduled for that day, until ‘a later date’.

Potentially even more problematically, the Truth Seeker has highlighted a ‘highly suspicious’ irregularity at Durack’s Geraldton-Waggrakine booth where only one below-the-line vote was recorded out of 1,929 votes cast when the real total should be around 50 (50 was the total in 2010).

The booth had a 5.7 per cent informal rate, compared to 2.9 per cent for Durack generally, and its Reps informal rate was very similar to the division average.

The Truth Seeker assesses the situation thus: ‘Should half of these informal ballots actually be below-the-line votes? Would this add an additional 60 ballots to the count? Will this change the result? Don’t know.’

Ludlam confirmed to Crikey on Friday morning he had appealed the Western Australian branch of the AEC decision not to order a recount.

He said he had seen the Truth Seeker’s analysis and that it had added to concerns over the count. The WA Greens have employed their own crack squad of analysts to pore over booth results.

But Ludlam said it should be the commission, not financial modellers or the party, that should investigate irregularities.

‘The truth is we shouldn’t have to be doing this. It should be a natural-justice argument; a Senate seat should not be of less consequence than a House seat,’ Ludlam told Crikey.

The AEC automatically conducts a recount of lower-house seats when the gap is less than 100 votes, but there is no equivalent mechanism in the Senate.

If the current result remains unchanged, the Greens and Labor could combine with three Palmer senators to block Abbott government legislation after July 1 next year.

However, if Ludlam ends up getting back, the Greens would have a stronger claim to the balance of power but would need another non-Palmer senator to obstruct the coalition.

In the full text of the Greens’ 12-point appeal to the AEC, obtained by Crikey, Ludlam notes that a recount was previously held after the 1980 election in WA where Noel Crichton-Browne was elected by 214 votes.

Following the recount, the margin was 560 votes, much more than the 14 votes at issue this time around. And there have been three recounts in the Victorian Legislative Council, two of which changed the result.

‘The very small margin at the critical exclusion point leaves open a real prospect of human error, and is apt to leave the community dissatisfied with a result where the option of a recount has not been taken,’ Ludlam writes.

Momentum has been building for a recount in the West with the Greens receiving backing from ideological arch-enemies including Liberal Party powerbroker Michael Kroger.

There were nine months to conduct the recount.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Good Theatre – but I’m afraid Scott’s history. He didn’t lose on a Crikey “Choke Point” . He lost because – amazingly PUP polled fantastically in WA. The only real conclusion is that a large minority of WA voters well and truly sick of the two party system. check it out – PUP got almost as many votes in WA as the Nationals and with preferences got the fifth not sixth Senate position – these are the plain facts not the political propaganda..


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Development of the Belongil Spit

Jo Faith, Newtown I was gobsmacked when I read that the ‘Greens’ mayor’s parting gift was to aid privatisation of land at the Belongil Spit. Indeed, it...

Michael Lyon elected as Byron Mayor

Owing to the resignation of former Mayor at the end of April, a vote was held today to replace Simon Richardson, until the next election

Locals question placing homes in areas of inundation risk

It is where the community fought off Club Med and it is once again in the spotlight as the current owners, Elements, are seeking to have the zoning of the environmentally sensitive area in Bayshore Drive changed from tourism to residential

Go straight to the source on the Future Water Project

Rous County Council has announced a series of information days to be held this month where the community can ‘drop in’ and find out more about the revised draft Future Water Project 2060.