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Monday, 26 February 2001
Page: 24319

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament:

This petition of certain citizens of Australia draws the attention of the House to the fact that whereas there have been many recent demonstrated irregularities in the conduct of elections by the Australian Electoral Commission including:

An Australian Electoral Commission 1988 audit of the 1987 federal election results in 6 non-marginal seats, found an average loss of 445 votes due to irregularities, which, if allowed, could affect results in marginal seats;

an electoral roll house check by Jim Lloyd MP for Robertson before the 1998 election identified some 4,000 objectionable names of people on the roll. The Australian Electoral Commission, at first dismissive, removed them;

415 absentee votes were declared informal, because absentee voters were misdirected to vote for the wrong seat in the 1993 election for the federal seat of Macquarie, which its sitting member lost by 164 votes.

votes for the House of Representatives were 53,000 less than for the Senate in the 1993 federal election, when usually they are more, due to simplicity of the ballot paper. Votes may have been misdirected, mislaid or ruled informal;

an Enterprise Council audit of multiple different surnames enrolled at a single street address on the electoral roll for the 1993 Dickson by-election found 813 had more than 5 listed there. Many had moved. 49 were on vacant caravan lots;

Your petitioners therefore pray that the House amends the current Ombudsman Act 1976 (Commonwealth) to provide for the appointment of an ombudsman with special powers under separate legislation to investigate Parliamentary elections and referenda, including

complaints made by any elector about the conduct of elections and referenda

irregularities in the preparation of the electoral roll, polling and counting and to charge such an ombudsman with a positive obligation to investigate and recommend appropriate action to the Parliament.

amends the current Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

to empower courts of disputed returns to challenge the electoral roll

to extend the time for disputing an election before courts of disputed returns.

by Mr Melham (from 16 citizens).