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The "cemetary vote" is alive and well

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illMWR f o T r fo'ifriT AJsYRflCiflJ H'n Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader o f the Opposition ’ LIBERAL SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA


FACSIMILE: 06 277 3123

Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader o f the Opposition

26 June 1995

MEDIA RELEASE The “Cemetery Vote” is Alive and Well

“The ease with which the names of dead people can be put on the electoral roll has been exposed by a recent Social Security fraud case, which showed that the “cemetery vote” is alive and well”, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition Senator Nick Minchin said today.

A Melbourne man was jailed last month for Social Security fraud after he successfully enrolled a number of dead people on the electoral roll, which was then used by the Department of Social Security as part of its identity checking system.

“This alarming case has highlighted the potential for electoral fraud under the current lax enrolment and voting procedures” said Senator Minchin.

“The guilty man in this case scanned old newspaper death notices for boys who were bom around the same time as him and then was able to get their names on the electoral roll. ,

“The fraudulent enrolment was not detected by the Australian Electoral Commission, and the AEG wras not even aware of the case when I raised it in a Senate estimates committee hearing on 30 May, 1995.

“While the case involved Social Security fraud, it demonstrated how easy it is to successfully enrol dead people without the AEC being aware of it.

“Anyone wanting to rort the electoral roll without detection simply has to look up old death notices and enrol the names of the deceased.

“The AEC admitted at a Senate Estimate hearing on 22 June that it had no capacity or system to detect such fraudulent enrolment under current enrolment laws.

“The doubts cast by this case on the accuracy of the electoral roll suggests that Government agencies like the Department of Social Security should not use the electoral roll as part of their identity checking system.

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“To do so simply invites people to rort the electoral roll, and there must be real doubts about the accuracy of the roll as an ID checking mechanism.

“The scope for “cemetery voting” shown in this case demonstrates beyond question the need for a significant tightening of enrolment and voting procedures to reduce the potential for electoral fraud. .

“Our current system is so open to abuse that the integrity of our electoral system must be in question, and the legitimacy of election results is open to doubt” said Senator Minchin.

For further information contact: Senator Nick Minchin or Kate Schulze on (06) 277 3407