News State Western Australia News AEC will regain public trust: analyst

AEC will regain public trust: analyst

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The Australian Electoral Commission should be able to quickly move on from the controversy regarding missing ballot papers in Western Australia, according to a political analyst.

The result of WA’s Senate election still is not known due to the loss of more than 1,300 ballot papers.

The bungle has prompted the AEC to ask the High Court to order a fresh election in the new year.

Former Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty conducted an investigation into the incident and has identified significant failures in the handling and storage of ballot papers in WA.

Mr Keelty found no evidence of any deliberate attempt to destroy or steal the ballot papers, but said the lax systems in WA made it difficult to reach a conclusive finding.

He has recommended the AEC introduce tamper-tracing materials for transferring and storing ballot papers.

Mr Keelty also recommended CCTV and alarms be installed at the warehouses where ballot papers are stored.

Political analyst Harry Phillips believes the AEC’s excellent track record will help it repair its reputation, but says the bungled election will result in changes to the Commission’s procedures.

“Basically because of it’s impeccable, virtually impeccable reputation, it is probably also timely that it does now have to examine new procedures under electronic aids,” he said.

“This was a set of circumstances really without precedence and of course that brought into question some of the practices that have developed over time.”