The article on page 18 states, “These questionable enrolments are being examined in a high-priority investigation launched four days ago by the Australian Electoral Commission…”
Within 3 days of the election, AFHE knew that there was something ‘fishy’ about what happened in Indi electorate, but it has taken the AEC a year to begin to launch an investigation, well and truly after the horse has bolted. Anybody, including the AEC, has only 40 days after an election within which to lodge information in the ‘Court of Disputed Returns’ to challenge the result of an election.
Let us hope that this investigation, confirming what AFHE and the H.S.Chapman Society have been saying for 16 years about the slackness of the AEC procedures allowing false enrolments, finally stirs our sluggish politicians into (a) fixing the law, and (b) reforming the AEC.
Batch of ‘false’ votes tars Indi win
A spate of allegedly-false voter enrolments in a key seat in last year’s federal election contributed to the surprise defeat of the Liberal Party’s Sophie Mirabella.
Independent Cathy McGowan’s 439-vote winning margin in the Victorian rural seat of Indi came after a number of her dedicated younger backers allegedly engaged in electoral fraud.
They switched voter enrolments to Indi in the weeks before the September 7 election, despite living and working in others seats, including those in metropolitan Melbourne, about 300km away, an investigation by the Weekend Australian has found.
More than 20 dodgy enrolments of McGowan backers that have come to light so far are at the centre of a high-priority probe by the Australian Electoral Commission’s new integrity unit.
The unit was set up after former federal police chief Mick Keelty highlighted the AEC’s slack vote processes in the Senate debacle in Western Australia last year.
The ousting of Ms Mirabella, the sitting member since 2001, came after a bitterly-fought contest that drew national attention to the youthful campaign for an underdog, powered by grass roots activism and social media.
Material obtained by the Weekend Australian shows the new enrolments addressees of a number of Ms McGowan’s backers, who switched to Indi shortly before the rolls closed on August 12 last year, did not reflect their true situation.
Their Indi enrolments addresses are contradicted by their home addresses in other seats, job and study location, previous enrolment data, and their profiles and output on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Linked-In.
These details and other evidence – including addresses for drivers’ licences, utilities bills and mobile phone records – are under scrutiny as part of the AEC’s investigation.
Electoral paper trails show that a number of those in a core group of Ms McGowan’s supports enrolled in Indi four to eight weeks before the federal election.