WA Senate election for April 5

28 Feb, 2014 11:55 AM
Electoral rolls close on March 7, and nominations close on March 13.

WESTERN Australia will go back to the polls on April 5, after the state's governor Malcolm McCusker confirmed the date of the re-run of last year's Senate election.

After meeting with WA Premier Colin Barnett and electoral affairs minister Peter Collier on Friday, Mr McCusker revealed the date of the election.

The September 2013 result was declared void by the High Court after some ballots were lost.

The High Court, operating as the Court of Disputed Returns, ordered the fresh poll following the loss of 1370 votes, discovered during a recount requested by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, who narrowly lost out in the initial count.

Because of the close result, a full recount was ordered but the loss of those votes meant Justice Kenneth Hayne could not determine who was duly elected.

The ballot bungle, which was investigated by former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty, forced the resignation of the AEC's WA electoral commissioner Ed Killesteyn and state manager Peter Kramer.

The election re-run is expected to cost taxpayers as much as $20 million, nearly double initial estimates of $10-13 million.

Acting electoral commissioner Tom Rogers told Senate estimates earlier this week the lower figures had been an early estimate of the cost.

The key dates in the build up to the poll include the closing of electoral rolls on March 7, and nominations closing on March 13.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said the poll was a "unique and extraordinary opportunity" for the electorate to send a message to Tony Abbott not to take WA for granted.

"It is a chance for West Australians to say they've had enough of the Abbott government and we want our country back," Senator Ludlam said.

"Bring it on."

He said it was not clear whether the AEC had fully implemented the recommendations of the Keelty report.

"And now with the resignation of two key officials, it's not clear whether those procedures will be in place," Senator Ludlam said.

"You'd have to hope so because people's confidence has been dented."

with Judith Ireland



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