THE seat of Flynn has become embroiled in a ballot bungle with an investigation now under way into the incorrect handling of 452 postal votes.
Answers are being demanded as to how such as serious error could occur, with Labor's Chris Trevor calling on the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to publicly announce if all the pre-poll booths were correctly handled.
Speaking at a hastily convened press conference at Auckland Point Lookout in Gladstone yesterday, Mr Trevor said he had called the meeting for the purpose of conceding the seat of Flynn.
“With the events that have occurred over the last 24 hours I am not prepared to yet step down because clearly the people of Flynn have been denied their democratic right to vote,” Mr Trevor told the media contingent in attendance.
“All I seek is the confirmation of the AEC that everything was handled appropriately and then I will concede.
“I want to thank the community of Flynn, thank my family, and thank all media and my staff.
“Tomorrow we will all lose our jobs – the result of the election I did not see coming.
“The people have decided that Ken O'Dowd will be the new member for Flynn and I wish him the best of luck.”
The AEC has ordered an urgent examination into the circumstances which led to the quarantine and subsequent exclusion of these votes, which had been discovered by the Divisional Returning Officer not to have been handled in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act.
An examination will establish the facts surrounding the incident and subsequently report its findings to the Electoral Commissioner.
Speaking with The Observer yesterday, Australian Electoral Officer and State Manager Queensland, Anne Bright, said this was a procedural error and the AEC apologises to these people.
“It is not fraud and not any mischievousness,” Ms Bright said.
“It is an important issue because it means 452 people who went out and had an early vote will not be heard because of this procedural error.”
Liberal National Party candidate for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd said it concerned him that 452 voters have not had their say.
Mr O'Dowd said he wondered how it could happen today, and hoped whatever went wrong does not happen again.
“It does take their rights away because these are people who obviously wanted their voices to be heard and that is not going to happen,” Mr O'Dowd said.
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