Lost votes nullify WA Senate election

Voting at St Pauls Hall at the Lismore Presbyterian Church on Saturday.
Voting at St Pauls Hall at the Lismore Presbyterian Church on Saturday. Cathy Adams

THE lost votes' scandal has nullified the results of the West Australian Senate election, but whether a fresh election needs to be called remains to be seen.

The High Court today released part of its decision, effectively ruling the Senate election results excluded on the ground more than 1300 were lost during the poll.

While it did not immediately rule a fresh election will need to be called, it has set a further hearing for this Thursday, where it is expected the Court of Disputed Returns will rule for a new election.

The case heard from a range of Senators who disputed the initial results, and that of a recount of that poll, finding a discrepancy of 14, and then 12, votes between candidates.

Fairfax MP Clive Palmer, whose Palmer United Party stands to potentially gain an extra Senate seat pending the outcome, called for the resignation of the head of the Australian Electoral Commission.

Mr Palmer accused the AEC of "incompetence" on the lost votes, urging that "someone should be held accountable for this mess".

The AEC, which was involved in the case, has not yet responded publicly to the Court's decision.

Topics:  electoral commission

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