WA voters back to polls after election declared void

VOTERS in West Australia will be forced to head back to the polls in the next few months, after the High Court declared the state's Senate election result void on Thursday.

The decision by the Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, comes after the Australian Electoral Commission has been dogged by the loss of more than 1300 votes in the WA Senate count last year.

It is the biggest scandal to hit the commission, and on Thursday prompted Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson to hit out at the AEC.

Senator Ronaldson said while it was inappropriate for him to reflect on the reasons for the Court's decision, the people of WA would be "rightly aggrieved" by the actions of the AEC.

"It is incumbent upon the Australian Electoral Commission to ensure that never again will such a failure of process occur, as it did with the 1370 lost votes," he said.

"While the Australian Electoral Commission is an independent statutory authority, as the responsible Minister, I expect the Australian Electoral Commission to fulfil its functions and obligations to the Australian community."

A statement from the AEC said it acknowledged the order, and that a new Senate election for WA would need to be completed, once the official writs are issued.

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