Votes cast in­creased 11pc de­spite 7pc pop­u­la­tion fall

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

The con­firmed pop­u­la­tion de­cline in the Pil­bara will stoke the fire set by the WA Na­tion­als for a probe into the in­crease in voter num­bers in the seat.

The Pil­bara seat, con­sist­ing of vot­ers lo­cated in the con­fines of the Shire of East Pil­bara, City of Kar­ratha and Town of Port Hed­land, has ex­pe­ri­enced a 7 per cent de­cline in pop­u­la­tion since 2011, how­ever the amount of votes cast this year com­pared to the 2013 elec­tion in­creased by 11 per cent.

Of most note is New­man, where a 44 per cent vot­ing age pop­u­la­tion de­crease co­in­cided with a 4 per cent de­crease in votes, ex­clud­ing ab­sen­tee and early votes.

WA Na­tion­als deputy leader Jac­qui Boy­dell said the party was still wait­ing for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion from the elec­toral com­mis­sioner into what he be­lieved was the cause for the voter in­crease.

“Even if it is direct en­rol­ment he can sat­isfy him­self that is the cause,” she said.

“There is an anom­aly, es­pe­cially when you look at North West Cen­tral, which is a very sim­i­lar de­mo­graphic, and which had an in­crease of 140-odd peo­ple, the Pil­bara is 3000-odd.”

Elec­toral Af­fairs Min­is­ter Bill John­ston has pre­vi­ously brushed aside th­ese con­cerns, stat­ing an 11 per cent in­crease is “about what one would ex­pect.”

“All that hap­pened was that peo­ple who were on the elec­toral roll for the Fed­eral seat were in­cluded in the State roll,” he said.

“That was through the oper­a­tion of the law that was in­tro­duced when the Leader of the Na­tional Party sat at the cab­i­net ta­ble and sup­ported that de­ci­sion. “There was an 11.7 per cent in­crease in the Pil­bara elec­torate.

“It is just ex­actly what one would ex­pect for a seat the bound­aries of which did not change.”

The Na­tion­als are push­ing for a stand­ing com­mit­tee with over­sight of elec­toral law and prac­tice.

Pic­ture: Michael Wil­son

Mines and Petroleum Min­is­ter Bill John­ston.

Pic­ture: Louise White

Jac­qui Boy­dell.

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