NO AUSTRALIAN ELECTION RESULTS UNTIL TOMORROW
Australians will not be any the wiser about who will emerge victorious from the 2016 federal election until at least tomorrow. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) will not begin counting House of Representatives ballots until Tuesday, after pre-poll ballots for the Senate are counted today. The commission is taking extra care after it came under fire in the 2013 election when 1370 Western Australian (WA) Senate ballot papers went missing, sparking a High Court challenge to the result. Former federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty, investigating the missing ballot papers, criticised the AEC’s “lax” and “complacent” practices. Mr Keelty found there was no apparent policy or process to cross check rubbish and recycling before disposing of ballot papers to ensure they were not accidentally thrown out.
“In the 2013 Senate Election in WA, the AEC failed to meet its own high standards and damaged its reputation with the community and the Parliament,” Mr Keelty said. Phil Diak, a commission spokesman, told the ABC that counting would begin again on Tuesday after all absent, interstate, postal and other declaration votes were reconciled, sorted and packaged. He said these would be dispatched on Monday to the 150 House of Representatives divisions. The process is called the “declaration vote exchange”.
“So (a) very sizeable task has to be done carefully before any counting begins,” Mr Diak said. Any counting today will be limited to the small numbers of votes collected by AEC mobile teams. Mr Diak said the commission had already moved around all the ballots from the 7000 polling booths to more than 80 counting centres.
There were 11.5 million ballots counted for the House of Representatives on Saturday. These were votes cast in polling places on election day and early votes. Sydney Morning Herald
Bill Shorten, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, which picked up several seats in Parliament, in Melbourne on Saturday.