Showing posts with label AEC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AEC. Show all posts

Monday, 25 June 2018

Pauline Hanson gets caught disregarding the rules once more

Senator Pauline Hanson Image: The Australian

One would think a political party with only two senators, including its president for life, in the Australian Senate and not one MP in the House of Representatives would not be so overburdened with paperwork that it would forget its legal obligations.

Pauline Hanson had been around long enough to know the rules, after all she has had to play catchup on more than one occassion, so all I can presume is that she was indulging in a little cost cutting.

Certainly former NSW MLC Peter Breen now One Nation's state secretary is aware of the party's obligations and doesn't sound all that happy at present.

The Age, 18 June 2018:

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is at risk of breaching electoral laws by using a structure that runs state branches by “remote control” from Queensland, according to an explosive letter that reveals growing pressure inside the troubled party.

The concerns add to accusations of a “dictatorship” being run by Senator Hanson, as billionaire former MP Clive Palmer exploits the One Nation divisions in a new grab for power on the Senate crossbench.

Fairfax Media can reveal One Nation wrote to the NSW Electoral Commission 10 days ago to admit doubts over the registration of the party branch in NSW because it did not have local balance sheets and reports to satisfy state disclosure laws.

“It was clear from our meeting on 22 May 2018 that operating the party by remote control from Queensland may be in breach of the NSW funding and disclosure laws,” wrote Peter Breen, the secretary of the party’s state division.

Mr Breen asked for guidance from the Electoral Commission to “demonstrate the deficiencies” in the party’s records ahead of looming deadline on June 30 to lodge the financial reports…..

Mr Breen told Fairfax Media the party had no NSW bank account and left all its records and receipt books with the Queensland head office, which meant it did not have balance sheets and other records to produce for the NSW authorities.

“I’m the one in the gun because Brian Burston has left me up the creek,” he said.

“Pauline Hanson is the registered officer, so ultimately the onus is on her. Because she sacked Burston as deputy registered officer, it falls back on her to make sure the party complies with the NSW rules.”

Monday, 12 March 2018

Employer groups put pressure on Turnbull Government to stifle union mergers

In 2017 members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) considered a proposal to amalgamate into one union or alternatively to amalgamate only the CFMEU and the MUA.

The ballot was conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and results declared on 28 November 2017. There appears to have been no irregularities affecting the ballot outcome.

The Fair Work Commission handed down a decision giving effect to the CFMEU and MUA amalgamation on 27 March 2018.

Employer groups Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) and Master Builders Australia (MBA) are now appealing the Commission’s decision.

The Australian, 9 March 2018, p.2.

Employers have taken legal ­action to try to overturn the Fair Work Commission decision ­approving the merger of the construction and maritime unions.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association and Master Builders Australia yesterday ­appealed the decision to a ­commission full bench.

The employers are also seeking a stay of the decision, which, if granted, would mean the merger would not proceed from its scheduled date of March 27.

The AMMA and MBA say the commission decision contained errors of laws and should not have approved the amalgamation.

Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the unions would vigorously oppose the appeal and defend the rights of workers to have freedom of association.

“Our members have overwhelmingly supported this amalgamation (with the CFMEU) and it should be up to them to decide whether they merge,” he said.

Former employment minister Eric Abetz welcomed the ­appeal, saying the government should intervene in the proceedings in support of the employer application. He said the government should move urgently to pass laws subjecting union ­mergers to a public interest test.

Workplace Relations Minister Craig Laundy said the government would resume talks with Senate crossbenchers in a bid to win support for the bill, which has yet to be put to a vote.

AMMA is lobbying for an amendment to the bill designed to have the public interest test take affect before March 27 but Mr Laundy declined to express a view on the proposed amendment.

The Australian, 8 March 2018:

Employers have accused the Turnbull government of being missing in action after the Coalition failed to pass laws subjecting union mergers to a public interest test.

Workplace Relations Minister Craig Laundy said today the government would resume talks with Senate crossbenchers in a bid to win support for the bill, which has yet to be put to a Senate vote.

 “The Ensuring Integrity Bill remains a priority for the Government, but because of Labor’s opposition we need the support of the crossbench,’’ he said.

“Despite what has been said in recent days, the Government simply didn’t have the numbers to pass the Bill. I am reaching out to the crossbench to see if that has changed.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Oh good grief! The Republican Party of Australia?

This political party has been round the block a few times, but still clings to an unfortunate party name (reminiscent of that US political party which gave the world President Donald J. Trump) likely to turn responsible voters off in droves at the next federal election when it apparently intends to stand candidates for House of Representative and Senate seats.

Current party registration applications inviting objection

26 June 2017
Republican Party of Australia

Name of Party: Republican Party of Australia
Abbreviation of party name: The Australian Republicans
Proposed registered officer: Peter Consandine
Registered officer’s address: 412/33 Lexington Drive BELLA VISTA NSW 2153

A political party which has what it calls “sister organisations” known as “The Umbrella Group of The Party”.

And surprise, surprise – party members are now at least 500-550 in number, including those not into political correctness and/or sometime failed Senate candidates, aspiring to a mature, green and gold set of values, with directly elected Australian presidency, Homeland Australia assimilationist, intra Nationalism, libertarian, free market, free trade, decentralised small government and, what appears to translate as ‘buy Australia’, policies.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Is Pauline Hanson failing to fully comply with state and federal electoral laws - again?

It almost beggars belief. Is Pauline Hanson failing to fully comply with state and federal electoral laws – again?

The Saturday Paper, 29 April-5 May 2017:
One Nation risks deregistration in Queensland following the failure of Pauline Hanson to advise the Electoral Commission of Queensland about a botched incorporation that has left it with a noncompliant constitution. The party secretly switched legal structures last November without telling members, using a draconian clause in its superseded governance rules that allowed One Nation state executive members to do whatever they chose without question. Former insiders have said a principal purpose for the incorporation was to put in place a corporate veil so the entity rather than members of the executive would be the subject of legal action.
The method of incorporation and the failure to consult is consistent with a trend of centralising all of One Nation’s power in Queensland, which has in the past been illustrated by attempts to close branches across the country through the use of proxies to forcibly remove “troublesome” state leaders, attempts to close bank accounts over which the One Nation national committee had no authority, and the initiation of complaints to police to intimidate a sub-branch in the Northern Territory.
At the same time, the party neglected to observe mandatory rules contained in Commonwealth and Queensland electoral laws, which must be included in its constitution for One Nation to be a political party with legal standing. Breaches of provisions that specify which clauses must appear for a constitution to be compliant under law are grounds for the cancellation of a party’s registration under Section 78 of Queensland’s Electoral Act.
Neither Senator Hanson nor the deputy registered officer – party treasurer and Hanson’s brother-in-law Greg Smith – informed the electoral commission of the changes in legal structure of the entity. There were two reporting deadlines missed by One Nation – notification of the changes should have been delivered seven days after December 31 and March 31. 
News of One Nation’s constitutional high jinks follows revelations over the past six months related to the party’s preselection and disendorsement processes during the West Australian election, questions about its compliance with goods and services tax legislation, and doubts about the donation and declaration of an aeroplane to Pauline Hanson for campaigning purposes.
It also follows a network-wide ban of the ABC, announced in a Facebook video posted by Hanson after the April 3 airing of a Four Corners report that highlighted a range of issues faced by One Nation. The program, criticised by Hanson and her colleagues as a media “stitch-up”, has resulted in a formal investigation by the Australian Electoral Commission, related to the donation of the two-seater plane.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is the business name of One Nation Queensland Division Incorporated, which was an unincorporated association since it registered on January 23, 2001. That changed last year when the entity was incorporated with the same ABN. 
The entity is regarded as the same for tax purposes and the name of the unincorporated body has transitioned into the incorporated form……, 5 April 2017:

And that’s where the law comes in. The facts as we know them are that Ashby has a plane, in which he flies Hanson around the country on what is clearly One Nation business. Hanson herself has made numerous public statements, including on the party website, asserting that the plane belongs to One Nation. It is literally plastered with her name and face.

One Nation is a registered political party. The Commonwealth Electoral Act requires each party, and each of its state branches, to lodge an annual return with the Australian Electoral Commission, within 16 weeks after the end of each financial year. The annual return must include disclosure of all amounts received by, or on behalf of, the party from any single source totalling more than $13,000 (for the 2015-2016 year).

Donations are expressly defined as including the value of a gift. There is no room for doubt that, if a generous supporter gave an aeroplane to an official of the party, so that that official could fly the leader of the party around the countryside on party business, then the gift of the plane (or the cash to buy the plane, if that’s what happened) would be required to be disclosed in the party’s next annual return to the AEC.

Queensland has its own political donation disclosure laws, which are tougher than the federal regime. Returns are required to be lodged six-monthly, all gifts over $1000 must be disclosed, and any gift worth more than $100,000 has to be reported within seven business days.

One Nation’s Queensland Electoral Commission return for the relevant period in 2016 discloses nothing about the aircraft purchase or gift, but it does include an expenditure item of $1187.09 paid by the party to “Jabiru Aircraft Service”. There are numerous payments to Ashby’s companies for printing services, totalling some $17,000 in the same period. Who was paying for the running costs of the aircraft is a mystery.

But it’s pretty simple, really. Whoever paid for Hanson’s plane — however they paid for it and who legally or beneficially owns it — it was, in form and substance, a gift to the direct benefit of her eponymous political party, and she has treated it and talked about it as exactly that for the past two years…..

The Australian2 May 2017:

One Nation’s Senator Hanson shifted her story again on Monday night and said a $106,000 plane “came from” party donor Vicland’s Bill McNee to be used by her chief of staff James Ashby, but it was not a donation.

“So the plane came from Bill McNee, but it was not for the party it was to James for his business?” Sky News’ Andrew Bolt asked.
“Correct,” she answered……

Last night Senator Hanson said the Victorian businessman had allowed Mr Ashby to use the plane.

“He didn’t donate the plane to James Ashby. Having met James, they became friends,” Senator Hanson told Sky News.

“Bill’s a developer and he actually has a lot of business that he does in Queensland, and Bill was continually looking around for a plane.

“He found out James was a pilot (and) he thought: “Here’s a great opportunity to actually have a plane and to actually ¬use it as well.’ ”

The Australian, 3 May 2017:

Pauline Hanson’s controversial chief of staff says he has a “crossover” business relationship with the Melbourne property developer and political donor at the centre of a disclosure row over the purchase of the light plane used by the One Nation leader for election campaigning.

But James Ashby, whose iron-fisted control of Senator Hanson’s office has created ructions inside the party, insisted yesterday that he bought the $106,000 Jabiru 23-D aircraft in 2015 for recreational use and for his printing business in Queensland.

Senator Hanson raised further questions about the status of the plane on Monday when she confirmed on Sky News it had “come from” Bill McNee, but was for Mr Ashby’s firm, not her travel for One Nation.

This conflicts with the media-shy businessman’s assertion that he had no knowledge of the aircraft or how Mr Ashby acquired it. Mr McNee’s company, Vicland, is the Hanson party’s biggest donor, though in a rare interview last November he told The Australian he was stopping all political donations because “it’s something I don’t believe in any longer”.

Pressed on whether he had provided funds to Mr Ashby to buy the plane two years ago, Mr McNee said: “My God, if I am going to buy a plane, I would buy one for myself.” He hung up when contacted yesterday.

The Australian Electoral Commission is investigating whether the acquisition of the plane by Mr Ashby and its use to fly Senator Hanson to campaign events in Queensland before her re-election to federal parliament last July subverted financial disclosure laws.


The Guardian, 20 August 2003:

The fiery redhead, renowned for her garish wardrobe, had pleaded not guilty to fraudulently registering One Nation in the state of Queensland. She also denied dishonestly obtaining A$500,000 (£206,000) in electoral funds used for the campaigns of 11 politicians elected to the Queensland state parliament….
Prosecutors had accused Hanson and Ettridge of passing off a list of 500 supporters as genuine, paid-up members of One Nation in order to register the party and apply for electoral funding.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 August 2003:

Former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and party co-founder David Ettridge have been jailed for three years each after being found guilty of fraud charges by a Brisbane District Court jury.

Judge Patsy Wolfe made no recommendation for parole.
Hanson, 49, and Ettridge, 58, had pleaded not guilty to fraudulently registering One Nation in Queensland on December 4, 1997.

Hanson had also pleaded not guilty to dishonestly obtaining almost $500,000 in electoral reimbursements after the 1998 state election.

But a Brisbane District Court jury found the pair guilty on all counts after more than nine hours of deliberations.

ABC Radio, PM, 6 November 2003:

MARK COLVIN: But first, the freeing of Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge. The One Nation co-founders have won their bid to get out of jail, after successfully overturning their convictions and their three-year sentences for electoral fraud.

Eleven weeks ago, Hanson and Ettridge were both sentenced to three years jail, after a jury found that they'd fraudulently registered the One Nation Party which they'd founded. Hanson was also found guilty of fraudulently obtaining nearly half a million dollars in electoral funding.

But they'll soon be released from jail, and family and friends were elated by the decision when it came down at Queensland's Court of Appeal this evening.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Australian Electoral Commission asks 18,343 voters to please explain.....

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 October 2016:

More than 18,000 people have been asked to explain why they apparently voted more than once at the federal election.

Despite heavy fines and the risk of jail time for multiple voting, two people were marked off the electoral roll 11 times on July 2. 

A further two people had their names marked off five times, while four others had four marks and 51 people had three marks.

Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers told a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday night 18,343 people have been asked to explain why their name was checked off more than once, with many expected to be in error.

The Commonwealth Electoral Act allows for fines of $10,800 or up to a year in jail for people convicted of multiple votes. Anyone found to have impersonated someone else at the ballot box faces up to six months in jail or a fine of $1800.

Before this year's election the AEC wrote to more than 4600 people with a prior history of apparent multiple voting to remind them of the law.

Mr Rogers said individuals who had two or more marks next to their name at the past two elections were sent warning letters.

"We wrote to a select group of people we thought may be at risk of not understanding their obligations under the Electoral Act," he said.

"We've never done that before.

"That was an attempt to demonstrate the seriousness with which we treat this particular issue." 

AEC officials will assess how many recipients of the letters are among those recorded as having their name marked off more than once. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Post-Australian Federal Election 2016: feel the angst rising

Voter text to candidate, Twitter, 2 July 2016

Data shows that 18.94% of those eligible to vote in Cowper didn’t cast a ballot according to the Australian Electoral Commission on 5 July 2016.

ABC News, 4 July 2016:

Complaints are growing in Western Australia's north about late changes and limited polling options, which left hundreds of people unable to cast a vote in the federal election.
Shire of Halls Creek CEO Rodger Kerr-Newell said dozens of tourists were turned away from the town's polling station on Saturday.
"There were issues ... there was not interstate voting," Mr Kerr-Newell said.
"Halls Creek has a very large population of tourists at this time of year and they were denied the opportunity to vote."
According to Mr Kerr-Newell, several tourists came to the shire to complain….
Complaints have also surfaced from several Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara and Kimberley.

WA Today, 6 July 2016:

Callers to Radio 6PR's Breakfast rumour file said on Tuesday several polling places across WA ran out of ballot papers on election day, leaving many with no opportunity to vote.
Polling stations near Caversham, in the electorate of Hasluck, were said to have combined leaving a shortfall of ballot papers come the afternoon…..
In the electorate of Pearce, it was claimed the only polling station in Aveley and Bullsbrook ran out of ballot papers, as did the only two available in Quinns Rock…..
There is also trouble brewing in the knife-edge Perth seat of Cowan, with Sky News reporting that up to 150 votes were not properly signed off by an AEC officer, potentially rendering them void.

ABC News, 7 July 2016:

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and the voting system have come under intense scrutiny as reports of ballot issues in several seats continue to emerge.
Four states have been affected by mishaps, including shortages and incorrect distribution of ballot papers.
Many people have claimed they were unable to vote on July 2 and some votes have even been ruled informal due to AEC errors…..
The blunder happened under the supervision of an early polling mobile ballot team which visited various health and aged care establishments across the region….
Queensland senator Glenn Lazarus, who has not been returned, said many Queensland voters had contacted him to complain they were unable to vote due to polling booths running out of ballot papers.
The Glenn Lazarus team is compiling information from those around the country who were unable to vote which will then be lodged with the AEC as a bulk complaint.
Mr Lazarus has created an online form for people to complete which has been shared more than 600 times on Facebook.
"According to many people they were told by AEC staff to check their name off the electoral roll so they could be excused from voting to avoid a fine because the polling booth had run out of ballot papers," Mr Lazarus said…..
The AEC said it was investigating reports of wrong ballot papers being handed out in the electorate of Higgins.
For the first six minutes of voting at a South Yarra polling station, voters were given ballot papers for a neighbouring seat.
ABC political analyst Barrie Cassidy said an ABC staff member was one of several people who received the wrong paper.
"He went back and said, 'It's not the right paper'," Cassidy said.
"They got the supervisor. They noticed other such ballot papers had been torn off."…..
Independent candidate Rob Oakeshott and Greens candidate Carol Vernon, who both ran for the seat of Cowper, have lodged an official complaint with the AEC claiming the neighbouring seat ran out of Cowper absentee ballot papers.
Those who voted in the electorate of Lyne were reportedly told they would be signed off the electoral roll but would not be able to cast a ballot.
"People turned out to vote and didn't have the chance to have their say, and it's their right to do so," Mr Oakeshott told the Coffs Coast Advocate.
He said it was unclear how many people were unable to vote but he urged the AEC to clarify the issue.

Fresh voting controversy has hit Western Australia after residents at a nursing home in the Pearce electorate were counted as informal voters after being given Victorian ballot papers by mistake.
The Australian Electoral Commission confirmed a mobile voting unit gave the 105 residents the Victorian senate papers on Thursday.
"The Senate is a statewide vote, and I can't speculate on what the impact might be, except to say that together with 47,000 votes already deemed informal [in WA] those 105 are also informal and will play no further part in the determination of the election result," the commission's state manager Marie Neilson told News Talk 6PR on Thursday.  

ABC News
, 8 July 2016:

On election day, Defence said just under 1,300 ADF members voted at the special polling stations in the exercise area, but that the Army had to truck another 1,400 or so to civilian booths in places such as Port Augusta.
Defence said AEC staff and volunteers stayed back for up to three hours - until 9pm - to process the huge lines.
But it still was not enough.
In a statement Defence said: "628 Army members did not cast their votes. Of this number, 543 are from the 1st Brigade."

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Electoral redistribution in federal seats and what it might mean on NSW Far North Coast in 2016

Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), Proposed redistribution of New South Wales into electoral divisions, October 2015:

A total of 944,592 electors or 19.42 per cent of electors in NSW would change from their current federal electoral division under the proposed redistribution. Once a redistribution is final, the AEC automatically transfers existing elector enrolments, where required, to the correct electoral division.

The augmented Electoral Commission has adopted boundary changes* in the Cowper,Page, and Richmond electorates proposed by the Redistribution Committee for New South Wales.

Electoral boundary changes on NSW Far North Coast according to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC):

* Projected enrolment in the existing Division of Cowper is 100 289. This electoral division must gain at least 6 384 electors, or up to 14 122 electors, from other electoral divisions to fall within the acceptable numerical tolerances.
The Committee proposes that the Division of Cowper gain 37 024 electors from the Division of Lyne in the southern part of Kempsey LGA and that part of Port Macquarie-Hastings LGA including Telegraph Point and Port Macquarie.
The Committee proposes that the Division of Cowper transfer 23 114 electors to the proposed Division of Page in the northern part of Coffs Harbour LGA from Lowanna, Coramba and Sapphire Beach, and its part of Clarence Valley LGA.
The changes result in a projected enrolment for the proposed Division of Cowper of 114 199 or a variation from the projected enrolment quota of plus 3.31 per cent…..

As a result, there are less than optimal outcomes in terms of communities of interest. The proposed Division of Cowper contains the major centres of Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie and therefore splits the two respective LGAs. The locality of Wauchope is also split from Port Macquarie. The proposed electoral division does however unite Kempsey LGA. The alternative involves crossing the Great Dividing Range.

* Projected enrolment in the existing Division of Page is 98 008. This electoral division must gain at least 8 665 electors, or up to 16 403 electors, from other electoral divisions to fall within the acceptable numerical tolerances.

The Committee proposes that the Division of Page gain 23 114 electors from the Division of Cowper in the northern part of Coffs Harbour LGA south to Lowanna, Coramba and Sapphire Beach, and that part of Clarence Valley LGA south of Maclean, east of Grafton and north of Glenreagh, two electors from the Division of New England near Dorrigo, and 6 863 electors from the Division of Richmond in the Lismore LGA.

The Committee proposes that the Division of Page transfer 13 693 electors to the proposed Division of Richmond in that part of Ballina LGA east of Alstonville and south to Empire Vale. The Committee further proposes minor changes in the boundary with the proposed Division of New England, involving no elector movement.

The changes result in a projected enrolment for the proposed Division of Page of 114 294 or a variation from the projected enrolment quota of plus 3.39 per cent…..

The Committee notes that Lismore, Ballina and Clarence Valley LGAs are already split. Mindful of their principle regarding LGAs in rural areas, the Committee sought to minimise the incidence of split rural LGAs. Having provided electors from the Ballina LGA to the proposed Division of Richmond, the Committee was able to unite the Lismore and Clarence Valley LGAs in the proposed Division of Page.

* Projected enrolment in the existing Division of Richmond is 100 573. This electoral division must gain at least 6 100 electors, or up to 13 838 electors, from other electoral divisions to fall within the acceptable numerical tolerances.

The Committee proposes that the Division of Richmond gain 13 693 electors from the Division of Page in that part of Ballina LGA east of Alstonville and south to Empire Vale east of the Pacific Highway.

The Committee proposes that the Division of Richmond transfer 6 863 electors to the proposed Division of Page in the Lismore LGA. 419. The changes result in a projected enrolment for the proposed Division of Richmond of 107 403 or a variation from the projected enrolment quota of minus 2.84 per cent.

The Division of Richmond had to gain electors, and its position in the north-eastern corner of the state meant that the required numbers could only be obtained from the Division of Page. The Committee notes that both the Lismore and Ballina LGAs are already split. Mindful of their principle regarding LGAs in rural area, the Committee sought to minimise the incidence of split rural LGAs. The numerical requirements of the Electoral Act determined that the balance of Ballina LGA could not be transferred into the proposed Division of Richmond. The Committee therefore proposes to move the boundary further south in the Ballina LGA to include the town of Ballina. This allowed the Committee to unite the Lismore LGA in the Division of Page.

Two renaming proposals on the NSW Far North Coast were rejected by the augmented Electoral Commission:

* Division of Cowper proposed to be renamed Paterson after Andrew ‘Banjo’ Paterson (1864– 1941), Australian author and poet

* Division of Richmond proposed to be renamed Bandler – after Faith Bandler, AC (1918–2015), in recognition of her role as a leader of the 1967 referendum campaign in favour of two constitutional amendments relating to Indigenous Australians. 

Both these proposed changes submitted by electors were apparently rejected because it is policy to retain where possible the names given to electorates at Federation.

Changes in electoral boundaries are expected to be gazetted in February.

Subsequent changes to margins electorates are held by:

Cowper is held by Nationals with a margin of 11.7 – now predicted to be 13.8
Page is held by Nationals with a margin of 2.5 – now predicted to be 3.1
Richmond is held by Labor with a margin of 3.0 – now predicted to be 1.8.

The Daily Examiner, 15 December 2016:

KEVIN Hogan will be the federal MP for all residents of the Clarence Valley from next month after the approval of proposed electoral boundary changes.
Mr Hogan's electorate of Page will now stretch from the Queensland border to Sapphire Beach in the south.
Towns and villages such as Maclean, Gulmarrad, Cowper, Glenreagh, Red Rock and Woolgoolga, that had previously been part of the Cowper electorate, will shift to Page once the change becomes official on February 25. Cowper will now cover the area from Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie.

The  Australian reporting on some of the implications for the rest of the country, 12 January 2016:

A radical electoral redistribution threatens to neutralise the effect of Malcolm Turnbull’s popularity in NSW, putting at risk at least three Coalition seats and slicing the margin of another.

As Bill Shorten today embarks on a three-week mini-campaign to kickstart the election year, the ­Liberal Party has lashed the Australian Electoral Commission for pushing ahead with its proposed boundaries, ignoring “extensive community concerns” while greatly altering the character of ­affected seats.

The AEC, which is due to finalise the redistribution next month, has received almost 800 objections to the proposed boundary shake-up, which will see almost 20 per cent of electors in NSW transferred to a new federal seat and abolishes the Labor seat of Charlton, south of Newcastle. A new safe Liberal seat of Burt is to be ­created in Western Australia.

In an objection lodged with the AEC, Tony Nutt, the Liberal Party’s former NSW director and now federal director, criticises the commission for “unnecessary elector disruption” arising from the boundary changes that will see some regional local government areas split for the first time.

The proposed changes to reduce the number of NSW electorates from 48 to 47 will see three Liberal Party seats — Barton, Paterson and Dobell — become notionally Labor while the safe seat of Macarthur becomes marginal.

Senior Liberal sources say hopes of a boost to the party’s ­fortunes from the new Prime Minister’s popularity have been dashed, but strategists are confident his rise in the polls will help to contain losses. The party is also ­expected to pick up Burt…..

In its objection to the AEC, the Liberal Party says the commission’s “extraordinary” decision to include inner-city suburbs into the otherwise overwhelmingly suburban Barton, “fails miserably on community of interest grounds”.

“Yet again the committee has failed to recognise the very clear differences and areas of interest that inner-city electors have to electors that reside in more suburban areas,” the objection says. “Divisions that seek to facilitate the representation of both these often opposing communities are destined to fail the community.”

Nickolas Varvaris, who holds the seat of Barton on a wafer-thin 0.3 per cent margin, is almost certain to lose on the proposed new boundaries as the seat becomes a Labor electorate with an estimated margin of 8.3 per cent. Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese is expected to shift from his seat of Grayndler — now seen as vulnerable to the Greens — into Barton to contest the next election.

Scott Morrison has also lodged his “strongest objection” about the effect of the redistribution on his seat of Cook, which he says will split the community of the Sutherland Shire for the first time in 100 years in a move that will affect more than 60,000 electors but has negligible impact on his very safe margin. “The proposed boundaries needlessly disrupt one of our country’s strongest communities of interest,” the Treasurer says.

Around Newcastle, where the seats of Dobell and Paterson are now notionally Labor, the Liberal Party is urging the committee revisit the draft boundaries in their entirety. The seat of Dobell, held by Karen McNamara, switches from a Liberal marginal seat of 0.7 per cent to a notional Labor seat with a margin of 0.3 per cent, while Bob Baldwin’s seat of Paterson is more radically altered, changing from a Liberal seat with a margin of 9.8 per cent to a marginal Labor seat of 1.3 per cent.

Macarthur, held by Russell Matheson, has its margin slashed from 11.4 per cent to 2.8 per cent.

The party has also slammed the decision of the AEC to move the locality of Camden and its surrounds out of Macarthur and in to the regional seat of Hume, held by one of the government’s rising stars, Angus Taylor. While the seat becomes safer for the Liberal Party under the new boundary, Mr Taylor is concerned the character of the rural Liberal seat will be “substantially different”. 

Yass Tribune, 15 January 2016:

PROPOSED federal electoral boundary changes issued on Friday will see Hume lose large parts of its rural west.
MP Angus Taylor says he’s extremely disappointed to lose the towns of Yass, Young, Cootamundra, Harden, Grenfell and Cowra…. 

Mr Taylor said while pundits predicted change in the the State’s north, nobody had anticipated the scale of the AEC’s proposed boundary shifts in southern NSW, not even the Liberal Party.

The Guardian, 15 January 2016:

Figures published by the ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green, suggest the number of notionally Coalition seats in NSW will decline from 30 to 27 after the boundaries take effect, a development that is causing nervousness in Liberal ranks. The number of notionally Labor seats will increase from 18 to 20.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Australian Electoral Commission petitions Court of Disputed Returns to void the 2013 West Australian Senate Election

Australian Electoral Commission Media Release:
Updated: 15 November 2013

The three-person Australian Electoral Commission today authorised the Electoral Commissioner to lodge a petition with the Court of Disputed Returns in respect of the 2013 Western Australian Senate election.
The petition was lodged at approximately 2:30pm AEDT today.
The petition seeks an order from the Court that the WA Senate election of six senators be declared void.
Given the closeness of the margins that favoured the final two declared candidates, the petition is based on the premise that the inability to include 1370 missing ballot papers in the recount of the WA Senate election means that the election was likely to be affected for the purposes of s 362(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
As the matter is now before the Court the AEC will not be making any further comment.
The AEC recently appointed Mr Mick Keelty AO to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the missing ballots.  Mr Keelty’s inquiries are continuing.
Editorial note: For copies of the petition, please contact the High Court Registry’s public information officer (Canberra) during their business hours. The AEC will not be posting or distributing the document.

National media contact:
Phil Diak | Director Media
AEC, Canberra
02 6271 4415
0413 452 539

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Australian Electoral Commission issues a gentle reminder to come clean

All political parties need to list every donation, dot every i and cross every t - because ordinary voters are watching and they are not happy.....

Updated: 17 October 2013

The AEC today reminded all registered political parties and associated entities that annual disclosure returns for the 2012-13 financial year must be lodged by 20 October 2013.
More than 50 political parties and 100 associated entities have yet to lodge their disclosure returns.
Annual disclosure returns must be lodged within 16 weeks after the end of the financial year.
Registered political parties and associated entities are required to disclose total receipts, total payments, total debts and details of receipts and debts greater than the disclosure threshold for the financial year.
Section 315 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 provides for penalties for failure to lodge returns within the required timeframe.
Political parties and their associated entities can prepare and lodge their returns online via the eReturns portal.
Lodging returns online is quick, secure, environmentally friendly, and allows for the importing/exporting of files, which eliminates transcription errors.
Annual disclosure returns are made available for public inspection on the AEC’s website on the first working day in February every year. 2012-13 financial year disclosure returns will be made public on Monday 3 February 2014.
To assist political parties and associated entities with completing their return online, the eReturns Political Party Quick Reference Guide and eReturns Associated Entity Quick Reference Guide are available.
National media contact:
Phil Diak | Director Media
AEC, Canberra
02 6271 4415
0413 452 539

Friday, 23 August 2013

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Where Australian political parties and candidates are officially finding their funding

The Guardian's DataBlog posted these graphs covering donations to Australian political parties/candidates based on the latest publicly available information:


The Australian Electoral Commission:

Entitlement to election funding

A candidate or Senate group is eligible for election funding if they obtain at least 4% of the first preference vote in the division or the state or territory they contested. The amount to be paid is calculated by multiplying the number of votes obtained by the current election funding rate. The funding rate for the 2010 federal election was 231.191 cents per House of Representatives and Senate vote. This rate is indexed every six months to increases in the Consumer Price Index.

Amount paid
The amount of election funding payable is calculated by multiplying the number of first preference votes received by the rate of payment applicable at the time. The rate is indexed every six months in line with increases in the Consumer Price Index.

The current election funding rate from 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2013 is 247.316 cents per eligible vote.

The Sydney Morning Herald 31 May 2013:

While the parties are cagey about campaign spending, electoral commission figures show that in 2010-11, the financial year in which the last federal election was held, the Liberal Party spent $108 million, more than three times what the party spent the year before. In 2010-11 Labor spent $88 million, more than double what it spent the previous year.