Criminality not ruled out in WA missing votes scandal

THE PUBLIC may never know what happened to the 1370 ballot papers lost during the West Australian Senate count last year, the chief investigator indicated Wednesday.

Former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty was brought in to investigate the "lost votes", but he could not rule out criminality being involved.

Mr Keelty told a Senate inquiry on Wednesday that the "opportunity" for corruption in the scandal was present, with uncertainty still dogging the missing ballot papers.

As the state readies for its second go at the poll on April 5, Mr Keelty confirmed under questioning the lost votes was the equivalent of "air crash investigation".

Among the possible contributing factors to the lost votes were unsecured ballot boxes, a lack of tracking of votes, and the absence of a transport contract for delivery of ballot papers.

The matter is now under investigation by the national audit office in two probes aimed at, respectively, actions taken on recommendations from a report on the 2007 federal election, and the transport of the papers.


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