Commissioner Tom Rogers
Australian Electoral Commission
Locked Bag 4007, Canberra ACT 2601
June 11, 2023
Dear Mr Rogers,
It is with some urgency we write to you asking that electoral rolls across the nation be cleansed of bogus entries well before the Voice referendum, otherwise its result might be shown to be meaningless (as well as be embarrassing to you in the AEC).
For more than 10 years, we have been a leading independent news site in Australia. For years many of our readers have told us of problems with electoral rolls and with vote frauds in Australia.
It is incumbent upon the AEC to fix up electoral rolls, as admitted in your publication in 2012: “Direct Update and Direct Enrolment | The Australian Experience by AEC”.
I quote from the Abstract:- “Australia has required all eligible electors to enrol (register) to vote now for 100 years. In recent years, however, … increasingly challenging to maintain the accuracy and currency of the federal electoral roll. … strategies such as habitation reviews which have been successful in the past are no longer effective or feasible. Two of the state electoral commissions have responded to the declining enrolment rate by implementing systems in which administrative data from other agencies are used to add individuals to the roll … without their intervention … Recent Commonwealth legislation now allows the AEC to adopt similar processes. The current paper examines processes…” (my emphasis added)
Your document refers to using electronic matching to ensure accuracy of enrolments that should be on there. It does not address the issue of purging incorrect enrolments, that should not be in there – thousands of deliberate false enrolments have been found previously.
Many people think it was a retrograde step when the AEC ceased doing physical habitation checks, and that there is no legitimate impediment preventing the AEC from doing them, as used to be done. The Commonwealth Electoral Act years ago commissioned the AEC to do these reviews, without needing to ask for specific allocation of budget from the Treasury, but to simply do the reviews and present the bill for the government to pay.
A major problem with the approach advocated by the AEC in the above publication and in AEC activities over the last 10 years is that many government records are flawed e.g.
- myGov data and health department records in our experience are flawed regarding habitation addresses. My own entry has been flawed since the inception of the myGov website.
- Electricity supply records contain inaccuracies. Police use such records daily in trying to search for alleged offenders. We have been told these records are inaccurate especially for rental properties
- Council rates; notices, particularly for absentee landholders, cannot be relied upon.
- Census data is mostly unreliable. We have seen a sample of answers supplied by householders which were laughable
- Land Titles have been found to be inaccurate since state governments shredded all parchment title deeds, copied and stored the data electronically
Circa 2004 Senator Len Harris brought to the AEC’s attention the parlous state of the electoral roll. His staff had discovered more than 400,000 entries whose identity had not been checked by the AEC. The then AEC Commissioner confirmed this fact in a letter which I have seen.
Senator Harris also showed the Commissioner 16 AEC letters addressed to one unit in St Lucia, Brisbane near Queensland University, a known hot spot for young ALP operatives engaged in multiple voting. After a check was done, only one name of the 16 was found to be legitimate.
The 2001 Queensland Shepherdson Inquiry into voter fraud confirmed fraudulent activities and branch stacking by the ALP and unions.
You are probably aware of the 7 books by the late Dr Amy McGrath OAM on vote fraud, and she confirmed that deliberate dud entries in the electoral roll have allowed frauds to occur.
A mere 37 suspected fraudulent votes can affect the outcome of an election, e.g. the ALP won Herbert in 2016 by 37 votes, but how confident are we that that result was fair?
Two weekly pre-poll time frames and allowing too many persons to vote pre-poll who do not have justification has meant huge numbers of pre-poll ballot papers which could be subject to alterations and additions or subtractions. Being marked in pencil means that some of them can be altered after-hours. Submission 376 to the recent JSCEM proved that at one polling place many ballot papers had had their pencil marks changed, and estimated that the total number of altered ballot papers may have been as high as 320.
Are you aware that 248,000 letters sent by the ABS for the same sex marriage plebiscite using electoral roll data provided to them by the AEC were returned to the ABS with the notation: ‘Addressee unknown’? The ABS has admitted that this information was not given to the AEC to enable you to cleanse the 248,000 incorrect enrolments.
We are well aware that the electoral roll is especially deficient in regards to Aborigines in remote areas. For example in the article below, the Northern Territory Electoral Commissioner complained in August 2020 about the AEC’s declining performance.
And the problems have only become worse, as described in Submission 1492 of 22/11/2022 to the JSCEM by the Mayor of the West Arnhem Regional Council. He alleges that the AEC’s Electoral Roll has become so bad that there is a “gerrymander, whereby the franchise for Aboriginal residents of remote communities is suppressed or inhibited.” See attachment.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
We suggest that the best way for you to clean up the electoral rolls would be for you to ask Government to allocate funds for you to immediately call a tender for a suitable, independent Australian company or companies to undertake a nation-wide physical habitation check of every residence in Australia, especially in remote Aboriginal communities.
Then instruct a reliable and honest data collation company, not PWC, to create a new electoral roll state by state. (This would also be good preparation for the next Census)
This exercise could be completed in advance of a referendum late in the year, or it may well be that you need to ‘bite the bullet’ and recommend to the government that it delay the referendum to allow time for you to ensure a high quality electoral roll, especially in regards to the current deficiencies in the numbers of remote Aborigines on it.
Cairns News Editor
The reply so far:
The AEC works daily to maintain an electoral roll with integrity and a roll that is as complete as possible. This includes processing millions of enrolment transactions annually utilising trusted third-party data to inform updates. Some further information about the AEC’s efforts in this regard are available via Managing the Commonwealth electoral roll – Australian Electoral Commission (aec.gov.au).
The AEC will review your email but note the comprehensive program of work already in place that is informed by electoral experts.
Editor: It seems Commissioner Tom Rogers is not going to reply personally. He received a personal email as above. Readers are urged to keep up the pressure on the AEC to ensure the referendum result is honest and above board. Remember the AEC is largely unaccountable to government other than the parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters which meets AFTER an election. The AEC in the past seem to take little notice of committee recommendations.