December 20, 2015 Yoni Bashan and James Hooper The Sunday Telegraph
HIGH-profile deputy mayor Salim Mehajer has been charged with forging documents to rig the 2012 Auburn Council ballot that got him elected.
An Australian Federal Police investigation has also charged Mehajer’s sister Fatima, his brother-in-law Jamal Elkheir and five other associates and school friends who ran as candidates in the council poll.
The Mehajer siblings are accused of forging documents, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The rest of the group is charged with falsifying their candidate information sheets to claim they resided at addresses in Auburn, making them eligible to run.
The deputy mayor first came to the attention of the wider public earlier this year when his wedding, featuring helicopters, sports cars and a military flyover, all being filmed by a professional movie crew, brought parts of Sydney to a standstill.
However, the AFP has been watching Mehajer since 2012, when officials at the Australian Electoral Commission noticed a large number of online and postal applications in the weeks leading up to the poll from people requesting to change their enrolment address to Auburn Council’s first ward, where he was standing as a candidate.
Further checks allegedly revealed that several dozen of the online applications had been submitted from a computer located at the Mehajer family’s home and another at their business address.
When AFP officers later raided Mehajer’s property at Lidcombe they located a printer that appeared to have the same security identifier as some posted application forms.
Phones were also seized that revealed text messages allegedly relating to the suspicious applications sent to the AEC.
A second part of the investigation focused on Mehajer’s close associates, who ran with him and his sister as group independent candidates.
Scrutiny of their candidate information sheets revealed they had been falsified to say they lived in Auburn, allowing them to run in the ballot as part of a group, police claim.
Mehajer’s group of six contained four people now charged as part of the investigation. His sister’s group of five contained two now charged.
As the head candidates of their respective groups, both Mehajer and his sister were given a box “above the line” on the ballot paper, putting them in a favourable position to earn votes. The vast majority of voters at that year’s council election — 77 per cent — voted by ticking a box above the line, according to AEC data.
While Fatima Mehajer was unsuccessful, her brother was elected to the fifth and final spot on council by more than 500 votes.
The brief of evidence for the investigation was served on the DPP for assessment in February, several months before Mehajer shot to notoriety with his lavish wedding.
The investigation, which has been running since August 2012, culminated with court notices being served on all eight people on December 9 and 10.
The others have been named as Jamal Elkheir, Fatima Kandil, Shi Lao, Abhinav Mehta, Arjun Mehta and Ahmad Trad.
“All eight are scheduled to appear in the Downing Centre on 2nd February,” an AFP spokeswoman said.
The Mehajers have each been charged with 76 counts of using forged documents and one each of using false or misleading documents.
The remaining six people have been charged with one count each of using false or misleading documents.
Mehajer responded to the allegations last night on behalf of his sister and his brother-in-law, saying the charges were false and motivated by a hidden agenda.
“Allegations will continue to grow in anticipation to tarnish us however, this will not in any way, shape or form, threaten us to step down,” he said.
“They are false and misleading with hidden agendas to bring us down. We shall remain focused on our roles and responsibilities.”
Eleven candidates ran across two groups in Auburn Council’s first and second ward. Group H was led by Salim Mehajer and had a total of six candidates running in the first ward.
Group G was led by Fatima Mehajer and had a total of five candidates running in the second ward.
Of these 11 candidates, eight were closely known to each other and have each been charged by the AFP.
Salim Mehajer – Facing charges of using forged documents to commit electoral fraud and producing false or misleading documents. Ran as lead candidate for Group H (first ward) in 2012 Auburn Council elections.
Fatima Mehajer – Salim’s sister. Ran as lead candidate for Group G (second ward) in 2012 Auburn Council election. She is facing the same charges as her brother. Salim’s sister. Ran as lead candidate for Group G (second ward) in 2012 Auburn Council election. She is facing the same charges as her brother.
Fatima Kandil – Salim’s school friend. Ran in Group H with Salim. Charged with producing false or misleading document.
Jamal Elkheir – Fatima’s husband, who ran beneath her in Group G in the 2012 Auburn Council election. He is Charged with producing false or misleading document.
Ahmad Trad – Fatima Mehajer’s ex-partner. Ran in Group H with Salim. Charged with producing false or misleading document.
Abhinav Mehta – Ran in Group G with Fatima. Charged with producing false or misleading document.
Arjun Mehta – Ran in Group H with Salim. Charged with producing false or misleading document.
Shi Lao – Salim’s school friend. Ran in Group H with Salim. Charged with producing false or misleading document.
Now the AFP have proven to be effective with election fraud investigation, can we expect this to continue into federal government election fraud?
Strictly speaking, and barring some rare, isolated cases, there is no electoral fraud in Australia if by that one means ‘illegal interference with an election process’. None of the defining instances of ‘electoral fraud’ is present in Australia — not intimidation, vote buying, misinformation, misleading or confusing ballot papers, ballot stuffing, mis-recording of votes, one million or more bogus names on rolls, compulsory voting, destruction or wrongful invalidation of ballots. And pigs are flying. It is ‘the electoral process’ itself which is fraudulent by engineered legislation to maintain the two party preferred duopoly.
In this must read final part of his six part series on Australian fascism, Dr George Venturini looks at Australia‘s undemocratic electoral system – [HERE].
Shorten calling for 16 year olds to vote is a cover to hide the investigation by the ALP into branch stacking in Shorten’s seat of Maribyrnong. The ALP will need much more than politically illiterate 16 year olds to get it into power after the Royal Commission into Union Corruption jails half the union leadership in Australia.
Bill Shorten’s political career looks like it had the last nail put in it on Thursday (29/10/15) by the Victorian branch of the Labor Party who have set up a branch stacking corruption inquiry which covers Bill’s seat of Maribyrnong. For good measure the Royal Commission will have David Asmar, who is a member of Bill’s […]
Widespread false enrolments suspected in Canning
· Email by GetUP raises concerns about integrity of Electoral Roll
· 11,005 names added to Roll in 2 years, 4 times faster than national average
· AEC figures point to false enrolments and other Roll abuse as likely
Elections-monitoring group, Australians for Honest Elections (AFHE), is questioning the integrity of the Electoral Roll to be used for the Canning ByElection in the light of an email sent out by activist group GetUP to its supporters on 27 August:
“Here is our chance. A few hundred votes could tip the balance, and that’s when our movement is at its most powerful. But we need to act fast. We’re armed … [to] shift these key votes”.
“What key votes?” asks AFHE President Mr Lex Stewart. “Just what do they intend to do?”
According to AEC figures, the electoral roll for Canning gained 11,005 new names in two years, a 10.8 percent increase, compared to the national average growth rate of 1.37 percent per annum.
The Roll for Canning now contains 112,809 names, up from 101,804 names in the 2013 election.
“Where did all those extra names came from and how recently?” Mr Stewart asked.
Author and elections expert Dr Amy McGrath OAM has been researching vote frauds for years. In her 2013 book Wolves in Australia (pages 452-455) she warns about GetUP as follows:
“Given the intensity of far-left GetUP Campaigning in 3 past elections … a new bag of tricks called PlanningAlerts, … lists addresses of applications to local Councils for buildings being built, knocked down, or changing hands. PlanningAlerts is not as innocent as it sounds. … GetUP’s building lists provide possibilities for false enrolments faster than in the past … Such stacking of an Electoral Roll may be difficult to detect in that names roll-stacked are taken off shortly after the election. One case verified by the Australian Electoral Commission …”
”Might the Canning Roll be ‘padded’ with false names using GetUP’s lists of demolished/vacant buildings, or be padded with real names pretending to move like in Indi?” asks Mr Stewart.
“AFHE notes that in the WA Senate re-run it seems that thousands of real people from outside WA pretended to move to WA because the anomalous extra absentee/ postal votes for the Greens almost equalled the anomalous huge increase in the Roll, but the AEC did not enquire into that.”
“We hope the AEC is capable of detecting and rectifying Roll anomalies before 19 September.”
“Because afterwards, even if it becomes manifest that Rolls were bodgied with pretended transfer enrolments or false enrolments, then the Court of Disputed Returns is forbidden by a stupid law from looking at such,” said Mr Stewart.
“Section 361(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act states ‘assuming the Roll to be correct, shall not inquire into the correctness of the Roll’. Who else is going to enquire into the false/ pretend enrolments if the highest court in the land is forbidden by stupid law to do it?”
Contact: Lex Stewart, President, Australians for Honest Elections, http://www.afhe.org.au
AFHE is a research think-tank not aligned with any political party. The organisation seeks thorough public scrutiny of electoral systems and procedures, and advocates remedial reforms. Video clips et al on its website http://www.afhe.org.au show specific cases of voting irregularities.
Voters in Canning may be dudded by corrupt Electoral Roll
· Abnormally-large increase in new voters outstrips national average
· ‘Phantom’ enrolments could exceed 8,200, enough to swing the election
· AFHE calls on AEC to urgently investigate Electoral Roll
With the announcement today of the candidates for the coming by-election in Canning in WA, serious questions are being asked about whether the AEC is capable of operating a reliable Electoral Roll and whether it is being manipulated for base political purposes.
Lex Stewart, President of the Australians For Honest Elections organisation asks:
”Has the Canning Electoral Roll been ‘padded’ with an extra 8,200 false enrolments?”
The Roll for the Canning byelection contains 112,809 names
The Roll for the 7 September 2013 election contained 101,804 names in Canning
“An extra 11,005 is a larger-than-usual increase in the Canning electorate Electoral Roll, a growth rate of 10.8% in merely two years,” said Mr Stewart.
Australia-wide the Electoral Roll was 14.712 million for the 2013 election, up from 13.021 million for the 9 October 2014 election, showing a growth rate of 1.37% for this nine-year period.
“If the Canning Electoral Roll had instead grown by the Australia-wide long-term average of 1.37% per annum then it would have risen by only 2,801,” said Mr Stewart.
“Electoral Rolls can grow due to normal demographic factors, but can also grow due to internet transfers of people pretending to move from other areas, and such false enrolments could lodge absentee or postal votes without even entering Canning. Alternatively, persons living in Canning could, in the absence of the need to produce ID when voting, vote on behalf of other people.”
“This is what seems to have happened in the April 2014 WA Senate election re-run where the anomalously huge increase in the Electoral Roll was again about 8-10,000 and exactly matched the anomalously large increase in absentee and postal votes for the Greens and ALP.”
Based on the voting pattern in Canning in the 2013 election, the ALP needs a swing of only 10,454 votes to win this seat. 8204 is almost 10454. (half of 54,700 – 33,973 = 10,454)
“The Australian National Audit Office in its reports of 2002, 2004 and 2010 criticised the AEC for deficiencies in their running of the Electoral Roll, as described by AFHE media releases of 18th, 20th and 27th July 2014. We believe the AEC has done little to address these concerns.”
“Has the AEC checked whether this anomalously high number of extra enrolments in Canning are genuine, or are they bogus padding?” said Mr Stewart.
“This is an urgent matter because due to the stupidity of Section 361(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, even if it becomes manifest after the election that false enrolments have been made, then the Court of Disputed Returns, is almost unbelievably forbidden by this section of legislation from enquiring into the bodgied Electoral Rolls and phantom false enrolments. Who else is going to enquire into it if the highest court in the land cant do it? (and the AEC never does it!)”
Lex Stewart, President of Australians for Honest Elections Inc www.afhe.org.au
Letter to Sydney Morning Herald Editor
Some serious maladies in our voting systems are shown by your story “AFP finds no one to charge despite many cases of voting fraud” (26 Feb).
The AEC has admitted 18,770 cases of multiple voting in the 2013 election yet now one-and-a-half years later we find out that they can prosecute nobody.
Endemic problems in the AEC could no longer be hid when they lost ballot papers causing a new WA Senate election at a cost to taxpayers of $23million.
However this was not the first time.
For over 10 years Australians for Honest Elections Inc (AFHE) has been pointing out previous cases of losses of ballot papers, multiple voting and other problems, but the AEC has been inert.
However, far worse than multiple voting is the woeful state of the Electoral Rolls, partly due to false enrolments.
For example, the AEC admitted in a parliamentary committee on 13 November 2014
that there are “139,898 more electors on the NSW State Roll” (kept by the NSW Electoral Commission) “than on the federal Roll” (kept by the AEC).
Also, when one of our AFHE members doorknocked less than 10% of the Kingsford-Smith electorate in early 2013, he found 500 definitely false enrolments, and another 1,000 enrolments worth investigating. He took these lists of names and addresses (see photo attached) to the AEC, asking that they check and cleanse the Electoral Roll. The AEC refused to act, and we sailed into our September 2013 election with unknown amounts of false enrolments.
How confident can we be of a fair and honest NSW State election?!
Lex Stewart, President, Australians for Honest Elections, www.afhe.org.au
It was disturbing to uncover factual evidence on what most Australians thought to be just a grey area when we published our investigation of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). It is suffering from endemic corruption and has been the life line to both the Liberal and Labor parties keeping them perpetually in government. Read SOS-NEWS findings you need to know – http://www.sosnews.org/newsfront/?cat=174
There is a public inquiry after every federal election, although mostly kept quiet, this inquiry is looking into missing votes in WA, multi voting by individuals, people missing from AEC rolls at polling booths, and the list goes on.
Closing date for public submissions in 7th March 2014 by email to – email@example.com – have your say to install fair elections in our so called democracy. Take a look at other submissions – http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=em/elect13/subs.htm
The pensioner vote is large enough to hold the government accountable and that fact is seriously disturbing to the two major political parties.
Without doubt this commentary on vote fraud by the AEC is compulsory viewing. Mark Aldridge could be described as a perennial political candidate nevertheless his hard hitting expose of both major parties reveals their depth depth of fraud. The AEC, finally after recent events in West Australia and comments by Clive Palmer, Member for Fairfax show conclusively the department riddled with massive corruption and collusion.
Having attempted to find justice he has been denied it due to stacked courts. In his never ending pursuit of a peoples government to replace the two party controlled parliament, Mark reflects factual evidence to viewers naming the crooks and the crooked deals he has uncovered.