Minister Cormann refuses to answer questions regarding the security of the postal ballot
by Lex Stewart, President of Vote Australia
Possibly, Yes. Massive frauds cannot be ruled out yet.
It might be that the officers of the ABS (with staff seconded from the AEC) have conducted the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey in an honest and accurate manner, so that the Australian public can trust the result.
However it is also possible that massive frauds have been conducted, and that the true result could have been 60% no, and 40% yes.
We do not yet have sufficient information to rule out the possibility that the AMLPS result was massively frauded.
Over the period 26 September to 8 November I asked about 30 questions of the ABS and of the Minister Cormann.
In the absence of answers at this stage, it is impossible to verify the accuracy and integrity of what happened in the AMLPS.
I say this from my perspectives both as President of Vote Australia, and as a Consultant Engineer who does Audits of factories and farms for Workplace Health and Safety and for Food Safety, issuing ‘HACCP’ compliance certificates.
It is almost meaningless if I inspect a factory and find that the food being produced is free of contamination, or that nobody was killed or injured on that day.
It is not just what happens when I am present in a factory or farm that matters. There needs to be in place a robust “quality assurance” program, with transparency and accountability.
Before I can issue a compliance certificate, I need to check the management, methods, training, etc to make sure that hazards have been assessed and that procedures are in place to ensure food safety or human safety for the other 364 days of the year.
The lack of evidence of a robust “quality assurance” program and procedures in the ABS is alarming.
Based on the somewhat limited information to hand so far:
- Website www.abs.gov.au, notably the two sections with titles:- “Quality & Integrity Statement” and “External Observers”
- The “Fraud Control Plan and fraud control measures”and its related ‘comprehensive risk assessment’ mentioned on www.abs.gov.au have not been made public
- And this plan and assessment seem not to have been audited by independent experts
- Unsatisfactory answers by the ABS to some of my 9 questions of 26 September
- Lack of answers by the ABS to my questions numbered 10 to 22 of 7 and 8 November
- Lack of answers by the Minister’s office to my 8 questions numbered A to G
- Apparent anomalies in the mathematical patterns of votes
- The refusal by Protoviti, the auditor engaged by the ABS, to answer my questions
- The ABS not making public the Protoviti reports (likely they have done excellent work, but only within the scope of the ‘terms of reference’ set for them by the ABS)
- The strange phenomenon that Protoviti employees were forced to sign a “non-disclosure” agreement – the sort of thing only relevant to matters of defence and commercial competitiveness re tenders etc
- The lack of any publicly-available knowledge as to whether the ‘terms of reference’ (i.e. the scope of activities that Protoviti was asked to address) were adequate or had been set too restrictively by the ABS
- The inherent possibility that ABS computers could have been ‘hacked’ unless the “cyber security controls including extensive use of data encryption” were of a higher standard than that which normally prevails in Canberra public service agencies