by Jim O’Toole
“The mail-out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to conduct the same-sex marriage survey in 2017 resulted in more than 248,000 individual envelopes marked ‘return to sender’ being returned to their office unopened.”
Turning up to vote at a state or federal election is the cornerstone of the democratic process, some politicians declare, but what if your vote no longer counts?
If you live in a marginal electorate where the result of an election hinges on just a few votes, each ballot paper is critical usually for either a Liberal or Labor candidate to decide their individual fate or perhaps who actually forms government.
What if there are more than 248,000 names on the Australian electoral roll which have been confirmed as unknown?
The mail-out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to conduct the same-sex marriage survey in 2017 resulted in more than 248,000 individual envelopes marked ‘return to sender’ being returned to their office unopened.
The ABS has confirmed this incredible figure some of which it says could comprise those who did not wish to take part in the survey. It could also include those who had recently moved house or other names which simply are fictitious.
More worrying is the admission by the ABS that a quarter of a million envelopes marked ‘return to sender’ were destroyed.
The ABS advised it did not give names of the unknown addressees to the AEC to enable it to update the roll before shredding the envelopes.
The ABS used Australian Electoral Commission data direct from the electoral roll to address the 12,727,920 envelopes mailed through Australia Post.
This means as of December 22, 2018 there were 248,000 names on the roll whose identity has not been confirmed.
In the federal seat of Herbert in Townsville at the 2016 election just 37 votes after a recount separated the ALP winner from the Liberal loser.
Having 248,000 votes up their sleeve will dictate the result of every election. But who would do that?
Correspondence in 2017 between Chairman of Vote Australia Lex Stewart and the ABS reveals that … “during survey operations, letters which were marked return to sender (RTS) were sent via Australia Post to our processing contractor Fuji Xerox’s Sydney site. This material was then kept separate from the millions of completed and returned surveys.
The letter continued, “Note that some envelopes may have been marked RTS because the recipient did not wish to participate in the survey and was returning the material.
“Once the completed surveys were scanned and processed, Fuji Xerox scanned the RTS mail held and sent this barcode data back to the ABS.
“All materials from the AMLPS has now been destroyed in accordance with industry best practice, Government secured document certification standards, and all relevant requirements of the Australian Governments Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF)
“As at 24 November there had been 248,000 RTS mail items received. We are unable to provide an exact final figure of RTS material from the AMLPS as we continue to receive RTS material. This is because RTS is low priority mail for Australia Post, and we expect to keep receiving this especially from remote areas, for the next few months.
“The ABS will provide some aggregate metrics to the AEC on the volume of returned mail by area in order to assist with electoral maintenance or other future AEC activities. The ABS will not provide name or address information from the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey to the AEC.”
After the 2016 federal election the AEC confirmed there were 18,000 voters who voted more than once.
Embedded in ALP-union genes, the motto for polling day is ‘vote early and often comrade’.
It is no secret in union circles that moles within the AEC supply bogus names and address lists to unionists and others complicit in voting fraud to use at polling booths across a given electorate.
Booth workers from all parties have reported busloads of voters converging on a polling place to vote with lists of fictitious names at correct addresses.
Senator Len Harris’ office in 2004 was given 16 AEC envelopes addressed with false names at a single legitimate address in St Lucia, a Brisbane suburb not far from Queensland University.
Compulsory ID will prevent much of this fraud but what of previous elections which have been won by dud votes?
Vote Australia Chairman Lex Stewart said he and his organisation had been warning the AEC and the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for more than 15 years that the roll contained hundreds of thousands of fictitious entries.
Finally the JSCEM in a 2018 review recommended the federal government introduce voter ID at federal elections to be produced by a voter before applying for a ballot paper at a polling booth.
In 2014 the JSCEM held its usual post-election inquiry into the conduct of the 2013 election.
Then Acting AEC Electoral Commissioner, Thomas Rogers observed there were startling differences between the NSW state roll and the federal roll.
“Yesterday the committee asked the New South Wales state manager, Mr Orr, for information on roll divergence in New South Wales. I have with me information by State on the divergence, and I am happy to discuss this with this committee,” Mr Rogers said.
“But, as an example, in New South Wales as at 30 September 2014 there were 139,898 more electors on the New South Wales state roll than the federal roll.
“And there were also 102,427 electors enrolled at different addresses. As you can see from this example, the divergence is a very significant issue …. ”
Mr Stewart said the cessation of physical habitation checks by the AEC of every Australian household some years ago has resulted in a completely inaccurate roll which has a sufficient number of fictitious entries to change the result of an election.
“The NSW Electoral Roll for the 28/3/15 election contained 5,040,662 entries.
“This ‘divergence’ between the two Rolls of 139,898 was therefore 2.8%,
‘very significant’ is a euphemism for ‘disgraceful !
“The AEC also admitted that this ‘divergence’ was higher than it had ever been!
“The discrepancy of 102,427 on both Rolls but at different addresses was 2.0%
“The divergence plus the discrepancy add up to 242,325 or 4.8% of the roll !
“Is it suspicious that such a record amount of divergence-plus-discrepancy occurred only a short time before the NSW State election ?
“How reliable could the result of the 2015 NSW State election have been, based on such deficient electoral rolls ?
“The total of 242,325 is an average of 2,594 per 93 state electorates
“Many seats are won or lost by margins of less than 1,000 votes
How many seats were swung by bogus votes from bogus enrolments?” Mr Stewart asked.
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
A taboo subject by the major parties before elections is the hidden scourge of voting fraud. Like a crazy cousin it tends to be swept under the carpet.
The Australian Electoral Commission, since at least 1987, and more recently has been accused of being an accessory to the unlawful goaling of Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge of One Nation, and has faced allegations of being involved in voting fraud.
In her groundbreaking work, ‘The Frauding of Votes’ Professor Amy McGrath has dissected the electoral process in Australia. Her findings are quite discomforting, leaving the reader with a lingering mistrust of the election process.
Particularly, a foreword in the book researched by crime writer Bob Bottom, on Queensland vote fraud and the involvement of the Australian Labor Party reveals criminality gone unchecked.
One may ask,” will my vote go to where I intend it to go?” Or another question following an election could be,” I cannot find anyone who voted for that person or party.”
Or in marginal seats a result is often tipped one way or another by a handful of preferences, which could be a legitimate result, but in the experience of Cairns News researchers, the final result can often be dodgy.
Cairns News has on file some outstanding examples of roll manipulation providing large numbers of false enrollments.
One in particular is to enrol a false name at a real address. Of course it is hard to verify the authenticity of a name but not difficult to check an address.
We have 16 letters from the AEC all mailed to 16 different names at one Brisbane address. After exhaustive checks including title searches and council records only one name was a real person.
The modus operandi of rent-a-vote is to have a list of these names for pre-polling booths where the rorters often strike. The AEC issued a media release stating at this election a week ago there were more than 400,000 pre-polling votes cast. This is 150,000 more than last election, the AEC claimed.
No identification is needed to get a ballot paper at a federal election. Simply rock up to the table, give your name, tell the official you have not voted anywhere else that day and off you go to make your mark.
Simple arithmetic says if the roll is padded with 2700 names for example in the state seat of Cook at the state election these are sufficient available numbers to shore up a candidate’s result.
Essentially the roll was either over-padded with false names or the AEC failed to check identities and remove those unknown prior to the election.
There were only a handful of prosecutions after the election for people not voting in Cook.
A person with a list of falsely enrolled names could go to 50 booths in an electorate and vote 50 times in different names. None would be the wiser.
Cook it is an electorate which takes in Cape York so there may well be a number of people enrolled who did not vote. But the Electoral Commission is supposed to write to all people on the roll well before an election to ensure they do exist and their details are correct. If there is no reply then the name is removed from the roll, isn’t it?
Two glaring questions stand out in this highly illegal practice.
Who supplies the list to rent-a-vote and just who are these fraudsters who have been seen in the past by party workers traveling from booth to booth in small buses?
The AEC used to conduct physical habitation checks of every residence in the country, but these days it claims it does not need to do this expensive exercise. It says it cross checks all government and private data available to verify identities.
Everyday experience dealing with government and private bureaucracies would show this method to be less than reliable.
In 2004 One Nation Senator Len Harris corresponded with then AEC Commissioner Bob Longland. Longland admitted there were at least 400,000 entries on the roll whose identity was not verified.
This is the hidden cost of ‘democracy’ in Australia.