Paper or Electronic?
Is it time to move beyond paper voting? Labor's Andrew Leigh says the switch is inevitable as he and other MPs respond to the costly loss of 1375 votes in WA and the possibility of a new senate election in the west.PT1M51S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ww9y 620 349 November 4, 2013
The nation faces a massive fresh West Australian Senate election in which any elector in the country can stand.
Labor and the Palmer United Party plan to challenge the result of the weekend's recount, which saw Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and the Australian Sports Party's Wayne Dropulich win the final two of the six seats up for re-election.
Election analyst Antony Green Photo: Jacky Ghossein
The result means the Liberal Party has won three of the seats, Labor one and the Greens and the Australian Sports Party one each.
The Electoral Commission will declare the result on Monday even though it is unable to find 1375 votes.
ABC election analyst Antony Green said on Sunday there was ''a high probability of it being forced to a re-election''.
''On the first occasion there was a 14-count difference; on the recount the difference was 12 votes the other way,'' he said. ''The votes missing in the recount might have changed the result.''
The result will be presented to the West Australian state governor on Wednesday, after which aggrieved parties have 40 days in which to appeal to the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns.
Clive Palmer told Fairfax Media he would be appealing on the basis of the 1375 missing votes and also ''on other grounds''.
Queensland University constitutional law expert Graeme Orr said if the court ordered a re-election it would be for the entire six seats.
''If it was just for two seats one would go to a Liberal, giving the party a total of four, which would not have been the voter's intention.''
In a fresh election any Australian elector could stand, including those from interstate.
''Every micro party and their dog would want a go. We have 52 registered parties, and there's no limit to the number of independents,'' Professor Orr said.
Such an election would become a virtual referendum on the first six months of the Abbott government, attracting an unusually large number of candidates.
The West Australian governor has to give 33 days' notice before the poll and it typically takes the Electoral Commission four weeks to declare a result, meaning the re-election would need to be called by April for the winners to take their place alongside the rest of the new Senate from July.