BOOKS: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
FRAUDING OF ELECTIONS? by Amy McGrath
, February 14, 2004
FRAUDING OF ELECTIONS?
by Amy McGrath
Rec. price: $22.50 (incl P&P)Most of us believe that Australia's electoral system is not only fair, but is incapable of being corrupted.
Yet there has been a succession of cases involving ballot irregularities in trade unions, political parties and local government over the years. In this informative and disturbing book, Dr McGrath has challenged the popular belief that the electoral system is foolproof, or immune from the possibility of fraud.
While staff of the Australian Electoral Office have a well-deserved reputation for propriety, there is an abundance of evidence showing that, in some states, candidates have used a variety of methods to "fix" elections, including false enrolments, party branch stacking, fraudulently casting ballot papers in the name of people on the electoral rolls, and forgery.Public evidence
Dr McGrath has collected much of the public evidence of these activities, as it was given to the Commonwealth Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters' inquiry into the 2001 Federal Election, the 2001 Shepherdson inquiry in Queensland, other Queensland electoral inquiries from 1997-2001, and documentation on branch stacking in all states.
What is most surprising is that the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has repeatedly denied that there is anything wrong, has refused to take seriously the issues raised by Dr McGrath and others, and has even descended to ad hominem
attacks on those who have tried to draw attention to the problem.
If the AEC had itself uncovered the fraudulent conduct which has been the subject of legal action or media attention over the years, one might conclude that the Commission had good reason for believing that the existing system is virtually incapable of manipulation. What is significant, however, is that the AEC has a poor track record, and only becomes involved after alleged irregularities have been reported in the media.
Dr McGrath makes numerous recommendations for improvements in the electoral system. It is to be hoped that they are implemented.
(Copies available from the H.S. Chapman Society, PO Box 39, Brighton-Le-Sands, NSW 2216 for $20.00. Please add $2.50 for postage and handling.)