It’s a humbling thing to be an election candidate.
To have been put forward to be the agent of so many others – to represent the people of our great state of WA in the Parliament.
I am especially humbled to be a candidate for the ALP which has such a long and significant history in fielding candidates and electing MPs who are committed to delivering prosperity and equality to all in our great nation. On that note I would also like to acknowledge the 348,000 people who voted labor in the Senate here in WA.
I understand that in declaring a result today that AEC is operating within the requirements of the Electoral Act.
I also know the AEC takes very seriously the issue of the more than 1300 electors who have been disenfranchised by these missing ballot papers and the potential subsequent impact on the election outcome.
I was very pleased to hear the Electoral Commissioner signal today that the AEC itself is considering the referral of this election to the court of disputed returns – rather than that onus being solely on candidates.
A considerable challenge currently confronts our democratic process. It is critical that we find a proper way to move forward and ensure that a reliable democratic outcome for the WA senate is delivered.
However, I do have faith that here in Australia – a country with a long and celebrated democracy - that a considered step by step process, as provided for in our electoral act, will allow the controversies of this election to be resolved and the views of WA electors to be properly reflected in the outcome.
Whilst this process clearly has a long way to run still, I would like to take a moment to give sincere thanks to my staff - for all their efforts leading up to the election, their organization of scrutineers, and for enduring what has been a very long process with me. I would also like the thank the ALP party office for their assistance in what has been a busy time. Thank you.
I would also like to thank my campaign volunteers and the many scrutineers that have volunteered not only for me – but for other parties to keep our democratic process transparent and moving. It has been a long few weeks – lots of standing and tired eyes, but your involvement is absolutely vital to maintaining a transparent democratic outcome.
I would further like to acknowledge the efforts of all those who participated in the election as candidates and volunteers for parties, as well as the AEC staff, the media – and most importantly WA electors.
The close result has bought with it a whole range of pressures.
Political parties and candidates all know how stressful elections can be.
I hope the AEC takes seriously the extra stress placed on their staff by this extra close election outcome, the recount and indeed the missing ballot papers. I call on the AEC to make sure all its staff are looked out for – as I am sure you will.
We have a robust democracy, something I know the AEC, as an institution, strives to uphold.
The AEC must be assisted in this mission by those of us who are elected to Parliament. We must ensure that the AEC has the resources, legislative tools and up-to-date systems to support our democratic process.
I have no doubt that this election will provide an opportunity for us all to pay more attention to the details that will enable us to improve election outcomes into the future.
In the meantime I look forward to a proper resolution of the WA Senate election result, and thank all those who, like me, will work to ensure that it is delivered.