Answers needed on Shire election bungle

The State Government has been called on to provide a full investigation and explanation for the bungle that left a third of South Gippsland Shire residents without ballot papers until this week.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said he was very concerned that one of three batches of ballot papers had not been mailed to voters ahead of the South Gippsland Shire Council election.

“I am calling on the State Government to fully investigate this mistake and provide a fully transparent report on what went wrong,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has indicated that Australia Post did not send the 9,000 missing ballot papers, but we need to have an idea of where the system fell down.

“I am pleased that the VEC agreed to extend voting by a week, but this should never have happened.

“The date of the election was set more than two years ago when the former Council was dismissed and with only one election across the state there should be no excuses with respect to resourcing.

“I’m also asking the Government to assure us that the election is completely fair and transparent. For example, I am aware that many people contacted the VEC to advise that their ballot papers not arrived and therefore were sent new ones. We need an assurance that there are no instances where people have received two sets of ballot papers.

“It’s great to have democracy back in South Gippsland Shire and it’s disappointing that we have experienced this mistake. Hopefully we can look to a brighter future under a new council.”


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