The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) acknowledges the decisions of the High Court acting as the Court of Disputed Returns on friday in disqualifying certain federal parliamentarians and will follow the orders of the Court to fill the vacancies arising in the Senate, and in the House of Representatives for the federal electoral Division of New England.
Senate special counts
It is expected that the AEC will be ordered to conduct special counts of formal 2016 Senate ballot papers to determine candidates elected in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. This follows the disqualification of former Senators Fiona Nash (NSW), Malcolm Roberts (QLD), Larissa Waters (QLD) and Scott Ludlam (WA).
The timing for Senate special counts is yet to be determined and is subject to the provision of directions from a Justice of the Court. Once directions have been provided by the Court, the AEC will proceed as quickly as possible to conduct the required special counts in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth respectively in the presence of candidate scrutineers.
New England by-election
The Court has ordered that a by-election for the Division of New England be conducted. A writ has subsequently been issued by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and a by-election will be held on Saturday 2 December 2017.
The AEC now encourages all residents in the Division of New England to ensure they are correctly enrolled to vote. The AEC website allows people to check their enrolment details, enrol to vote or update their enrolment via a desktop or mobile device.
Alternatively, enrolment application forms are available at any AEC office or Australia Post outlet. All Australian citizens aged 18 years and over living in the Division of New England are required by law to enrol and vote in the by-election.
Seventeen-year-old Australians who live in New England and turn eighteen on or before Saturday 2 December 2017 can enrol now and vote in the New England by-election.