Senate passes Greens motion for public release of secret Senate voting system

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The Australian Senate has passed a Greens motion that will require the Australian Electoral Commission to release information on how the Senate vote is counted and correspondence on why a FOI claim on this issue was refused.

The motion requires the AEC to publicly release the source code of the software used to count the Senate vote. Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon moved the motion after the AEC knocked back an FOI request by Michael Cordover and then declared him a vexatious litigant.

Senator Rhiannon said "There is no justification for the AEC refusing to release information on how the Senate vote is counted. It is widely known that it is very complex so surely the methodology used should be publicly available.

"The AEC are not only doing the wrong thing in refusing a legitimate FOI request. In the wake of the WA federal election debacle they are further damaging their own reputation.

"The AEC hard line position in trying to discredit Mr Cordover as a vexatious litigant is an abuse of the law under which the AEC operates and raises the very relevant question what do they have to hide.

"Why would you stop the public knowing how the Senate vote is counted?

"After all the problems with the 2013 federal Senate election the AEC should be working to build confidence in the counting system.

"I moved this motion to help restore confidence in how the Senate vote is counted," said Senator Rhiannon.

GREENS MOTION passed by the Senate

330 Senator Rhiannon: To move-That there be laid on the table by the Special Minister of State, no later than 15 July 2014:

(a) all correspondence and documents, whether written or in email form, from the Special Minister of State‘s office and/or the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) relevant to:
(i) the decision of the AEC to have Mr Michael Cordover declared a vexatious applicant, and
(ii) the assertion that Mr Matthew Landauer colluded with Mr Cordover to harass the AEC; and
(b) the source code of the software by which Senate vote counts are conducted.

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