Two scalps claimed in lost votes scandal

THE lost votes' scandal in the West Australian Senate poll during the Federal Election last year claimed its first two scalps on Friday.

The scandal saw the Australian Electoral Commission lose more than 1370 votes from the WA Senate poll during a recount last year.

It triggered a High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, which this week demanded a fresh election be held before the new Senate sits in July.

On Friday, both the Australian Electoral Commissioner Ed Killestyn, and the WA electoral officer Peter Kramer resigned their posts.

Mr Killestyn has been on personal leave since the scandal erupted last year, and will remain on leave until his official departure in July.

Mr Kramer's resignation will take effect on May 9 this year, with Kathy Mitchell acting in the role until a replacement is made.

Two statements from Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson confirmed the resignations on Friday afternoon.

The departures followed criticism of the AEC's handling of the saga by Senator Ronaldson, who on Thursday said WA residents would be "rightly aggrieved" by being forced back to the polls.

Sen Ronaldson said he wished Mr Killestyn well for the future, and the commissioner had a "long and distinguished career" in the public service.

"Events in Western Australia mean that the Australian Electoral Commission must regain the confidence of the community," Sen Ronaldson's statement reads.

"The government will in due course announce a new Electoral Commissioner who will be charged with the restoration of that confidence."
Mr Killestyn will remain on personal leave until July this year, with deputy commissioner Tom Rogers acting in his role.

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