I am responding to your somewhat provocative comments in the April edition of CBD News.
There have been claims for over a decade of “missing” and “discarded” ballot packs when it comes to Melbourne City Council ballot packs. Yet despite the VEC:
Working with CrimeStoppers over two MCC council events to encourage people to dob in any such miscreants and taking out print ads for same;
Putting posters up at high-rises advising that packs were coming – and hand delivering their ballot packs to management so that they can be delivered securely and placed totally within the locked letterboxes;
Going on various talkback shows over the years to ask people to come forward if they knew of anyone who was stealing/completing bulk ballot papers or witnessed it happening; and
Having paid security people observing city high-rises when ballot packs are delivered at two electoral events.
There has never been a single piece of evidence provided to us to support these claims. Even so, we will continue to put up posters and hand-deliver the ballot packs for the lord mayor by-election.
Further, we do random signature checks comparing scanned enrolment form signatures with the signatures on returned declarations during an election. On the few instances we identify discrepancies – after investigation – it has come down to situations such as someone having broken their preferred wrist, or they have developed Parkinsons disease and now have a wobbly signature or a husband and wife accidentally signing each others’ declarations.
In terms of real estate agents receiving ballot packs on landlords’ behalf, our experience is that, in the main, they forward them on by mail to the nominated postal address they have on file (many of whom are interstate or overseas). We know this as we get complaints from some of these electors that the ballot packs have arrived too late (due to slow overseas delivery times).
Lastly, in regard to the claims that non-Australian citizens may try to vote without evidence of occupancy, you may recall that in 2012, Melbourne City Council picked up an attempt at fraudulent enrolment very early in the process and was able to prevent these enrolments going forward. There are systems and checks in place.
So forgive me if I sound a little frustrated, but I think all you are doing is a bit of scaremongering.
Director communication and engagement
Victorian Electoral Commission
Council has done nothing
Your correspondent praising Rohan Leppert and the City of Melbourne for a policy limiting pokies in the CBD is somewhat disingenuous.
We had contacted the City of Melbourne previously expressing concern about the fact that gaming venues are exempt from requiring a planning permit. Whilst amusement parlours require a planning permit, gaming/licensed venues do not.
Licensed premises in the city fall under the definition of retail premises in Melbourne’s planning scheme.
Licensed premises should be classified under a category of their own and subject to a full and proper planning process with each application assessed on its merits. The city council has done nothing to address this issue.
Anthony van der Craats