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Electoral Commissioner Quits

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Criticism of undue delays in announcing results also followed the recent Queensland Election
(Photo: AEC)

February 14, 2018

Electoral Commissioner Walter van der Merwe has resigned, just days after Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath issued him with a “show cause” notice.

Mr van der Merwe delivered his resignation to the Queensland Governor on Wednesday morning.

On Monday, Ms D’Ath announced she would immediately suspend Mr van der Merwe, pending a show cause notice, following ”serious allegations” which could amount to misbehaviour under Section 25 of the Electoral Act 1992.

“The allegations, while serious, do not suggest inappropriate interference in the outcome of elections,” she said.

“The public can be assured that ECQ’s core obligations will continue to be met.”

The Electoral Commission of Queensland faced heavy criticism following the 2016 Local Government elections.

Then-South Burnett Mayor Wayne Kratzmann called for the Electoral Commissioner to be sacked following extensive delays in the results being announced.

Tens of thousands of people across Queensland were also incorrectly sent fines for not voting because of a computer malfunction.

A scathing independent review of the Council elections was tabled in State Parliament in June last year.

It found that the ECQ was a secretive, authoritarian organisation with significant management, technological and communication problems and a culture of insecurity, avoidance and occasional nepotism.

Mr van der Merwe came in for special criticism because he refused to meet with the review panel on his own.

southburnett.com.au is not suggesting the criticism contained in the report is linked with Mr van der Merwe’s resignation.

Ms D’Ath said the allegations against Mr van der Merwe would be investigated “to finalise the issues raised”.

Mr van der Merwe was appointed in 2014 on a seven-year contract.

Assistant electoral commissioner Dermot Tiernan has been appointed Acting Electoral Commissioner.

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