The Code of SilenceThe Road to China block by a wall of bureaucracy

The Melbourne City Council has speciously claimed immunity where immunity does not exist. The Age Newspapers has sought copies of correspondence from the City Council to the Chinese Embassy but the Council administration has refused to release the documents in a code of silence claiming diplomatic immunity. This is further abuse of process and a further denial of ensuring the Council is open and transparent. Diplomatic immunity does not extend to the City Council. neither the Council administration or the Lord Major are diplomats in spite the fact that John So is entitled to a diplomatic passport, he is not covered under btol convention of diplomatic immunity.

In a surprise move Greens Councillor, Fraser Brindley, has played lip service top the notion that the documents should be published. Do not expect Brindely to do anything other then comment from a far. Unlike his predecessor Brindley’s commitment to open and transparent government is not that strong. He does not have a good track record on holding them to account. Brindley is more noted for his efforts to avoid open public disclosure and previously referred Council reports for consideration behind closed doors at an illegal Councillors forum meeting. The meeting you have when your not having a meeting. Under the terms of the Local Government all meetings of council must be open to the public and only items declared confidential are discussed in closed session.

The reports consider by the Council in the Councillor only briefings are not confidential and should have been discuss in open session.

Likewise the correspondence between the Council and the Chinese embassy should also be made public.

Hopefully the Age will appeal against the Council’s refusal to provide copies of documents.

Council’s China link letters blocked
February 1, 2008

Source: The Age

MELBOURNE City Council has refused to release correspondence with the Chinese consulate, claiming the letters are exempt from freedom of information requests because of diplomatic immunity.

Lord Mayor John So, who has a history of close ties to the Chinese Government, said yesterday he had not interfered in the decision to keep all council correspondence — both to and from the Chinese consulate in Melbourne — confidential.

The Age last year requested, under freedom of information laws, all correspondence between the council and the consulate.

But the council’s lawyers have refused.

They argue that the Chinese consulate is immune from freedom of information laws because of the “inviolability” articles of the Vienna Convention.

These say that all official correspondence of consulates can be shielded from scrutiny.

Acting council chief executive Geoff Lawler said the council had asked the Chinese consulate if it was happy to release documents to The Age.

“The Chinese consulate objected on the grounds that they were exempt under the Vienna Convention,” he said.

But city councillor Fraser Brindley said the council had made a mistake refusing to release the documents.

“A council talking to a consulate shouldn’t be confidential,” he said. “This is another in a long list of incidents where John So’s doing what the Chinese Government wants done. “Is his first service to the Chinese Government or to Melbourne?”

Last year, Cr So used his numbers on the council to quash a proposed Town Hall reception for the Falun Gong movement, which is banned in China.

The Chinese consulate did not return calls from The Age yesterday.

The Code of SilenceThe Road to China block by a wall of bureaucracy

The Melbourne City Council has speciously claimed immunity where immunity does not exist. The Age Newspapers has sought copies of correspondence from the City Council to the Chinese Embassy but the Council administration has refused to release the documents in a code of silence claiming diplomatic immunity. This is further abuse of process and a further denial of ensuring the Council is open and transparent. Diplomatic immunity does not extend to the City Council. neither the Council administration or the Lord Major are diplomats in spite the fact that John So is entitled to a diplomatic passport, he is not covered under btol convention of diplomatic immunity.

In a surprise move Greens Councillor, Fraser Brindley, has played lip service top the notion that the documents should be published. Do not expect Brindely to do anything other then comment from a far. Unlike his predecessor Brindley’s commitment to open and transparent government is not that strong. He does not have a good track record on holding them to account. Brindley is more noted for his efforts to avoid open public disclosure and previously referred Council reports for consideration behind closed doors at an illegal Councillors forum meeting. The meeting you have when your not having a meeting. Under the terms of the Local Government all meetings of council must be open to the public and only items declared confidential are discussed in closed session.

The reports consider by the Council in the Councillor only briefings are not confidential and should have been discuss in open session.

Likewise the correspondence between the Council and the Chinese embassy should also be made public.

Hopefully the Age will appeal against the Council’s refusal to provide copies of documents.

Council’s China link letters blocked
February 1, 2008

Source: The Age

MELBOURNE City Council has refused to release correspondence with the Chinese consulate, claiming the letters are exempt from freedom of information requests because of diplomatic immunity.

Lord Mayor John So, who has a history of close ties to the Chinese Government, said yesterday he had not interfered in the decision to keep all council correspondence — both to and from the Chinese consulate in Melbourne — confidential.

The Age last year requested, under freedom of information laws, all correspondence between the council and the consulate.

But the council’s lawyers have refused.

They argue that the Chinese consulate is immune from freedom of information laws because of the “inviolability” articles of the Vienna Convention.

These say that all official correspondence of consulates can be shielded from scrutiny.

Acting council chief executive Geoff Lawler said the council had asked the Chinese consulate if it was happy to release documents to The Age.

“The Chinese consulate objected on the grounds that they were exempt under the Vienna Convention,” he said.

But city councillor Fraser Brindley said the council had made a mistake refusing to release the documents.

“A council talking to a consulate shouldn’t be confidential,” he said. “This is another in a long list of incidents where John So’s doing what the Chinese Government wants done. “Is his first service to the Chinese Government or to Melbourne?”

Last year, Cr So used his numbers on the council to quash a proposed Town Hall reception for the Falun Gong movement, which is banned in China.

The Chinese consulate did not return calls from The Age yesterday.

The Code of SilenceThe Road to China block by a wall of bureaucracy

The Melbourne City Council has speciously claimed immunity where immunity does not exist. The Age Newspapers has sought copies of correspondence from the City Council to the Chinese Embassy but the Council administration has refused to release the documents in a code of silence claiming diplomatic immunity. This is further abuse of process and a further denial of ensuring the Council is open and transparent. Diplomatic immunity does not extend to the City Council. neither the Council administration or the Lord Major are diplomats in spite the fact that John So is entitled to a diplomatic passport, he is not covered under btol convention of diplomatic immunity.

In a surprise move Greens Councillor, Fraser Brindley, has played lip service top the notion that the documents should be published. Do not expect Brindely to do anything other then comment from a far. Unlike his predecessor Brindley’s commitment to open and transparent government is not that strong. He does not have a good track record on holding them to account. Brindley is more noted for his efforts to avoid open public disclosure and previously referred Council reports for consideration behind closed doors at an illegal Councillors forum meeting. The meeting you have when your not having a meeting. Under the terms of the Local Government all meetings of council must be open to the public and only items declared confidential are discussed in closed session.

The reports consider by the Council in the Councillor only briefings are not confidential and should have been discuss in open session.

Likewise the correspondence between the Council and the Chinese embassy should also be made public.

Hopefully the Age will appeal against the Council’s refusal to provide copies of documents.

Council’s China link letters blocked
February 1, 2008

Source: The Age

MELBOURNE City Council has refused to release correspondence with the Chinese consulate, claiming the letters are exempt from freedom of information requests because of diplomatic immunity.

Lord Mayor John So, who has a history of close ties to the Chinese Government, said yesterday he had not interfered in the decision to keep all council correspondence — both to and from the Chinese consulate in Melbourne — confidential.

The Age last year requested, under freedom of information laws, all correspondence between the council and the consulate.

But the council’s lawyers have refused.

They argue that the Chinese consulate is immune from freedom of information laws because of the “inviolability” articles of the Vienna Convention.

These say that all official correspondence of consulates can be shielded from scrutiny.

Acting council chief executive Geoff Lawler said the council had asked the Chinese consulate if it was happy to release documents to The Age.

“The Chinese consulate objected on the grounds that they were exempt under the Vienna Convention,” he said.

But city councillor Fraser Brindley said the council had made a mistake refusing to release the documents.

“A council talking to a consulate shouldn’t be confidential,” he said. “This is another in a long list of incidents where John So’s doing what the Chinese Government wants done. “Is his first service to the Chinese Government or to Melbourne?”

Last year, Cr So used his numbers on the council to quash a proposed Town Hall reception for the Falun Gong movement, which is banned in China.

The Chinese consulate did not return calls from The Age yesterday.

VEC avoids accountability and disclosure Detailed results of the State Election missing

The Victorian Electoral Commission has responded to our Freedom of Information request seeking copies of the “below-the-line-preference” data files, summary reports and additional information. Information was sent by the Victorian Electoral Commission to the wrong address and not the contact information outline in the Freedom of Information application.

The Victorian Electoral Commission in administering the FOI request has possible breached the provisions of the Victorian Electoral Act and or Privacy Act. A complaint associated with the Victorian Electoral Commissions handling of the application has been forwarded tho The Victorian Privacy Commission for consideration and review.

Access to the information requested is still outstanding.

The Victorian Electoral Commission went to extra-ordinary length and considerable expense in printing out in hard copy most of the information that was provide as opposed to just copying the information and forwarding it in electronic format. Why? we fail to understand but I am sure a few more trees died in vein as a result. We accept no responsibility for the VEC actions in this respect as we had anticipated and expected that the information would be provided in electronic format. Some people would be forgiven in thinking that the VEC provided the information in hard copy format in order to prevent its distribution, collation and data analysis. That might not be far off the mark. It is difficult to say but efficient and cost saving it was not. As the information was sent to the wrong address we have requested that the VEC re-forward copies of their response in electronic format this time. Saving time and money.

The Victorian Electoral Commission had responded to the FOI request in part only they failed to provided copies of all the information requested.

Missing are:

1. Copies of the below the line data preference data files as requested – No response given.

Copies of below the line preference data was provided free of charge during the 1999, 2002 an 2004 Melbourne City Council Elections. This information is readily available and would be no more then 1mb for each electorate and would take approx. 2 mins to copy per file and this information should be published on the Victorian Electoral Commission’s web site.

Without access to the below the line data files it is impossible to effectively scrutinise of verify the results of the election.

The below the line preference data is a public document and precedence has been set in a ruling of the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal requiring that this information be made available.

2. Copies of all summary count sheets. (Although this information has been obtained via a third party – copies published on my web site http://melbcity.topcities.com/) Missing from the VEC responce data are copies of the summary distribution report of the preliminary count.

3. Copies of polling centers return summary results information for the legilsative Council (Upper-house) – similar information detailing polling place results in relation to lower house electorates was published by the VEC on their Internet web site.

The Victorian electoral commission has claimed that the cost of providing this information would be in excess of $600.00 which is very dubious and highly questionable.

The information is stored in electronic format and the cost of copying that information would be less then $2.00.

Polling place data for the Legislative Council is normally available and published on election night and updated through the count.

In the 2006 State Election the Victorian Electoral Commission failed to make this information available instead they only provided an electorate wide summary only. (The AEC provides senate results statistics broken down to polling places)

Access to the polling place summary data is fundamental in providing a check and balance as to the number of ballot papers issued and returned.

There were a number of substantial errors recorded during the conduct of the count of the Victorian State Election that had this information been readily available could have and should have been avoided. A quick summary of the polling place returns should have altered the Victorian Electoral Commission that a number of ballot papers had been missing or overstated prior to the distribution of any preferences. This information is still outstanding.

4. The Victorian Electoral Commission has provided limited information on the certification of software used to conduct the Victorian State Election count. Copies of certification certificates have been provided (but not yet received – due to the VEC mistake in addressing their response) for the electronic ‘Kiosk’ voting centres and the algorithm used in the calculation of the proportional representation results.

Missing is the detailed supporting certification documentation, reports and certification of the actual software related to the data-entry, front end, data storage and reporting software that utilises the algorithm used. Either the software used by the Victorian Electoral Commission has not been fully certified of the Victorian Electoral Commission has withheld access to this information.

In summary

The Victorian Electoral Commission again is seeking to avoid open and public disclose of the detailed results of the 2006 Victorian State Election.

A number of serious errors in the counting of the election have occurred and questions related to the discrepancy in the number of total votes record between the preliminary count and the recount in Western Metropolitan region have north been fully explained or verifiable based on the public documentation provided.

We are informed that copies of the below the line data files were not made available to scrutineers.

There is a discrepancy of over 450 ballot papers between the preliminary count and the recount. Without access to the polling place return data and the below the line preference data files, as requested, it is impossible to verify the results of the election .

It is fundamental that our public elections are open and transparent and subject to independent review and analysis.

With the utilisation of electronic computer based technology all relevant information and data files must be readily available to scrutineers and the public.

One can only ask

“WHY IS THE VICTORIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION RELUCTANT TO MAKE THIS INFORMATION AVAILABLE THAT THEY ARE PREPARED TO GO TO SUCH EXTENTS TO AVOID DISCLOSURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY”.

The actions of the Chief Electoral Commissioner and the Victorian Electoral Commission continues to bring 2006 Victorian State Election into disrepute.

VEC avoids accountability and disclosure Detailed results of the State Election missing

The Victorian Electoral Commission has responded to our Freedom of Information request seeking copies of the “below-the-line-preference” data files, summary reports and additional information. Information was sent by the Victorian Electoral Commission to the wrong address and not the contact information outline in the Freedom of Information application.

The Victorian Electoral Commission in administering the FOI request has possible breached the provisions of the Victorian Electoral Act and or Privacy Act. A complaint associated with the Victorian Electoral Commissions handling of the application has been forwarded tho The Victorian Privacy Commission for consideration and review.

Access to the information requested is still outstanding.

The Victorian Electoral Commission went to extra-ordinary length and considerable expense in printing out in hard copy most of the information that was provide as opposed to just copying the information and forwarding it in electronic format. Why? we fail to understand but I am sure a few more trees died in vein as a result. We accept no responsibility for the VEC actions in this respect as we had anticipated and expected that the information would be provided in electronic format. Some people would be forgiven in thinking that the VEC provided the information in hard copy format in order to prevent its distribution, collation and data analysis. That might not be far off the mark. It is difficult to say but efficient and cost saving it was not. As the information was sent to the wrong address we have requested that the VEC re-forward copies of their response in electronic format this time. Saving time and money.

The Victorian Electoral Commission had responded to the FOI request in part only they failed to provided copies of all the information requested.

Missing are:

1. Copies of the below the line data preference data files as requested – No response given.

Copies of below the line preference data was provided free of charge during the 1999, 2002 an 2004 Melbourne City Council Elections. This information is readily available and would be no more then 1mb for each electorate and would take approx. 2 mins to copy per file and this information should be published on the Victorian Electoral Commission’s web site.

Without access to the below the line data files it is impossible to effectively scrutinise of verify the results of the election.

The below the line preference data is a public document and precedence has been set in a ruling of the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal requiring that this information be made available.

2. Copies of all summary count sheets. (Although this information has been obtained via a third party – copies published on my web site http://melbcity.topcities.com/) Missing from the VEC responce data are copies of the summary distribution report of the preliminary count.

3. Copies of polling centers return summary results information for the legilsative Council (Upper-house) – similar information detailing polling place results in relation to lower house electorates was published by the VEC on their Internet web site.

The Victorian electoral commission has claimed that the cost of providing this information would be in excess of $600.00 which is very dubious and highly questionable.

The information is stored in electronic format and the cost of copying that information would be less then $2.00.

Polling place data for the Legislative Council is normally available and published on election night and updated through the count.

In the 2006 State Election the Victorian Electoral Commission failed to make this information available instead they only provided an electorate wide summary only. (The AEC provides senate results statistics broken down to polling places)

Access to the polling place summary data is fundamental in providing a check and balance as to the number of ballot papers issued and returned.

There were a number of substantial errors recorded during the conduct of the count of the Victorian State Election that had this information been readily available could have and should have been avoided. A quick summary of the polling place returns should have altered the Victorian Electoral Commission that a number of ballot papers had been missing or overstated prior to the distribution of any preferences. This information is still outstanding.

4. The Victorian Electoral Commission has provided limited information on the certification of software used to conduct the Victorian State Election count. Copies of certification certificates have been provided (but not yet received – due to the VEC mistake in addressing their response) for the electronic ‘Kiosk’ voting centres and the algorithm used in the calculation of the proportional representation results.

Missing is the detailed supporting certification documentation, reports and certification of the actual software related to the data-entry, front end, data storage and reporting software that utilises the algorithm used. Either the software used by the Victorian Electoral Commission has not been fully certified of the Victorian Electoral Commission has withheld access to this information.

In summary

The Victorian Electoral Commission again is seeking to avoid open and public disclose of the detailed results of the 2006 Victorian State Election.

A number of serious errors in the counting of the election have occurred and questions related to the discrepancy in the number of total votes record between the preliminary count and the recount in Western Metropolitan region have north been fully explained or verifiable based on the public documentation provided.

We are informed that copies of the below the line data files were not made available to scrutineers.

There is a discrepancy of over 450 ballot papers between the preliminary count and the recount. Without access to the polling place return data and the below the line preference data files, as requested, it is impossible to verify the results of the election .

It is fundamental that our public elections are open and transparent and subject to independent review and analysis.

With the utilisation of electronic computer based technology all relevant information and data files must be readily available to scrutineers and the public.

One can only ask

“WHY IS THE VICTORIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION RELUCTANT TO MAKE THIS INFORMATION AVAILABLE THAT THEY ARE PREPARED TO GO TO SUCH EXTENTS TO AVOID DISCLOSURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY”.

The actions of the Chief Electoral Commissioner and the Victorian Electoral Commission continues to bring 2006 Victorian State Election into disrepute.

VEC avoids accountability and disclosure Detailed results of the State Election missing

The Victorian Electoral Commission has responded to our Freedom of Information request seeking copies of the “below-the-line-preference” data files, summary reports and additional information. Information was sent by the Victorian Electoral Commission to the wrong address and not the contact information outline in the Freedom of Information application.

The Victorian Electoral Commission in administering the FOI request has possible breached the provisions of the Victorian Electoral Act and or Privacy Act. A complaint associated with the Victorian Electoral Commissions handling of the application has been forwarded tho The Victorian Privacy Commission for consideration and review.

Access to the information requested is still outstanding.

The Victorian Electoral Commission went to extra-ordinary length and considerable expense in printing out in hard copy most of the information that was provide as opposed to just copying the information and forwarding it in electronic format. Why? we fail to understand but I am sure a few more trees died in vein as a result. We accept no responsibility for the VEC actions in this respect as we had anticipated and expected that the information would be provided in electronic format. Some people would be forgiven in thinking that the VEC provided the information in hard copy format in order to prevent its distribution, collation and data analysis. That might not be far off the mark. It is difficult to say but efficient and cost saving it was not. As the information was sent to the wrong address we have requested that the VEC re-forward copies of their response in electronic format this time. Saving time and money.

The Victorian Electoral Commission had responded to the FOI request in part only they failed to provided copies of all the information requested.

Missing are:

1. Copies of the below the line data preference data files as requested – No response given.

Copies of below the line preference data was provided free of charge during the 1999, 2002 an 2004 Melbourne City Council Elections. This information is readily available and would be no more then 1mb for each electorate and would take approx. 2 mins to copy per file and this information should be published on the Victorian Electoral Commission’s web site.

Without access to the below the line data files it is impossible to effectively scrutinise of verify the results of the election.

The below the line preference data is a public document and precedence has been set in a ruling of the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal requiring that this information be made available.

2. Copies of all summary count sheets. (Although this information has been obtained via a third party – copies published on my web site http://melbcity.topcities.com/) Missing from the VEC responce data are copies of the summary distribution report of the preliminary count.

3. Copies of polling centers return summary results information for the legilsative Council (Upper-house) – similar information detailing polling place results in relation to lower house electorates was published by the VEC on their Internet web site.

The Victorian electoral commission has claimed that the cost of providing this information would be in excess of $600.00 which is very dubious and highly questionable.

The information is stored in electronic format and the cost of copying that information would be less then $2.00.

Polling place data for the Legislative Council is normally available and published on election night and updated through the count.

In the 2006 State Election the Victorian Electoral Commission failed to make this information available instead they only provided an electorate wide summary only. (The AEC provides senate results statistics broken down to polling places)

Access to the polling place summary data is fundamental in providing a check and balance as to the number of ballot papers issued and returned.

There were a number of substantial errors recorded during the conduct of the count of the Victorian State Election that had this information been readily available could have and should have been avoided. A quick summary of the polling place returns should have altered the Victorian Electoral Commission that a number of ballot papers had been missing or overstated prior to the distribution of any preferences. This information is still outstanding.

4. The Victorian Electoral Commission has provided limited information on the certification of software used to conduct the Victorian State Election count. Copies of certification certificates have been provided (but not yet received – due to the VEC mistake in addressing their response) for the electronic ‘Kiosk’ voting centres and the algorithm used in the calculation of the proportional representation results.

Missing is the detailed supporting certification documentation, reports and certification of the actual software related to the data-entry, front end, data storage and reporting software that utilises the algorithm used. Either the software used by the Victorian Electoral Commission has not been fully certified of the Victorian Electoral Commission has withheld access to this information.

In summary

The Victorian Electoral Commission again is seeking to avoid open and public disclose of the detailed results of the 2006 Victorian State Election.

A number of serious errors in the counting of the election have occurred and questions related to the discrepancy in the number of total votes record between the preliminary count and the recount in Western Metropolitan region have north been fully explained or verifiable based on the public documentation provided.

We are informed that copies of the below the line data files were not made available to scrutineers.

There is a discrepancy of over 450 ballot papers between the preliminary count and the recount. Without access to the polling place return data and the below the line preference data files, as requested, it is impossible to verify the results of the election .

It is fundamental that our public elections are open and transparent and subject to independent review and analysis.

With the utilisation of electronic computer based technology all relevant information and data files must be readily available to scrutineers and the public.

One can only ask

“WHY IS THE VICTORIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION RELUCTANT TO MAKE THIS INFORMATION AVAILABLE THAT THEY ARE PREPARED TO GO TO SUCH EXTENTS TO AVOID DISCLOSURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY”.

The actions of the Chief Electoral Commissioner and the Victorian Electoral Commission continues to bring 2006 Victorian State Election into disrepute.

FOI Application required to obtain detailed election results for State Election VEC brought to account

In followup to our numerous requests for information and details of the Victorian State Election we have found it necessary to have to submit and FOI application to obtain a copy of the detailed elections results of last months State Poll.

The conduct of the election undertaken by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) was a shame and has brought Victoria in to disrepute.

Nick Economu, election analyst and political commentator, has described the conduct of the count as a “farcical”. That was putting it mildly. We would say highly unprofessional if not incompetent, lacking in openness and transparency. Information crucial to the conduct of the election was denied and the VEC continues to avoid public scrutiny and review by failing to publish the various count sheets and detailed preference data.

We were constantly being told that the software used in computerized vote counting system had been certified and that safeguards were in place to avoid and limit mistakes in a data-entry. That turned out to be false. As history often proves man is not infallible and the VEC most certainly has failed to live up to the expectations and requirement for an open and transparent election.

Rob Hulls, Victoria’s Attorney General and Minister responsible for the Victorian Electoral Commission and the Freedom of Information Act, stated in his annual FOI report: The existence of the FOI Act should not mean that the formal process provided under it is the only means of obtaining access to documents or information of an agency. “

Section 123 of the Victorian Electoral Act 2002 states:

123. Election information


(1) The number of first preference votes given for each candidate and the details of distribution of preference votes must be available from the office of the Commission.

The refusal of the VEC to publish this information, as requested, is an abuse of the system and denial of open and transparent elections.



VEC receipt of payment for FOI application fee

— Copy of FOI request delieverd to to the VEC today —

Thursday December 21, 2006

Sue Lang
Manager Communication, Education and Research Branch
Information Officer

Victorian Electoral Commission

Re: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Sue

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I wish to request the following information –

  1. Victorian State Election November 2006

    1.1. Copies of all count sheets in respect to all electorates for the Victorian Legislative Assembly and Victorian Legislative Council
    1.2. Copies of all recorded electronic data files detailing the ballot papers preference allocations used to determine the results of each election for the Victorian Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council
    1.3. Copies of all polling place returns showing the number of ballot papers issued and the number of first preferences allocated for each candidate for the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council
  2. Copies of all certification documents related to the software used in the conduct of the Victorian State election used in the tabulation and calculation of the elections results.

I have previously requested this information, to which the Victorian Electoral Commission to date has failed to respond.

The above, as requested information is a public document and should be readily available to members of the public for independent review and assessment.

It is in the public interest that this information is made available and that the results and the conduct of the election are open and transparent.

In addition, as this information is in the public interest and should be readily available to public, I request that the fee for this Freedom of Information Application be waived. However, in case you do not allow this, I enclose the required $21.50.

I draw you attention to the following:

Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal in 1999 (van der Craats v City of Melbourne [2000] VCAT 447 (29 January 2000) VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL General List No. 1999/057919)

I request that the above information be provided without delay.

In the event that the Victorian Electoral Commission refuses in the first instance to provide this information I request that immediate internal review undertaken and if required I am prepared to have this matter refered to the Victorian State Parliament, Victorian State Ombudsman and the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal for review.

Should you require further I can be contacted via return email or telephone (03) 9016 3654

Yours faithfully

Anthony van der Craats

FOI Application required to obtain detailed election results for State Election VEC brought to account

In followup to our numerous requests for information and details of the Victorian State Election we have found it necessary to have to submit and FOI application to obtain a copy of the detailed elections results of last months State Poll.

The conduct of the election undertaken by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) was a shame and has brought Victoria in to disrepute.

Nick Economu, election analyst and political commentator, has described the conduct of the count as a “farcical”. That was putting it mildly. We would say highly unprofessional if not incompetent, lacking in openness and transparency. Information crucial to the conduct of the election was denied and the VEC continues to avoid public scrutiny and review by failing to publish the various count sheets and detailed preference data.

We were constantly being told that the software used in computerized vote counting system had been certified and that safeguards were in place to avoid and limit mistakes in a data-entry. That turned out to be false. As history often proves man is not infallible and the VEC most certainly has failed to live up to the expectations and requirement for an open and transparent election.

Rob Hulls, Victoria’s Attorney General and Minister responsible for the Victorian Electoral Commission and the Freedom of Information Act, stated in his annual FOI report: The existence of the FOI Act should not mean that the formal process provided under it is the only means of obtaining access to documents or information of an agency. “

Section 123 of the Victorian Electoral Act 2002 states:

123. Election information


(1) The number of first preference votes given for each candidate and the details of distribution of preference votes must be available from the office of the Commission.

The refusal of the VEC to publish this information, as requested, is an abuse of the system and denial of open and transparent elections.



VEC receipt of payment for FOI application fee

— Copy of FOI request delieverd to to the VEC today —

Thursday December 21, 2006

Sue Lang
Manager Communication, Education and Research Branch
Information Officer

Victorian Electoral Commission

Re: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Sue

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I wish to request the following information –

  1. Victorian State Election November 2006

    1.1. Copies of all count sheets in respect to all electorates for the Victorian Legislative Assembly and Victorian Legislative Council
    1.2. Copies of all recorded electronic data files detailing the ballot papers preference allocations used to determine the results of each election for the Victorian Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council
    1.3. Copies of all polling place returns showing the number of ballot papers issued and the number of first preferences allocated for each candidate for the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council
  2. Copies of all certification documents related to the software used in the conduct of the Victorian State election used in the tabulation and calculation of the elections results.

I have previously requested this information, to which the Victorian Electoral Commission to date has failed to respond.

The above, as requested information is a public document and should be readily available to members of the public for independent review and assessment.

It is in the public interest that this information is made available and that the results and the conduct of the election are open and transparent.

In addition, as this information is in the public interest and should be readily available to public, I request that the fee for this Freedom of Information Application be waived. However, in case you do not allow this, I enclose the required $21.50.

I draw you attention to the following:

Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal in 1999 (van der Craats v City of Melbourne [2000] VCAT 447 (29 January 2000) VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL General List No. 1999/057919)

I request that the above information be provided without delay.

In the event that the Victorian Electoral Commission refuses in the first instance to provide this information I request that immediate internal review undertaken and if required I am prepared to have this matter refered to the Victorian State Parliament, Victorian State Ombudsman and the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal for review.

Should you require further I can be contacted via return email or telephone (03) 9016 3654

Yours faithfully

Anthony van der Craats

FOI Application required to obtain detailed election results for State Election VEC brought to account

In followup to our numerous requests for information and details of the Victorian State Election we have found it necessary to have to submit and FOI application to obtain a copy of the detailed elections results of last months State Poll.

The conduct of the election undertaken by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) was a shame and has brought Victoria in to disrepute.

Nick Economu, election analyst and political commentator, has described the conduct of the count as a “farcical”. That was putting it mildly. We would say highly unprofessional if not incompetent, lacking in openness and transparency. Information crucial to the conduct of the election was denied and the VEC continues to avoid public scrutiny and review by failing to publish the various count sheets and detailed preference data.

We were constantly being told that the software used in computerized vote counting system had been certified and that safeguards were in place to avoid and limit mistakes in a data-entry. That turned out to be false. As history often proves man is not infallible and the VEC most certainly has failed to live up to the expectations and requirement for an open and transparent election.

Rob Hulls, Victoria’s Attorney General and Minister responsible for the Victorian Electoral Commission and the Freedom of Information Act, stated in his annual FOI report: The existence of the FOI Act should not mean that the formal process provided under it is the only means of obtaining access to documents or information of an agency. “

Section 123 of the Victorian Electoral Act 2002 states:

123. Election information


(1) The number of first preference votes given for each candidate and the details of distribution of preference votes must be available from the office of the Commission.

The refusal of the VEC to publish this information, as requested, is an abuse of the system and denial of open and transparent elections.



VEC receipt of payment for FOI application fee

— Copy of FOI request delieverd to to the VEC today —

Thursday December 21, 2006

Sue Lang
Manager Communication, Education and Research Branch
Information Officer

Victorian Electoral Commission

Re: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Sue

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I wish to request the following information –

  1. Victorian State Election November 2006

    1.1. Copies of all count sheets in respect to all electorates for the Victorian Legislative Assembly and Victorian Legislative Council
    1.2. Copies of all recorded electronic data files detailing the ballot papers preference allocations used to determine the results of each election for the Victorian Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council
    1.3. Copies of all polling place returns showing the number of ballot papers issued and the number of first preferences allocated for each candidate for the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council
  2. Copies of all certification documents related to the software used in the conduct of the Victorian State election used in the tabulation and calculation of the elections results.

I have previously requested this information, to which the Victorian Electoral Commission to date has failed to respond.

The above, as requested information is a public document and should be readily available to members of the public for independent review and assessment.

It is in the public interest that this information is made available and that the results and the conduct of the election are open and transparent.

In addition, as this information is in the public interest and should be readily available to public, I request that the fee for this Freedom of Information Application be waived. However, in case you do not allow this, I enclose the required $21.50.

I draw you attention to the following:

Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal in 1999 (van der Craats v City of Melbourne [2000] VCAT 447 (29 January 2000) VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL General List No. 1999/057919)

I request that the above information be provided without delay.

In the event that the Victorian Electoral Commission refuses in the first instance to provide this information I request that immediate internal review undertaken and if required I am prepared to have this matter refered to the Victorian State Parliament, Victorian State Ombudsman and the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal for review.

Should you require further I can be contacted via return email or telephone (03) 9016 3654

Yours faithfully

Anthony van der Craats

Disclosing the cost of administration Council’s reluctance to publish public information is in need of review

The Herald Sun review highlighting the extravagant salary packages paid to Victoria’s Municipal Chief Executives has highlighted yet again the need for more open and transparency in providing public access to public documentation in a cost effective and efficient manner.

The Herald Sun reported that the city of Whitehorse and Maribyrnong refused to make available information pertaining to the disclosure of Senior Management’s salaries packages. under the provisions of the Local Government regulations details of salary pakages and remuneration over 100,000 per year must be recorded in a register which in turn must be made available for public inspection. inspection of the register is a right of all members of the public and there is no basis in which the information can be withheld.

With the advent of the internet there is no reason, technical or administrative why this information can not and should not be made available via the internet. Appropriate security and validation checks can be provided for.

Clearly the State Government needs to review its legislative requirements to ensure that all public documentation and information is readily available via the internet. there is no excuse for the petty games of avoidance by trying to restrict access to this information by making it difficult to access.

What do they have to hide and what gain is there from maintaining such an inefficient system.