They say that truth is stranger than fiction. That certainly seems to be the case with the saga of electoral fraud and vote-rigging in the Frankston East by-election.
At the time of the election in late 1999 candidates, including Independent Raymond Hoser were led to believe that vote-fixing, bribing candidates and parties paying for opposing candidates how to vote card preferences was all normal practice and above board.
This belief was fostered by VEC staff, news journalists and minders for the two major parties (Liberal/Labor).
Late in 2000, the Melbourne media hit on the idea that all this fraud may not be legal (refer to earlier media releases).
The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) told the major papers that they wouldn't investigate the matters unless they received a formal written complaint. This was in spite of the cases being widely reported in the daily papers and TV news bulletins.
To break the deadlock, Raymond Hoser wrote to the VEC asking them to investigate the matter.
Their reply dated 11 December 2000 was received by Raymond Hoser on January 5, 2001.
This says something about either VEC's ability to dispatch their mail or Australia Post's ability to deliver it.
But that's not the jist of this story...The contents of the letter are.
Signed by the Electoral Commissioner C. A. Barry, the letter effectively says that electoral fraud is within the law as far as the VEC is concerned. The letter stated:
'The following alleged events that you ask me to investigate are in my view, not offences under The Constitution Amendment Act 1958. The matters are:
- "Offers by both political parties to print how-to-vote cards for persons standing as Independents including myself.
Now I suppose that's quite self-explanatory.
In plain English it means that electoral fraud as perpetrated by the major parties is allowable and therefore serves to perpetuate the undemocratic two-party rule in Australia.
Now we don't take umbrage at the VEC … after all they are just administering the law … or so we think.
But it does show just how corrupt the Australian system is. In fact corruption is even built into the system!
To view the exact and full text of the VEC's letter to Raymond Hoser dated 11 December 2000, go to: