Labor claims Ripon recount was unlawful

The Court of Disputed Returns hearing over Ripon’s election results has begun, with Victorian Labor set to argue the recount of some ballots in the ultra-marginal electorate was unlawful.

Ms Staley, who was promoted to Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Economic Development after her election win, claimed the seat of Ripon over Ms De Santis by a wafer-thin margin of 15 votes.

The Liberal MP was announced the successful candidate in December, weeks after the November 24 election.

Lawyers for Ms De Santis and Ms Staley appeared at a directions hearing in the Court of Disputed Returns last Thursday, where Labor is petitioning for another recount.

According to Fairfax Media reports, Ms De Santis’ lawyer, Olaf Ciolek, argued that the Victorian Electoral Commission’s (VEC) partial recount was “unauthorised by law” and done in error.

“My client’s case will be that the evidence will show that upon the conclusion of the distribution of preferences the electoral com- mission didn’t declare my client to be elected, despite having received an absolute majority of the votes,” Mr Ciolek said.

According to the Fairfax Media article, Ms Staley’s lawyer Daryl Williams QC, argued that Labor could not demonstrate that a recount would produce a different result.

“A recount as a remedy for a procedural breach which has no substantive impact on the outcome is actually of no utility,” Mr Williams said.

For more on this story see Page 3 of The Advertiser, Friday, February 15

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