CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An investigator says he can’t say whether missing ballots that have forced a new senate election in an Australian state were stolen or simply lost.
Former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty was testifying on Wednesday to a parliamentary committee that is examining the disappearance of 1,370 ballots cast in a general election last September.
A recount of the ballots swung the result in two of the six senate seats that were to be decided at the election.
But because the ballots have since vanished, that recount does not stand. The High Court ordered fresh elections for all six seats in Western Australia to be held on April 5.
The election cannot deliver Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s conservative government control of the 78-seat senate.