Queensland’s electoral commission is examining claims of intimidation aimed at members of the public and election staff at the Redcliffe by-election.
Charges could be laid and Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) called in to investigate allegations of intimidation at the Redcliffe by-election.
Acting electoral commissioner Walter van der Merwe will report in six weeks’ time on whether to recommend referring people to the police or the CMC.
He has received numerous complaints about unacceptable conduct and has asked the government to put its electoral reforms on hold. They had been due for debate on Tuesday.
Allegations include the intimidation and obstruction of members of the public and election staff.
The excessive display of political statements and the manner and time they were erected will also be investigated, as well as the conduct of scrutineers at the Saturday night count.
“From reports I have received from the public, my staff and persons working for the commission on the day, ostensibly a number of provisions of the Electoral Act may have been contravened,” Mr van der Merwe wrote in a letter to Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
“Verbal reports from polling staff were to the effect that some electors felt that they ‘ran the gauntlet’ and indicated that they felt intimidated by the words and actions of certain party workers and canvassers.”
Mr Bleijie said the government would do what it could to assist the commissioner.
“There is no greater symbol of our freedom than citizens to cast a vote free from coercion or intimidation,” Mr Bleijie told parliament.
Premier Campbell Newman was heckled when he showed up to support LNP candidate Kerri-Anne Dooley at the February 22 poll, but he brushed off the abuse as a negative Labor and union campaign.