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STOLEN: Health union election tainted by massive electoral fraud says Australian Electoral Commission

returningofficerThe VEXNEWS investigation into electoral fraud in the Health Services Union Victorian Number One branch has been vindicated by findings of the Australian Electoral Commission Returning Officer conducting the ballot.

It appears that the vote rorting was more widespread than we’d initially reported. In a letter sent to all candidates today, Returning Officer Tony King wrote the following:


I am the Returning Officer for the Health Services Union – Victoria No1 Branch elections.

As you are aware, the ballot opened on 5 November 2009 and ballot material was posted to all eligible members, which included a Reply Paid envelope so that voters could return their completed ballot papers directly to the Returning Officer.

A number of allegations have been received by me that persons have placed boxes in workplaces for the purpose of collecting completed ballot material from members at the workplace.

The collection of ballot material by a person other than the electoral official is an irregularity in relation to the election and may be an offence under s195(2) of the Fair Work (Registered Organisation Act) 2009.

I have investigated the allegations and had confirmation that the practice may have occurred at certain workplaces.

I direct all candidates, and any person acting on their behalf to cease the action of placing ballot boxes and collecting completed ballot material from members at workplaces.

Tony King
Returning Officer
10 November 2009

VEXNEWS has heard multiple reports of voting papers – including blank ones – being collected, principally by campaign workers acting on behalf of the Marco Bolano Team. There are also reports of organised campaigns to collect ballot papers in regional hospitals. If these claims are correct, it could be sufficient to have incriminated candidates thrown out of the election process.

A Royal Melbourne Hospital employee told VEXNEWS:

“It has occurred in many forms including paid union employees collecting ballot-papers, the operation of fake ballot-boxes, formal meetings of members where they’re told to bring their voting papers and hand them over. In some cases, members are threatened and bullied into bringing their ballot-paper from home to work so it can be taken from them. It couldn’t be sleazier.”

VEXNEWS has heard reports from employees at Epworth Hospital that an associate of Jamie Martorana, the assistant secretary candidate on Bolano’s ticket, Lillian Cooper who works as a “PSA” at the Hospital on the 7th floor collected ballot-papers from a number of people on Monday.

Yesterday, witnesses told VEXNEWS that Darebin councillor and HSU employee Ben Morgan (a supporter of Marco Bolano) was seen at Royal Melbourne Hospital collecting ballot-papers for “the union”. Members report that several assumed he was doing this in an official capacity. He clearly wasn’t acting on behalf of the union and was not acting on any lawful basis.

A long term union employee appalled at the situation says he is aware of dozens of complaints relating to tampering with ballot-papers and other serious irregularities. The source told VEXNEWS:

“This is a systematic campaign to try to steal the election using Tammany Hall tactics. Most members are telling the ballot bandits where to go but many have been fooled or bullied into handing the ballot papers over. It’s nothing less than the most blatant corruption. This is only going to set the stage for more crisis and scandal here. It’s the last thing we need.”

Legal experts say there would be a number of options open to the court to deal with the Returning Officer’s findings. What a mess.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. no wonder unions keep shrinking.

    Posted by what a disgrace | November 11, 2009, 14:46
  2. All lies from the As ma

    Posted by lies | November 11, 2009, 15:09
  3. This letter is forged and not really from the Returning Officer.

    Posted by forgery | November 11, 2009, 15:12
  4. so i guess the only real legitimate candidate is Diana Asmar… She has my vote.

    Posted by kairouz is a joke | November 11, 2009, 15:21
  5. From: Tony King
    Date: Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 10:50 AM
    Subject: E2009/10032 HSU: Letter to Tean Contacts and Candidates [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
    To: Carol Carmichael , Diana Asmar , Pauline Fegan
    Cc: “jamiemartorana@yahoo.com.au” , “marco.bolano@hsuvic.asn.au” , “daniel.govan@yahoo.com” , “moiralomas@hotmail.com”


    Dear Team Contacts and Candidates,

    Please find attached a letter directing all candidates, and any person acting on their behalf, to cease the practise of placing ballot boxes in workplaces and collecting completed ballot material from members at workplaces. Would you please make all the candidates in your team aware of the contents of this letter.


    Tony King | Returning Officer
    Industrial Elections | Melbourne
    Australian Electoral Commission
    T: 03 9285 7146 | F: 03 9285 7149

    Posted by email - is that fake too? | November 11, 2009, 15:49
  6. I hear christine campbell and robin scott are ringing around trying to get support for marco

    Posted by god help us Rob Hulls is deputy premier | November 11, 2009, 15:50
  7. Oh my God…it can’t be true!!!!!

    Posted by tHE jOKER | November 11, 2009, 16:01
  8. well, well, well, little Benjamin is at it again – Ben how about trying to do a decent days work. Thought you only did private hospitals. Again, is this a breach, I thought only candidates were allowed in work hours – been caught again Ben.

    The stakes must be really high for Balano and his team to resort to these gutter tactics – then again when Zora was in the moves were pretty bad. Get over it Jacksons, Seymour, move on you are a disgrace not only to the union movemenet but also to the ALP – expel them

    Posted by anon | November 11, 2009, 16:11
  9. Why is Marco using his HSU funded email address for his own campaign purposes?

    Posted by HSU Funds | November 11, 2009, 16:11
  10. take some action Brumby on your mates!!

    Posted by Dare You Brumby | November 11, 2009, 16:14
  11. What a joke. These people don’t believe in democracy. If they did this in a State election they would go to gaol. Why is this any different?

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 16:22
  12. Fark! Corruption in a corrupt unions ballot?! Come on Andy, it’s like you’re surprised or something!

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 16:23
  13. Could the HSU election be decided in the courts? Could there be a new election? More money wasted.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 16:24
  14. Why are the Bolano team using HSU email addresses? Surely this is a breach of the act as well.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 16:31
  15. They are absolute filth. I suppose you would expect that from the SDA backed team.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 16:32
  16. Is Michael Donovan collecting ballot papers?

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 16:32
  17. Ben Morgan. If he is caught and found guilty it might be the shortest lived career in local government ever.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 16:33
  18. Jeez, election rorts in a right wing union-who would have thought it!! Seriously, does the HSU actually have a member left to vote? They are a complete disgrace to the union movement.

    Posted by Shock, Horror!! | November 11, 2009, 17:10
  19. Sounds like the SA VBU in action.

    Posted by Arther conan doyle | November 11, 2009, 17:17
  20. Interference with ballot papers

    (2) A person commits an offence if the person:

    (a) impersonates another person with the intention of:

    (i) securing a ballot paper to which the impersonator is not entitled; or

    (ii) casting a vote; or

    (b) does an act that results in a ballot paper or envelope being destroyed, defaced, altered, taken or otherwise interfered with; or

    (c) fraudulently puts a ballot paper or other paper:

    (i) into a ballot box or other ballot receptacle; or

    (ii) into the post; or

    (d) delivers a ballot paper or other paper to a person other than a person receiving ballot papers for the purposes of the ballot; or

    (e) records a vote that the person is not entitled to record; or

    (f) records more than one vote; or

    (g) forges a ballot paper or envelope, or utters a ballot paper or envelope that the person knows to be forged; or

    (h) provides a ballot paper without authority; or

    (i) obtains a ballot paper which the person is not entitled to obtain; or

    (j) has possession of a ballot paper which the person is not entitled to possess; or

    (k) does an act that results in a ballot box or other ballot receptacle being destroyed, taken, opened or otherwise interfered with.

    Maximum penalty: 30 penalty units.

    Threats in relation to votes, candidature etc.

    (3) A person commits an offence if the person threatens, offers or suggests, or uses, causes or inflicts, any violence, injury, punishment, damage, loss or disadvantage with the intention of influencing or affecting:

    (a) any candidature or withdrawal of candidature; or

    (b) any vote or omission to vote; or

    (c) any support or opposition to any candidate; or

    (d) any promise of any vote, omission, support or opposition.

    Maximum penalty: 30 penalty units.

    Offers of bribes

    (4) A person commits an offence if the person gives, or promises or offers to give, any property or benefit of any kind to a person with the intention of influencing or affecting any of the following:

    (a) any candidature or withdrawal of candidature;

    (b) any vote or omission to vote;

    (c) any support or opposition to any candidate;

    (d) any promise of any vote, omission, support or opposition.

    Maximum penalty: 30 penalty units.

    Acceptance of bribes

    (5) A person commits an offence if the person asks for or obtains, or offers or agrees to ask for or obtain, any property or benefit of any kind (whether for that person or another person), on the understanding that any of the following will be influenced or affected in any way:

    (a) any candidature or withdrawal of candidature;

    (b) any vote or omission to vote;

    (c) any support or opposition to any candidate;

    (d) any promise of any vote, omission, support or opposition.

    Maximum penalty: 30 penalty units.

    Secrecy of vote

    (6) A person (the relevant person ) commits an offence:

    (a) if the relevant person requests, requires or induces another person to show a ballot paper to the relevant person, or permits the relevant person to see a ballot paper, in such a manner that the relevant person can see the vote, while the ballot paper is being marked or after it has been marked; or

    (b) if the relevant person is a person performing duties for the purposes of the election–if the relevant person shows to another person, or permits another person to have access to, a ballot paper used in the election, otherwise than in the performance of the duties.

    Maximum penalty: 30 penalty units.

    Posted by corrupts | November 11, 2009, 17:20
  21. mmm the shopstewards at inner melb private hospital who where collecting ballot papers on monday have seen the error of there ways and gone on sick leave indefinately.. bad luck balano no more illegal votes from this hospital…..

    Posted by anon | November 11, 2009, 17:42
  22. This election needs a Sherriff.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 17:55
  23. the HSU should be deregistered. It is a blight on the union movement.

    Posted by clustered fark | November 11, 2009, 19:08
  24. @Shock Horror! – right wing union? lol! whacker!

    Posted by LeftRightOut | November 11, 2009, 19:24
  25. Fegan 7,000 members

    Jackson 16,000 Members

    Enough said

    Posted by Its only weeks now | November 11, 2009, 20:07
  26. Marco Talibolano for office????? what a crap

    Posted by Proud Les Butler | November 11, 2009, 20:53
  27. my wife & motherinlaw are availabe…..

    Posted by Steve Hutchins - Senator for New South Wales | November 11, 2009, 21:00
  28. What is Newnham’s involvement?

    Posted by too clever by half | November 11, 2009, 21:28
  29. I notice that the letter from the AEC was sent to all candidates, it does not allege wrongdoing by any particular candidate, so are we relying on something stated here as been factual. Your poor fools.

    I’m a member who works at the Mercy Hospital in Werribee, and I am a little confused by this site’s outrage at unsubstantiated allegations it has made itself.

    I was approached by a candidate in my workplace. They WERE NOT from the Bolano or Byron team, in fact Margaret was from the A s m a team.

    This forceful woman backed me into a corner, and suggested that I should bring my ballot paper in and she would complete it for me. She was aggressively unimpressed when I politely declined, and gave me all sorts of dire warnings.

    Some of my colleagues have been acosted by the same woman at their front door, telling them they must vote for A s m a, and demanding that they hand over their ballot paper.

    I find this story very hypocritical, and now I will make a report to the AEC.

    Leave me alone Margaret, leave me alone A s m a.

    Posted by Kate from Werribee | November 11, 2009, 21:30
  30. Leave the good people of Werribee alone Diana.

    Posted by Jimmy and Roy | November 11, 2009, 21:33
  31. Rorts during elections?? Whats wrong with that? It worked for me!

    Posted by Robert Mugabe | November 11, 2009, 22:53
  32. I was asked by a woman called Jayne who said she was a supporter of Di-Anna Asthma to change my address to a single collection point. Others at my work site were told to do a similar thing.

    Posted by Say no to rorts | November 11, 2009, 23:04
  33. Do comments that are negative about Diana Asmar still get held in moderation and then quietly deleted?

    Posted by Perish the thought | November 11, 2009, 23:09
  34. Another Brumby Labor rort

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 23:12
  35. Ads on 3AW $100,000

    Publicity Works/ Expensive website $100,000

    Where does your money grow Mr Marco?

    Posted by $$$ Marco Bolano $$$ Feeney $$$ NUW $$$ SDA $$$ | November 11, 2009, 23:16
  36. This site once told the truth about Fegan and Doug Byron but has gone very quiet. I smell a rat.

    Posted by very cosy | November 11, 2009, 23:17
  37. [deleted-racist]

    Posted by truthseekers | November 11, 2009, 23:18
  38. SEEN: Gyorgy Droutsas, Newnham and Andy Land-y having a very friendly chat with Pauline Fegan and Vicky Yianalatos on Saturday night at Newnham’s house…

    Isn’t he meant to be friendly with the As ma?

    How long will this be up before deletion???

    Posted by the two faces of pox news | November 11, 2009, 23:23
  39. My mother asked for my ballot. so I handed it to her to post on my behalf. Has she committed an offence under s195(2) of the Fair Work (Registered Organisation Act) 2009?

    I smell a beat up.

    Posted by Carmine DeSapio | November 11, 2009, 23:25
  40. Fegan your slush fund is finally slipping away from you thanks to uncle Dug being useless and hated by the members for being the drunk creep that he is. I thought you retired? Not true as I see the email from the AEC.

    A s m a r you and your plastic gangsters with meet your match. The members have seen you for what you are thanks to your great dvd, you should keep your mouth shut at all times.

    Bolano is the only real candidate in this election.

    Posted by stop at nothing | November 11, 2009, 23:44
  41. You scumbag, your time will come.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 11, 2009, 23:48
  42. Ms Assma really should never speak.

    Posted by Drongo Watcher | November 11, 2009, 23:53
  43. Surely Diana is in line for some sort of cinematic award for her stunning DVD.

    I was waiting for an appearance from Big Foot or for Di to flog us some miraculous cure for baldness.

    Can you imagine the pitch:

    [deleted – racist]

    Posted by James | November 12, 2009, 0:06
  44. [deleted – racist]

    Posted by Royston | November 12, 2009, 0:19
  45. What was Joyce Robinson doing having secret delegate’s meetings in Bendigo 7 weeks ago (whilst on duty), to discuss BALLOT COLLECTIONS!

    Posted by Curious | November 12, 2009, 0:19
  46. What was the World’s Most Idiotic Lawyer, John Yianoulatos doing at the Kingston Centre yesterday (whilst on duty)? BALLOT COLLECTIONS! Or should I say the collection of a ballot.

    Posted by Curious | November 12, 2009, 0:21
  47. Stop moderating Landeryou you gimp. Your relentless deployment of the ‘big lie’ and your suppression of criticism of that [deleted – racist] is tedious.

    In fact you’re tedious, an ethically corrupt pudding.

    Posted by The FLL (F*ck Landeryou League) | November 12, 2009, 0:28
  48. A few comments moderated recently, you’re up late. Get some sleep gimp.

    Posted by The FLL (F*ck Landeryou League) | November 12, 2009, 0:30
  49. I’m proud of you Landy.

    Posted by The Ghost of [deleted-racist] | November 12, 2009, 0:33
  50. birdy num num

    Posted by Anonymous | November 12, 2009, 0:33
  51. Still up! Can’t you get the Gimp mask off?

    Get some sleep you wannabe Nazi.

    Posted by The FLL (F*ck Landeryou League) | November 12, 2009, 0:35
  52. Have a sleeping pill, in fact swallow the whole jar and slightly improve the standard of the human race.

    Posted by The FLL (F*ck Landeryou League) | November 12, 2009, 0:36
  53. This election is dirty all round. What a disgrace & an embarassment. Wouldn’t be surprised if members threw away their ballots in disgust rather than posting them. I will be very interested to see how many of us actually bother to vote out of the whole membership.

    Posted by dirty dirty dirty | November 12, 2009, 8:12
  54. Would Jayne have been [deleted-racist] for Aboriginal Health Services Workers?

    Who is Jayne campaigning for?

    And who does this Jayne [deleted-racist]

    Oh! The glass house is shattering and collapsing into shards.

    Posted by Answer This | November 12, 2009, 8:21
  55. Jane, hurry up and drop off [deleted-racist]

    Posted by Graham Austin | November 12, 2009, 8:22
  56. Calling someone a [deleted-racist] IS NOT RACIST!

    Posted by The FLL | November 12, 2009, 8:25
  57. This is exactly what is wrong with unions today. Members never get the people they truly want representing them. If this corruption of ballots continues in all unions then its only a matter of time till unions are but a distant memory.

    Posted by Ray | November 12, 2009, 13:39
  58. Classic Jackson, um, I mean Bolano behaviour.

    Posted by anyone but Bolano | November 13, 2009, 19:48
  59. Bloggers should be more careful.

    Surely the NUW/SDA/AMWU/ETU owned Publicity Works Pty Ltd did not fund the $100,000 Balano website…

    After all as a past communication supplier for HSU a gift of that size to union officials would amount to a huge secret commission…board members Charlie Donovan, Pat Power, Julius Rowe and Micheal Donovan and the TWU’s Howard are far too smart to use such a ‘cash cow’ as Publicity Works with industry fund accounts like lucrf super, twu super and media super and state government contracts for a shady union election.

    The experienced Publicity Works board would not put themselves and their investment at risk.

    Where is the proof that Publicity Works has worked on this HSU campaign?

    Posted by Publicity Works is innocent of secret commissions | November 16, 2009, 8:24
  60. Corruption in the ALP, whether at Brimbank Council or in the union movement just keeps on getting worse. Bring on ICAC.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 16, 2009, 17:58


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