WA senate election re-run to cost $20 million

The re-run of the West Australian senate election will cost taxpayers as much as $20 million, nearly double initial estimates of $10-13 million.

And the Griffith by-election that saw Labor's Terri Butler edge out the LNP's Bill Glasson to take former prime minister Kevin Rudd's former seat of Griffith cost taxpayers another $1.194 million.

Acting electoral commissioner Tom Rogers told Senate estimates late on Tuesday night that the lower estimates for the statewide by-election had been merely been an early estimate of the cost of heading back to the polls.

Mr Rogers said the Australian Electoral Commission was still finalising estimates but the bill could run to about $20 million for taxpayers.

The figure does not include the $3 million or so in public funding that will be handed to political parties that contest the election.

WA Senator Dean Smith asked why the figure had grown from former AEC chief Ed Killesteyn's estimated $10-11 million in November last year.

"I think Mr Killesteyn in this committee in November opined that it might have been $13 million,'' Mr Rogers said.

But that figure had been a "back of the envelope" figure. Mr Rogers added that the AEC did not currently have the funds available to fund the by-election and the money to pay for it would have to come out of the federal budget.

Western Australians are expected to return to the polls in April or May to elect six senators after the AEC admitted it had lost 1370 votes during a recount of votes in the west following the September 2013 election.

Labor's Louise Pratt and the Palmer United Party's Dio Wang secured the final two seats on the first count, but a recount put the Greens' Scott Ludlam and the Sports Party's Wayne Dropulich over the line.

The AEC then asked the Court of Disputed Returns for a re-run of the election because of the lost votes, which was granted. That decision also led to the resignation of AEC chief Ed Killesteyn and WA state manager Peter Kramer.

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The story WA senate election re-run to cost $20 million first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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