Wikileaks Party changes preferences after outcry, launches independent review over issue

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After some outcry from followers over its Senate preferences in New South Wales and Western Australia, the Wikileaks Party has announced that they will change their preferences in order to put them in line with the National Council’s decision.

They will be issuing how-to-vote cards telling supporters of the Wikileaks Party to vote “below the line” – which will mean that they will have to preference all candidates – with the National Council’s decision of preferences in order to avoid using the controversial preferences.

“The Party unreservedly acknowledges that the errors made in GVTs have angered many supporters and members and the Party apologises for those errors,” the party said in a statement.

Editor’s note: The story previously said that the party will attempting to change their preferences via the AEC. According to the Pirate Party’s Brendan Molloy, this cannot be done. We have edited the article in relation to this fact.

Revealed on Sunday, the Wikileaks Party preferenced the Shooters and Fishers and far-right Australia First parties before the Greens in New South Wales; while in Western Australia, they preferenced the Nationals before the Greens. Wikileaks quickly released a statement that it was an “administrative error” in regards to the NSW preferences, but rumours online suggest that there was a plan to preference some right-wing groups was intentional and to punish the Greens.

Speaking to Crikey, Greg Barns – the party’s national campaign director – said that the WA preferences were done by its number-one candidate George Georgatos. Georgatos is an investigative journalist, and a former member of the Greens. He broke away in 2009 in order to start up a party called “The Real Greens”.

Defending the choice, Georgatos said that the Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, a massive supporter of Julian Assange, would be easily reelected and that the Nationals’ David Wirrpanda wasn’t a serious threat. However, many others – including election analyst Antony Green – disagree and could claim the sixth seat in Western Australia based on preferences.

However, it appears that Georgatos went against the National Council’s decision. The Wikileaks Party released the National Council’s decision, which stated that “WLP [Wikileaks Party] puts Greens first of major parties and above Christian right and Shooters”. Similar deals were done in Victoria and New South Wales with the Greens.

The Wikileaks Party has confirmed that they will conduct an independent review about the entire matter. In a statement, “The aim of the review will be to ascertain why National Council directives were not achieved… [and] will also examine how the Party can improve its preferences decision-making process to ensure that a similar situation is unlikely to arise in future elections.”

They say they will release the review immediately on its completion.