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Date set for new Senate election
Date set for new Senate election

Western Australia will go back to the polls on April 5, after Governor Malcolm McCusker today confirmed the date of the re-run of last year's Senate election.

After meeting Premier Colin Barnett and Electoral Affairs Minister Peter Collier, Mr McCusker revealed the date of the election.

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop and Defence Minister David Johnston launched the Liberal Party election assault, saying voters should ignore fringe dweller candidates.

Senator Johnston, who will again be the number one candidate on the Liberal's ticket, said the new poll would be a chance for WA to voice their displeasure at the carbon and mining taxes.

Dio Wang will again head the Palmer United Party ticket in WA, followed by former footballer Des Headland and Chamonix Terblanche at three.

Mr Headland ran for PUP in the House of Representatives at the Federal Election.

The September 2013 result was declared void by the High Court after some ballots were lost.

The electoral rolls will close on March 7 and nominations close on March 13.

The High Court, operating as the Court of Disputed Returns, ordered the fresh poll following the loss of 1370 votes, discovered during a recount requested by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, who narrowly lost out in the initial count.

Because of the close result, a full recount was ordered but the loss of those votes meant Justice Kenneth Hayne could not determine who was duly elected.

The ballot bungle, which was investigated by former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty, forced the resignation of the AEC's WA Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn and State Manager Peter Kramer.

The election re-run is expected to cost taxpayers as much as $20 million, nearly double initial estimates of $10-13 million.

Acting electoral commissioner Tom Rogers told Senate estimates earlier this week the lower figures had been an early estimate of the cost.

Senator Ludlam said the half Senate election was an opportunity for West Australian to tell Prime Minister Tony Abbot "we want our country back".

Senator Ludlam said it was not clear whether the Australian Electoral Commission had fully implemented the recommendations of the Keelty report into the loss of votes that prompted the original vote to be declared void.

“And now with the resignation of two key officials, it's not clear whether those procedures will be in place,” Senator Ludlam said.

"You'd have to hope so because people's confidence has been dented.”

More to come