Watch: Election officials ignore social distancing rules
ELECTORAL Commission of Queensland officers have been caught blatantly and dangerously ignoring social distancing measures ahead of Saturday's council elections.
A video taken by an insider in the ECQ's Brisbane office and sent to The Courier-Mail shows a packed-out office, with workers sitting two to a computer, leaning around partitions to talk to one another, and crowded around a photocopier.
But the ECQ has defended the flagrant flouting of nationwide measures brought in to contain the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, saying that workplaces were exempt.
"The volume of requests for telephone voting is unprecedented, at more than 10 times any previous election," a spokesman said.
"Our staff work in pairs to ensure one is speaking to the elector and the other is auditing the process.
"This ensures absolute transparency of our process so the elector can be confident their vote is recorded accurately.
"While workplaces are exempt from social distancing measures, we regularly clean all surfaces and provide hand sanitiser and breaks to wash hands."
However, that is in stark contrast to official Australian Government advice around social distancing.
"Everyone must practice social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19," the Department of Health's official website says.
It says that measures should be taken in the workplace to ensure people are not coming into contact with too many of their colleagues.
A government spokesman said the ECQ would brief the State Government on its local government preparations on Friday.
"We're working with the Chief Health Officer to ensure the election is compliant and that electors who need to vote by phone get a chance to have their say," he said.
Originally published as Watch: Election officials ignore social distancing rules