One Nation's 'Ghost' Candidates Living Hundreds of Kilometres Away from Their Seat
Updated: Jul 17, 2022
Dozens of One Nation candidates "have not been seen nor heard of" within their intended electorate due to residing in other cities and even states. These 'ghost' candidates have come to light following investigations into Narelle Seymour, the One Nation candidate for the Sydney seat of Hughes.
One Nation had pledged to contest all 151 seats in the House of Representatives, and while some candidates had contested in prior election, roughly 90 of One Nation's candidate nominations were lodged just shortly before nominations closed on April 22. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has confirmed that candidates are not required to reside in the seat, or even the state or territory, they are contesting.
ABC Investigation into One Nation Candidate Narelle Seymour
The list of One Nation ghost candidates has come to light after the ABC initially investigated Narelle Seymour, One Nation's candidate for the Sydney seat of Hughes, who had not been visible either in person or online as part of the election campaign. One Nation's how-to-vote card for Ms. Seymour currently features Kate McCullough, the party's NSW Senate candidate.
The AEC confirmed Ms. Seymour is enrolled in the suburb of Wagga Wagga, within the electorate of Riverina, roughly 450 kilometres away from Sydney. The ABC attempted to contact people with the name 'Narelle Seymour' who reside in New South Wales but both confirmed they were not the candidate in question.
The AEC eventually made contact with Ms. Seymour and confirmed her candidacy.
An expert in Electoral Law, Graeme Orr, suspected that the reason for these instances of 'missing' candidates is due to the party struggling to find a complete set of all 150 candidates:
"And it is competing for pools of candidates with the United Australia Party, with the Liberal Democratic Party, and the many other — what we would call right wing, libertarian conservative — movements that have sprung up, particularly since COVID."
Examples of One Nation's 'Ghost' Candidates
There are examples of One Nation's 'ghost' candidates across most Australian states, some with considerable distances separating the candidates from their intended seat. For example, Vanessa Atkinson, who is contesting the seat of Mallee in Victoria, resides in Bundaberg, Queensland, almost 1500 kilometres away.
The One Nation candidate for Parramatta in NSW, Heather Freeman, is registered in Heathcote, Victoria.
Edward Walters, who lives in Queensland, is contesting the Sydney seat of Reid for One Nation. Mr. Walters expressed that he initially wanted to run in Queensland, but was informed that a more experienced One Nation candidate was already contesting his seat.
Similarly, Max Jagon is contesting the seat of Lindsay in New South Wales, despite being registered as living in Launceston, Tasmania, because "his seat already had a One Nation candidate."
Paul Henselin, One Nation's candidate for Grayndler in NSW, stated he lives in Queensland. The ABC was also able to confirm that Lucia Grant, the One Nation candidate for Fenner in the ACT, is registered to vote in Goodna, Queeensland.
The One Nation candidate for Calwell, Victoria, Mark Preston, is registered to vote in Sylvania, New South Wales.
Craig Ibbotson, the One Nation candidate for Aston in Melbourne, refused to respond to the ABC's question as to if he lived in Victoria, referring them to One Nation's media team.
Diane Pepe, who resides in Pakenham, Victoria, is contesting the seat of Herbert in Queensland.