Election candidate investigated over allegedly standing for TWO different seats and separate political parties – but is there an innocent explanation?
- Malcolm Heffernan was declared as a candidate in both a NSW and WA seat
- In NSW he is a One Nation candidate and in WA, for Australian Federation Party
- Electoral Commission has referred Mr Heffernan to police for possible crime
- Will remain on ballot papers as they have been printed and sent to postal voters
An election candidate is being investigated by the Australian Federal Police after it emerged he was standing in two different seats in two different states for two different political parties.
A man named Malcolm Heffernan is now on the ballot for the seat of Banks in NSW and the seat of Brand in Western Australia. In NSW Mr Heffernan in a One Nation candidate, while in WA he is standing for the Australian Federation Party.
Mr Heffernan, who is listed as a financial advisor, is now under investigation after allegedly using two different birthdays and two names to declare himself as a candidate for the election.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) announced on Friday it had referred Mr Heffernan to the Australian Federal Police for investigation on whether he has committed a crime under the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
Malcolm Heffernan, right, is pictured with former senator Fraser Anning – he stood as a candidate for Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party in the WA seat of Canning at the 2019 Federal election
Candidates for the Federal election were formally ‘declared’ on April 22 at public events held across Australia, including Mr Heffernan in two different electorates.
‘Each nomination form had a signed declaration that the candidate did not intend to be a candidate in any other election held the same day,’ the AEC said in a statement about Mr Heffernan’s forms.
‘Each nomination form had differences in the listed information – including a different date of birth, and a different expression of the candidate’s name.’
Mr Heffernan’s name as it will appear on the ballot paper in the NSW electorate of Banks, one of two electorates Mr Heffernan is alleged to have nominated for
Mr Heffernan’s dual candidacy contravenes section 165 of the Electoral Act which, according to the AEC, renders him ‘incapable of being elected’.
‘However, candidate nominations for the Divisions of Banks and Brand must remain as they were formally declared on 22 April 2022.
‘Ballot papers have been printed and some postal voters have already received their postal voting packs.’
Mr Heffernan ran in the WA seat of Canning at the 2019 election for Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party, drawing 1,600 votes or 1.76 per cent of the total votes.
In an interview with a local paper before that election Mr Heffernan said he was a financial adviser and complained about ‘the billions of dollars paid to the UN and in foreign aid’ which ‘could be better utilised at home in assisting the Australian people’
Australia heads to the polls on May 21, with postal and pre-poll voting opening from Monday, May 9
Australian Federation Party director Mark Aldridge told The West Australian that Mr Heffernan’s situation was ‘a mix-up’.
He claimed Mr Heffernan had initially nominated for One Nation in Banks but was then told the vacancy had been filled and he was no longer needed.
‘We had his WA seat (Brand) available, I did a bit of research from him, found him to be half reasonable. and so we endorsed him and filed the paperwork correctly,’ Mr Aldridge said the paper.
‘At some stage later the One Nation paperwork was filed in NSW. The candidate himself wasn’t aware of that and has supplied text messages supporting his belief he was free to run for us.’
Australia heads to the polls on May 21, with postal and pre-poll voting opening from Monday, May 9.