One Nation candidates from other side of the nation

Bruce candidate Hayley Deans shares the same profile picture as another candidate on the One Nation website.

By Eleanor Wilson, Marcus Uhe, Shelby Brooks, Jonty Ralphsmith and Cam Lucadou-Wells

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has been accused of fielding ‘ghost candidates’ in the federal election, including several in the South East from addresses as far away as WA and Queensland.

Some of its candidates are proving elusive and to add to the confusion election material on the party’s website has the same photo appearing on how to vote material for different candidates.

This comes amid allegations of One Nation fielding ‘ghost candidates’, where candidates with no traceable online presence or connection to an electoral seat they are standing in and often live interstate.

Although within election rules, it does bring into question the ability of the candidate to effectively represent the local area.

One Nation’s candidate in Bruce, Hayley Deans, was confirmed by the AEC as living in Kybong near the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

She is standing on a platform of “farming and food security” in the middle-suburban seat, according to her profile on the One Nation site.

Ms Deans is described as from a “proud farming family”, and “a successful businesswoman with a ‘can-do’ attitude”.

Her profile picture on the One Nation site features party leader Pauline Hanson with seemingly a candidate other than Ms Deans.

Hotham candidate Roger Tull had declared Gosnells in Perth, WA as his address, according to the AEC. He did not appear in the list of candidates on the One Nation website as of Friday 6 May.

His occupation is described as “unemployed” on the AEC website.

There also appears to be standing a Pakenham bus driver in a Townsville electorate and a car dealer from the New South Wales Central Coast in the South East Melbourne seat of La Trobe.

Diane Pepe is a One Nation candidate for the seat of Herbert in Townsville, Queensland but a spokesperson for the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) confirmed that her nomination form listed Pakenham as her hometown.

The AEC website lists her occupation as a bus driver.

On the One Nation website, Diane Pepe mentions her two sons’ pericarditis diagnoses after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination as her motivation for standing in the election.

“My sons were always enthusiastic, gym fit men aged between 23 and 31, but following their diagnosis of pericarditis, they lack the stamina they once had,” the website states.

“I’m not the only parent who’s seen their fit young children face new health challenges as a result of the mandated measures.“

The website continues: “Diane takes a strong stance on jobs for Australians first and rejects any attempt by the major parties to erode the sovereignty of this nation by handing Australian rights to the United Nations or another other foreign body.”

On the AEC website One Nation’s Hadden Ervin is listed as second in the ballot draw for La Trobe, which covers the areas of Pakenham, Emerald and Berwick, but as of Friday 6 May did not have a candidate profile on One Nation’s official website.

Star News Group contacted Mr Ervin who owns a motor vehicle business in the Central Coast of New South Wales, who confirmed he is running for the seat in South East Melbourne despite living 1000 kilometres away.

A spokesperson for the AEC also confirmed Mr Ervin’s nomination form listed Bateau Bay in NSW as his residential address.

Mr Ervin said he planned to move to the electorate if he is elected and believed One Nation’s policies, which centre around “the fight to put Australia and Australians first”, made him a good representative for the people of La Trobe.

A spokesperson for the AEC said the commission was “aware of the media reports about One Nation candidates living outside of the seat or state/territory they are running in” but noted that there is no law against the practice.

“It’s important to note that our process for when we receive a nomination is to validate the person’s identity through a check of the electoral roll – this was completed for all 1624 candidates that were formally declared on Friday 22 April,” they said.

“There is no law against candidates living outside of the seat or state/territory they are running in. There is also nothing that requires a candidate to be active in campaigning for election.

“However, clearly that would be advantageous if you’re genuinely seeking election. Ultimately it is up to voters to determine what they make of a candidate’s local presence and messages when they go to vote.”

Sandra Ambard, standing in the Cranbourne-based electorate of Holt, has declared her address in the Cairns suburb of Westcourt in north Queensland, according to the AEC.

Boris Sokiransky, gunning for the seat of Isaacs, which encompasses Dandenong South, Keysborough and parts of Dandenong, is the only south eastern One Nation candidate that has responded to Star News’ questions.

When asked about the mystery candidates on Thursday 5 May in the nearby electorates, he was unable to offer much information as he had not met with them and knew little about them.

Pauline Hanson attended a One Nation get together at Warragul on the evening of Thursday 5 May, with candidates from the region in attendance.

However, Mr Sokiransky did not see the candidates for Holt, Hotham, Bruce or La Trobe.

A spokesperson from One Nation’s head office said on Friday 6 May their staff were working long hours to update their website, including adding to the candidate profiles.