Eligibility of Richmond candidate thrown into question
WITH JUST eight days to go until the federal election, the eligibility of the Nationals candidate for Richmond has been challenged by the sitting member Justine Elliot.
The Labor MP has said she believes Matthew Fraser, running for the seat for the third time, is in breach of the Australian constitution by incorrectly filling out his nomination form.
A copy of Mr Fraser's qualification check-list, filled out prior to his nomination, has been obtained by The Northern Star's sister paper, the Tweed Daily News.
Mr Fraser ticked 'no' to question 15 on the form, which relates to Section 44 of the constitution.
The question asks whether or not the candidate has a direct or indirect financial interest in any contract or agreement with the Commonwealth public service.
Mrs Elliot said she believes the Nationals candidate does have a financial interest through his wife's ownership of a franchised Hungry Jacks in Tweed Heads South.
Through that business, youth workers are employed through the Federal Government's Youth Job Path Program, which has been acknowledged by Mr Fraser.
Mrs Elliot declared the matter needed to by looked into by the Nationals party.
"If these allegations are correct, this would appear to be a serious breach of Australia's Constitution and it calls into question Matthew Fraser's eligibility as a candidate for Richmond in this election,” Mrs Elliot said.
"I call upon the National Party to urgently investigate this matter.”
When approached by the Tweed Daily News, Mr Fraser said he had filled in the check-list to the best of his knowledge.
"I am not the franchisee nor am I the director of the company which owns the business,” Mr Fraser said.
"You could draw a long bow I guess between those sorts of things, but if you are trying to get at if there is some deliberate act to defraud the government the answer would be absolutely not.
"There is no secret my wife owns a restaurant, she has owned it for 10 over years, and that part issue has never been raised.”
The Australian Electoral Commission has been contacted, asking whether Mr Fraser's eligibility needs to be reviewed.