Statement from the Australian Electoral Commission

Updated: 24 April 2019

Mr Rodney Culleton – candidate for the Western Australian Senate

The Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for Western Australia today declared all candidates for the election of Senators for Western Australia in the 2019 federal election in accordance with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act).

Mr Rodney Culleton was among those candidates declared. This follows his lodgement of a fully completed Nomination Form and Mandatory Qualification Checklist, together with the requisite $2,000 fee, before the Close of Nominations 12 midday Tuesday 23 April 2019.

The provisions of the Electoral Act do not give the AEC or any AEC officer the power to reject a fully completed candidate nomination for the Senate or the House of Representatives, regardless of whether any answer to a question of the qualification checklist is incorrect, false or inadequate (see sections 170A, Electoral Act).  This includes whether or not the completed candidate Nomination Form may contain a false declaration as to the eligibility of that person to stand for election. 

However, given Mr Culleton’s prior disqualification by the High Court, the AEC has referred Mr Culleton’s candidate Nomination Form to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to examine if a false declaration has been made under provisions of the Criminal Code Act 1995, relating to his status as an undischarged bankrupt and the prima facie disqualification of such persons to be chosen or to sit as a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives under section 44(iii) of the Constitution.  A search of the National Personal Insolvency Index indicates that Mr Culleton is currently listed as an undischarged bankrupt.

The Australian Electoral Officer for Western Australia (WA) will proceed with the election of Senators for Western Australia, as declared, and Mr Culleton’s name will appear on the WA Senate ballot paper in the 2019 federal election.

The outcome of the AFP’s examination of this matter will be a matter for the AFP to advise in due course.

If the AEC is presented with compelling evidence that other candidates in the 2019 federal election may have also signed a false declaration we will consider whether similar referrals to the AFP are warranted to ascertain if the candidate has committed an offence.

Editor’s notes:

  • Intending candidates must make themselves aware of the operation of section 44 of the Constitution which includes the following:

    s44 Disqualification
    “Any person who:

         (iii) is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent;
    shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.”
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