Case study 1: Candidate eligibility review
Leading up to the 2016 council elections, the Inspectorate conducted an audit of candidates to ensure they met eligibility requirements under the Act.
The Inspectorate team assessed a sample of candidates, against the disqualification clauses in the Act. As a result of the enquiries 2 candidates were found to have breached disqualifying provisions.
The candidates were removed from the ballot prior to the election taking place. This process was important to ensuring fair and transparent elections, as ineligible candidates were identified prior to votes being cast, and their removal reduced councils’ exposure to risks and costs associated with the possible election of these candidates (see the Inspectorate’s November 2016 newsletter for more details on the audit).
Case study 2: Donations returns
After the 2012 council elections, the Inspectorate ran compliance checks on election candidates who failed to submit a Campaign Donation Return in accordance with the Local Government Act 1989.
Mr Paul Rumpf, a candidate in the 2012 Melton City Council election, was the 19th person to be prosecuted.
Mr Rumpf pleaded not guilty on 31 March 2014 at Sunshine Magistrates’ Court for failing to give a Campaign Donation Return to the CEO Melton City Council within 40 days of the election, contrary to section 62(1) of the Act.
Mr Rumpf was found guilty by Magistrate Pithouse, sentenced to a 12-month good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $500 in costs.
These prosecutions resulted in 16 findings of guilt, 2 convictions, $5650 in fines, the awarding of $19,229 in costs, a $1000 contribution to the court fund, 5 good behaviour bonds and 1 community work order.
During this process ample information and reminders were provided to candidates about Campaign Donation Return requirements, which aimed to ensure the integrity of local government elections and future council decision making.
An initial report on the compliance and investigation teams’ work during the 2016 elections will be published in February 2017 and full results of the campaign donation return compliance review will be made available later in the year.