back to top

Liberal Candidate Caught In Another Facebook Gaffe

Gaffe-prone Liberal candidate Chris Jermyn has done it again.

Posted on

Deleted Facebook comments by Liberal candidate Chris Jermyn show he criticised independent MP Cathy McGowan over allegations she falsified electoral details at the same time he is alleged to have been falsifying electoral details.

Facebook

Jermyn is the Liberal candidate for the marginal set of McEwen north of Melbourne, which is currently held by Labor's Rob Mitchell on a margin of 0.2%.

He has made headlines during the election campaign for being unable to name the Liberal party's policy on Medicare while attempting to ambush Bill Shorten, for appearing in vision of a student rally where his fellow Young Liberals were chanting about being racist and homophobic, and for complaining about slow service at Dominos Pizza.

"Apparently the AEC has just referred allegations about electoral fraud last year in Indi to the AFP", Jermyn wrote on Facebook in October 2014.

Facebook

"AEC's words: 'Questions remain regarding the accuracy of the info electors provided to the AEC when enrolled'," he wrote.

After the 2013 election, the AEC investigated McGowan's niece and another female supporter, who were studying in Melbourne but still registered to vote in Indi.

"Number of votes in dispute is insufficient to have affected the outcome (unless they've discovered some more), so I'd imagine the political consequences are non-existent, unfortunately. Unless McGowan was complicit, then it's a whole new can of worms!" he exclaimed.

"In this instance, complicity - actively discussed, encouraged, facilitated or solicited the enrolments," Jermyn goes on to say.

All electoral fraud charges against McGowan's supporters were dropped in April.

But at the time he made these comments, Jermyn may himself have been on the electoral roll at a non-residential address.

At the time Jermyn wrote the Facebook comments in 2014, it's now alleged he was breaking electoral rules by being registered to vote at a vacant block of land.

Chris Jermyn / Via chrisjermyn.com.au

The Australian Electoral Commission integrity unit is investigating whether from 2013 to 2015 Jermyn was registered to vote in McEwen, the seat he was now running for, from a vacant block in the Victorian town of Christmas Hills.

On the "About Me" section of his website, Jermyn says he is currently living in Wallan and building his first home in Christmas Hills.

But the AEC rules say you need to have lived at an address for more than one month before you can enrol there.

In a statement, a Coalition spokeswoman said Jermyn resided overseas during much of 2013 and enrolled at an address in the McEwen electorate before he left Australia.

"Section 94 of the Act clearly states that a person may remain on the roll and vote, for up to six years, at their enrolled address prior to leaving Australia," the spokeswoman said.

"During this time he used his parents address as a mailing address."

"Mr Jermyn is correctly enrolled."

Fairfax revealed publicly available records for one of Jermyn's companies, Mooter Media, list his residential address in 2014 as Queens Lane, Melbourne, which is in the Labor electorate of Melbourne Ports.

If found guilty of knowingly making a false statement in enrolment papers, Jermyn could face a prison term of up to six months or a fine of up to $1,000.

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.