Labor candidate withdraws

Labor Candidate for Gippsland Carolyne Boothman has withdrawn from the federal election race following legal advice about the incompatibility of her candidacy and job as a teacher.

A statement released by the Australian Labor Party yesterday said Section 44 of the Constitution disqualified a person from being elected as a senator or House of Representatives member “if they hold an ‘office of profit under the Crown'”.

The statement said the High Court of Australia had previously ruled this disqualification applied to state school teachers, even if on leave without pay.

Ms Boothman was endorsed as the Labor Candidate for Gippsland earlier this year, but the local ALP branches will now be looking for a replacement.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday called a 2 July federal election, kicking off an almost two-month campaign.

“The absurd nature of our Constitution means that Carolyne cannot, as a working teacher, be given the opportunity to represent the people of Gippsland in the Federal Parliament,” Gippsland Federal Electorate Assembly president Darren McCubbin said.

Ms Boothman said it had been an honour to travel across Gippsland and listen to locals, but was sorry she could not continue the campaign.

The writs will be issued on 16 May, the electoral roll will close on 23 May and nominations for candidates will close on 9 June.

All Australians aged 18 and over are required to vote by law and must ensure they are enrolled before 8pm on Monday, 23 May.

Seventeen year-olds who turn 18 on or before 2 July should also enrol and vote in the federal election.

For more information or to check your enrolment details, phone the Australian Electoral Commission on 13 23 26 or visit www.aec.gov.au