Julie Hoskin

Former Bendigo councillor Julie Hoskin has nominated for the federal seat of Bendigo, despite being disqualified under section 44 of the Australian Constitution.

Section 44 came to the fore during the dual citizenship saga of recent years, but also includes individuals who are an undischarged bankrupt or declared insolvent.

A search of the National Personal Insolvency Index on Wednesday shows Hoskin remains an undischarged bankrupt.

RSM Australia partner David Kerr confirmed to the Bendigo Weekly that Ms Hoskin remains an undischarged bankrupt.

RSM Australia Partners is the nominated trustee for the estate of Ms Hoskin.

Ms Hoskin was a surprise candidate at Wednesday’s ballot draw, where seven candidates nominated for the seat of Bendigo.

The former councillor gained national notoriety for her failed bid to prevent a mosque being built in Bendigo.

Ms Hoskin was declared bankrupt on September 20, 2018 and resigned as councillor a day later.

She owed more than $92,000 to her former solicitor, Robert Balzola & Associates, who is listed as petitioning creditors on thebankruptcy sequestration order.

A source at Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party said the party was not aware Ms Hoskin was in breach of section 44 and that she hadn’t disclosed this information to the party.

A qualification checklist relating to section 44 is present on candidate nomination forms, requiring nominees to tick a box saying that they are or are not “currently an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent.”

Ms Hoskin refused to answer whether she or the party completed her paperwork saying, “I’m not going to speak about that until I speak to Fraser [Anning].”

When Ms Hoskin was told that an undischarged bankrupt is ineligible to nominate as a candidate she said, “all of that was declared. I haven’t denied anything. I put in the supporting evidence.”

Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party is yet to publish an official statement, but sources at the party with knowledge of the situation were unaware of Ms Hoskin’s bankruptcy status until notified by the Bendigo Weekly.

Candidate nomination documents reveal Ms Hoskin’s nomination form featured a ticked box confirming she was not “currently an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent.”

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 states that the electoral commissioner or a member of the staff of the electoral commission has no power to make any determination in relation to the qualification checklist, except whether the person has answered every mandatory question.

This includes whether or not the nomination form may contain false declarations about person’s eligibility to stand for election.

The federal seat of Bendigo will have seven candidates contesting the upcoming federal election after Wednesday’s declaration of nominations.

A random draw was conducted to determine the position of each candidate on the ballot paper.

Sharon Budde of the Rise Up Australia Party will appear first, with the Greens’ Robert Holian, Labor’s Lisa Chesters and the United Australia Party’s Adam Veitch to follow.

Liberal candidate Sam Gayed, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation candidate Vaughan William and Julie Hoskin round out the paper, in that order.

The majority of candidates appeared in person for the draw, all eagerly anticipating the May 18 election.

–  NICHOLAS NAKOS