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The other statement concerns independent Despi O’Connor, who is campaigning to take Greg Hunt’s seat in Flinders as the outgoing health minister retires from politics – or at least been, until she suspended her campaign earlier this week.
On Wednesday, O’Connor released a statement saying she may not be eligible to run for Parliament as she is employed by Victoria’s Department of Education.
“I have been made aware of Section 44(vi) of the Australian Constitution. This provision states that ‘any person who holds a gainful office under the Crown…shall not be elected or sit as a member of the House’. representatives,” the statement said.
“In practical terms this means that because I am technically employed in the Victorian public school system, I am considered to be ‘benefiting from the Crown’ and may not be eligible to be chosen or sit as a Federal Member of Parliament. “
O’Connor has been on unpaid leave for 18 months.
The AEC said if O’Connor wins Flinders, his eligibility will have to be determined by the Court of Disputed Returns.
“The election for the seat of Flinders will continue including all declared candidates and Ms. O’Connor’s name will appear on the ballot for the Flinders Division,” the AEC said in a statement.
“Balots have been printed and distributed across the country for early voting to begin on Monday and many mail-in voters have already received their mail-in ballot packs.
“If Ms O’Connor is elected, her eligibility to sit as MP for Flinders is to be determined by the Court of Disputed Returns.”