A curious case is expected to reach a climax in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today, sitting as the Municipal Electoral Tribunal, with a ruling on allegations dummy candidates were run in council electionslast year in Hobsons Bay, in Melbourne’s west.
Failed candidate for Altona North, Noel Allsop, has taken action against Mary Ann Lindsay and the Victorian Electoral Commission, alleging Lindsay was unduly elected and seeking a review of the ward election.
You can follow the ins and outs of the saga on the Hobsons Bay Community First blog. It’s dominated by typical Victorian ALP incest and local government pettiness, but Crikey readers will be interested in the evidence given by retired teacher, ALP life member and Monash University PhD student Lyle Allan on how to spot dummy candidates.
Allan has told the court of his research into dummy candidates. He claims that all parties field dummy candidates in elections. Candidate statements and preference distribution are major indicators in spotting a stooge. He also says the use of code words and age and gender – suspects are usually young and female – are signifiers when spotting dummy candidates.
He says telltale signs include candidate statements appearing to be professionally written, candidates having a minority agenda and candidates making vague statements and having few policies. Allan has cited revelations from past campaigns for the Melbourne City Council and Darebin Council as evidence of dummies being run.
He told the MET that two candidates in Hobsons Bay were “clearly dummies,” before being stopped by defence.
Defence barrister David Langmead has blamed “paranoia” among the Hobsons Bay Community First group for the challenge.