We hear that in the lead-up to the local government elections around Victoria, a candidate for Moreland City Council had organised nuisance robo-calls as late as 2am that claimed, falsely, that he had been endorsed by the Labor Party.
During the call, we have been told, a female voice promoting the “ALP-endorsed” Milad El-Halabi, who, in fact, is not endorsed by any party. He acknowledged this in his candidate questionnaire.
We’ve been told that El-Halabi was also making claims that the council was full of people who were out of touch with the community and wasting money. Moreland City Council today confirmed that residents have made complaints about El-Halabi’s robo-calls, which are being forwarded to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
A rival candidate of El-Halabi’s in the Moreland North West ward, Mark O’Brien, told Crikey this morning that he was aware of the calls and he thought calling after 9pm was completely inappropriate. “I wouldn’t want that kind of call,” he said.
It’s not the first time El-Halabi has found himself in hot water. In 2010 he faced accusations of branch stacking in the Labor Party.
The Victorian Electoral Commission has stated that candidates are not allowed to provide false or misleading information in terms of how a voter can make a valid vote. Complaints about robo-calls and misleading information about a candidate’s experience, affiliation or character are outside the purview of the VEC and are referred to the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate.
El-Halabi has not returned phone calls requesting comment.