Friday, May 3, 2019

Disendorsed, Resigned Or Withdrawn Candidates at the 2019 Federal Election

Scoreboard (will be updated as needed)

Since calling of election (includes since close of nominations):

Liberal 10
National 1
Labor 4
Green 2
One Nation 1
United Australia 9*
Independent 6

(* based on UAP website listing as of April 11)


Since close of nominations specifically (still on ballot paper)

Liberal 4
Labor 2
Green 2
One Nation 1
United Australia 1


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The 2019 federal election has already seen a remarkable number of candidate withdrawals, resignations and disendorsements.  Perhaps, with the general air of chaos in Australian politics in recent years, the number would have been high anyway but some specific factors are driving it.  Firstly, Section 44 concerns (often speculative) have not only claimed many candidates but appear to have stretched party resources, resulting in weak major party vetting for issues other than Section 44.  Secondly, increased social media use is meaning that a high percentage of candidates' public life in the past is now on the permanent record.  Thirdly there seems to be some thorough "dirt unit" work going on to retain and archive evidence of poor behaviour by particular opponents.

Some of the lost candidates ceased to be nominated runners before nominations close and hence do not appear on the ballot paper.  Seven are still on the ballot paper and could in theory be elected if voters decided to vote for them, though in most cases there is no risk of that.  At least one of the seven who are still on the ballot paper is still an active candidate who has stated she still wishes to be elected.  

This post lists all the candidates who have been disendorsed, resigned or withdrawn that I am aware of, and their circumstances.  I will add more if I become aware of them.  Please advise anyone who was an endorsed candidate for any party as of 11 April who I may have missed.  Thanks hugely to Nick Casmirri for help with the United Australia and independents lists, and to others who have mentioned candidates to add.

The Australian People's Party is also being investigated for possible inclusion - a large number of intended candidates listed by that party failed to front.  However the APP website has still not been updated to remove those candidates, so it is unclear at what time they decided not to run.  

There are many other such lists online but they may not be updated as vigilantly as mine!  (That is, assuming we lose any more.)

What Happens With Candidates Withdraw With Name Still On Ballot Paper

For a candidate to resign or be disendorsed after nominations are closed has no impact on the vote-counting process.  Votes cast for them are still recorded and if they get enough votes (as in the case of Pauline Hanson in 1996) they can still win.  In this case they would be declared elected and could sit as an independent, or with any party willing to have them. Prepoll votes cast before a candidate was disendorsed remain valid for that candidate after that candidate is disendorsed.  Whether a candidate "resigns" as a candidate or not also has no impact on whatever votes they get being credited to them.  If elected they could then decide to sit anyway if they wanted.

Campaign funding for parties is based on the candidates who appeared under that party name on the ballot paper. Disendorsements/withdrawals after the close of nominations are irrelevant to this.

Disendorsement may be relevant in some legal situations.  In the Victorian state election, it was ruled that a Victorian Liberal how-to-vote showing a 1 for a candidate who had been disendorsed after the close of nominations had the potential to mislead an elector in relation to the casting of their vote.  As a result the how-to-vote sheet was deregistered, making it illegal to keep handing it out.  Parties to the case agreed that the relevant test was the same as in the federal law.  If this is regarded as a valid precedent then handing out how-to-votes for a disendorsed candidate in a federal election could also be illegal, but this has not yet been tested at federal level.  The Victorian case was upheld on appeal.

Secondly if a candidate is disendorsed as a Senator, elected, and then found to be ineligible under Section 44 and disqualified, then there is some question about how they would be replaced.  It might be argued that Section 15 of the Constitution does not apply because a disendorsed candidate was not a candidate who "at the time when he was so chosen" (by the voters as the successful candidate) was "publicly recognized by a particular political party as being an endorsed candidate of that party and publicly represented himself to be such a candidate".  If so, this would free the Senator's state parliament from needing to replace that candidate with a member of the same party.  As those who followed the Hollie Hughes case would be aware, the concept of the "time of being chosen" is now so complex that it would give a Doctor Who scriptwriter a serious headache.

Parties will normally remove signs for candidates who are disendorsed or "resign" after the close of nominations.  However this can take a long time and parties have other things to do in the campaign, so "ghost" signs often linger for some time after the disendorsement.

List of Candidates


Helen Jackson (Cooper) (before close of nominations, disendorsed) - Section 44, Australia Post employee (possible office of profit under the crown, unwilling to resign job in order to run)

Vaishali Ghosh (Wills) (before close of nominations) - Section 44 concerns, potentially entitled to some rights of an overseas citizen on account of Indian heritage 

Kate Oski (Lalor) (before close of nominations) - Section 44 concerns, potentially entitled to claim Polish citizenship

Sam Kayal (Werriwa) (before close of nominations) - Section 44, unable to prove renunciation of Lebanese citizenship despite applying in November.

Courtney Nguyen (Fowler) (before close of nominations) - Section 44, unable to prove renunciation of Vietnamese citizenship

Murray Angus (Corio) (before close of nominations, disendorsed) - praising Labor opponent, praising unions, also possibly in retaliation for a friend's harsh criticism of Prime Minister not visiting candidate 

Jeremy Hearn (Isaacs) (after close of nominations, disendorsed as candidate) - anti-Islamic comments

Peter Killin (Wills) (after close of nominations, "resigned" as candidate) - homophobic comments and "infiltrating" party to pursue anti-gay and related religious-right agenda (former member of Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives)

Jessica Whelan (Lyons) (after close of nominations, quit party and disendorsed, still running as independent but will appear as Liberal on ballot paper) - anti-Islamic and other social media comments (Whelan denies some comments attributed to her, but not that she has made anti-Islamic comments)

Gurpal Singh (Scullin) (after close of nominations, was asked to and "resigned" as candidate) - was under criticism for homophobic social media posts then a further social media post emerged that denied a woman making claims of marital rape had been raped, and claiming husband was the victim


James Harker-Mortlock (Whitlam) (before nominations closed, withdrawn) - Section 44, dual citizen unable to prove renunciation in time


Mellissa Parke (Curtin) (before nominations closed) - controversial comments about Israel/Palestine issues

Mary Ross (NSW Senate #3) (withdrawn before nominations closed) - reason unconfirmed, officially described as not wanting to spend time away from practice, suspected of being actually/also related to Section 44 issues (bulk-billing or possibly ancestry) 

Wayne Kurnoth (NT Senate #2) (after close of nominations, disendorsed) - sharing anti-semitic David Icke "Jewish lizard" memes, also shared mock image of Malcolm Turnbull beheading a journalist and made offensive remarks about a local political opponent.

Luke Creasey (Melbourne) (after close of nominations, resigned as candidate) - social media posts including joke about women making false rape allegations and various weird sexual comments about women.  Also eligibility doubtful under Section 44.


Jay Dessi (Lalor) (after close of nominations, resigned as candidate) - a range of offensive old social media posts

David Paull (Parkes) (after close of nominations, resigned as candidate) - making posts supporting Port Arthur conspiracies, which he has claimed was an undercover act.

One Nation

Steve Dickson (Queensland Senate #2) (after close of nominations, "resigned" as candidate) - caught on camera behaving degradingly towards, and speaking degradingly about, women while drunk in an American strip club, on the same trip as he was filmed trying to attract gun-lobby donations for One Nation

United Australia

Eight United Australia candidates were shown on the UAP website as running when Nick Casmirri checked it on April 11, but did not nominate (or in one case nominated for a different party):

Ben Rushton (Bean)
James Unkles (Casey)
Jacob Rush (Flynn)
Donald Mackenzie (Fraser)
Fardin Nikjoo (Greenway) - section 44, Iranian citizenship not renounced in time
Mohanadas Balasingham (Mitchell)
Mohammed Yasin (Reid)
Jason Cornelius (Watson)

Of these Rushton is instead running as the candidate for Rod Culleton's "Great Australian Party".

One UAP candidate has been disendorsed since nominations closed and will still appear on the ballot paper:

Tony Pecora (Melbourne):  September 11, JFK, vaccination and globalist conspiracy theories


The following independent candidates had announced they were running but did not nominate (thanks to Nick Casmirri for four of these):

Stephen Bailey (Fenner) - announced he was running but did not appear on ballot, was having trouble getting sufficient signatures

Peter Davis (Paterson) - lack of resources/support

Troy Delmege (North Sydney) - insufficient campaigning success

Spencer Porter (Dunkley) - failed to complete unstated nomination requirement

Allen Ridgeway (Mallee) -probably failed to get sufficient signatures

Andrew Thaler (Eden-Monaro) - reason unclear, made abusive comment about electorate in announcing withdrawal


  1. In the ACT an independent called Steven Bailey (perennial candidate, nearly elected for the Sex Party in the 2016 Territory election, has run for many different parties) announced his intention to run for Fenner. There are many social media posts of him going around looking for nominations to fill the ballot. He never popped up on the ballot paper so I'm guessing he wasn't successful in his quest for nominations.

    It's all here

    1. Ta, qualifies for inclusion, so I'll add him.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Kevin,

    thanks for writing this post. Very informative. I also wanted to put that you've got the disendorsed candidate for Cooper, Helen Jackson listed as Helen Cooper.