En­rol­ment claim dogs Lib hope­ful

The West Australian - - NEWS - Sarah Martin

Lib­eral Party mem­ber Si­mon Ehren­feld, who is nom­i­nat­ing to be­come vice-president of the party’s WA di­vi­sion this week­end, is fac­ing al­le­ga­tions that he gave false in­for­ma­tion to the Aus­tralian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion.

Mr Ehren­feld, who will nom­i­nate for one of the party’s se­nior ex­ec­u­tive roles at a meet­ing of WA Lib­er­als in Perth on Satur­day, was re­ferred to the AEC last week based on claims that he does not live at the ad­dress of his en­rol­ment.

Doc­u­ments ob­tained by The West Aus­tralian show a com­plaint was lodged with the AEC about Mr Ehren­feld’s en­rol­ment on Au­gust 22, how­ever, the AEC is yet to con­sider the com­plaint.

Lib­eral Party sources say the com­plaint is de­signed to be po­lit­i­cally dam­ag­ing to Mr Ehren­feld ahead of the week­end’s vote, which will see eight can­di­dates vie for four of the party’s vi­cepres­i­dent po­si­tions.

Mr Ehren­feld told The West Aus­tralian that he was validly en­rolled and had “two res­i­dences”— one in Kal­la­roo and one in Cool­binia — and said the com­plaint against him was an at­tempt to dis­credit him.

“I have never made a se­cret about hav­ing two res­i­dences, and that was all aired at the time of the Hil­larys pre­s­e­lec­tion,” he said.

The com­plaint al­leges that the prop­erty in Kal­la­roo, which is where Mr Ehren­feld is en­rolled, is not where he lives, and has been reg­is­tered to gain a po­lit­i­cal toe­hold in the north­ern met­ro­pol­i­tan area. Last year, the Fed­eral MP for the seat of Moore, Ian Goodenough, lodged a sep­a­rate com­plaint about Mr Ehren­feld’s en­rol­ment, but this was re­jected be­cause he did not live in the same elec­toral di­vi­sion.

Sources say the “Goodenough fac­tion” be­lieves that Mr Ehren­feld could make a bid for the seat of Moore or for a fu­ture Up­per House seat at a State level.

It is not the first time Mr Ehren­feld’s po­ten­tial nom­i­na­tion has at­tracted con­tro­versy.

His pre­s­e­lec­tion for the State seat of Hil­larys was over­turned by the party’s State coun­cil last year to make way for Up­per House MP Peter Kat­sam­ba­nis, who was backed by fac­tional power­bro­ker Peter Collier.

Giv­ing false or mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion to the AEC in any en­rol­ment or elec­toral pa­pers is a se­ri­ous of­fence un­der the Elec­toral Act, with a max­i­mum penalty of 12 months jail.

Si­mon Ehren­feld

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