Enrolment claim dogs Lib hopeful
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.