Senate candidates don t live here
Blue Mountains gun enthusiast Joaquim De Lima is running for the WA Senate. Picture: Facebook

A Blue Mountains gun enthusiast who announced on Facebook he was running for State Parliament is among 10 Senate candidates who do not live in WA and will not be eligible to vote on April 5.

Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop the Greens) candidate Joaquim De Lima, an "aspiring statesman" who regularly puts himself up for election, posted this week: "I will again be fulfilling my civic duty running for Legislative Council in upcoming WA elections @outdoorrecparty #wapol #wavotes #auspol."

When questioned by _The Weekend West _, Mr De Lima said he knew he was actually running for the Senate and not the Upper House.

"I am open to visiting WA during the campaign but being candidate two and focusing my efforts on virtual campaigning, I would need a compelling reason that is yet to materialise," he said via email.

Ten of the 77 candidates in the re-run Senate election live in the Eastern States and some have never been to WA.

The out-of-towners include a driller from Queensland, a handyman from Canberra, a solicitor from Lismore, a night manager from Cessnock and a retail owner from Victoria.

Almost any Australian citizen eligible to vote in Federal elections can become a candidate, so long as they do not have a serious criminal record and pay a $2000 fee or have it paid on their behalf, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.

They are not required to be in WA to register for the election or to be here at any time before, during or after the election.

University of Notre Dame politics lecturer Martin Drum said the motivations of candidates from outside WA should be questioned.

"They have a legal right to run but you'd think that if are seeking to represent a community, they should know and understand that community," Dr Drum said.

"Otherwise, why are they running? The alternative is that they are pushing another agenda."

An office bearer of Mr De Lima's political party admitted that he was running as a "front" candidate to feed votes to the Liberal Democrats.

The senator-elect for the Liberal Democrats in NSW, David Leyonhjelm, said his party was running candidates for the Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop the Greens) as "a front, in the same way that the Nationals are a front party for the Liberals".

"It is a vehicle to feed preferences to the Liberal Democrats," he said.

Mr Leyonhjelm, who visited Perth this week to campaign, said Mr De Lima's $2000 entrance fee was paid by party donations.

"When we want someone to make up the numbers - and running number two for the Senate is making up the numbers - we do not get picky about where they live or how well they understand the issue," he said.

"It's 'put your name down, sign the form and shut up'.

"That last bit, he forgot about. He is not going to get elected and he does not matter."

Queenslander Jim Fryar, the lead candidate for the Liberal Democrats, which polled a healthy 3.43 per cent in September, arrived in Perth on Wednesday "for a couple of days, which will be the longest time I've stayed in Perth".

"I might get a chance to have a bit of a look around," he said.

Mr Fryar has worked in regional WA and said if he was elected, he would move here.

The number one candidate for the Freedom and Prosperity Party, builder Bill Koutalianos, said he had been to Perth once several years ago while changing planes on a trip back from China.

He said the short glimpse of the city was "quite something".

"The blue and the green and the red are quite pronounced when you step off the plane," Mr Koutalianos said.

He planned to come to Perth during the campaign.

His running mate, Canberra handyman Leon Ashby, has never been to WA and doubted he would come to Perth during the campaign but would "definitely" move here and "get my head around WA issues" if elected.

James Moylan, from the HEMP Party, who lives in Lismore NSW, pledged to move to the State if his campaign was a success.

"My daughter Tayla (the party's second candidate) has spent the last three months over there and I spent a month over there just recently," he said.

"I spent a lot of time there as a kid and it's a toss up at the moment between Tasmania and Western Australia."

Despite HEMP having about 300 members in WA, Mr Moylan said the party had been unable to find a local candidate.

"The environment for a young cannabis user, if you are in a school or a workplace, just the problems that are associated with putting up your hand in WA, saying you are a regular cannabis user - no one was going to do it," he said.

Other candidates from outside WA are the Voluntary Euthanasia Party's Philip Nitschke, the Smokers Rights Party's Max Katz-Barber and both Sex Party candidates.


The West Australian

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