Door closing on FIFO hopefuls

Fly-in, fly-out Senate candidates could be banned from contesting seats after a range of interstate political wannabes with little or no connection to WA nominated to stand at next week's re-run poll.

A top-level parliamentary committee has flagged introducing residency requirements for candidates in the wake of _The West Australian's _revelations that at least nine of the 77 candidates running at the April 5 election do not live in the State.

One of the interstate candidates, the HEMP Party's James Moylan, is given an outside chance of squeaking into a seat because of preference deals among the micro-parties.

Mr Moylan lives in Lismore in NSW and is registered to practise law in Queensland.

The Sex Party's Robbie Swan almost snared a Tasmanian Senate seat last year despite hailing from the ACT.

Under electoral laws, Senate candidates are not required to be enrolled or live in the State they want to run in, nor even visit to lodge their nomination form or to campaign.

Liberal MP Tony Smith, who is chairing a parliamentary inquiry investigating the conduct of last year's election, revealed yesterday that the April 5 election could be the last time non-residents were allowed to run for the Senate.

"Given that the Senate is a States' House, it is not surprising that most people would find this situation bizarre," Mr Smith said.

"The absence of a requirement to live in the State for which you are seeking to be a senator has not been an issue of note because political parties have had no difficulty finding members within each State to nominate and genuine independents have wanted to seek election in the State in which they live.

"On this matter, as with some other features of our electoral system, status quo is not an option."

Deputy chairman and Labor MP Alan Griffin said concern about candidates' residency was bipartisan but finer details needed to be ironed out, including the constitutionality of any changes.

WA Liberal senator Dean Smith said legislative changes would stop the "crazy situation" of out-of-towners such as Mr Moylan being able to represent WA.

Senate candidate and former ABC Perth broadcaster Russell Woolf said yesterday that if he won a seat, he would introduce a private member's Bill requiring nominees to be a resident in the State they were contesting.

"It seems some micro-parties are fronts for other minor parties and those parties have no interest in WA," he said.

The West Australian

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