An investigation into how-to-vote material distributed to residents during last year’s council election, sparking complaints from several candidates, has been closed.
The Local Government Inspectorate began investigating the “election guide”, which claimed to be “authorised by the the Wyndham Ratepayers Association”, following the complaints last October.
As reported by Star Weekly, the pamphlet did not contain the name and street address of who authorised its publication – a requirement of the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).
The Wyndham Ratepayers Association does not appear to exist any more.
At the time, Star Weekly spoke to several Iramoo ward candidates who confirmed they had been contacted via email by the association asking about their policies.
Most said they had responded in good faith, believing the association to be genuine. However, some questioned the legitimacy of the association, which does not appear to have an online or social media presence.
An inspectorate spokesperson said the complaint had been assessed and the matter resolved as the ratepayers association could not be contacted.
“The complaint [made to the Inspectorate] focused on potential breaches of the Local Government Act relating to incorrect authorisation of electoral material,” the spokesperson said.
“We attempted to contact Wyndham Ratepayers Association, the organisation named on the material, by various methods but were unable to identify any members.
“The Inspectorate has concluded this matter and will independently assess any subsequent allegations.”