Labor calls on PM to take action after Queensland LNP candidate accused of listing false address

Anthony Albanese has called on Scott Morrison to respond to the “serious issue” of a Liberal National candidate being referred to federal police for allegedly giving a false address on his nomination form.

As prepolling opened on Monday the opposition targeted the LNP candidate for the Labor-held marginal seat of Lilley in northern Brisbane, Vivian Lobo, with posters informing voters of the federal police referral.

Labor’s Anika Wells, who holds the seat of Lilley, received an apology from the LNP over a separate incident at a prepoll centre on Monday after one of its members abused the sitting MP.

Lobo told the Australian Electoral Commission he was living in a home in Everton Park within the electorate, but the property appears to be uninhabited, unfurnished and in a state of disrepair. Lobo is reportedly living in the neighbouring electorate of Brisbane.

The LNP candidate has promised to “fully cooperate” with federal police, claiming he signed a lease but didn’t get time to move in before the campaign.

Wells said in a tweet: “The LNP’s actions in Lilley have been really disrespectful to my community, who are owed an explanation.”

Labor senator Murray Watt tweeted: “Prepoll has just started and the LNP are still promoting their Lilley candidate who is under [federal] police investigation. Will Scott Morrison intervene and direct this to stop?”

Labor senator Anthony Chisholm tweeted a photo of prepoll signage displayed by Labor as a “public service” informing voters of the referral:

At a press conference in Adelaide, Albanese said the prime minister “needs to do more to respond to the referral of the candidate for Lilley to the Australian Federal Police by the Australian Electoral Commission”.

“This is a really serious issue and the prime minister needs to respond as to what action he will take on this issue.”

In a statement, Lobo said he had intended to live at the address on his nomination form but was delayed in moving.

“I enrolled in the electorate as I had signed a lease in Everton Park with the intention to move in straight away,” he said. “However due to my campaign commitments and difficulty with getting tradespeople to the home, I was delayed moving in.”

On Monday, Wells was targeted at prepoll by an LNP member who she said had called her a “fucking dog”.

Wells reported the incident to the returning officer who in turn told the Australian Federal Police. No formal complaint was made.

“I called him out to his face – and he was gone by the time I came back,” Wells said. “It’s unacceptable.”

An LNP spokesperson confirmed it had apologised to Wells “after a member who attended prepoll this morning was rude and disrespectful to her”. The party denies that the member was handing out or volunteering for it.

“The member in question will be subject to a disciplinary process. The behaviour of this individual does not reflect the values or standards of the LNP,” the spokesperson said.

The Liberal candidate in the safe Labor seat of McMahon in New South Wales, Vivek Singha, also called the police over an alleged prepoll incident on Monday.

Singha accused a Labor prepoll worker of having threatened to “fix [him] up” – an offer to fight him.

“I will take this to its logical legal conclusion,” Singha said. “It’s not acceptable.”

“We want a civil discussion with voters – we can’t have these clowns disrupting prepoll.”

An AFP spokesperson said it does not comment on matters that may be the subject of investigation.

The AFP has a major incident coordination centre with a specialised investigative taskforce to help ensure the security of parliamentarians and candidates during the 2022 federal election.

“The specialised taskforce, Operation Wilmot, has received and assessed 47 reports, with 23 investigations ongoing,” the spokesperson said.

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