VICTORIA’S election authority should do police checks to stop paedophiles and other criminals working at polling booths, Liberal MP Bill Tilley believes.
The member for Benambra was responding to convicted child sex offender Jeremy Kewley being employed to work at the Rutherglen Primary School polling station on Saturday.
“People on polling booths need to be screened, there should be police checks not just for child sex offenders but any conviction whether it be theft, fraud whatever,” Mr Tilley said.
“There are any number of jobs that require police checks and given that these votes decide our state parliament, I would have expected that this would have been mandatory.”
Under hiring rules for elections, the only disclosures that prospective workers have to make to the Victorian Electoral Commission relate to political activities.
The Victorian government on Tuesday called for the VEC to act to prevent a repeat of the situation at Rutherglen which alarmed those voting at the school.
“We share the community’s real concerns on this matter and trust the VEC will do a full review of its recruitment processes after the election to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” a spokesman said.
The VEC has vowed to reassess, but a spokesman said the volume of workers and time constraints were barriers to criminal checks.
Mr Tilley disagreed.
“Polling station workers aren’t hired in the last two minutes before the election, these are paid jobs and so the commissioner should ensure that all checks are done,” he said.
“If the matter was raised with the polling station manager at the time, it should have been phoned through to Melbourne and that person given their marching orders there and then.”
Wangaratta anti-crime campaigner Tania Maxwell, who is set to win an Upper House seat in the Victorian parliament, could not understand why the VEC did not have criminal checks and said she “would support that 110 per cent”.
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