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Queensland LNP candidate referred to AFP over allegations he used a false address on his nomination forms

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) said on Sunday that a review of Vivian Lobo’s enrolment and candidate nomination forms for the highly-marginal seat of Lilley in Brisbane’s north prompted the referral.

“There is concern as to whether the information provided by him regarding his residential address on these forms is false,” it said in a statement.

SBS News has contacted Mr Lobo for comment.

The Australian newspaper reported on Friday that Mr Lobo was living in the upmarket suburb of Windsor – a 23-minute drive away from the Everton Park address listed on his AEC enrolment and candidate forms.

Mr Lobo said he changed his enrollment to the address in Everton Park as he had signed a lease “with the intention to move in straight away.”

“However due to my campaign commitments and difficulty with getting tradespeople to the home, I was delayed moving in,” he said in a Facebook post on Friday.

The Coalition campaign has not said whether it will continue supporting Mr Lobo in Lilley.

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He is the second Coalition candidate to be referred to the AFP for investigation in recent days.

Isaacs candidate Robbie Beaton was referred on Thursday after he told a newspaper he did not live at the Melbourne property where he was enrolled.

Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt on Sunday said Prime Minister Scott Morrison needs to explain whether Mr Lobo will be stood down during the investigation.

“This is an extremely serious allegation to emerge in relation to a candidate in the middle of an election campaign,” he said.

Not standing Mr Lobo down would be another blow to “a government whose integrity is already in tatters” and that he has failed to deliver on a federal anti-corruption commission it promised at the last election, he added.

“This government has a terrible record when it comes to integrity,” Mr Watt said.

“They’ve had rort after rort … and now this is the second candidate across the country who has been referred for police investigation in the middle of an election campaign.”

A woman with red hair stands at a lecture with Labor campaign signage behind her

Labor member for Lilley, Anika Wells, addresses a crowd during a Labor campaign rally at the Kedron-Wavell Services Club in Brisbane, 3 April 2022. Source: AAP / RUSSELL FREEMAN/AAPIMAGE

Labor’s Anika Wells currently holds the seat of Lilley on a narrow margin after a swing of more than five per cent to the LNP at the 2019 election.

The AEC said candidate nominations will remain as formally declared in April, despite the referral to the AFP.

“Ballot papers have been printed and distributed across the country for early voting to begin on Monday and many postal voters have already received their postal voting packs,” it said.

Scott Morrison denies breaking promise to LGBTIQ+ students

The prime minister has denied he’s breaking a promise by pledging to deal with a revived religious discrimination bill separately to legislating protections for LGBTIQ+ students.

On Saturday, Scott Morrison said religious discrimination laws would still be a priority should the Coalition be re-elected.

but he said

that would protect gay and transgender students from being expelled.

Asked on Sunday if this meant he was “breaking a commitment” to LGBTIQ+ students, Mr Morrison insisted it was not a new position.

“The position that was endorsed by the party room of the government was that both would be pursued and they would be pursued sequentially,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“There is no change to that. That is our policy going forward.”

The religious discrimination laws were a key campaign promise by the Coalition at the 2019 election.

But

when it was debated in parliament earlier this year due to concerns the laws would unfairly impact LGBTIQ+ students at religious schools.

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One of those MPs, Katie Allen, said on Sunday that her position remains unchanged.

“That is non-negotiable. I believe you can protect religious freedoms and gay students,” she told reporters at a Liberal Party rally in Melbourne.

Mr Morrison has not committed to an exact timeline as to when amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act would be addressed.

“They are different issues and that is my view,” he said.

He said while religious people were being discriminated against every day, he had not seen any reports of LGBTIQ+ students being expelled because of their sexuality or gender.

“We’ve been having this conversation for about the last four years, and on each occasion, it has been presented that apparently students are being expelled … there is no evidence of that at all, there’s none,” he said.

“The point is it doesn’t happen… religious schools themselves don’t wish to do that.”

Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Labor candidate for the seat of Bennelong Jerome Laxale talk to local residents during a visit to Ryde Wharf Market on Day 28 of the 2022 federal election campaign, in Sydney, Sunday, May 8, 2022.

Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Labor candidate for the seat of Bennelong Jerome Laxale talk to local residents during a visit to Ryde Wharf Market on Day 28 of the 2022 federal election campaign, in Sydney, Sunday, May 8, 2022. Source: AAP / LUKAS CAR/AAPIMAGE

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said on Sunday that Mr Morrison’s assertion simply isn’t true.

“If people don’t think that young people are discriminated against and vilified because of their sexuality, then that does not reflect reality,” he told reporters in Sydney.

Mr Albanese said Mr Morrison wrote to him during the parliamentary debate saying he would “take action” to protect gay and lesbian students.

“I am astonished that he has walked away from that,” he said.

“We need to protect people from discrimination, whether it is religious discrimination or on the basis of people’s sexuality.”

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Funding for IVF, playgroups and childcare

Scott Morrison has announced a $53 million package to help slash the cost of IVF for would-be mums and dads.

Mr Morrison said he understands the hurdles and difficulties many Australians face in trying to have children, after his own family’s IVF journey.

“I want to help thousands more Australians achieve their dream of becoming parents,” he said.

Around 50,000 patients received Medicare-funded assisted reproductive technology services in 2020-21, including through IVF, and now patients with cancer or people at risk of passing on genetic diseases will have their egg, sperm or embryo storage subsidized for the first time.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets young families at Melbourne IVF clinic in Melbourne, in the seat of Melbourne.  Sunday, May 8, 2022.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets young families at Melbourne IVF clinic in Melbourne, in the seat of Melbourne. Sunday, May 8, 2022. Source: AAP / MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

“For people battling cancer or staring down the risk of genetic diseases it’s already a difficult battle and this new subsidy will help give them more options about their aspirations to become parents,” Mr Morrison said.

Meanwhile, Anthony Albanese says Labor will invest $11 million to help new parents connect with their local playgroups.

He said a Labor government will help playgroups recover from the COVID-19 disruptions and expand their network across Australia.

“We know that over 90 per cent of human brain development occurs in the first five years,” Mr Albanese said.

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“Playgroups play a critical role in that development with kids learning together and developing social skills, as well as creating a vital network for parents.”

Research shows children who are part of a playgroup are more likely to start school ready to learn with better communication, language and cognitive skills than those who aren’t part of a playgroup.

“On Mother’s Day, I can’t think of a better way to come out of the pandemic than by strengthening the communities that are built for mums and kids through increasing funding to grow and support playgroups all over the country.”

The Greens also used Mother’s Day to announce that free child care will be on the party’s shortlist should the 21 May election result in a hung parliament.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said while Labor’s plan makes child care affordable, many families would still miss out.

He says for an additional $2 billion to $3 billion a year childcare can be free for everyone.

“For less than what the government gives in handouts to the likes of Clive Palmer, we could have free child care for all,” he said.

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Mr Morrison and Mr Albanese will make their case to Australian voters in their second debate in Sydney, with pre-polls opening on Monday.

Independent candidate for Wentworth Allegra Spender will also face off against Dave Sharma on Sunday, who currently holds the seat for the Liberal party.

Mr Sharma will urge his constituents to stay the course, pleading a voice inside the government can achieve more than one on the crossbench.

But Ms Spender hit back, saying the incumbent MP has had three years to deliver moderate policy aligned with the beliefs of his constituents but has failed to do so.

She said she should be elected into a hung parliament, she is “open to negotiating with everyone”.

“Wentworth is one seat out of 151, so it will depend a lot on the numbers in the parliament and absolutely depend on the policies they are willing to negotiate at the time,” she told the ABC’s Insider program.

“I am willing to negotiate with either side of government, either side of the parties in terms of forming government.”

Additional reporting by Amy Hall

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