LABOR candidate for Gippsland, Carolyne Boothman, has withdrawn from the election race on the very first day of the campaign.
Ms Boothman works as a primary school teacher on a 12 month contract, and is therefore not allowed to run for public office, as she is technically a public servant.
This is detailed in Section 44 of the Constitution, which says that a person cannot be elected as a Senator or member of the House of Representatives if they hold an “office of profit under the Crown.”
In a statement from Gippsland Labor, Ms Boothman said it was an honour to travel around the region to hear people’s concerns, and was sorry she could not continue the fight.
Gippsland federal electorate assembly president, Darren McCubbin, said Ms Boothman was an excellent candidate and the rules were “absurd”.
“For some reason, being a dedicated school teacher removes your right to stand in a federal election,” he said.
Local ALP branches will now work through the process of finding a new candidate before the end of the nominating period, according to the statement.
Ms Boothman said that while she had known for a few months, she was waiting for legal clarification on the matter.
She said she would still be actively involved in campaigning, and looking for opportunities in the future.
The official closing date for nomination of candidates for the July 2 election is June 9.