Australian Election 2022

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is Yet Again Up to Some Weird Shit

The party appears to be running a ring of "ghost" candidates around Australia.
Pauline Hanson
Photo by Tracey Nearmy / Getty Images

At least a dozen of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party election candidates have become the subject of questions over their identity, after recent reports suggested that they are “invisible”, and haven’t been seen or heard from by their constituents.

Most prominent among them is the ever-elusive Narelle Seymour, One Nation’s candidate for the Sydney seat of Hughes in Sydney’s south. She was the subject of an ABC News investigation published earlier this week, which dubbed her “an invisible woman. Never seen, never heard and ever the enigma.” 


Reporters at the ABC weren’t able to track her down. 

Seymour is one of seven candidates in the running for the seat of Hughes at the upcoming federal election. As part of the campaign, organisers had reached out to each of the candidates to take part in an election forum in the Sydney suburb of Sutherland. Just five of the candidates agreed – and Seymour couldn’t even be reached.

“It’s very, very strange,” Elizabeth O’Neill, one of the forum’s organisers, told the ABC. “I trawled the web for that woman. There's not a photo or an Instagram or anything.”

At the time, O’Neill said, the One Nation candidate couldn’t even be found on the party’s website. That, of course, has since changed. Beyond that, though, there isn’t much information about the candidate publicly available. 

According to the Australia Electoral Commission’s (AEC) website, Narelle Seymour’s identity has been verified and is eligible to run for parliament under section 44 of the constitution. In response to questions sent by email, a spokesperson for the AEC told VICE that Seymour is enrolled in a suburb of Wagga Wagga in the NSW electorate of Riverina. 

A spokesperson for the AEC also told VICE that the agency is currently “reviewing the circumstances surrounding” Seymour’s candidacy. 

“Our process for when we receive a nomination is to validate the person’s identity through a check of the electoral roll – this was completed for all 1,624 candidates that were formally declared on Friday 22 April,” the spokesperson said.


“There is also nothing that requires a candidate to be active in campaigning for election. However, clearly that would be advantageous if you’re genuinely seeking election. Ultimately it is up to voters to determine what they make of a candidate’s local presence and messages when they go to vote,” they said. 

But Seymour isn’t the only one. 

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has at least a dozen candidates standing for the federal election who have neither been seen nor heard from in the electorates – spanning NSW, Victoria, and the ACT – they’re running for office in. 

Matters are only made more complicated by the party’s advertising materials. 

One Nation’s how-to-vote pamphlets, for instance, suggest that the party’s senate candidate Kate McCulloch is herself, while also being Narelle Seymour, and even Ben Ferguson, the party’s candidate for Sydney, and Alan Jorgensen, the candidate for Watson, and two other men. McCulloch’s picture appears alongside all of them.

Beyond the party’s misleading advertising materials, experts suggest that most of the confusion surrounding the party stems from the fact that most of One Nation’s candidates are running for office in electorates hundreds of kilometres away from where they live. 

In some cases, they’re running for seats in other states. 

Even then, though, that’s not illegal, a spokesperson for the AEC said. One electoral law expert, Graeme Orr, told the ABC that while it isn’t illegal, it remains unusual. 


“I suspect the reason is because the One Nation party is struggling to find a full suite of 150 candidates, [which is] not surprising, given its organisation is a bit haphazard,” Orr said. 

“And it is competing for pools of candidates with the United Australia Party, with the Liberal Democratic Party, and the many other – what we would call right wing, libertarian conservative – movements that have sprung up, particularly since COVID,” he said.

It’s a suspicion that didn’t land far off the mark.

According to emails obtained by the Guardian, one candidate was even told to just leave the electorate he was running in “blank”, as the party desperately tried to fill seats. 

While confusion continues to engulf the party – and the electorates they want to represent – Pauline Hanson has managed to remain uncharacteristically tight-lipped about her candidates. 

Instead, she’s spent the week opting to dog whistle to right-wing conspiracists on Alan Jones’s audienceless YouTube channel, even as the party continues to find itself at the centre of daily scandals.

Follow John on Twitter.

Read more from VICE Australia.