Roberta Williams, a gangland widow and convicted drug trafficker, may appeal to voters during the forthcoming federal election. The 48-year-old announced her candidature for Australian People's Party. She will run against Bill Shorten, the leader of the opposition. They will compete for the Maribyrnong seat located to the west of Melbourne city.
The Federal Court declared Mrs. Williams bankrupt in November 2016. She owes nearly $300,000 in taxes to the Australian Taxation Office. Her bankrupt status will possibly make her ineligible to compete in the next federal election. This event is scheduled to occur in the latter part of 2018 or in early 2019. The Australian Electoral Commission has no power to forbid her nomination. It is the responsibility of the high court to disqualify candidates.
As per section 44 of the Constitution of Australia, any person declared bankrupt or spent in excess of a year in jail or a citizen of a foreign country is not qualified to sit as a member of the House of Representatives or as a Senator. Williams was incarcerated for about six months after she admitted to a role in a certain drug trafficking activity under Carl Williams's (her husband) control.
Opposition and substitute
Bill Shorten, for his part, remains unfazed when it comes to electorally competing against Williams. He said that any person can run. He continued on to say that Australians want to know about the candidates' plans to save manufacturing jobs. They are not interested to know what a candidate thinks about the other. When it comes to discharging Williams' bankruptcy, the only way she could do that is by paying off all her debts completely.
The Australian People's Party has made an alternative arrangement in case Williams is disqualified. They have selected Danielle Stephens Williams, her 22-year-old daughter, to be the alternative candidate to her mother. Bruno Strangio, the public relations director of the Australian People's Party, informed media persons that Williams will not sign any nomination form of the electoral commission until Peter Cosgrove, the Governor General, called next election. He said that an application will be made to set the bankruptcy aside. If by the election time, the bankruptcy measures continue to remain in place, then some other person will substitute her. Williams, on her campaign part of the Australian People's Party website, said that she wants to concentrate on much better facilities for the troubled youth. She also wants to help the homeless find suitable housing.