THE employment of a convicted child sex offender to check-off voters at a North East polling booth has left mums and dads horrified.
Actor Jeremy Kewley, whose television jobs include Blue Heelers, Neighbours and Stingers, was among the Victorian Electoral Commission staff at the Rutherglen Primary School voting centre on Saturday.
The offences covered 1989 to 2011 and included him putting his hand on groins and kissing faces of youngsters who he had dressed up in Lycra for film and advertising auditions.
Father Darren Trevaskis has complained to the VEC.
“I was disgusted to see a paedophile marking off names in our community,” Mr Trevaskis said.
“It’s at the school, you think you’re safe to bring your kids along and especially a government job you wouldn’t expect a criminal to be doing that job.”
The VEC would not comment directly on the hiring of Kewley, citing privacy laws.
A spokesman said the VEC did not require criminal convictions to be exposed by those employed for polls.
“Given the volume of people required for such a short period of time, and close monitoring of staff, the VEC has deemed criminal checks to not be a mandatory requirement of the recruitment process for election casuals,” he said.
“Time constraints are also a significant barrier to the conduct of criminal checks on all election staff.”
However, the spokesman said recruitment processes would be assessed in the wake of the election.
“Any review would ensure appropriate recruitment is balanced with the obligation to provide equal opportunity and adhere to anti-discrimination laws,” he said.
Another voter, who did not want to be named, said: “He’s on the sex offenders’ register for life and there’s people with their kids going in and I thought it was very ordinary.”
Mum Carol Hopcraft was on the school cake stall.
“We were just gobsmacked and horrified – everyone felt violated,” she said.
“He shouldn’t be able to work in and around children.”
Ms Hopcraft said Kewley was surrounded by photographs and names of pupils in the classroom where he was working.
Sexual assault centre manager Carolyn Worth said Kewley may have been able to circumvent a register requirement that he not work with children because voting involves those aged over 18.
Offenders have to keep police aware of their movements for a period as part of register conditions.