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Victorian election candidate who suddenly died was on rape charges

A National Party candidate due in court over rape charges has died five days out from the state election.

Nov 21, 2022, updated Nov 21, 2022
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. (Photo: AAP Image/Erik Anderson)

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. (Photo: AAP Image/Erik Anderson)

The party’s state director on Monday confirmed Shaun Gilchrist, the candidate for Narracan in the state’s east, had died unexpectedly.

He was due in the County Court on November for sexual offences, AAP has confirmed.

Gilchrist, who lived in Warragul but worked overseas representing government and business, leaves behind his partner and children.

In a statement, the coalition offered its deepest sympathies to Mr Gilchrist’s family and friends.

The Victorian Electoral Commission has been notified.

It comes as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a surprise visit to join Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday’s election campaign.

Posting photos to social media, Mr Albanese thanked volunteers at a Caulfield polling booth and said the premier was building a better future for all Victorians.

But Deputy Liberal Leader David Southwick has slammed Mr Andrews and Labor for their use of the term Nazi to describe some candidates running for parliament.

Both the Premier and Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan accused the coalition of preferencing Nazis and extremists on their group party ticket.

Southwick said it was “completely inappropriate and desperate” of the government to use the term Nazi and if there were candidates running with those views, then they should be named.

Anti Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich agreed, saying the word should only be used when discussing the Holocaust.

“If there are Neo-Nazis running for this election, I want to know who they are,” Abramovich told reporters on Monday.

“The public needs to know who they are. They are a threat to our way of life.”

Southwick said the coalition did not want to see people with extremist views in parliament but the party had to preference Labor last in order to increase its chances of winning government.

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He also denied knowing upper house candidate Renee Heath had links to the controversial City Builders Church when she was pre-selected to the Liberal Party.

Liberal Leader Matthew Guy said Heath would not sit in his party room if elected but it was too late to disendorse her.

Heath has told Nine she’s engaged lawyers to assess whether she has grounds to make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

She denied supporting gay conversion therapy and said suggesting otherwise was “completely false and misleading”.

Guy backed Liberal candidate Timothy Dragan at the weekend after recordings of his comments regarding Indigenous Australians, abortion and climate change were leaked.

The Liberal Leader said he accepted Dragan’s apology and there would be no further action taken.

Labor’s candidate for Richmond has also been embroiled in controversy with her family claiming she is not Aboriginal.

Lauren O’Dwyer has described herself as a proud Yorta Yorta woman throughout her election campaign, but a member of her family has told the ABC she holds no such ties.

AAP has contacted O’Dwyer and the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation for comment.

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