SIGNAGE depicting ACT independent Senate candidate David Pocock as secretly a member of the Greens Party has been deemed in breach of electoral laws by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).
The signs, orchestrated by conservative lobby group Advance Australia, show the former Wallaby wearing a Greens Party shirt underneath his suit and seem to question the candidate’s true political footing as an independent.
In a statement released this morning (May 16), the AEC said it considers the advertising in breach of section 329 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, meaning it is “likely to mislead or deceive an elector”, according to the Act.
The AEC also found Advance Australia’s attack ads on Warringah independent candidate Zali Steggall to be in breach of the laws.
“The signage contains no other images or phrases that correct the representation made by the images. Both candidates in question are not endorsed by the Australian Greens,” reads the statement.
While Advance Australia does not agree that the signs breach the Electoral Act, it has, to avoid the AEC bringing legal proceedings, agreed not to further display the signage without first providing the AEC with 48 hours’ notice.
Mr Pocock said he has today written to the AEC requesting that Advance Australia be prosecuted for the breach.
“I am not, and have never been, a member of the Greens nor endorsed as their candidate,” said Mr Pocock.
“I am disappointed that it has taken more than three weeks for this decision to be reached. We first lodged a complaint with the AEC on April 26. More than 40,000 Canberrans have already voted at pre-poll and another 12,000 by postal.”
“We have received hundreds of emails, calls and messages from people across the ACT outraged and confused by Advance Australia’s false and misleading advertising.”
Who can be trusted?
In a world of spin and confusion, there’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.
If you trust our work online and want to enforce the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.
Every dollar of support is invested back into our journalism to help keep citynews.com.au strong and free.
Ian Meikle, editor