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AEC launches fraud investigation into unauthorised election signs

Election signs that link independent candidates to The Greens may breach voter deception laws, according to the Australian Electoral Commission. The AEC is investigating “all avenues possible to get to the source of the signage” – including seeking information about how the signs were produced. As if there wasn't already enough misleading in the upcoming election!

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         Election signs linking independent candidates to the Greens (photo AEC).

The AEC says it’s received numerous reports regarding a range of unauthorised candidate corflute signs appearing across a number of electoral divisions. This follows after SA Senator Rex Patrick called for a total ban on 'Corflutes' during election campaigns.

The commission said the signs breach electoral laws which require political material to be authorised, and carry penalties of up to $26,640 for individuals or $132,200 for corporations.

“These signs are in breach of commonwealth electoral laws as they do not contain an authorisation statement, a requirement of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to ensure voters know who is communicating with them,” the AEC said.

“The signs depict a range of election candidates in a style that would suggest they have been produced by the candidates depicted. They also feature names and/or logos of political parties that have not formally endorsed the candidates in question – party names that will not feature next to those particular candidates names on ballot papers.

“In some cases, there have also been unauthorised stickers featuring party logos or statements affixed to the signage of other candidates.”

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said that while there is freedom of political communication in Australian federal elections, authorisation laws are critical and must be adhered to.

“This is a very serious matter and we are exploring all avenues possible to get to the source of the signage,” Rogers said.

The matter has been referred to the Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce for investigation. 

“As part of this investigation, information is being sought directly from relevant entities and being examined in an effort to determine the source,” the AEC said. 

Screen Shot 2022 05 11 at 1.24.22 pm“If anyone has information regarding any of the signage’s placement location, timing of placement or production please provide it via the AEC contact web form.

"Tip offs can also be submitted anonymously via our dedicated fraud contact options.”