Senator Ralph Babet
Tuesday 3 October 2023
The AEC must come down hard on the Yes campaign’s latest trick
Following the 2019 Federal Election, the Court of Disputed Returns examined the use of purple campaign signage similar to the brand style of the AEC in the Divisions of Chisholm and Kooyong.
The court found the signs were likely to mislead or deceive a voter in relation to the casting of a vote, contravening Section 329 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).
As pre-polls opened around the nation for the Voice referendum on Monday, it has been revealed the Yes campaign went ahead with the same purple signage strategy.
Based on the 2019 court decision, Senator Babet has called on the AEC to “act swiftly” and directly order the Yes campaign to remove all purple signage or face the possible penalties they have subjected others to for alleged breaches of the rules.
“The Yes campaign is desperately attempting to deceive and mislead voters with signage around polling booths that clearly has the same branding style as the AEC,” Senator Babet said.
“The deliberate use of these colours and other branding elements cannot have any other intention but to mislead or deceive voters.
“I call on the AEC to ensure a fair referendum and use all the power available to them to order the removal of the signs, preferably seeking an injunction to have the signs removed.
“The Prime Minister has been quick to fire off labels and accusations whenever it has suited him on the Voice. I’m yet to hear him condemn this action for what it clearly is – an attempt to mislead.
“This is the same government who through their appalling ‘Misinformation/Disinformation Bill’ is intent on being the sole arbiter of truth for the Australian people. The Prime Minister’s silence on this matter says all we need to know about the Albanese Government’s intentions and integrity.
“This referendum has been divisive from the beginning. The more the Australian people know, the more they’re going to vote No,” he said.