Oliver Yates, Independent for Kooyong has requested that Australian Electoral Commission injunct the Boroondara Council, in order to prevent them harassing candidates, and their families, and denying the freedom of political speech.
Mr Yates said that he had suffered repeated petty and vindictive treatment from the local Council and had been forced to refer the issue to the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Electoral Commission.
Mr Yates has also issued a Freedom of Information request to the Boroondara Council, calling on them to immediately release any and all information between the Liberal Party, the office of Josh Frydenberg and other Liberal Party offices and the Council.
The issue relates to the Oliver Yates campaign, faced with a limited advertising budget, purchasing four small garden trailers to place strategically around the electorate to display signage .
“We cannot compete financially with the large political parties and their large electronic billboards and huge signs that have been splashed all around Kooyong. We thought that a few small cage trailers would be a novel and cost effective way of getting my name out there in the community, We have been careful to consider safety and parking rules as we have moved around the electorate so we consider this a responsible way of electioneering.
“The Council however has zealously opposed this initiative and insisted that I need permits for every location that these trailers may be driven and parked. Whilst they have not explained why legally we require such permits, we have complied with their request, submitted applications, but still no permits have been provided.
“It is simply outrageous that a local council thinks it can prevent candidates from engaging in the community and communicating with voters – such obfuscation is in breach of the freedom of political communication implied in our constitution, and upheld in important legal precedents.
“I have been subjected to harassment, surveillance and beratement by this Liberal led Boroondara Council, including visits to my home out of office hours and on weekends.
“This seems like part of a dirty tricks campaign by the Liberal Party. We’ve seen the interference of Liberals like State MP Tim Smith and coal-hugging Senator Jane Hume tweeting about this story before it made the media, which certainly makes you suspect a stitch up.
“The Liberal Party acts with such entitlement and has taken this electorate for granted. They think they own it. And, they don’t take kindly to people calling them out on their terrible record.
“If they can’t fight an election campaign fairly, how can we expect them to govern fairly?
“This is a party of bullies. It’s why people should abandon them at this election so the Liberal Party is forced to actually consider the merits of their actions.
“I’m not new to this type of behaviour. I saw it while I was head of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and this Government attempted to bully us out of existence. We won then and I can win again in this election.
“And I’m not one to buckle. I didn’t at the CEFC, and I won’t here. You will note that the CEFC is still in operation, and now my opponent, Mr Frydenberg who lacks any shame, is seeking to take credit for the work for the very agency he sought to abolish,” said Mr Yates.
“This is clearly a story of David vs Goliath. To make sure that Goliath does not win, vote 1 Yates," said Mr Yates.
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