Oliver Yates has demanded Josh Frydenberg and the Liberal Party retract the personal smear campaign, intentionally designed to mislead and deceive the voters of Kooyong. The party claims it is their legal right to mislead and deceive the public in election material.
Mr Yates said “The Kooyong community does not welcome such dirty politics in this electorate. With this low standard of Liberal campaigning, people are questioning whether Josh Frydenberg is fit to be a leader. The Liberals are the only party to have stooped to negative advertising in the contest for Kooyong.”
The Liberal Party has mailed out to every voter in Kooyong a dirty postcard, created a misleading website and an online video about a time when Oliver Yates served on the board of a fossil fuel company nine years ago, for about a year.
The campaign is designed to mislead and deceive the voters of Kooyong, by making an unsubstantiated claim that Mr Yates is untrustworthy.
Mr Yates, a renewable energy expert with considerable business experience, is a prominent advocate for climate change. He joined the board of Linc Energy when the company was moving to new cleaner energy technologies, including early stage hydrogen. The first investment made after Mr Yates joined the board was a 10% stake in the UK-based company called which is a leading pioneer in hydrogen fuel cell technology. After a few months, however, Linc Energy changed strategic direction, reverting to its old technologies, prompting Mr Yates to resign from the board after attending just three board meetings.
In their misleading materials, the Liberal Party asserts that Mr Yates was responsible for actions taken by Linc Energy before he joined, such as the sale of its coal tenements to Adani; and after he stood down, such as the purchase of certain oil fields; and then many years after he left, such as the legal proceedings against the company in which Mr Yates was not involved, and which the company did not defend. Such statements are clearly misleading, deceptive to the public and intended as a deliberate slur on Mr Yates’s reputation and environmental record.
By way of context, the Liberal Party received around $500,000 in donations from the company after Mr Yates had left it. The Liberal state government also oversaw and approved of the work Linc was doing on its underground test sites.
In anticipation of the Liberal Party trying to concoct a story about Mr Yates’s brief involvement with Linc Energy, there has been open and transparent information on the campaign website under Frequently Asked Questions at ever since the beginning of the campaign.
On 6 May, Mr Yates’s lawyers requested, among other things, that the Liberal Party immediately delete its current content from the offending website, destroy all versions of the postcard and remove all You Tube advertisements on the grounds that the materials are misleading and defamatory.
The Liberal Party’s lawyers responded that, in their view, they have the right to be misleading and deceptive to the public in their election materials. Indeed, they have made numerous errors of fact, yet asserted their right to be misleading and deceptive as their defence for their false claims against Mr Yates. To date, the offending materials have still not been removed.
The Liberal government specifically left this gap in the Electoral Act legislation when addressing the ‘Mediscare’ campaign issue so that they still had freedom to mislead the public.
Mr Yates said, “The Liberal Party does not discern between lies and the truth, or deception and decent behaviour. They are the only party in this campaign that have used underhand tactics in an attempt to discredit the opposing candidates. They will do and say anything in their desperate attempt to hold on to the seat of Kooyong. Meanwhile they continue to take donations from the fossil fuel sector to fund the Frydenberg campaign and to push their coal interests above the environment and every other industry in Australia.
“Josh Frydenberg’s toleration of this dirty tricks campaign shows that he is clearly not fit to be a leader of our nation, in any capacity. Not even in Opposition! This is how low he stoops when the going gets tough. This is typical Liberal Party bullying behaviour that the electorate despises. It shows how Josh Frydenberg is just like many other Liberals who lack any sense of decency.
“Here are just a few examples of the facts that were misquoted in the Liberal Party materials. The Adani sale took place in August 2010, well before I joined the board in October 2010. I had no involvement with the transaction whatsoever. Any attempt to suggest otherwise, is totally deceptive. With approval of the board, I stood down in early September 2011 and abstained from all decisions from then until my formal resignation on 28 November 2011. I had no involvement in the acquisition the asset in Poland in late 2011. The prosecution and conviction of Linc Energy for offences under the EPA took place many years after I had ceased involvement with the company, and I had no involvement in the court proceedings. I had stood down from the board before Linc bought the oil fields in Texas and Louisiana.
“The facts have been deliberately misquoted to deceive voters in an attempt to discredit me. Happily, the public have seen the sleazy materials and dirty tricks for exactly what they are.
“Josh Frydenberg behaves like he’s the King of Kooyong, and if anyone dares to challenge him for this seat, they get attacked. He has not challenged me on any policy matters throughout this entire campaign. Surely, we need leaders with more moral fibre in our parliament.
“What Josh Frydenberg lacks in leadership, he certainly makes up for in self-interest. What he lacks in backbone, he certainly makes up for in Teflon. What he lacks in vision, he certainly makes up for in his rehearsal and regurgitation of party messages. He takes no responsibility. He is no leader.
“Remember he also opposed the banking royal commission. He opposed reform for pokies. He supported cuts to funding the ABC and SBS. As Environment Minister, he has condemned the Great Barrier Reef to almost certain death. He couldn’t even get approval within his own party for his feeble NEG policy. It then caused a leadership spill and next thing Mr Frydenberg emerges as Treasurer and Deputy Leader. Alas, he is certainly no leader.
“Mr Frydenberg claims emissions are going down when they are going up. Even his Prime Minister has reluctantly and belatedly confirmed it. It’s clear Mr Frydenberg has an issue when dealing with inconvenient truth.
“The Liberals have lost their way. It is time to put Josh Frydenberg and his Liberal Party out of their misery. It’s time we restored integrity and decency in our politics. Our country is crying out for a moral compass on social issues and leadership that we can be proud of.
“Around Australia, Independents are seeking to bring politics back to a sensible centre. Imagine what we can do when we’re elected. I urge voters in this election to think Independent and vote 1 Yates.
“Even after sending a cease and desist notice to the Liberal Party over this hideous smear campaign, their lawyers’ dismissive response is that they have the right to lie and mislead the public and to defame and smear their opponents. This is a total lack of integrity and I will stand up to these odious bullies. I invite the people of Kooyong to do likewise on polling day and vote them out.
“My environmental record and business involvement in driving emissions reduction is well-known. I am more than happy to put my record against Josh Frydenberg or anyone else in Liberal Party."
“I am not going to allow them to lie, mislead and deceive the public, in their self-interest to cling onto power.”
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For more information please call Adrian Dodd 0401 726 476