Oliver Yates has launched an integrity campaign to fight misleading and deceptive political advertising.
Oliver Yates has today announced he will be seeking crowdfunding to fund a legal campaign against the Liberal Party’s misleading and deceptive messaging in the recent federal election.
“Misleading and deceptive signs, authorised by the Liberal Party, were displayed at polling booths across Kooyong. The Liberal Party’s conduct and the AEC’s failure to enforce its own Electoral Act demonstrates a failure of integrity in our democratic system,” said Mr Yates.
Mr Yates added that since he raised concerns of the Liberal Party’s Mandarin language signs, he has been inundated with offers of support from members of the community. The signs were in the AEC purple colours to deliberately appear as AEC material directing people to vote for the Liberal Party.
An English translation of the signs is “The correct voting method. Note down number 1 besides the Liberal party on the green ballot paper and then the number from small to large in the rest of the squares". There is a barely readable attribution to the Liberal Party at the bottom of the sign.
“I fought the election campaign on a platform to restore integrity to politics. Given the Liberal party’s behaviour during the election, that campaign will continue.
“My office and the Greens have both made formal complaints to the AEC and to the Australian Federal Police. My office is now working with Michael Bradley, Partner at Marque Lawyers to have this matter brought before the Court of Disputed Returns.
“I am today urging people to chip in to ensure we can take on the power of the Liberal Party and hold them accountable for their lies and deliberate deception.
"We do not accept the AEC's view that these signs are acceptable. Our legal advice is strong. You cannot mislead voters on how to cast a valid vote.
“Through this legal action, the Liberal Party might realise that people will not accept misleading and deceptive conduct as simply ‘part of the game’.
“I ran on a platform to restore integrity in politics. Given the Liberal Party’s behaviour in the election campaign, the need to restore integrity in politics is more important than ever before.
“We are giving people the opportunity to contribute to the people-powered Code Purple Integrity Fighting Fund to cover the costs of taking this action.
"I couldn’t be more disappointed with the misleading and deceptive conduct by the Liberal Party throughout the entire campaign. The twisted lies that they spread about their opponents through saturation mailouts, these deceitful signs and scurrilous behaviour at polling booths on election day, are not the way elections should be conducted in Australia. Kooyong had never been subjected to this kind of conduct ever before.
"The AEC's indifference to all this and refusal to take any action is also quite staggering.
"The legal action in relation to the misleading signs is an initial opportunity to raise the standard of conduct and draw people’s attention to the need for truthful advertising.
"I will continue to do everything we can to restore integrity in politics. In the aftermath of the election there is growing public interest in improving the way elections are conducted so this doesn’t happen again. Through this legal action, we need to set a precedent for next time. Your contribution to supporting this action would be most appreciated,” said Mr Yates.