Many thanks to those of you who have contributed already towards the Integrity Fighting Fund.
If you have not yet made a contribution, please do. This is the link to my website.
The below is a quick update on progress in our ongoing fight to restore integrity in politics.
Currently evidence regarding the deception election signs and other conduct is being collected across the electorates of Chisholm, Higgins and Kooyong.
The Yates team has provided polling day booth volunteers with relevant evidence forms that are being filled in. We believe that the Greens and Labor are doing likewise.
Whilst lawyers for the Yates team and the Greens have requested the Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigate the issue of misleading and deceptive signs, the AFP are yet to respond.
This issue is a bit like peeling an onion… brings you to tears and hard to get to the centre!
Firstly, there was the assertion by the Liberals that there was no law to stop them being misleading and deceptive in their electoral campaign. This was what first grabbed my attention. I assumed that there would be some limitation to their misleading and deceptive conduct. I was wrong!
I saw so much misleading advertising and documents during the election that you have to wonder how any voter could make a sensible decision.
Then, on polling day, we had the deceptive Mandarin language sign issue and the Australian Electoral Commission's (AEC’s) failure to act on it. It would seem reasonable to assume our regulatory and enforcement agencies would ensure that we have free and fair elections, as they are fundamental building block of our democracy. Again, I was wrong!
The AEC declined to do anything about the deceptive Mandarin signs on polling day and, as far as we are aware, hasn’t even referred the authoriser of the signs or the Liberals to the AFP or to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP).
The DPP won’t act without a referral.
The AFP hasn’t yet indicated whether it will investigate the very real chance that criminal behaviour has occurred.
In the meantime, we have observed people trying to delete their social media postings in relation to the signs and remove traces of their involvement in the actions.
To top this off, it appears that many candidates’ declarations to the AEC on their eligibility to stand at the last election were full of gaps and errors. These declarations are publicly available at https://www.aec.gov.au/election/candidates.htm. The section 44 (s44) declarations of citizenship (which, after last year, should be at the front of each candidate’s mind) in many seats look to be quite incomplete and highly questionable.
The AEC’s position is that it has no responsibility to verify the s44 declaration forms. Well “verify” is one thing but a simple reading would have indicated that they inadequately completed. Surely, the AEC must have to act with a basic standard of care.
Given all this, it is left to citizens like us stand up for Integrity in our political system.
We need to act if the AEC does not.
We can’t have elections where misleading and deceptive conduct is condoned as an acceptable strategy.
We can’t have elections where signs in AEC colours are used with intent to mislead the voters on how they should cast their vote, nor should we be expected to vote for ineligible candidates, nor should their votes be counted.
I hope that you also start to review the AEC s44 declarations of the candidates in your electorate and seek answers if you see errors, gaps and inconsistencies.
I hope you can encourage as many people as possible join our Integrity Fighting Fund. We are pushing forward in our fight for integrity.
Your contribution to this effort would be most welcome.