THE LIBERALS AND Nationals are getting down and dirty in the final days of the campaign in Nicholls and Indi with dodgy robocalls and text messages, billboard misinformation and culture wars.
Independent MP for Indi, Dr Helen Haines, has hit back at a torrent of “fears and smears” from the Liberal Party and their proxies after the Liberal candidate, Ross Lyman was caught distributing Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) attack flyers from his Wangaratta office.
The flyer accuses Dr Haines of ‘attacking Christianity and other faiths’.
Negative, misleading, and, in fact lies.Dr Haines
I support a discrimination bill that protects the rights of people to practice their religion freely.
On Tuesday, Dr Haines asked Liberal candidate, Ross Lyman to reveal if he had any ACL campaign material in his Wangaratta office.
Lyman told The Border Mail:
It is disappointing to see a member of Parliament operate on hearsay and gossip. There are no ACL flyers in my campaign offices and I encourage constituents to drop by for a chat to see for themselves.Ross Lyman
I have not even received one in my mailbox out in Wahgunyah. The first I heard of this was in the media.
The ACL flyer has been delivered multiple times throughout the campaign to the mailboxes of Indi.
Less than 24 hours later The Border Mail published a photo showing the ACL flyers prominently on display in the Liberal candidate’s Wangaratta office.
Lyman told The Border Mail:
For the record, I don’t support that. That shouldn’t be there.Ross Lyman
We don’t condone that. We’ll make sure if it is there, it won’t be there much longer.
Another ACL flyer was delivered to my mailbox today, they always arrive on the same days as Liberal flyers.
Today’s accompanying Liberal flyer contained a tiny and almost unreadable authorisation.
In early May Lyman posted to Facebook:
A day later Lyman added an “UPDATE” to his original post.
Over the following week I asked Lyman three questions in the comments of his Facebook post.
Was a police report filed and if not why not?
Do you have an update on the police investigation of this alleged politically motivated attack?
So, no police report and no update? The story relayed by two people to me: tourists wanted to do some photography and didn’t want the sign in the photo so moved it. [redacted] came out to see what was happening and had a heart attack. Is this correct Ross Lyman?
Lyman has not responded.
Intentional or not, people have been given the impression that a Liberal supporter, an old man, was the victim of a politically motivated assault.
Lyman has made no attempt since to dispel the belief some now have that a politically motivated assault occurred.
The Liberals have also increased the number of billboards in Wodonga advertising misinformation about Dr Haines’ Parliamentary voting record.
The free and open exchange of ideas is crucial to a well-functioning democracy. All too often, the Government shuts down debate and forces MPs to stop speaking on the floor of Parliament simply because it doesn’t agree with what they’re saying. I will almost always oppose these motions. The only time I’ll support one is if I believe the MP is being too disruptive or disrespecting the Parliament.Dr Haines
The Morrison government routinely uses gag orders to block debate, just as they blocked debate on her Integrity bill – Dr Haines has voted against them 95 percent of the time. Of the bills, amendments and other motions which ask the Parliament to take a political position Dr Haines has voted with the Government 48 percent of the time and the Opposition 48 percent of the time.
The Billboards match the election material delivered in Indi today that carry a nearly unreadable authorisation.
These posters at prepoll stations in wodonga. pic.twitter.com/C0kU5LdUGQ— Kate Sleeman (@ktbar0) May 18, 2022
NSW Nats spam Nicholls
The NSW National Party has sent text messages to constituents in Nicholls containing a political message framed as a survey and without an authorisation.
Independent Rob Priestly is in a close race with the National and Liberal parties in Nicholls.
The text messages were sent by Constituent Management Services and according to the AEC, they’re an entity associated with the National Party of Australia – NSW.
It’s just the worst type of politics. It’s not trying to have an argument about ideas, it’s not trying to say our policy is better than their policy, it’s trying to drive fear.Rob Priestly
The National Party absolutely know I’m not affiliated with the Labor Party. In fact it was the National Party that came to me and sought me to run as a candidate for them.
Priestly told No Fibs he’s asked the AEC to investigate to determine if the political messages should contain an authorisation.
Guardian Australia reported:
The website says it is authorised by J. Lundy, Level 2, 107 Pitt St, Sydney, 2000.Guardian Australia
Joe Lundy is the the state director of the NSW Nationals and the address given is the state headquarters.
However, the link provided in the text message has subsequently been disabled.
The AEC told the ABC robocalls from the Nationals contained an “invalid” authorisation and has launch an investigating.
[The authorisation] should appear at the beginning not the end, and we note the pause in the recording.
We are looking at this matter and will be contacting the entity.Australian Electoral Commission
There is 10 seconds of silence at the end of the recording before the authorisation is played.
Nationals Victorian state director Matthew Harris responded by claiming Independent candidate Rob Priestly’s volunteers were ‘bribing voters with mandarins and Jaffa cakes and other baked goods’.
Independent campaigns in Indi since 2013 have had tables with oranges, mandarins and orange slices – they’re as much for the volunteers as voters stuck in long queues and bored kids – the NSW Nationals want to cancel old fashion country hospitality.
Listen to robocall:
In the ACT David Pocock’s lodged a complaint with the AEC over robocalls sent by Advance Australia. He says the do not contain the authorisation required by law.
Pocock labelled the robocalls “grubby and desperate”, Advance Australia responded by called Pocock a “sook”.
In recent days the AEC ruled Advance Australia signs breached section 329 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act).
The illegal signs were placed in other electorates and depicted other candidates, but the AEC press release only mentions Pocock and Zali Steggall in Warringah.
AEC said in their press release:
While Advance Australia does not agree that the signs breach the Electoral Act, it has, to avoid the AEC bringing legal proceedings, agreed not to further display the signage without first providing the AEC with 48 hours’ notice.
No Fibs emailed a series of questions to the AEC
In the press release the Australian Electoral Commission only mentions signs placed in the ACT and Warringah depicting depicting Pocock and Steggall.
The signs were placed in other electorate depicting other independent candidates but they are not mentioned in the AEC press release.
In relation to the Advance Australia matter:
Signs were placed in multiple electorates depicting other candidates in the same fashion.
Why does your statement only mention Advance Australia signs in ACT and Warringah depicting David Pocock and Zali Steggall?
Voters have been misled by Advance Australia in multiple electorates for half of the campaign period.
Why did it take AEC weeks to make this determination when it was obvious from the outset the signs breached the Electoral Act?
Matters in Nicholls:
According to ABC news reports, AEC are investigating robocalls sent by the Nationals to constituents in Nicholls.
Do you have an update on the investigation into the robocalls sent to constituents in Nicholls?
How long will this investigation take?
On Tuesday night an entity associated with the National Party NSW branch sent text messages to constituents in Nicholls containing a political message framed as a survey and without an authorisation in the body of the text message.
The text messages contained a link to a website that carried an authorised message, the link is now dead.
The Independent candidate has lodged a complaint with the AEC.
Is the AEC investigating this matter and if so how long before a determination will be made?
If you have not launched an investigation, why not?
Will you be seeking prosecutions for any of the above matters and if not why not?
At time of publishing the AEC has not responded.