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Electoral fee wrongly accused Advance Australia of breaching legislation throughout ACT Senate election marketing campaign & Extra Information


The Australian Electoral Fee (AEC) says it wrongly accused a conservative foyer group of performing unlawfully throughout this yr’s federal election marketing campaign.

Advance Australia — which had been beneath investigation — welcomed the AEC’s resolution.

Nevertheless, its government director, Matthew Sheahan, lashed out on the elections physique, calling it “incompetent” and saying it had allowed itself to be “weaponised by woke campaigns”.

Advance Australia had campaigned towards ACT Senate candidate David Pocock in assist of then-Liberal minister Zed Seselja.

David Pocock — a conservationist and former rugby union participant — ended up unseating Mr Seselja and turning into the ACT’s first unbiased senator.

5 days earlier than the Might 21 poll, the AEC criticised Advance Australia’s “robocalls” to Canberra voters, saying they breached the Electoral Act.

The AEC stated the telephone recordings, regardless of mentioning “Advance”, violated electoral requirements as a result of they lacked a full authorisation.

“We will likely be taking the suitable motion,” a spokesman stated on the time.

Nevertheless, the elections physique now says there have been no robocalls.

As a substitute, it agreed with Advance Australia’s rationalization that the disputed recording was a response to incoming calls, akin to an answering-machine message.

“The AEC’s feedback earlier than the federal election have been supplied on the understanding that the calls in query might have been automated public robocalls that wanted to adjust to the authorisation necessities,” a spokesman advised the ABC.

“Subsequent investigation confirmed that this was not the case.”

Foyer group says ‘respectable advertisements’ unfairly focused

The AEC dominated this Advance Australia placard of David Pocock to be illegal as a result of it misled voters.(ABC Information: Luke Stephenson)

The battle for the ACT’s two Senate positions was unusually tight, given major-party candidates had by no means beforehand misplaced a seat.

When polling confirmed (now) Senator Pocock’s assist was rising, the primary events and Advance Australia ramped up their campaigns.

Promoting knowledge instructed Advance Australia spent extra money attacking Senator Pocock than it did every other candidate in Australia.

Earlier than the robocall dispute, the AEC additionally intervened to rebuke the conservative group’s roadside placards, which depicted Senator Pocock and unbiased MP Zali Steggall as Greens social gathering members.

Mr Sheahan stated final night time that the AEC’s “admission of its personal screw-up” was “six months late”.

“The AEC allowed itself to be weaponised by woke campaigns across the nation, which used it to focus on respectable and efficient promoting they did not like,” he stated.

“It was fast to fire up headlines defaming Advance with its accusations of illegality earlier than the election, whereas quietly dropping its claims and admitting its errors months later.”

Mr Sheahan additionally attacked the AEC’s criticism of Advance Australia’s posters, which he stated have been fashionable and “completely advantageous … till the teals [independent candidates] went to the media, crying about them”.

“[The AEC] ought to get again to being the neutral umpire Australians count on,” he stated.

Ruling ‘perplexes and disappoints’ Pocock

Senator Pocock instigated the investigation of Advance Australia when he supplied the AEC with a replica of the telephone recording.

The recording referred to him as an “excessive inexperienced” who believed that having youngsters harmed the atmosphere.

Electoral fee wrongly accused Advance Australia of breaching legislation throughout ACT Senate election marketing campaign

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Electoral fee wrongly accused Advance Australia of breaching legislation throughout ACT Senate election marketing campaign

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Electoral fee wrongly accused Advance Australia of breaching legislation throughout ACT Senate election marketing campaign

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