Candidate lodges complaint as sign shenanigans spread

Election sign for Tasmanian Senator Lisa Singh

28 June – Election sign theft and defacement comes with campaign territory but in Tasmania one senator has had enough.

Labor senator Lisa Singh has lodged a complaint about the theft of a sign from a Hobart pre-polling booth.

Candidates expect signs to go missing from houses and roadsides during an election campaign, or to have vandals add their own creative touches, but Senator Singh said it was unusual for a sign to go missing from a polling booth.

“You always get a bit of silliness that goes on during election campaigns, signs get defaced in some way,” she said.

“I think you have to roll with that, but to have one actually stolen on a pre-poll booth is a little bit out of the ordinary to be honest.”

Ross Hart sign defaced

Some have expressed their disapproval of candidates in Saturday’s federal election in more creative ways.

A Tasmanian artist targeted Braddon MP Brett Whiteley, covering his face with a gimp mask on a number of signs in the state’s north-west.

In Bass, a slight adjustment to one of Labor’s Bass candidate Ross Hart results in voters being encouraged to vote for the less appealing “Ross Fart”.

Brett Whitely gimp sign
Several signs belonging to Liberal MP Brett Whiteley have been targeted in Braddon.

Even if candidates wanted to complain about this sort of vandalism, the Australian Electoral Commission said in a statement it was not its problem.

“The short answer is that there is no specific penalty in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 for defacing election signage,” it said.

Displaying candidates’ signs got some public housing tenants into trouble, with complaints resulting in five tenants having to take down signs supporting Labor candidates and independent Jacqui Lambie.

Senator Singh is not saying who she suspects is behind the theft.

“It is a bit peculiar that one was taken from a pre-poll booth, I certainly hope it doesn’t happen again,” she said.

“They are expensive and I guess it’s theft.”

Senator Singh said her office has lodged a complaint about the sign theft, but the commission was yet to receive it.

Andrew Nikolic sign defaced
Several signs is Bass were tampered with
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