Politics

Electoral integrity taskforce investigates dirty tricks against independents


“This is a cowardly and senseless attack. This is part of a coordinated, national campaign to try and discredit myself and other independent candidates around the country,” she posted on social media. Unlike some independents, Ackery, who is standing against Energy Minister Angus Taylor, is not accepting donations from Climate200.

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Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said the issue was being carefully examined.

“This is a very serious matter and we are exploring all avenues possible to get to the source of the signage,” he said.

On Sunday, the AEC revealed it was referring the nomination of the LNP’s Vivian Lobo for the Labor-held marginal seat of Lilley in Brisbane to the federal police for investigation. Anika Wells holds the seat by just 0.6 per cent.

It followed revelations last week that Lobo’s nomination included a residential address he has not been living at. On Friday, the lawn appeared freshly mown, and sheets were hanging in the windows, but no furniture or household goods were visible inside.

Labor is demanding Lobo be stood down as the LNP candidate and his campaign be suspended.

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Late last week, the commission said it had referred the nomination of Liberal candidate Robbie Beaton for the Labor seat of Isaacs in Melbourne to the federal police over whether he had provided false information about his residence.

Mr Beaton had said in his nomination form he lived at the Bridge Hotel in Mordialloc, but he had told The Age he lived in Camberwell, 20km away.

An AEC spokesman said it is a crime to provide false or misleading information to a Commonwealth officer with a penalty of up to 12 months imprisonment.

“If a candidate facing charges is elected, it would be a matter for the House of Representatives or the Senate to refer that member or senator to the Court of Disputed Returns when relevant,” he said.

The campaign between Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese became increasingly strident on Sunday with both trading barbs ahead of about 550 early voting centres opening across the country on Monday.

The pre-poll window was narrowed to the final 12 days of the campaign this year after a record one-in-three people voted ahead of polling day at the 2019 election, prompting concerns from all parties about the growing number of Australians who had cast a ballot even before the formal end of the campaign.

Morrison accused Albanese of failing to offer voters an economic plan.

“We’ve been waiting three years to hear the economic plan of Mr Albanese. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Absolutely nothing,” he said while campaigning in Melbourne.

“You know, you don’t get a run for prime minister on the basis of it’s your turn. You have to actually have stumped up and presented the Australian people with an outline of what your economic plan is,” he said.

Albanese accused Morrison of leading the entire Liberal Party astray, saying if John Howard sat in its partyroom today he would not recognise the “rabble” around him.

“A rabble whereby you have a Liberal Prime Minister who cannot visit Liberal heartlands like … North Sydney, or Warringah or MacKellar or Wentworth,” he said while campaigning in the Sydney Liberal seat of Bennelong.

“John Howard would not recognise the rabble that is there and John Howard had Tim Fischer. Tim Fischer was a great Australian. Scott Morrison has Barnaby Joyce.”

Cut through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.



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