Signs of election time

THE Gippsland ALP has been accused by political opponents of placing signs and corflutes on roadside signs and trees without VicRoads permission.

According to section 66 of the Road Management Act 2004, a person must not without the written consent of the relevant coordinating road authority — in this case VicRoads — place any structure, device or hoarding for the exhibition of an advertisement or place any advertisement for exhibition on or over a road; or place any sign or bill on or over a road or on a pole, bus shelter, traffic sign, tree or other object or infrastructure on a road reserve. 

A VicRoads representative explained that parties would be notified if any signage was spotted, and asked to remove the signs, otherwise there may be penalties and removal of the signs.

Gippsland ALP representative Darren McCubbin said that he would check out the areas where the signs were spotted, and if illegal, remove them.

“Local volunteers get a bit excited,” he said.

Election signs can be placed on private property or on a fence, but need local government or VicRoads consent before being placed on a roadside.

Meanwhile, independent candidate for Gippsland, Christine Sindt, has raised concerns over Gippsland MHR Darren Chester’s political advertising.

His authorised address on his election campaign material is his electorate office in Traralgon, which Dr Sindt alleged is against the rules for campaigning.

However, after contacting the federal Finance Department, the Gippsland Times was told that incumbents could use their electorate offices for campaigning as long as the primary use remained serving constituents.

The Finance spokesman admitted some of the entitlements legislation was a “grey area” and was up the candidate’s “best judgment,” but that it was not unusual.

Dr Sindt also took issue with a poster outside Mr Chester’s Traralgon office, but as it was outside the building and not on a window, the Finance Department spokesperson said it was more likely the responsibility of the council, and again, not breaking any rules.

State Nationals MLC Melina Bath has also used photos of Mr Chester in distributed material, which Dr Sindt believes breaches rules on advertising, but Mr Chester’s office denied any wrongdoing.

A spokesperson for Mr Chester said the flyers had been investigated by the Victorian parliament and given the all clear.