Sign of the times

Local Federal MP Jamie Briggs appears to have a plethora of very bruised and battered election posters clinging drunkenly to Stobie poles across the district.
Some of his posters went up on Saturday night – even before Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the election – but the wild winds of Monday played havoc with many leaving the Member for Mayo looking rather knocked about.
But the dishevelled state of his image appears to be of little concern to the incumbent as he is not taking them down … even though he has been ordered to do so.
The problem is the rules state that election posters can’t be placed on public property until the writs are issued meaning this period of visual vandalism the community must suffer at every election cannot commence before 6pm next Monday.
This rule has not changed from previous elections but it seems Labor, Liberal and the Greens went ahead anyway and volunteers began putting the posters up more than a week early in their desperation to lift the public recognition levels of their candidates.
Dozens of posters extolling the virtues of Greens Senate candidates as well as Mr Briggs were placed around the Hills … until the local councils on Monday ordered their removal within 24 hours.
No Labor, NXT or Greens posters for Mayo have been spotted in the district.
The Greens began removing their Senate signs on Tuesday but Mr Briggs has refused to remove his saying the issue was minor and that the furore would all blow over and be forgotten in a couple of days.
Mr Briggs strengthened his resolve against the request from both the Adelaide Hills and Mt Barker councils by saying there had been a legal precedence set in a case in WA which meant that, even though the law hadn’t changed, the posters could go up as soon as the election was called.
That point is disputed by the Local Government Association and it informed all councils that candidates could be required to remove all the posters.
Other options are for council workers to remove the signs at the council’s own expense or impose a fine and take the offending candidates to court.
Either way the whole things is a shambles and Mr Briggs’ defiant challenge to the rules is an election strategy he should seriously reconsider.

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