Cumbersome Council Candidates Distribute Unauthorised Advertising and Old Promises

It appears that the scourge of rule breaking based on naivety is rife within the highest and lowest levels of Australian politics.

With Australia’s federal parliamentarians pleading ignorance to dual citizenship, it would be a major surprise if scandal did not lie within the country’s most infamous local government area.

Auburn City Council may have died from the wedding of its deputy mayor and subsequent amalgamation into the new Cumberland Council, but its past traits of non-compliance with regulations remain especially in the Regents Park ward for Liberal Party candidate Jonathan Huang.

Huang is second on the Liberal Party ticket contesting Regents Park behind former Auburn councillor Ned Attie.

Promising much including the construction of a lift at Berala railway station despite the official opening of the recently constructed lift, Huang has forgotten the basic requirement to include the name of the person giving authorisation and printing company details on two of his Chinese campaign letter.

Liberal candidate Jonathan Huang has been asked by the NSW Electoral Commission to withdraw two of his Chinese letters due to non-compliance with electoral advertising regulations. Source: Supplied

According to the New South Wales Electoral Commission, all campaign materials must contain “show the name and address of the person authorising the advertisement, and the name and place of business of the printer”.

The letter believed to be specifically targeted at Chinese residents and homeowners in Lidcombe, Berala and Regents Park as part of the Regents Park ward does not contain any offensive or defamatory content.

In an email seen by The Typewriter, Huang’s letters’ lack of compliance with the Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912 and the Local Government Act 1993 has resulted in the Electoral Commission demanding its withdrawal from circulation.

Pre-poll station in Auburn for the Cumberland Council elections. Picture: Roydon Ng

Campaign materials distributed without the name and address of the person authorising the advertisement and the name and place of business of the printer are prohibited by the Electoral Commission to prevent anonymously sourced malicious and defamatory statements being directed at candidates.

The Liberal Party confirmed to the The Typewriter that the Regents Park campaign was not managed from head office with local candidates publishing their own election materials. 

“The Party is referring this matter to the NSW Electoral Commission, and will await the Commission’s advice”, said Ian Zakon, spokesman for the Liberal Party’s New South Wales division.

The Liberal Party’s advertising has also come under scrutiny from Independent candidate for The Battler, Tony Oldfield.

With the Ned Attie, Jonathan Huang and Andy Shi promising a lift for Berala station; Oldfield highlights the opening of the new Berala lift just a week before the advertisement appeared in the Auburn Review newspaper.

In a Facebook post, shared on The Auburn Battler’s page, Oldfield suggested that the Liberal candidates were delusional and out of touch for being unaware of the Berala lift’s opening.

Jonathan Huang did not respond to a request for comment regarding his Chinese letters and the Liberal campaign promise for a Berala lift.

The ballot paper has the Liberal Party placed on the furthest right in Group E. There are three councillors’ seats up for election in each of the five wards in Cumberland Council.

However Huang is not alone in falling foul of Electoral Commission regulations with Independent candidate Can Odabas from the neighbouring South Granville ward also failing to include the name of an authorising person and the place of printing on any of his campaign advertising materials.

Can Odabas flyers (front and back) and advertisement in the Auburn Reviewon 29th August 2017

Other maybe odd offences include the placement of election posters within 6 metres of an entrance to a polling place on election day; and failure to vote in your local government elections on Saturday 9th September.

Keep a lookout for the proper authorisation and printing details on campaigns materials this election season and if something doesn’t match up contact the NSW Electoral Commission.

Written by Jessica Guttridge at The Typewriter. Edited by Roydon Ng

Roydon Ng is a freelance journalist, blogger and web designer based from Sydney, Australia.

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