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Independent Zoe Daniel wins the war of the signs in Goldstein

Victoria’s Supreme Court has ruled that supporters of federal independent candidate Zoe Daniel can put up signs showing their support for the aspiring politician.

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Local Liberal member Tim Wilson has argued that the signs that did not have specific planning permission should not be permitted until the federal election is called. Wilson had urged his supporters to report any of the independent’s signs seen in front of people’s houses or businesses to the local council.

Daniel is standing for the seat of Goldstein that is currently held by Wilson. The seat is considered to be a fairly safe Liberal seat with Wilson enjoying a 7.8% margin, but some polling has suggested the community may get behind the independent at the election. With the support of preferences there is a possibility Daniel could claim the seat.

“It is unlawful to erect signs until the election has been called,” Wilson wrote to his supporters in February. Victoria’s local planning laws state that signs should not be displayed for more than three months, and should be removed within two weeks of an election being held.

After Wilson raised publicly raised the issue Bayside City Council declared that while the federal election is expected to be held in May, Wilson had pointed out that there was the unlikely possibility that the government could hold a split election, conducting a poll for the senate in May, while a sperate poll for the House of Representatives could be delayed until as late as October.

The council wrote to many of Daniel’s supporters informing them they could face a fine unless they took their political signage down. Daniel accused the counil of backflipping on the advice they had previously supplied, while Wilson welcomed their decision.

“We’ve always obeyed this law. All candidates should show integrity & do the same.” Wilson posted to Twitter on 25th February.

Daniel’s campaign took the council to the Supreme Court and won. Today Justice Dixon ruled the council was wrong, and that election signs could be displayed.

“Bayside is not entitled to maintain that the sign cannot be put up for display until the election is called,” he wrote in his judgement, while ordering the council to pay Daniel’s legal costs as well.

“I’m pleased to have clarity from the Supreme Court confirming that our signs are legal. Our supporters can now feel free to keep their signs up, and put their signs up, without fear of being fined.” Zoe Daniel said after the decision was announced.

Tim Wilson also welcomed the ruling saying he’d only ever been interested in consistency.

“We have only ever wanted a consistent council rule that applies to all candidates equally, and now we have one we can get on with erecting our signs in the coming weeks,” Wilson said.

The saga has been seen as a political ‘own goal’ for Wilson who has dramatically increasing awareness of Daniel’s campaign through the action, and left rate payers with the council’s hefty legal bill.

OIP Staff


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