Liberal party official admits Gladys Liu’s posters designed to confuse voters

A Liberal party official has admitted that chinese language posters used in the campaign for Gladys Liu were designed to look like a message from the Australian Electoral Commission.

The Liberal party member won the seat of Chisholm with just 1000 votes in her favour, during the campaign it was highlighted that Liu was a staunch opponent of marriage equality and had previously made dubious comments about the LGBTIQ+ communities.

The advertisements were written in the same colours and the Australian Electoral Commision and stated that the “right way” to vote, was to vote for the Liberal candidate. No party logos appeared on the posters and it is being argued that the signs deceived impressionable voters.

“The right way to vote on the green ballot paper – fill in 1 next to the candidate of the Liberal Party and fill in the numbers from smallest to largest in the rest of the boxes,” the signs stated.

Court papers showed that some versions of the signs, that were used a pre-polling stations and on election day, used slightly different language including a statement that putting the Liberals first was “the correct way to vote”.

Liu’s election win, and that of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who is in the neighbouring electorate of Kooyong, is now being challenged in the Court of Disputed Returns.

At a directions hearing today, the court heard the signs were authorised by the Liberal Party and the party’s then-acting Victorian director, Simon Frost.

Frost admitted the signs did not have Liberal party logos, and were in the colours white and purple, like the colour scheme used by the AEC. He told the court that language on some of the signs did not match what he had approved.

The action has been brought on by the unsuccessful independent candidate for Kooyong, Oliver Yates, and Chisholm voter Vanessa Garbett.

In Liu’s seat of Chisholm 25% of the population speak Mandarin or Cantonese. The case is asking the court to rule that the election of both Frydenberg and Liu was not valid.

Since being elected Liu has faced a series of embarrassing incidents including revelations she is a member of several organisations close to the Chinese government. At first the politicians denied she was a member of the group, only to admit she was 24 hours later. One of the organisations she had been a member of for 12 years.

Liu was also forced to cancel an $80 a head fundraising event in her electorate office because it against the rules.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given Liu his strongest support and declared criticism of her election and behaviour is unwarranted.

This week it was revealed by The Australian that Liu had donated $100,000 of her own money to her campaign in the final days of the election.

While it is not against the rules for politicians to donate to their own campaigns, it is unusual, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull donated $1 million the liberal party during the previous election.

Speaking on Sky News yesterday political commentator Peta Credlin said it was surprising that Liu had donated so much money to her own campaign when she had only had a “modest career” before entering politics.

A spokesperson for the Liberal party said they had complied with all reporting requirements.

“Any financial support ­provided to the Chisholm campaign will be declared in the usual way. Ms Liu and the Chisholm campaign are compliant with all donations laws,’’ the spokesman said.

“Any support provided by Ms Liu to the Chisholm campaign was done so in her own personal ­capacity.’’

The Australian Electoral Commission is expected to report on donations during the election in February 2020.

OIP Staff

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