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05 December 2014

LNP makes landmark legal challenge to election signage laws

Media Release: LNP makes landmark legal challenge to election signage laws

Media Release - Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully

The LNP has launched a landmark legal challenge in the Queensland Supreme Court in a bid to overturn long-standing local laws which regulate the placement of election signs.

The application has been made by the LNP state director Brad Henderson claiming controls on election signage breach the Australian Constitution’s implied right of political free speech.

The legal action is against the Ipswich City Council but the decision will have ramifications for the 560 councils across Australia.

It is likely the case will be heard in the Supreme Court in February before the upcoming state election.

The commonwealth and state attorneys-general are being formally notified of the challenge to enable them to join the legal action which could end up in the High Court.

If successful, controls on election signage by state governments and councils would disappear with political parties and candidates free to erect signs across all cities and shires.

Ipswich currently has one of the most-flexible election local laws in Queensland with no limits on the size or number of elections signs for each candidate provided they are erected on private property.

Long-serving Ipswich councillor Paul Tully slammed the move by the LNP which he said would turn cities and shires across Australia into “shanty-towns” littered with thousands of uncontrolled election signs.

Cr Tully said the Supreme Court ruled on the legal validity of election signage laws in the 2004 case of Moule v Cambooya Shire Council where a councillor tried unsuccessfully to overturn the local law.

Cr Tully said the LNP was desperate to prop itself up before the 2015 election with its challenge to long-standing and well-accepted local laws.

“The LNP has a history of simply ignoring local laws and now they are making spurious claims their right of free speech is somehow being restricted.”

Cr Tully said the LNP was concentrating on a sideshow instead of the main event for the next election.

“This is nothing but desperate tactics by a desperate party clinging to power by a burning rope if the latest polls prove correct next March,” Cr Tully said.

Moule v Cambooya Shire Council [2004] QLD Supreme Court – http://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2004/QSC04-050.pdf

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