Libs fined for local attack ads

March 27, 2024 7:52 am in by
The ads appeared in the Geelong Advertiser and Times News Group papers in May 2022.

Political advertisements bolstering Liberal candidate Stephanie Asher in her failed bid for the seat of Corangamite have prompted a $40,000 fine.

The federal court and Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) found the ads printed in the Geelong Advertiser in the lead up to the 2022 federal election failed to disclose who was behind them.

One ad attacking Labor and party candidate for Corangamite Libby Coker featured a front page story from the paper several days before in May, days out from the election.

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It and another how to vote advertisement for Ms Asher, then on leave from her roll as Geelong Council mayor, were each found to have barely decipherable attributions of who’d placed them in the paper.

They had been authorised by Sam McQuestin, the former state director of the Victorian Liberal party, but the tiny font and non-contrasting colours used at the bottom of the ads did not comply with AEC guidelines that they be clearly readable.

Mr McQuestin was issued with the fine, but the state Liberal party looks likely to pick up the bill.

The how-to-vote ad for Ms Asher that contravened electoral laws also appeared in various editions of Times News Groups papers, that publishes four mastheads within the Corangamite electorate.