Signs of persuasion, and complaint

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Signs of discontent: Flinders MP, Greg Hunt, above, at the corner of Loders and Godings roads, Moorooduc, is seeking re-election while the left-wing lobby group GetUp has him in its sights, centre, and independent Julia Banks can see herself up a tree in Purves Road, Arthurs Seat.

LOOK at me, look at me. Vote for me. Posters with pictures of would be members of parliament (or those already elected and wanting to keep their jobs) are popping up all over the place.

They’re on fences, trees, shop windows, front yards and on trailers pulled through busy shopping centres.

There’s nothing new about the political poster, just as there’s nothing new about them derided (or defaced) by supporters of another candidate or party.

Earlier this month signs promoting a vote for independent Flinders candidate Julia Banks were placed on the nature strip outside The Bays Hospital, Mornington, while the electorate’s current representative, Greg Hunt, was just metres away inside the hospital grounds explaining how taxpayers’ money would be used to expand the hospital’s services.

Inspired or cheeky? No doubt the answer to that question depends on your political persuasion.

Mornington Peninsula Shire took a dim view, ordering the signs be removed.

The shire’s environment protection manager John Rankine said signs “advertising a political candidate on the nature strip near The Bays Hospital were reported to the shire”.

“The person who placed the signs was asked to remove them and to contact council to discuss placing them properly,” he said.

Mr Rankine provided a list of “provisions that apply to A-frame signage as set out in the Signage Policy in Section C Movable Advertising Signage (General)”, which include a $100 fine.

Ms Banks has told The News that it was “not her people” who removed the sign.

Last week John Parrent wrote to Mr Rankine about there appearing to be “one interpretation of council by-laws for Julia Banks and a difference interpretation for other candidates, including but not limited to, Greg Hunt”.

Mr Parrent, a member of the Liberal party’s Central Peninsula branch, said he wanted “a level playing field” when it came to the displaying of political signs. He supplied photographs of signs for Ms Banks attached to trees around the Arthurs Seat area.

He said the shire’s by-laws “clearly state the political signs are not to be attached to any trees be they on the road side or on trees in private property”.

Mr Parrent said Cr Antonella Celi had “requested” him to refer the signs to Mr Rankine. “Please help me understand why Julia Banks appears to have impunity to prosecution to breaking the local by-laws and other members of the community who respect the local by-laws, are unable to display their support to their candidate of choice in a similar manner that the MPSC is turning a blind eye to for Julia Banks,” he stated in his letter to Mr Rankine.

“Perception is reality and the current perception is that the MPSC is actively supporting Julia Banks by allowing this illegal breach of local by-laws to continue.”

Meanwhile, the left-leaning lobby group GetUp has emailed supporters on the peninsula asking them to display “action on climate change” signs on their front fences.

Mr Hunt is one of the politicians being targeted by GetUp.

“Our polling shows that, like never before, the seat of Flinders is sitting on a knife-edge,” GetUp’s email states.

“Having a yard sign is an easy and powerful way to help persuade voters in Flinders to put climate first when they head to the ballot box this election.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 30 April 2019

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