The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has expanded its Federal Court lawsuit against former MP Craig Kelly over signs put up in the Sydney electorate of Hughes before the March election. Kelly now faces civil penalties.
Former MP Craig Kelly speaking at UAP pre-election rally (image: YouTube)
“Mr Kelly breached electoral law by failing to include his name and address on the UAP signs or neglecting to include these details in a way that was reasonably prominent and legible,” the AEC told Federal Court, according to a report by news agency Australian Associated Press (AAP).
Election posters in Australia are required to include the name and address of the party and the name of the person who authorised the displays.
AAP said that in new documents filed with the Federal Court, the AEC wrote:
"Particulars on electoral communications are important for the promotion of free and informed voting at elections. They enhance transparency in the federal electoral system, accountability of those participating in election campaigns for their communications and the integrity of the electoral system.
"Persons who saw [Kelly’s] posters in the community would not be able to read the particulars required by the Electoral Act without carefully scrutinising the signs at a very short distance, or at all.
"The harm suffered by reason of Craig Kelly's conduct is in the nature of a public harm, namely that the rules for transparent and accountable electoral campaigning were not adhered to.”
The AEC tried but failed to obtain court orders forcing Kelly to remove the defective signage in the days before the election, according to AAP.
The AEC is now seeking civil penalties and legal costs from Kelly.