Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I love my yellow jacket, and I wear it all the time

Rodney Hide was pissed off with Andy Moore when he referred Hide's yellow jacket with the ACT logo to the Electoral Commission to see if it breached the Electoral Finance Act. The Electoral Commission decided that it the jacket breached the Act as the logo on the jacket didnt display a promoter statement. So Hide put a promoter statement inside his jacket and the Electoral Commission decided that this statement was not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Electoral Finance Act because it wasn't visible. The Commission referred the matter to the police because it considered there was public interest in doing so.

The Commission considered that the logo on Hide's jacket contravened sections 63(2)(a) and 65(1)(b) of the Electoral Finance Act by failure to display a promoter statement, and contravention of 65(1)(a) by failure to obtain written authorisation from the party financial agent, amounting to offences under sections 63(4) and 65(4) of the Act.

But S68 (1) of the EFA says that no payment must be made to any elector on the account of the exhibition of any election advertisement. Hide bought the jacket for $1100 as an election advertisement according to the Electoral Commission, (meaning that he brought it to provide something to tack an ACT slogan onto) and according to S68(2), this means both Hide and possibly the person who made Hide the jacket could be guilty of an illegal practice due to the payment made.

Oops. The Electoral Commission missed that one. It is the jacket that is in breach, not the logo on that jacket.

Where I think the Commission has erred is that in its decision it says that Hide's jacket also breaches the Act because the promoter statement was not visible. That wasn't the reason the statement breached the Act. According to 63(2)(a) and 65(1)(b) of the Act, the sections deemed a breach, the promoter statement does not have to be visible, just "contained". And the statement was later "contained" on the jacket. Given that the decision stated that the commission hadn't even viewed the promoter statement, how can it then officially deem it a breach of this section? The statement actually breached the EFA because it did not have Nick Kearneys address. The statement read authorised by Nick Kearney ... as required by Helen.

So if the police agree with the commission, and prosecute, it will mean that Rodney Hide, in wearing his jacket in a public place, is committing an act that is more criminal than parental smacking of a child. The Children's Commissioner would be horrified.

correction: To be precise, according to the Electoral Commission, the jacket is not in breach, just the graphics - even though the jacket was bought with the express purpose of using it to promote the graphics and logo. Makes you wonder how the Electoral Commission will adjudicate on this election advertisement as, like a balloon, the logo is part and parcel of it, not added on at a later date as was Hides.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've completely misinterpreted s 68. It's not about making election advertisements, but displaying them. If Hide paid someone else to wear the jacket, then there'd be an issue under s 68.

It is the jacket that is in breach, not the logo on that jacket.

No it's the logo (and slogan!), not the jacket. If there's an election advertisement in a newspaper it's the advertisement that is in breach, not the whole newspaper. The logo (and slogan!) is the advertisement, the jacket is akin to the newspaper.

December 4, 2008 at 12:27 AM  
Blogger Swimming said...

Interestingly though, if a book published an advertisement or other words or graphics that was deemed to be indecent, the while publication would be banned, not just the offending advertisement, even if the rest of the publication was deemed ok.

Hides jacket would be in breach if he had an indecent graphic on it, but strange that his jacket is not in breach of electoral laws - but its just the graphic that is in breach, purely because it was visible on the jacket. And if a graphic is part of a t-shirt - like a Green party logo printed on a T-shirt, how can you state that the logo is the offending matter when it is inseperable from the t-shirt. You cant wear the t-shirt without the logo. Would that be why any complaint on a Act or Green party t-shirt with a big slogan would never be upheld?

December 4, 2008 at 1:30 AM  
Blogger Swimming said...

You've completely misinterpreted s 68.
Unlike yourself, IANAL, but I would have thought that buying a jacket for the express purpose of putting an election advertisement on it could be considered payment "on account of the exhibition of... any election advertisement".

December 4, 2008 at 1:59 AM  
Blogger Just my opinion said...

It will be interesting if they look at the Green MP and her Green swimsuit.

If Rodney or anybody else gets charged for this the complainant had better do some long term grovelling or even contribute to the costs.

December 4, 2008 at 6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong Dave.

Mr Hide purchasing the jacket is no different to ordering a quantity of advertising leaflets. Yes money is going to an elector, but for the purchase of goods. This is not in contravention of the Act.

December 4, 2008 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Swimming said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 4, 2008 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Swimming said...

Wrong Anon.

I knew I was stretching things there:-) but Hide purchasing the jacket is slightly different to ordering advertising leaflets in that Hide had a choice whether or not to put advertising on his jacket whereas the leaflet - like a T-shirt - already has the advertising on it when purchased. In other words it was purchased because of the advertising on it whereas Hides jacket wasn't.

December 4, 2008 at 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong Dave.

The tailor that made Hide's jacket also put the logo on.

It was not an afterthought by Hide or the party.

December 4, 2008 at 9:59 AM  

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