Morton slams sign backflip

Federal MP Ben Morton doesn’t want to add to election sign clutter around Melville but the rule change means he’ll be disadvantage if he doesn’t.

TANGNEY Liberal MP Ben Morton is unhappy that election candidates no longer need a council permit to put up campaign signs in public places in Melville.

Mr Morton said the city removed the need for a permit a few weeks out from a federal election without consulting the community or political candidates, and the change had not come before full council for a vote.

Mr Morton says he doesn’t want to add to the existing clutter around parks and public areas, but if he didn’t put up election signs his rivals would have an unfair advantage.

“Just because other councils allow election signage on public land does not mean that Melville should follow suit, particularly with no community consultation,” Mr Morton said.

“The existing rules effectively prevent election signage from being placed all over public land as an individual permit application is required. 

“We live in a beautiful part of the world, and yes, at election time residents can display signs supporting a candidate of their choice, but they do so on their own property,” he said. 

“This decision should not have been made – it can and should be rescinded. 

“Proper consultation should follow and I’ll be strongly advocating that temporary election signs have no place cluttering up public open spaces in Melville.” 

Melville council CEO Marten Tieleman says candidates were previously allowed to put signs in public places if they applied for a permit, so the council was simply removing red tape and didn’t feel it was necessary to consult the community.

“The change was to show we were flexible in supporting democratic processes and removing the bureaucracy and red tape surrounding the placement of election signage on verges. 

“Following recent feedback from an elected member that signs that had been placed on the public verges in front of houses outside the adjoining private landowners boundary line were being impounded, the city administration decided to take a practical approach and issue permits, which are provided for under the local law, to all candidates.”

by AMELIE HONEY

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