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LNP court appeal is bad sign of political times

SIGN CITY: Election signs will litter city if LNP court challenge gets up, warns Cr Paul Tully.
SIGN CITY: Election signs will litter city if LNP court challenge gets up, warns Cr Paul Tully. Warren Lynam

IPSWICH is in danger of becoming "a shanty town" with thousands of election signs proliferating on public property throughout the city.

That is the warning from Cr Paul Tully about the possible ramifications of the LNP launching what he called "a landmark legal challenge in the Queensland Supreme Court" in a bid to overturn the long-standing local laws that regulate the placement of election signs.

Cr Tully said the application had been made by the LNP state director Brad Henderson, who was claiming controls on election signage breached the Australian Constitution's implied right of political free speech.

While the legal action was against Ipswich City Council, Cr Tully said the decision would have ramifications for the 560 councils across Australia.

If successful, he said political parties and candidates would be free to erect signs across all cities.

"They could be put up at any time with no controls at all," he said.

"It would lead to shanty towns across Australia with tens of thousands of signs.

"They would be up and down roads and railway fences."

Cr Tully said Ipswich had "one of the most-flexible election local laws in Queensland".

"Our rules are very simple. There is no limit on the number of signs or the size of signs in Ipswich for each candidate.

"You don't need a licence for each sign. All you need is a bond to guarantee removal.

"You can't put election signs on public land in Ipswich. So you can't put them on footpaths, parks or median strips but you can anywhere on private property, as long as you have the owner's consent."

Cr Tully said that the Supreme Court ruled on the legal validity of election signage laws in the 2004 case of Moule v Cambooya Shire Council where a councillor tried unsuccessfully to overturn the local law.

He said the LNP was desperate to prop itself up before the 2015 election with its "challenge to long-standing and well-accepted local laws".

Topics:  editors picks, election signs, paul tully, queensland supreme court



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