May 8 - 14, 2022: Issue 537


Fake-illegal corflutes posted all over Mackellar - Warringah Electorates + grass roots liberal party members Overruled + an invisible one nation candidate + biased news reports + Malcolm Turnbull's address in the US 

Dr Sophie Scamps and MP for Warringah Zali Steggall at Forestville Lifeline Book Fair in April. Photo: Dr. Sophie Scamps FB page.
The 2022 Federal Election took an insidious turn on Thursday evening/Friday morning May 5th/6th as fake and illegal corflutes were placed on light poles in Mackellar, displaying a contempt for the local community and a clear disregard for democratic processes. The following corflute was seen attached to an electric pole on the corner of Barrenjoey and Careel Head roads, north Avalon:

The fake corflutes also appeared in the seats of Warringah and Hughes, similarly targeting Independent Candidates in those seats.

These are clearly trying to make it look as though these candidatures are associated with each other. They have since been taken down from everywhere they were placed, by human hands, right along the main Barrenjoey and Pittwater roads. 

A well-organised and well-funded disinformation campaign is clearly in action and although those Independents targeted and The Greens have been quick to point to the Liberal party as 'those who done the dirty deeds', there are also members of Clive Palmer's well-funded United Australia Party standing in these seats, while others have pointed to well-heeled lobby group Advance Australia, which is also attacking anything that is not the Liberal Party. 

Four to five men were seen putting up the fake corflutes.

Dr Sophie Scamps, Independent for Mackellar in the 2022 Federal Elections has stated on her social media pages;

''Mackellar woke up this morning to more dirty tricks from Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party. Misleading and unauthorised posters have been put up throughout our electorate in clear violation of Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) laws.

This has been distressing and upsetting to many of our campaign volunteers and supporters, and is one of the reasons I am backing Zali Steggall’s Stop the Lies Bill, which would outlaw lies in political advertising.

This is the type of action that occurs when Scott Morrison refuses to set high standards. I believe this is also the result of a sustained misinformation campaign from Jason Falinski throughout this election. 

It is clear this was a well-coordinated and well-resourced attack, and it is incumbent on Jason Falinski to take responsibility and condemn this type of deceitful campaign tactic.

When you don’t have a track record you can stand on or a vision for the future, this is the type of dirty tactic you have to rely on.

I have been running a positive campaign and all of our 1,100 volunteers sign and agree to a code of conduct. Instead of wasting our time dealing with illegal attacks on property, I want to focus on listening to the people of Mackellar and representing them on the issues that matter most - climate change, the establishment of a federal anti-corruption commission, improved health and mental health services and acting on cost of living pressures.''

Ms Steggall has stated;

''As predicted, the dirty tricks are coming out. 

Misleading unauthorised posters have been put up around Warringah overnight. These have been reported. 

This goes to the Liberals and Scott Morrison refusing to stop lies in political advertising. But our community is no fool and there have been numerous reports to the AEC regarding this and a misinformation email. 

I am committed to cleaning up political advertising and will re-introduce my “Stop the Lies bill” to the next Parliament.''

The Greens Northern Beaches have said;

''We are not responsible for this. This is clearly a ploy by the Liberals or their supporters.

This sort of grubby tactic is designed to cast both Dr Scamps and The Greens in a bad light. We wholeheartedly reject it and call on those involved to 'fess up before their identity is otherwise revealed. We have also reported this to the AEC.''

On Friday May 6th the Greens Northern Beaches posted this via their Twitter feed ''For reference, the corflute at the back is one of ours (Greens)'':

The fake corflutes also appeared on the same day/night in the seat of Hughes, this time targeting Independent candidate Georgia Steele, although another Independent is also standing. The 2022 candidates for Hughes are: WARE Jenny, Liberal; THOMPSON Pete, The Greens; STEELE Georgia, Independent; KELLY Craig, United Australia Party; SEYMOUR Narelle, Pauline Hanson's One Nation; SEYMOUR Linda, Independent and CAMPBELL Riley, Labor. 

Georgia Steele, Independent for Hughes, has stated; 

''We predicted attacks. We knew that if they came, we were doing something right. 

Last night, our corflutes were shredded and stolen, and fake ones were installed in their place. Telephone booths were spray painted too. These materials were paid for with community donations and they are completely destroyed, from Waterfall to Wattle Grove.

And we weren't the only electorate. Warringah's Independent Zali Steggall was targeted too, as was Dr. Sophie Scamps in Mackellar.

People have had enough of political games. We want real action on the issues that matter to us and we're tired of the juvenile tricks being played by cowards in the night. The people of Hughes don't deserve to be played for fools. And if you try, well, we're the kind of team to be galvanised by it and keep on keepin' on.

We are running a positive campaign powered by the community. We won't be swayed by bullies. Thank you to our incredible volunteers who woke at the crack of dawn to clean up the rubbish left by vandals, remove the fake corflutes, and replace them with authorised material. We are fighting dirty politics with integrity, and we are proud of it.

Not long now, Hughes.''

Incumbent MP Jason Falinski has not condemned the fake corflutes. Mr. Falinski chose to re-share a post from the Northern Beaches Liberals post via Facebook about tags a group called votejasonout has been placing in the electorate, stating Independent Sophie Scamps, is responsible for the tags/vandalism:

Mr. Falinski, alike the Independents and Greens, is also posting about his campaign materials being vandalised, reiterating the independents are responsible - this one from May 4th:

A Statement from Mr. Falinski’s team does not condemn the illegal corflutes either. This reads:

''As per the NSW Liberal party statement, we have no prior knowledge or involvement in these actions [hanging up illegal posters]. Anyone who says otherwise needs to show proof. The best way to beat Climate 200 is for people to know the truth. They’ll keep taking the low road, while we keep taking the high road. Ever since the Climate 200 candidate announced their candidacy in Mackellar, people on the Northern Beaches have been subjected to ever increasing amounts of political vandalism, graffiti, horrid abuse that has culminated with one of their volunteers being charged with assault.''

No statement from either the NSW or Australian Liberal party has been published on their official websites regarding the fake and illegal corflutes. 

The repeated reference to a volunteer being charged with assault is that of a volunteer for one of the independents when a 66-year-old was accused of yelling at and behaving aggressively towards Ms Katherine Deves’s volunteer at a Liberal party event at Forestville RSL on Friday April 22nd. 

“I am 66. It’s the first time I’ve actually been thrown out of any venue that serves alcohol in my life,” the man was heard saying; “My son works in mental health. He’s 29. He works with kids 12 to 25 and he said ‘this just caused a sh*t storm for us’. It’s upsetting everyone. And to compare them with the f**king Nazis for Christ’s sakes. She is a disgrace.”

The man was a volunteer for an independent candidate in Mackellar but is no longer in the role. A police spokeswoman said the man was issued with a court attendance notice for the offence of common assault.  “The man was escorted from the premises,” she told NCA NewsWire. He will appear at Manly Local Court on May 25.

Grass Roots Liberal Party Members Overruled

Warringah candidate Katherine Deves has been the focus of criticism over a series of now-deleted comments about transgender people which the man arrested referred to. Ms Deves had sought to avoid journalists at the “politics in the pub” event. A staff member at the RSL said they had been instructed by the Liberal Party not to let media in.

Ms Deves was one of several candidates hand-picked by a Liberal Party executive consisting of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and former federal Liberal Party president Chris McDiven. That committee was appointed by the Liberal federal executive in lieu of the normal process that sees grassroots NSW Liberal members make the decisions about who their candidate will be. The state executive had previously suggested selections could not be made in a timely manner because Alex Hawke, who is the Prime Minister's representative on the vetting committee, was running down the clock by not attending meetings to review candidates. NSW Liberal Senator The Hon. Concetta Anna Fierravanti-Wells reiterated Mr. Hawke's non-attendance in an Address to the Senate on budget night.

In a media release published on April 2nd, 2022 by the Australian Liberal Party it is stated that:

The Committee appointed to take over the management of the NSW Division, in accordance with clause 12.3 of the Federal Constitution of the Liberal Party, has selected and endorsed candidates for a number of electorates.

Dr Jerry Nockles has been selected and endorsed as the Liberal Party candidate for Eden-Monaro.

Courtney Nguyen has been selected and endorsed as the Liberal Party candidate for Fowler.

Wenjie Zhang has been selected and endorsed as the Liberal Party candidate for Grayndler.

Pradeep Pathi has been selected and endorsed as the Liberal Party candidate for Greenway.

Jenny Ware has been selected and endorsed as the Liberal Party candidate for Hughes.

Vivek Singha has been selected and endorsed as the Liberal Party candidate for McMahon.

Katrina Wark has been selected and endorsed as the Liberal Party candidate for Newcastle.

Maria Kovacic has been selected and endorsed as the Liberal Party candidate for Parramatta.

Katherine Deves has been selected and endorsed as the Liberal Party candidate for Warringah.

The term of appointment for the Committee of Management concludes today at 6.00 pm.

A Morrison committee also selected Trent Zimmerman for North Sydney, Alex Hawke for Mitchell and Sussan Ley for Farrer.

A court case about whether the federal executive can take control off the rank-and-file members was brought by state executive member Matthew Camenzuli, who in March 2022 won a separate legal action against Mr Hawke that effectively shut out the Prime Minister from making the selections. Matthew Camenzuli was then expelled from the Liberal Party. On April 4th the NSW Court of Appeal dismissed a claim that preselections of 12 Liberal candidates by the Prime Minister, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and former president of the federal Liberal Party Christine McDiven were invalid. 

Judges John Basten, Mark Leeming and Anthony Payne ruled the court had no jurisdiction to make decisions relating to the constitutions of political parties; "The public interest in the operation of major political parties does not justify judicial intervention in internal party disputes generally," the judges wrote in their judgment. 

The autocratic approach has seen long-loyal Liberal party members either leave the party or state they will not help the campaign of the candidate chosen for their electorate. This week Fred Chaney, the former deputy leader of the federal Liberal Party, has stated he can no longer vote for the party he "proudly joined" in 1958.

Mr Chaney chose a column in The Sydney Morning Herald to say "The party I served has lost its way. Members are no longer able to successfully execute what the electorate demands and it is now in the sad position of being held hostage by its extremes and those of its Coalition partner."

NSW Liberal Senator The Hon. Concetta Anna Fierravanti-Wells, in a speech to the Senate on budget night accused Mr Morrison and Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, a factional ally, of corrupting the party's New South Wales division.

"There is a very appropriate saying here, the fish stinks from the head," she said. "Morrison and Hawke have ruined the Liberal Party in New South Wales by trampling its constitution."

Senator Fierravanti-Wells described her demotion in preselection as "dodgy" and accused Mr Morrison of having a hand in various political manoeuvres within the party over decades citing Michael Towke's bid for the seat of Cook in 2007 as one such instance. Mr. Towke won the ballot in the first round with 84 votes, Mr. Morrison got just eight votes.

On the same day the illegal corflutes appeared in Mackellar and Warringah, as well as in the electorate of Hughes, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was giving an address to the Harvard Club of Washington DC which reflects on the rise of independents this election and why members of Liberal Party branches may choose to vote for them instead of those candidates chosen for them. This reads, in full,:

Speech To The Harvard Club Of Washington DC
The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull AC
29th Prime Minister Of Australia

In less than three weeks Australians vote in parliamentary elections - all of the 151 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 of the 76  seats in the Senate are up for election. The next government will be formed by whomever is able to secure the support, at least in votes of confidence and supply,  of a majority of the members of the House.

While that contest is of vital importance to Australians, in many ways the most consequential political struggles, for all of us who believe in democracy, are being fought in this country, and in particular in this city of Washington.

The United States is not the largest democracy in the world, that of course is India, but it is the most consequential. If democracy were to fail here, if the attempted coup on January 6 2021 had been successful, the impact would be felt right around the world - every democracy would be diminished and every dictator, and wannabe dictator, made stronger.

The two leading authoritarian regimes, those of China and Russia, both contend that the United States and its western partners are decadent, decaying not just because of profound internal divisions but because there is no longer a common commitment or trust in the institutions of democracy. 

Chinese leaders for years have pointed to the inefficiencies of democracy, to the elevation of apparently unqualified people to the highest office - a community organiser followed by a reality TV star, whom they compare to their legions of engineers and other technocrats all with years of experience in government.

As the Governor of Liaoning said to me more nearly thirty years ago in Shenyang “Just because the majority of the people want to do something, doesn't mean it is right.” 

To which we would always reply that parliamentary democracy is the worst form of government, until you compare it to the alternatives.  

Let us remind ourselves, that if we love freedom, if we prefer democracy to tyranny, we will have to defend it. We have repair it when it is found wanting, we will have to make it work when it is dysfunctional, and we will have to call out those who are seeking to undermine it.

Talking with people in this city - in the administration, in the media, on the Hill - there is remarkable agreement on what has gone wrong. Hyper partisan mainstream media, particularly Fox News, has legitimised the type of crazy fact free, conspiracy laden content that used to be preserve of social media alone. One congressman said to me last week “Fox is the toxic background music to everything we do.” 

Increasingly people are living in a media echo-system that confirms their prejudices, fires up their anxieties and creates an environment in which they can, for example, sincerely believe that Joe Biden stole the last Presidential election or that the government is controlled by a cabal of child abusers.

We are seeing more and more examples of right wing media working with right wing populist politics in a symbiotic political ecosystem - Fox News and the Republican Party being the best known example.

While Russian missiles were raining down on apartment buildings and schools in Ukraine, Fox News personalities were busy promoting pro-Kremlin talking points.  Tucker Carlson went further and passionately defended President Putin. 

A few years ago, many of us would have shrugged, evoked Voltaire, and reassured ourselves that truth will prevail in the marketplace of ideas. We are learning that merely elevating truthful content will not be enough to change our current course. 

We are drowning in lies. 

Many of you may have seen the New York Times’ excellent features on Mr Carlson whose top rating show on Fox News embodies so much of what is damaging American democracy. But I wonder how many of the New York Times readers were familiar with the full gamut of his extravagant conspiracy theories before they read about in the Times?

Twenty years ago, most media for commercial reasons sought to acquire the broadest possible audience. The cost of production was high and you needed a lot of eyeballs to justify the prices you charged your advertisers. As a consequence most of us relied upon the same outlets for news and information which, while it may have leaned left or right in its opinion pages, more or less covered the news as it happened.

Today the cost of producing and distributing news and information is lower than ever - any smart phone has more recording and broadcasting capability than a 1990s television news crew. 

The Internet, and not just social media, has made narrowcasting very profitable. Social media has meant that much, if not most, of the content viewed online is not curated by an editor or director - a tweet, a facebook post or a tiktok generated by any user can potentially reach millions, if not billions.

And so the consequence of all of this is that we are increasingly living in almost hermetically sealed information bubbles - far from creating a digital commons where citizens can debate and share opinions, we are seeing digital echo chambers some of which are untethered to reality.

If lying and disinformation are at the heart of it, surely the truth is the antidote. But what if many people actually want to be lied to? How else can you explain why only 21% of registered republicans believe Biden was legitimately elected?  Or what if they have become so persuaded that everyone in authority is a liar and nobody can be trusted, that they no longer care?

Australia has not been immune to this. Rupert Murdoch has the largest voice in Australia’s media. His outlets, to differing extents, have gone down the same populist partisan track as Fox News. Sky News Australia is the local Murdoch owned subscription television service and has essentially the same model as Fox. 

You may recall that during the massive bushfires two years ago the Murdoch media were claiming, in Australia and here in the US, that the fires were not a consequence of global warming, but rather of arsonists…This was quickly debunked by the head of the NSW firefighting agency and in fact less than 1% of the land burnt could be attributed to arson.

Now, while both here and in Australia we struggle with solutions to these problems of media misinformation which are consistent with freedom of speech, I thought it would be useful for me to talk about some of the less well known  features of Australian  democracy that add stability and to some extent offset the increasingly crazy media landscape.

The right to vote

Australians do trust their electoral system. Just a few weeks ago Australia recorded the biggest single day of enrolments in its history, 96% of the eligible population is enrolled to vote. 

It is fundamental to our conception of democracy that everyone over the age of 18 should be on the electoral roll and that they should vote. More importantly we do everything we can to make it easy to vote. There are two weeks of pre poll voting, postal voting is widely available and polling day itself is on a Saturday so that most people do not have to take time off work. 

Compulsory voting

Australia is also one of only 19 nations to make it compulsory to enrol and to vote.

We are genuinely appalled that so many people in the American political system regard it as legitimate to try to game the system to prevent one group of people or another from exercising their democratic right to vote.

I might note that Australians are prone to vote even if it is not compulsory. In 2017 my government held a nation wide voluntary postal ballot on the question of legalising same sex marriage. The participation rate was just under 80% and the Yes vote was 62%.


In Australia the responsibility for drawing federal electorate boundaries lies with the federal government and that is the responsibility of an independent electoral commission. As a consequence, while candidates and parties may complain (and formally appeal) over redistricting decisions, there are no claims of gerrymandering.

Preferential Voting

Another feature of our electoral system is what we call preferential, or ranked choice, voting. So if there are ten candidates a voter will number boxes next to their names 1 -10. If no candidate achieves a simple majority of first preference votes, the last ranking candidate’s preferences are distributed until one candidate has a majority of all votes cast. 

This means nobody’s vote is wasted and that the winner will not simply be somebody who has a plurality of votes - more than anyone else - but someone who has been chosen by a majority of voters (albeit in some cases as a second or third choice).

To give you an example - imagine an electorate with 4 candidates who respectively get 35%, 30%, 25% and 10% of the primary votes. In a first past the post system the candidate with 35% will win. But in our system, to make it simple, if all of the preferences from the third and fourth finishing candidates went to the second, she would win with 65% of what we call the two party preferred vote. 

These electoral rules have some very important consequences.

Everyone gets a say - the most fundamental point.

When political parties can draw their own boundaries they almost invariably make their safe seats safer reducing the number of contestable districts. The consequence of super safe districts is that the election that matters is the primary and so candidates will take extreme positions that appeal to the most partisan in their respective parties.

The combination of independently drawn boundaries and compulsory voting means that more electorates are contestable and because everyone has to vote there is no need to take extreme positions to fire up your political base and get them to turn out. This contributes to a more relaxed atmosphere on polling day - complete with the traditional sausage sizzle. 

Equally a contestable electorate means that if a party does choose to endorse a candidate with extreme views they will be unlikely to hold the seat. So contestability is in everybody’s interests except the incumbents!

Big Tent Parties captured by extremes

In many countries, including Australia and the US, you have a big political party on the centre right and on the centre left. In our country the Labor Party, historically the political wing of the trade union movement, is the main party on the left, and my party, the Liberal Party, is the main one on the right - a misnomer you could say, but its founder, Sir Robert Menzies, was anxious to ensure that the party was not narrowly perceived as a conservative party, like its counterpart in the UK.

Historically these parties were big tents or broad churches with members with a wide range of views, and inevitably that meant that the left of the centre right party often overlapped with the right of the centre left party thus enabling the type of cooperation and compromise that all democratic systems depend on if they are to function effectively.

In recent times however, and especially in the Trump dominated GOP, a big tent party can be hijacked and those who don’t share the views of the dominant faction are either driven out or rendered irrelevant. 

Australia has not been immune to this trend, although not to the same degree as here. My own party called Liberal has in the past been a combination of both the liberal and conservative traditions, but since my deposition in 2018 it is fair to say that the liberal, or moderate, voices have been marginalised and their influence is much diminished and diminishing - especially on the toxically controversial issue of climate change where the political right, supported by Murdoch’s media, have opposed effective action for many years.

So what does a traditional voter for, say, the Liberal Party in Australia or the Republican Party in the US do if they think their party has moved too far to the right? They can vote for the other side - Labor in Australia, Democrats in the US - but that may be a bridge too far. To quote Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, “I don’t really know what the party stands for anymore…I think mentally I feel more like an independent than a Republican.”

In Australia, the existence of preferential voting opens up another option and we are seeing it play out in this election. In a number of hitherto safe Liberal seats, residents have organised to support small “l” liberal independent candidates who are typically progressive on climate and social issues, but more conservative than Labor on economic issues.

If such an independent can get enough primary votes to finish second behind the Liberal incumbent, and if that incumbent’s vote is reduced to around 40% or less then the independent will likely win on the preferences of Labor, the Greens and other independents.

In many respects this may be the most interesting part of the whole election, because if more of these “teal” independents win, it will mean the capture of the Liberal Party will be thwarted by direct, democratic action from voters. People power, you might say.

Of course the big parties’ arguments against independents is always the same - instability, chaos and so on. But in truth, many parliaments, including in Australia, have operated with stability and good effect with major parties requiring the support of independents or minor parties to pass legislation and, in fact, in our Senate that has almost always been the case. Formal coalitions are also very common - the Liberal Party has always been in coalition with the (rurally based) National Party for example.  Political instability invariably comes from internal ructions within the major, governing parties not from independents on the cross benches.

Imagine what it would mean here if traditional Republican voters were able to vote for an independent Republican who better represented their values than Mr Trump’s pick and who could go on to win a district on Democrat preferences.  By direct democratic action, voters could ensure they have, in this case, the centre right representatives that best share the values and political agendas of the majority of the electorate.

In other words, even if the members of a political party cannot escape from the thrall of the dominant faction, their traditional supporters in the electorate can do so by voting for an independent who has a real chance of success.

To conclude, there are clear solutions to the electoral problems I have discussed - and while it is easy to throw reform in this area into the too hard basket, I cannot emphasise enough that just as disaster follows neglecting repair and maintenance of industrial systems, so too does neglect imperil the continuance of our democratic institutions. If January 6 did anything it should have banished complacency.

An Invisible One Nation Candidate

Another aspect of this election is that one of the candidates for Mackellar, standing for Pauline Hanson's One Nation party, has not been seen nor heard nor attended any of the Mackellar Candidates forums being hosted locally. One Nation Mackellar Candidate Darren Dickson's page on the Pauline Hanson’s One Nation website is completely blank:

Pittwater Online News has counted at least a dozen of these invisible candidates, many of whom have no electoral presence in the seats they are contesting and no visible online footprint either. Many also live far away from the seats they are vying to represent. The candidates are standing in electorates based in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

Part of the reason for doing this may be to qualify for electoral funding or capture preferences, although voters are really those in charge of directing preferences. It may be the money that is at stake here. Candidates must win at least 4 per cent of the primary vote to get their deposit back and to be eligible for funding from the electoral commission.

These links are fun and easy to understand on how preferences work: and

So, in that immortal Australian phrase 'come in spinner' - please come in Darren Joseph Dickson - where do you live? what do you look like? are you supporting One Nation 2022 Election policy announcements? do you live in Mackellar or are you still in Queensland? Please contact us via

Pittwater Online's Election 2022 Profiles of Candidates for Mackellar runs Sunday May 15th. 

Image: Kate McCulloch appears beside Pauline Hanson on material for several of the party's candidates, including that for Mackellar.(Pauline Hanson's One Nation)

The Australian Electoral Commission has stated it is investigating the series of doctored posters that appeared overnight, incorrectly showing the names and faces of independent candidates with the Greens logo.

The AEC website also provides information on why it is required that electoral communications need to be authorised:

The objects of the authorisation requirements are to promote free and informed voting at elections by enhancing:

  • the transparency of the electoral system, by allowing voters to know who is communicating electoral matter;
  • the accountability of those persons participating in public debate relating to electoral matter, by making those persons responsible for their communications; and
  • the traceability of communications of electoral matter, by ensuring that obligations imposed by the Electoral Act in relation to those communications can be enforced.

An electoral communication is the communication of ‘electoral matter’:

  • in the form of ‘paid for’ advertisements, including where all or only part of the distribution or production of the advertisement was ‘paid for’;
  • in the form of promotional items, such as stickers, fridge magnets, leaflets, flyers, pamphlets, notices, posters and how-to-vote cards; or
  • by, or on behalf of, a disclosure entity, that is intended to affect voting in a federal election.

The notifying entity is responsible for ensuring an electoral communication has an appropriate authorisation. EG: it must be placed clearly on any materials, including corflutes, who has authorised them.

The Not Impartial News

Those out during the dark hours of night putting up illegal corflutes aren't the only 'dodgy' aspects emerging during the 2022 Federal Election. The ABC's Media Watch, Australia's leading forum of scrutinising local media, this week looked at coverage of the so-called Climate 200 candidates in The Daily Telegraph, The Australian, and on Fox News Australia, finding the vast majority of stories ‘negative’ and that many of these purported 'news services' are little more than, as the program stated 'News Corp cheer squads for the Coalition'. 

Fortunately most of the local news services are not owned by a political party member, nor do they take funding or sponsorship from political parties, or align themselves with any political party's agenda, although most are clearly cashing in on the advertising dollars again this election. 

Vying For Your Postal Votes

Postal votes have also come under scrutiny this election. Residents have contacted Pittwater Online News about receiving a 'Postal Vote' form from the incumbent Liberal members office which was to be ailed back to that same office, some asking how this can be legal and stating this is a form of data mining.

The AEC had received similar queries, stating on April 16th:

AEC issues warning to voters and parties about postal vote applications

The AEC is today re-urging all voters who need a postal vote to only come to the AEC directly - and only if they need one.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said he’d written to political parties and candidates today about their distribution of postal vote applications. 

“It’s legal but it is potentially misleading and we’re concerned,” Mr Rogers said.

“There is a multitude of issues we’re seeing and it’s the number one complaint we’re receiving from Australians with thousands of pieces of correspondence received across social media and more traditional complaint channels in just days.”

“Firstly, the election is an in-person event. People are attending concerts, sporting events and cafes - most voters will come to a polling place so we don’t need the mass distribution of postal votes.”

“We’ve also seen the wrong forms distributed in one division, our colour purple used in a potentially misleading way in another and voters being directed to generically named websites en masse with the potential to mislead. 

“People have a right to know what they’re doing with their personal data. The AEC takes privacy seriously and operates under the Privacy Act, political parties don’t have to.”

“While we haven’t seen unauthorised postal vote applications, the use of colour and wording means someone who doesn’t examine the material in detail could mistake it for a piece of AEC communication.”

“Political parties send postal vote applications to residents every election but the increased variation of channels and wording this election, combined with the environment, is of concern.”

“Our message couldn’t be clearer -  vote in person if you can, apply for a postal vote through us if you need one.”

Votes may apply for a Postal Vote through the AEC website at:

The AEC is also running a disinformation register

That webpage states:

The register below lists prominent pieces of disinformation the AEC has discovered regarding the federal election process. It also provides details of actions the AEC has taken in response.

The AEC is not the arbiter of truth regarding political communication and do not seek to censor political debate in any way. However, when it comes to the election process we conduct, we’re the experts and we’re active in defending Australia’s democracy.

Voters can access the information at:

With only two more weeks until Australia gets to vote Residents hope the range of community events planned to hear from those standing for Mackellar will be focused more on what people wish to know rather than waylaid by what has been witnessed this past week. What has occurred demonstrates an incredible disdain and disrespect for the local community and for the democratic process. In a community that dislikes bullies and liars and will actively move against them, the fake corflutes may backfire on those who think the local populace is so easily deceived.

Pre-poll voting starts in Australia on 9 May 2022. A list of available locations is available on the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website. The AEC also lists all Candidates standing for Mackellar and who will be on the Senate vote sheet.

Even though postal vote applications close on 18 May 2022, you’re encouraged to apply, complete and return your vote as soon as possible to ensure you beat the cut off.

To be counted, your postal vote must be completed and witnessed by 6pm AEST on 21 May. The AEC can only accept ballot papers received in Australia by June 3 2022.

Candidates forums this week are below. Please note that the Bookoccino event has SOLD OUT

''For those who missed out, we will be live streaming the event Monday night. Stay tuned here and on our website for details.'' At: