19 October 2020

Corflute changes to be recommended for next ACT election

| Dominic Giannini
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ACT election corflute signs by side of road.

Will the ACT ever have a corflute-free election? Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It’s done. It’s dusted. It’s finally over. The 2020 ACT election is behind us, but many Canberrans are still expressing their disdain for roadside corflutes that continue to litter their suburbs.

Electoral advertising signs must come down within 48 hours of polls closing, meaning any corflute left after 6 pm on Monday, 19 October, is illegal.

But is it possible to have a corflute-free election next time around?

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has taken on some of the feedback from the community and says he will recommend a shorter caretaker and election period to the upcoming parliamentary election review.

“After every election, there is a parliamentary review of the electoral process,” he said. “In terms of corflutes, the parliamentary committee should look at that matter.

“My other priority is that for the ACT election campaign, the formal caretaker period is too long. It is longer than a federal election campaign and I think both the corflute period and the election period could benefit from being a little bit shorter.

“That is something I will put forward to the parliamentary committee that is considering how the 2020 election ran.”

The current corflute period covers the six weeks prior to the election date.

READ MORE If you’re complaining about corflutes, spare a thought for the minor parties

However, if it is up to the Greens, corflutes will be banned ahead of the next election. With the Greens holding the balance of power again, the policy could form part of the new parliamentary agreement with Labor.

The Greens’ campaign spokesperson for democracy, Emma Davidson, previously called corflutes “a huge turn off for the community and a huge waste of plastic”.

“It is well past time to get rid of these annoying electoral signs,” she said.

Emma Davidson.

Emma Davidson wants to see corflutes banned, and with the Greens holding the balance of power in the ACT again, the policy could form part of the parliamentary agreement. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said the party chose not to put corflutes out there in the community this election, calling them “visual pollution”.

On top of visual pollution, most corflutes end up as actual pollution, said Ms Davidson.

READ MORE: Corflute congestion drives a stake through voters’ hearts

“Once the election is over, we can only assume that most of these end up going straight into landfill,” she said. “What an utter waste.”

The ACT Government is trailling a new corflute recycling scheme from Monday, 19 October, starting with two free drop-off points at Mitchell Resource Management Centre and Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre in Symonston.

“Corflute cannot be recycled in your kerbside recycling yellow-lid bin and as there have been no local recycling options, it gets repurposed or goes to waste in landfill,” said ACT NoWaste’s executive branch manager, Anthony Haraldson.

“The ACT Government is pleased to be able to introduce an avenue for ACT businesses and government agencies to recycle their signage and reduce the amount sent to landfill.

“If the trial is successful, the ACT Government will consider options to introduce the service on a longer-term basis.”

The ACT Electoral Commission’s report on the 2016 ACT election noted there was a “relatively widespread degree of dissatisfaction with the proliferation of campaign signs across Canberra’s main roads and suburban streets” but stopped short of recommending roadside electoral signs be banned entirely.

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Candidates have a massive excess of corflutes because so many are stolen or damaged during the campaign. In fact quite a number in my area were slashed to pieces with what could only be an axe or tomahawk. The genius who did this made it quite clear which party they represented as only their’s remained.
Electioneering on voting day is extremely difficult as it requires double the number of people to cover both ends of the 100 metre requirement.
Suggest ban both. This will mean candidates will have to use more personal approaches to meet voters. Not a bad thing.

Kosher Ayatollah9:15 pm 23 Oct 20

The excess proliferation of single use-plastic corflutes has a direct correlation to the fact that the ACT has Robson Rotation in its voting, meaning there is an American-style primary election happening at the same time as the actual election so candidates get name recognition.
Time to ditch Robson Rotation, have parties focus on genuine policies (and get rid of the plastic)

Surely no-one votes because of a face on a corflute. How could they? The faces aren’t on the ballot form. If the corfultes aren’t to help the voters vote, who are they for?

The obvious answer is thatthey are for the people whose faces are on them, and people who happen to know them personally. That is, putting out corfultes is the way that a campaign organisation demonstrates to the candidate or party that they are actually busy doing something. They are an ad not for the candidate, but for the people who put corflues up.

It’s amazing how rival campaigns will conduct nighttime operations to remove the other party’s corflutes. It’s magical thinking. It gives them a sense of “woo hoo, we’re winning!”, even when those damn things have nothing whatever to do with the vote.


Rant :
It’s really simple. Destroy any of the annoying visual rubbish as soon as it appears, preferably with a kick to the stake to really put it out of action. It makes the party volunteers think twice if they are throwing away $10 a pop for every sign. The amount we had on the main roads in Campbell was just nuts. One particular collection, which I had nicknamed “the cemetery”, because of the resemblance to a collection of gravestones ,was particularly fun to dismantle one morning. I don’t have anything against any party, it’s just the blatant littering and visual pollution with, lets face it, ugly politician photos. Surely in 2020 targeted online advertising is way more effective anyways, since you can actually articulate actual policies rather than bludgeoning people over the head with a blunt instrument

The fact that the Greens did so well at this election and was the only party not to use conflutes is a persuasive argument to show that conflutes are ineffective and unnecessary. It would be a popular move to ban roadside conflutes as the recent survey on this forum indicated the majority of people do not like them for a number of reasons. Smaller parties and independents will just have to work harder between elections to built a profile.

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