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Greens want cleaner elections with call for ban on roadside signs

Ian Bushnell 29 October 2019 80
Corflutes

The roadside corflutes are annoying and distracting, say the Greens. Photo: File.

The ACT Greens have called on the ACT Government to ban roadside electoral signs, a year out from the 2020 Legislative Assembly elections.

They say with no limit to the number of roadside electoral campaign signs (principally the signs on stakes known as corflutes) that can be used in the ACT, thousands of the plastic signs flood the streets of Canberra six weeks out from polling day, only to end up in landfill once they are eventually cleared from roadsides.

Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur says many Canberrans view roadside electoral signs as annoying and distracting, and add nothing to the election debate.

“There are far more effective ways for political parties to get their message across without visual pollution cluttering up our public space,” she said.

“To make matters worse, there is currently no limit on how many signs can be displayed in any one area. If you’re driving along and there are dozens of election signs along the roads, it’s both annoying and distracting for drivers.

“Many of the signs are largely policy-free – it’s not as though they are informative. It’s time to get rid of these annoying electoral signs. They’re a huge turn off for the community and are a huge waste of plastic.”

The Greens said the ACT Electoral Commission’s report on the Legislative Assembly Election in 2016 noted that social media “indicated a relatively widespread degree of dissatisfaction with the proliferation of campaign signs (principally the signs on stakes known as corflutes) across Canberra’s main roads and suburban streets” – but stopped short of recommending that the roadside electoral signs be banned entirely.

At the last federal election in May 2019, the Greens did not use roadside electoral signage; instead, corflutes were displayed in private yards or held by volunteers for limited times.

This avoided the waste of thousands of plastic corflutes being destroyed, often within hours of being erected, the party said.

Of the corflutes that the Greens do use, these ended up being recycled as house insulation, building chooks sheds, as habitat for local wombats or painted over for protest signs.

The Transport Canberra and City Services rules say signs are only covered by the Movable Signs Code, which the Government can change without legislation, for 48 hours after the official election day and must be removed within 48 hours of the close of the polling booths.

They can be placed on unleased Territory Land but not at roundabouts, median strips of roads, within 20 metres of traffic lights, on residential nature strips, or within 20 metres of a corner of an intersection.

They cannot be placed in designated areas of the National Capital without the expressed approval from the National Capital Authority.

The proposal comes after the Greens proposed in September to establish a truth in electoral advertising scheme to stop factually incorrect electoral material and claims during local elections.

Canberrans go to the polls on 17 October 2020.


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80 Responses to Greens want cleaner elections with call for ban on roadside signs
AbbDon Helen AbbDon Helen 9:58 pm 01 Nov 19

So they will be putting their money where their mouth is for a change 🤣🤣

iamthat iamthat 11:32 am 01 Nov 19

Yes, ban all roadside advertising please.

Linda Reid Linda Reid 7:13 am 01 Nov 19

I agree, ban them!

Anna Roberts Anna Roberts 5:28 pm 31 Oct 19

I support a ban on all outside advertising.

Gary Matthews Gary Matthews 9:38 am 31 Oct 19

I agree with the ban

Sueanne Matthews Sueanne Matthews 5:19 am 31 Oct 19

I agree with the ban.

Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 12:48 pm 30 Oct 19

They could lead by example, but nooooo.

Jason Preston Jason Preston 10:20 am 30 Oct 19

Greens don’t want the public to know who to vote for.

Toni Isaacson Toni Isaacson 7:28 am 30 Oct 19

I was listening to a discussion about political advertisement on Facebook regarding the next presidential election and the point was made that if political advertising is banned, it typically favors the incumbent as they get the most media coverage.

What about a fitting room approach. You sign out a certain amount of corflute and the same amount must be signed in to a collection point after the campaign, from where it can be distributed for reuse by community agencies, sold cheaply to private individuals or sent for recycling.

Carole Ford Carole Ford 8:10 pm 29 Oct 19

Good idea. Hope they take it on board, (so to speak)!

Anne Maegaard Willenborg Anne Maegaard Willenborg 7:31 pm 29 Oct 19

Of course they’re a distraction. Under the law I’m not allowed to take a sip of my water bottle because it’s considered a distraction but it’s OK to take your eyes off the road and read hundreds of these on the roadside? Get rid of them.

Robert Knight - Australian Progressives Robert Knight - Australian Progressives 7:21 pm 29 Oct 19

This is a tough one for me. As the leader of a minor party with limited resources there’s little avenue to get our message out beyond door knocking and cheaper advertising like corflute signs. However, I too find the proliferation of plastic signs on our roadsides a significant annoyance, as well as appreciate the single use aspect of them.

I’d agree with the Greens on this one if we minor parties had better access to media coverage and avenues to canvass the public beyond annoying people at shopping centres.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:30 pm 29 Oct 19

It won’t happen, because the Greens’ chums in Labor do a lot of roadside advertising (likewise, of course, the Liberals).

The Greens could do their bit by organising groups of “passionate about climate change” school kids to go around cleaning up the remnant signs after the election, and perhaps put shaming pics on their Facebook page of the signs which had not been removed by those who put them there – purpose and posturing, how great would that be!

David Brown David Brown 5:37 pm 29 Oct 19

No one is forcing them to buy corflutes.

Shanti Peirce Shanti Peirce 4:21 pm 29 Oct 19

Has anyone ever looked at a political advertisement and changed their mind as to who they will vote for as a direct result of the advertising? Anyone?

alistaair alistaair 4:10 pm 29 Oct 19

Why not ban the non-electoral roadside placards too if there is an environmental concern? A significant amount of non-electoral roadside placards in the ACT have been for events related to green and socialist left policies.

The placards and signs held by volunteers are more of a distraction because they are waved to the passing vehicles, as opposed to anchored and staked placards on the roadside.

Jim Croft Jim Croft 3:37 pm 29 Oct 19

Primary school art teachers love them. They make great temporary canvases, a sort of political palimpsest.

    Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 6:09 pm 29 Oct 19

    Jim Croft good for protecting plants from frost too.

    Jim Croft Jim Croft 6:36 pm 29 Oct 19

    Neenie Baines Absolutely. But there are some faces even worms should be spared. :)

Brad Rogers Brad Rogers 3:13 pm 29 Oct 19

All political advertising should be banned, and the AEC should release a magazine (in pdf, paper, and audio) format, where each party gets a 2 page spread to spruik their policies, and that's it.

All parties major and minor get the same space to use wisely to advertise themselves. That way, people get easy access to what the parties are about, and parties / independents are encouraged to just produce the facts.

    Judith Deland Judith Deland 3:41 pm 29 Oct 19

    No offence, but the thought of a fringe candidate like Fraser Anning getting the same space as someone who has contributed, much more to the community, does not work for me, especially as the taxpayers would be paying for it. When political advertising works best, I think it is paid for by the voters through donations. I'd be happy to block large donations from special interest groups, (buy a pollie) but not from the unions, because it can be argued that they represent their members. What to do about outrageously wealthy individuals like Clive Palmer throwing so much money in, to promote his own party, I think might be harder.

    Brad Rogers Brad Rogers 3:47 pm 29 Oct 19

    Wait, you're assuming Fraser Anning supporters can read?? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 3:51 pm 29 Oct 19

    Brad Rogers this is s fair idea, but in Canberra under the Hare Clarke system each candidate should get the same amount of space not each party. In Canberra we are lucky to use the Hare Clarke system, because we don’t only get to choose the party that leads, but the makeup of that party. After next election we could have a government of either stripe made up entirely of new members.

    Brad Rogers Brad Rogers 3:55 pm 29 Oct 19

    Easy done then. A version for each electorate could be published with member-to-a-page. It wouldn't be hard to automate the generation of a pdf per electorate either.

    Penny Gordon Penny Gordon 4:30 pm 29 Oct 19

    Judith Deland it could also be argued that as such a small percentage of Australians belong to a union, allowing unions to donate to one political party could be seen as unfair, as they don't really represent a large percentage of the population.

    Paul Dowden Paul Dowden 5:12 pm 29 Oct 19

    Brad Rogers better yet make it an app so we can pose questions and receive responses from candidates #QandA style. Might be best to have moderators to cut out the trolls.

    Paul Dowden Paul Dowden 5:15 pm 29 Oct 19

    Brad Rogers what should we call it? SoapBox? Hare Clarke Tinder?

    Brad Rogers Brad Rogers 5:16 pm 29 Oct 19

    Paul Dowden not even. Just call it the election book. Make it plain olive packaging as well, because some politicians are quite cancerous....

    Paul Dowden Paul Dowden 5:45 pm 29 Oct 19

    Meh, I don’t smoke them.

    Robert Knight Robert Knight 7:11 pm 29 Oct 19

    This is actually a pretty good idea. Love it.

    Susan Peachey Susan Peachey 8:14 pm 29 Oct 19

    Yes! Thankyou! This is exactly what I've been saying! A fantastic idea.

Cynthia Shannon Cynthia Shannon 1:54 pm 29 Oct 19

The general idea to limit use of plastics is fantastic

Kim Foster Kim Foster 1:51 pm 29 Oct 19

Limit the amount of signage. The major parties just go bonkers trying to drown each other out with roadside signs in any one place.

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