Independent candidate Rob Messenger puts his election signs out early.
Independent candidate Rob Messenger puts his election signs out early. Max Fleet

Signs must come down

MEMBER for Burnett Rob Messenger is to be told to remove election signs he has put up next to roads throughout the Bundaberg region before the official start of the campaign.

Both Bundaberg Regional Council and Transport and Main Roads Department regulations say the signs can only go up after the official notification of the election.

Premier Anna Bligh has already announced the election date as March 24, and that she will go to the governor on February 19.

But Mr Messenger yesterday was adamant all the appropriate authorities accepted the premier had officially notified the state of an election by publicly proclaiming a date for the poll.

He said he had received phone advice from the Electoral Commission Queensland that there was no problem with him putting out his signs as long as he was not breaking any local rules.

"The Department of Main Roads (who are governed by the Electoral Act and the Electoral Commission) say in their advice that election signs are to be erected after official notification of an election," he said.

"Today I call on all political candidates in the Burnett/Bundaberg region to lift their game, join with me condemning these silly complaints, insist that those complaining join the world of adults and talk about the important issues for this election relating to health, education, police, asset sales and roads."

But a Transport and Main Roads Department spokesman said yesterday their policy is that election signs cannot be placed on state controlled roads until official notification of an election is made, and the state enters the caretaker period.

"We'll be talking to any candidate who has placed signs on one of our roads ahead of caretaker and asking them to remove them," he said.

LNP candidate Stephen Bennett said Mr Messenger could do what he liked, but the LNP's understanding was signs could not go up until the electoral writs had been issued.

"We're complying with the election rules, and we'll put up our signs when the writs are issued," he said.

He said people were going to have a lot of campaigning thrust on them in the next few months.

Katter's Australian Party candidate Kevin Pauling said at the end of the day it was not going to make much difference.

"I've got no gripe as long as he's enterprising enough to get organised, good on him," he said.

ALP candidate Stuart Tomlinson said putting the signs up early was against the rules, and he thought Mr Messenger would have to take them down.

"I understand you can't put them up until the premier goes to the governor," he said.



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