tip off

Labor campaigners cut loose after stolen poster row

Labor campaigners have been caught red-handed ripping down Liberal Party posters in Western Sydney. Party HQ has sacked the staffer and volunteer from the campaign.

Martin Zaiter

A staffer and a campaign volunteer for marginal Labor Parramatta MP Julie Owens have been stood aside after being nabbed by New South Wales Police illegally cutting down Liberal Party posters with box cutters.

Crikey can reveal officers sprung Owens apparatchiks Wayne Tupackovski and Jordan Varghes ripping down posters of Liberal challenger Martin Zaiter on Wednesday night from area light poles. The duo are expected to be issued with fines for possessing stolen property.

After seizing the bounty, police returned around 17 Zaiter posters to Liberal headquarters.

Tupackovski worked as a volunteer co-ordinator and a casual staffer inside Owens’ electorate office, while Varghes was not on the official books.

Crikey understands some of the Liberal posters were wrapped around poles in technical contravention of the NSW Graffiti Control Act; however, under local lawas these can probably only be removed by council rangers, not vigilantes. A Monday night meeting of Parramatta Council resolved to address the issue of election posters, admitting that the council lacked an official policy.

Independent councillor Paul Garrard said that posters in the area “make the place look untidy and makes the place feel unsafe … how can you love your area if it’s being plastered, trashed, raped and pillaged by the Liberal Party who decide all of a sudden they know where Granville is? This is nothing more than official vandalism.”

A spokesperson for Labor’s campaign headquarters told Crikey yesterday: “This unacceptable behaviour has been dealt with promptly by the NSW branch in the appropriate way.”

Owens is battling to hold on to the key western Sydney seat with a margin of just 4.4%.

A spokesperson for the Liberal Party’s NSW office said Zaiter was busy focusing on his campaign.

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  • 1
    Matthew Drayton
    Posted Wednesday, 28 August 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Stolen property? Unless I am missing some detail these signs were left on public property. Fair game as far as I am concerned. And the police are involved? Wow. What a ridiculous waste of tax payer resources.

  • 2
    Posted Wednesday, 28 August 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    After Rupert Murdoch’s plastering, trashing, raping and pillaging of the Labor Party, by the Liberal Party, via his tame editors it would appear to be blatantly obvious which one is the aggrieved Party.

  • 3
    River
    Posted Wednesday, 28 August 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    More hypocrisy from the left. Anything against Rudd is unfair, malicious and should be stamped out via regulation but anything against the Liberal party is fair game and a waste of taxpayers money to police. I keep saying that the left contain the biggest hypocrites I know.

    End of the day, this was grubby. Very grubby.

  • 4
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Wednesday, 28 August 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Labor got busted last week doing it in Chris Bowens seat

    Also busted for the girls in last weeks people formum, who bragged later on Young Labor Facebok page, that Labr paid her $50 and she is a Young Labor member

  • 5
    Cammo
    Posted Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Dirty tactics from typical left wing nut jobs!

  • 6
    AJH
    Posted Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    For decades, I’ve had a policy of taking down signs from my street, regardless of party.

    As far as I’m concerned, they’re vandalism, and I’m doing my part to keep the area tidy.

  • 7
    the duke
    Posted Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Lefties are so out of sorts that they even spin the x3 leadership changes as a ‘good news story’.

  • 8
    Posted Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s long after time that Warren should pack up his truss and head back home. He has passed his used by date.

  • 9
    cyberfysh
    Posted Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    In my experience, it’s been common practice for all parties/candidates to steal, damage or deface others’ election signage. It’s petty and pointless, but hardly worth police attention. Silly to have campaign office workers out doing it, though - busted!

  • 10
    Mark Duffett
    Posted Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how rape victims would feel about their experience being compared to the placement of political posters.

  • 11
    Posted Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Tidiness - really?

    The council responses about untidiness are really unfortunate given the importance to democracy of postering the local candidate to the voters. Really there should be more commitment to democracy for a few weeks. There should be a commitment to supporting benign posters that are easily removable.

    An honour system of removals after the election should also be encouraged.

    Similarly an honour system to apply this basic rule: Whoever gets their poster up first gets the spot, and no tampering.

    That’s how we did it in Waverley area 15 years ago.

  • 12
    cyberfysh
    Posted Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Noble thoughts, Thomas; would that they were taken up.

    In fact, I think there is a law/regulation that all posters have to be removed within a certain period after polling day, and in my experience, those who put them up do their best to collect them before the deadline. That’s why they keep track of their locations.

  • 13
    Edward James
    Posted Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    First drowning communities in those dodgy core flutes on power poles, railway fences, on stakes along the side of roads on road reserves, are graffiti / litter. what is wrong with supporters putting one core flute in the front yard? I have spent tens of thousands in the seat of Robertson exposing the irony of our political allsorts, including the mayor campaigning outside the law, while asking his constituents to give them our votes in trust. I photograph the shonky activity of political allsorts and bag them in print. Have done for years!
    The graffiti control act 2008 is a gift to anyone wanting their political allsorts to respect our democratic process. The fact is if the political garbage is not permitted to be scattered about like litter the way it is. It is certainly not approved to be on power poles, railway line fences council property, and road reserves. It makes those political parties and individuals benefiting from campaigning out side the law, political shonks who deserve to be identified as such by people like me.

    GRAFFITI CONTROL ACT 2008 - SECT 6

    Posting bills and other marking offences
    6 Posting bills and other marking offences

    A person must not:

    (a) affix a placard or paper on any premises, or
    (b) intentionally mark, by means of chalk, paint or other material, any premises,
    so that the placard, paper or marking is within view from a public place, unless the person first obtained the consent, if the premises are occupied, of the occupier or person in charge of the premises or if the premises are unoccupied, of the owner or person in charge of the premises.
    Maximum penalty: 4 penalty units.
    I told my readers on the Central Coast before the electionanyone who campaigns out side the law will be exposed. You know me Tom Mcloughlin, I do not believe it is a matter of getting in first to put up what the law identifies as graffiti / illegal. I want those political allsorts standing up and asking for my vote to be given to them in trust to be willing to conduct our political business each Local State and Federal Election within the law. Our problem is, not enough political allsorts and their supporters think observance / compliance with those laws in place for all of us actually something worth supporting. Hence my community on the Central Coast as you know Tom has a body count of five. Edward James

  • 14
    Edward James
    Posted Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Parramatta Councillor Paul Garrard. You have obviously campaigned before. Perhaps you could tell Crikey readers why it is that every time there is an election our councils go deaf dumb and blind when it comes to compliance? I am able to inform Crikey readers I had to fight Gosford City Council over their Policy D1.12 which attempted to legitimize the perceived illegal conduct of its councilors exposed during the last council election. The legally cripple council policy D 1.12 has been removed from the councils web site after the damage has been done. Our Office of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Local Government needed to get involved. Hard to believe Gosford Council employees two lawyers, with so many errors are being exposed by me. Edward James

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