Council to review “postage-stamp” sized election corrections

Candidates for local government elections would no-longer get away with publishing “postage-stamp” sized corrections to misleading statements under recommendations to be considered by the Adelaide City council tomorrow.

Nov 16, 2015, updated Nov 16, 2015

The Electoral Commission received more than 300 complaints about statements made by candidates at last year’s local government elections, acting commissioner David Gully told InDaily.

At the previous round of elections in 2010, many candidates were asked to publish a correction in News Corp daily The Advertiser. But you may not have noticed the corrections, because they were published in “postage-stamp” size in the paper’s back pages.

A spokesperson for the Adelaide City Council told InDaily this morning it had received complaints about election material from the current by-election to replace now-Greens Senator Robert Simms’ area councillor seat.

The council will tomorrow consider asking the government to amend the Electoral Act, to force candidates to publish “prominent” corrections in the early pages of the paper, and in other local press.

The under the Act, the commissioner has the power to ask candidates to publish retractions and discretion over the form those retractions should take – including those made on both traditional and social media.

Deputy Lord Mayor Houssam Abiad told InDaily that “every measure to rectify any misleading information is very important … and time-sensitive”.

He said candidates should publish corrections to any misleading statement with the same prominence as the original statement.

“If I did post a letter that is inaccurate or incorrect … then I would need to do the same thing back. I need to write back to (those constituents),” he said.

“No-one should ever publish any information that is misleading to the public.

“I’d urge every candidate to be very cautious and making sure they get the right information before they publish anything.”

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