Texts sent out claiming independent challenger in Nationals seat has Labor backing

1 month ago 22

Text messages claiming the autarkic campaigner challenging the traditionally harmless Nationals spot of Nicholls, Rob Priestly, has been endorsed by “Dan Andrews’ Labor party” are being sent to voters successful the electorate and look to beryllium authorised by the Coalition inferior partner.

Anna Kemp was among a fig of constituents successful the agrarian Victorian spot who received a substance Monday evening which read: “You person been selected to enactment successful a survey by CMS Research astir Rob Priestly’s endorsement by Daniel Andrews’ Labor Party.”

The authorities premier has been controversial successful immoderate agrarian Victorian seats owed to ongoing lockdowns.

The substance connection provided a nexus to the website for CMS (Constituent Management Services), which the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) shows is an entity associated with the National Party of Australia – NSW.

The website says it is authorised by “J. Lundy, Level 2, 107 Pitt St, Sydney, 2000.”

Joe Lundy is the the authorities manager of the NSW Nationals and the code fixed is the authorities headquarters.

However, the nexus provided successful the substance connection has subsequently been disabled.

A surface  changeable  of a substance   connection   claiming autarkic  campaigner  Rob Priestly is endorsed by the Victorian Labor party
A surface changeable of a substance connection claiming autarkic campaigner Rob Priestly is endorsed by the Victorian Labor party

Guardian Australia contacted the NSW Nationals for confirmation their manager Joe Lundy authorised the website.

A spokesperson for Priestly said their bureau had lodged a ailment with the AEC implicit the substance message, which was framed arsenic a survey question but which they argued carried a governmental connection without the required authorisation.

Warringah MP Zali Steggall has introduced a “Stop the Lies” measure intending to alteration the presumption quo that “currently nether Australian instrumentality it is perfectly ineligible to prevarication successful a governmental ad”.

Priestly told Guardian Australia said: “There’s perfectly nary nexus betwixt maine and the Labor party.”

Priestly, a section businessman, is increasingly seen arsenic a menace to the Coalition successful the seat, which has a borderline of 20% but is hotly contested successful a three-way contention betwixt Nationals campaigner Sam Birrell, Liberals campaigner Steve Brooks and Priestly. Sitting Nationals MP Damien Drum announced his status precocious past year.

A screenshot of a texted representation  saying it is 'Authorised by J. Lundy' astatine  the National party’s Victorian office  address
A texted representation saying (circled) it is ‘Authorised by J. Lundy’ astatine the code of the National party’s Victorian office – seen successful a screenshot

Priestly says the National Party leader, Peter Walsh, approached him to basal arsenic the National party campaigner for the seat, truthful the Nationals knew helium was not linked to Labor. The Nationals person denied Priestly was asked to basal arsenic the candidate.

Priestly says that portion helium turned down the connection due to the fact that helium didn’t privation to tally for the National party, “it past did commencement maine reasoning astir whether oregon not I wanted to tally astatine all”.

This latest effort to subordinate an autarkic campaigner with a large enactment comes aft earlier this period the AEC was called successful to analyse fake predetermination signs suggesting autarkic candidates are Greens members.

Priestly calls it a “really poor” campaigning method that the Nationals person employed “to triumph astatine immoderate costs”.

Asked if his ballot was already decided, Dustin Kemp said “particularly now” aft his woman received the substance message.

“It’s a horrible mode to tally a governmental enactment if you person to spell to the antheral and not the ball. It’s beauteous horrible,” helium said.

Kemp said that arsenic a husbandman the astir important contented to him this predetermination was argumentation astir agriculture.

“But much and more, doing the close happening and having assurance successful authorities [is important]. ”

Birrell was contacted for comment.

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