Election poster pollution

There's been considerable comment about election posters appearing on stobie poles a week before the legal date.

It's a form of visual pollution and residents resent them; the posters and the candidates.
It's sad that candidates feel that they need to put their mug shots on poles. It's cheap advertising that reduces the need to door-knock homes; that's what they should be doing. Further, what really annoys me is the extent of photo-shopping and air-brushing of the photos; to the extent that the average looking political hopeful looks stunning.

Anyway, the posters are going up a week early. The reason is not to get the message out early, it is simply to get pole position; to get the best pole and the best position.

The rules are that Councils can issue a fine of $100 per infringement.

Given that Unley Council is pursuing other revenue streams I am proposing a scheme to add to the coffers; the intent being to keep rate rises low.
Currently there are about 250 posters up early across Unley. That number will increase later in the week.
The fines at $100 per poster would yield $25k, less overheads of say, $2k-$4k.
What I propose:

  • Council removes every poster and issues a fine, not a warning. There is no need to contact the candidate; just do it.
  • If resources are not available, then outsource the task with delegated authority. The external contractor could be working for numerous Councils.
  • Collected posters are destroyed by recycling. They are not given back.
  • Residents are offered a spotter's fee of say $15 per poster; the first to report it gets paid.
  • Put pressure on SA Power Networks (SAPN, formerly ETSA) to also issue a fine to candidates. SAPN can only agree to posters on power poles during the legal period; hence they are also liable.

Ideally I would like to have a bounty (of say $20) for residents who remove the posters and deliver them to Council. Unfortunately there is the issue that it is illegal to interfere with election material on poles; only an authorised person at Council can do so.

I am advocating this approach to the Unley Council Administration.
Whilst it may be too late to formalise arrangements for this election, we must be prepared to quickly respond at the next election.

We simply must stop this illegal action and visual pollution on our streets by politician wannabes. In other industries we make polluters pay; so it's time for the political parties to pay their fines.
The bonus is a healthy addition to the Council coffers to help keep rates low.
The money could be allocated to fund a new community facility eg. public art on the main streets or in the parks or more bike racks near the shops.


  1. Why was it "too late" to formalise arrangements for the City of Unley to remove political posters for the current Federal election and to fine the political parties? The council already had the power to fine the authorised person $100 per poster: it just didn't have the will. The pertinent questions for Cr Schnell to ask at the next council meeting are: why didn't the CEO or administration remove the offending posters and fine the authorised people the $25,000 which he mentions? Who was the person responsible for this omission and has that person been penalised for "losing" the council $25,000? There's no point bellyaching about the issue now if the council didn't have the guts to use its legal authority to act as soon as the offending posters were erected.


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