Labor has gone to the Federal Court seeking an injunction over signs it alleges were put up by the Liberal Party campaign team of Liberal Katie Allen, in the seat of Higgins, one of the tightest election contests in Victoria.
Allen holds Higgins by just 2.6 per cent and is locked in a battle with Labor and the Greens to hold the seat.
Labor alleges that, on Friday afternoon, Allen’s campaign team installed signs at polling booths in the once-safe Liberal seat, which takes in suburbs such as Armadale, Glen Iris, Malvern, South Yarra and Toorak.
Labor said in a statement that the signs were “electoral fraud in breach of Commonwealth electoral law”.
The Liberal Party has been contacted for comment.
Labor said that Allen’s campaigners, including “one observed wearing a blue Liberal raincoat, installed corflutes (signs) impersonating the Australian Greens, calling on voters to ‘put Labor last’.
The Katie Allen campaigners were observed unpacking their cars, having been supplied with a range of materials that promote Katie Allen, as well as the fraudulent corflutes”.
“The fraudulent materials only appear alongside other materials that the Liberals installed,” the statement said.
Labor said the person who appeared as having authorised the signs, “is not on the electoral roll”, but that the signs could be linked to the Liberal Party.
Labor said in the statement that the Liberal Party and Katie Allen were “publishing material, impersonating the Australian Greens, and asking Greens voters to put Labor last”.
Higgins is expected to be one of the tightest Liberal-Labor contests in Victoria, with the Greens also an outside chance of picking up the seat.
“If Katie Allen misleads enough Greens voters into thinking the Australian Greens are asking Greens voters to put Labor last, then Katie Allen might just scrap enough votes together to maintain her seat,” the Labor statement said.
Labor said it had asked the Australian Electoral Commission to remove the signs but that it had declined to immediately remove the material.
The party has engaged law firm Holding Redlich, and filed an urgent injunction in the Federal Court demanding removal of the signs.