ACT Senate candidate David Pocock hits out at ‘smear campaign’
Posted On April 26, 2022
Ex-Wallaby and now ACT Senate candidate David Pocock has called out a “smear campaign” of political advertising that attempts to portray him as a Greens candidate.
Mr Pocock, who is running as an Independent, said he is the victim of a deliberate campaign by right-wing lobbyist group Advance Australia, which he says is deliberately misleading voters.
The advertising, which carries political authorisation in accordance with Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) laws, shows Mr Pocock opening his shirt to reveal a Greens party shirt underneath.
His campaign has lodged a complaint with the AEC and is currently exploring other options.
“This blatantly deceptive conduct is an attack on our democracy,” Mr Pocock said.
“I am running as an independent candidate standing up for our community. Clearly that is seen as a threat in some quarters.
“These posters from Advance Australia are a lie designed to deliberately mislead voters and they are undermining our democracy.”
Advance Australia’s Facebook page, which carries videos of the signs being placed around Canberra, says it is “exposing these Climate200 fake ‘independents’ like Zali Steggall and David Pocock because Australians have a right to know who they’re really voting for”.
Advance Australia has not responded to requests for comment by 9News.com.au.
While the AEC has powers over the authorisation of political messages, it has no role in regulating the political content of electoral communications.
Mr Pocock’s campaign said Advance Australia has spent more than $24,000 in one week on Meta advertising, as well as distributing flyers to more than 200,000 households in Canberra at an estimated cost of around $40,000.
“Advance Australia’s actions that spread false and misleading information to voters underscores why it is so critical that we introduce federal truth in political advertising laws,” he said.
“Canberrans want integrity in politics and if elected that is exactly what I will work for as a priority.”
Throwback photos of federal politicians
Mr Pocock retired from professional rugby in May 2020, announcing his intention to run for the Senate as the community-endorsed independent ACT candidate in the 2022 Federal Election in December 2021.
He is running on a platform based on tackling the cost of living, endorsing a federal anti-corruption watchdog, improving actions on climate change and more humane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.