Residents in a Sydney suburb have criticised a Liberal Party candidate for what they deem a "dangerous" and "arrogant" move ahead of the NSW state election next week.
Signs for Tina Ayyad, a candidate for the south-west Sydney seat of Holsworthy, were spotted attached to street sign poles in the Sutherland Shire suburb of Barden Ridge on Thursday — which is a direct violation of council requirements.
"Really unsafe practices when candidates are putting signs on poles that could impede a driver's vision," a local noted in a post on Facebook on Thursday. The local man said the act is in breach of the Roads Act 1993, which is outlined in a letter issued to all candidates.
Others agreed that the signage is "obstructing motorists' views", with one saying "common sense must prevail" when it comes to placing signs in the area.
"So they were sent a letter telling them they aren't allowed to do this in advance and still chose to do it? What arrogant behaviour," another commented.
Councillor apologises, election signs removed
The Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce, confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that election signs are not allowed to be attached to council property. This includes street sign poles, school fences or council-owned buildings, among other places — but this rule is often ignored, he says.
Ms Ayyad apologised for the "mistake" when approached by Yahoo and said the sign was "put up in error by an enthusiastic volunteer". "Once my team was made aware, the sign got taken down," she said on Friday.
Councillor Pesce said the "enthusiastic volunteer" did not receive the letter that outlines the rules, and was "extremely apologetic" once finding out.
Although placing election material on street signs technically is against the rules, most candidates and residents within the Shire "turn a blind eye to it", he said, and it's not often considered an issue.
Deliberate political attack on Liberal candidate
The mayor suggested the person who posted on the community Facebook page worked for a Labor MP, making it a politically charged attack on Ayyad. When the same suggestion was made in the Facebook comments, the poster shut down such claims.
"I've seen plenty of signs around. I love seeing them, no matter the party, it's a fantastic part of democracy," he said. "On an actual street sign is just plain dangerous and I've never seen it before."
Tina Ayaad targeted in a racist smear campaign
Earlier this week, Ms Ayyad was targeted in a racist and Islamophobic smear campaign, with fake flyers, made to look like campaign material reportedly being distributed across her electorate, including Barden Ridge.
They contained a picture of Ms Ayyad and false statements referencing her Muslim faith — a move she labelled "racist propaganda", according to 9News.
"It's appalling, and I'm disgusted," Ms Ayyad said, the ABC reported. "I condemn the racism and hatred that the pamphlets represent and it's something that doesn't belong in our community."
Ms Ayyad is a former school teacher and mother of three. She's also the former Liverpool councillor and deputy mayor and is married to Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun.
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