View Comments
Early signage sparks row
Early signage sparks row

Labor MLA Peter Watson erected his first election sign of the campaign on Saturday after a stoush with the City of Albany over rules governing political advertising in the lead-up to the March 9 poll.

The City sent all candidates a letter in August last year threatening fines of $100 per sign found to be violating local by-laws.

“Election signs cannot be erected on a private property more than 28 days before the election and must be removed within seven days of the election,” the letter states.

Mr Watson duly removed his signs after receiving the letter, but is disappointed other candidates ignored the City’s directive and continued to display election signage.

“If you want to become a lawmaker and represent your electorate, you abide by the laws, especially of your local community,” Mr Watson said.

But Nationals candidate Robert Sutton said he had followed the City’s direction to take signs down and only put them back up when he received advice the council had changed their policy.

“If Peter (Watson) wants to continually throw hand grenades at the council without getting his facts (straight), maybe he should look at his position as the so-called member for Albany and not the member against Albany,” Mr Sutton said.

He said he believed Mr Watson owed him an apology for “questioning his integrity”.

Liberal candidate Trevor Cosh conceded he left his signs up after the City issued the letter.

“We got advice it was an expression of free speech that we could put them out, so we did it,” Mr Cosh said.

City of Albany chief executive Graham Foster said in an emailed statement the city would not prosecute anyone caught breaking the by-laws.

“The City was aware of election signs being erected on private property, but because they posed no risk to the community and were not a public nuisance, they were a low priority,” he said.

“No fines were or will be issued.”