Former Wallaby and now ACT Senate candidate David Pocock has called for a “smear campaign” of political advertising attempting to portray him as a Greens candidate.
Pocock, who is running as an independent, said he is the victim of a deliberate campaign by the right-wing lobby group Advance Australia, which it says is deliberately misleading voters.
The ad, which carries political clearance under Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) laws, shows Pocock opening his shirt to reveal a Green party shirt underneath.
His campaign has filed a complaint with the AEC and is currently exploring other options.
“This blatantly misleading conduct is an attack on our democracy,” 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 Advance Australia posters are a lie designed to deliberately mislead voters and are undermining our democracy.”
Advance Australia’s Facebook page, showing videos of the signs put up around Canberra, says it is “exposing these fake Climate200 ‘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 from 9News.com.au.
Although the AEC has powers over the authorization of political messages, it has no role in regulating the political content of electoral communications.
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 spreading false and misleading information to voters underscores why it is so important that we put the federal truth into political advertising laws,” he said.
“Canberrans want integrity in politics and if elected, that is exactly what I will work for as a priority.”
Old photos of federal politicians
Pocock retired from professional rugby in May 2020 and announced his intention to run for Senate as an independent community-backed ACT candidate in the 2022 federal election in December 2021.
He is running on a platform based on tackling the cost of living, backing a federal anti-corruption watchdog, improving action on climate change, and more humane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.