Labor went to Federal Court seeking an injunction over posters it alleges were put up by Liberal Katie Allen’s Liberal Party campaign team at Higgins’ headquarters, one of the closest election contests in victory.
Allen holds Higgins by just 2.6 percent and is locked in a battle with Labor and the Greens to keep the seat.
Labor alleges that, on Friday afternoon, Allen’s campaign installed signs at polling booths in the once-safe Liberal seat, encompassing suburbs such as Armadale, Glen Iris, Malvern, South Yarra and Toorak.
Labor said in a statement that the signs were “election fraud in violation of Commonwealth electoral law.”
The Liberal Party has been contacted for comment.
Labor said campaigners for Allen, including “one seen wearing a blue Liberal raincoat, put up corflutes (posters) posing as the Australian Greens, calling on voters to ‘put Labor last’.
Katie Allen activists were seen unpacking their cars, having received a variety of materials promoting Katie Allen, as well as the fraudulent corflutes.”
“The fraudulent materials only appear together with other materials that were installed by liberals,” the statement said.
Labor said that the person who appeared as the author of the posters “is not on the electoral roll,” but that the posters could be linked to the Liberal Party.
Labor said in the statement that the Liberal Party and Katie Allen were “publishing material, posing as Australian Greens and asking Green voters to put Labor last.”
Higgins is expected to be one of the closest Liberal-Labour races in Victoria, with the Greens also having a long shot at winning the seat.
“If Katie Allen misleads enough Green voters into thinking Australian Greens are asking Green voters to put Labor last, then Katie Allen could collect enough votes to keep her seat,” the Labor statement said.
Labor said they had asked the Australian Electoral Commission to remove the posters, but it had refused to remove the material immediately.
The party hired the Holding Redlich law firm and filed an urgent injunction in Federal Court demanding the removal of the posters.