Ex-Liberal boss to pay $40k for unlawful political ads

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 28 March 2024
Sam McQuestin

A former Victorian Liberal Party boss has been found to have breached electoral laws by not properly declaring his political ads.

Political advertising laws in Australia require authorisations to be made prominently, legibly and in contrasting text.

The former Victorian Liberals director Sam McQuestin placed four advertisements in the Geelong Advertiser for the 2022 federal election and did not properly declare that the ads came from him or the Liberal Party.

One of the newspaper ads was a full-page attack on Labor MP, Libby Coker.

Another was a full-page portrait of the Liberal candidate for Corangamite, Stephanie Asher, along with a how-to-vote card.

While McQuestin admitted to the allegations, he fought against paying a fine of up to $150,000, which the electoral commissioner argued he should hand over for the “intentional” breach.

But in the end, the federal court justice Michael Hugh O’Bryan ruled McQuestin should pay a total $40,000 in fines.

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