The High Court has found there is an implied right of political speech in the Australian Constitution, but that doesn't stop the Liberal Party putting pressure for an inconvenient election billboard to be taken down.
Environment Victoria paid for a Billboard opposite and a bit down the road from the Liberal Party campaign headquarters in the marginal seat of Deakin in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.
The billboard was up for about 72 hours on the busiest intersection in Deakin. Environment Victoria say the local branch of the Liberal Party made a complaint to the owner of the site, who then had the billboard taken down.
Environment Victoria Tweet about removal of the billboard on Friday 17 June
Environment Victoria Election Scorecard (PDF))
After the billboard came down, Environment Victoria launched a social media campaign on Friday night, with the Facebook post and twitter messages going viral. The tweet has been retweeted over 1200 times to date and seen by over 60,000 people on twitter and another 70,000 on Facebook.
The billboard was trending above Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten when they were having their Facebook leaders debate on Friday night.
Environment Victoria used the taking down of the billboard and muzzling of free political speech to raise donations to have the billboard replicated. The billboard is going up again on the intersection of Higgins, Kooyong and Chisholm electorates.
Kooyong is Energy and Resources Minister Josh Frydenburg's electorate.
The neighbouring Labor held seat of Chisholm is on a margin of 1.6 per cent.
Recent polling has also found that Kelly O'Dwyer in the blue ribbon seat of Higgins might be in trouble with her vote falling to 44 per cent, and at risk from the Greens candidate Jason Ball if he gets enough preference flow from Labor's Carl Katter and other minor parties.
Environment Victoria is also crowdfunding a new truck billboard to make sure the voters of Deakin still get the chance to see the ad. Deakin is held by the Liberals with a margin of 3.2 per cent.
Environment Victoria Tweet about the location of the billboard
The ad is also being geotargeted on facebook to voters in Victorian marginal seats.
Packed audience at Box Hill Town Hall on Coal, Coral and Climate change
Climate change is a highly relevant issue in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. Last week a packed meeting of over 550 people filled the Box Hill Town Hall for a discussion on Coal, Coral and Climate. Lighter Footerprints and Eastern Climate Action Melbourne (ECAM) presented a Federal Election Candidates climate Forum at the Box Hill Town Hall with candidates from Kooyong, Deakin and Chisholm.
Key speakers at the forum were: Josh Frydenberg, Member for Kooyong and Minister for Energy, Resources and Northern Australia; Janet Rice, Greens Party Senator for Victoria; Mark Butler, Labor Shadow Minister for Climate Change; Peter Christoff, Melbourne University Climate Policy and Politics expert; and introducing Kathleen Hanson, Boroondara Young Citizen of the Year. Rod Quantock OAM was the MC. Major party candidates from the electorates of Deakin, Chisholm and Kooyong came and participated in breakout sessions which follow the main speakers.
Lighter Footprints described the Forum on a Facebook post:
"It was an important and timely opportunity for local citizens and voters to hear first-hand about the policies of the major political parties, and to ask questions to clarify how likely their policies are to lead to effective action.
"Climate change is real, and real and sustained action is required if we are to meet the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities that that change brings. Underpinned by scientific knowledge and supported by a majority of the community, it is now up to our politicians to step up and take the leadership required."
Professor Peter Christoff, a climate policy expert from Melbourne University, set the context for the debate discussing climate change as an international issue. He was followed by the panelists who addressed their main climate change platforms.
Peter Christoff then asked three penetrating questions: the first on whether they would use the powers available under the constitution in support of international obligations under the Paris Agreement to prevent further development of coal mines in Australia; the second on what the parties road maps were for a rapid transition to renewables, and how that would be funded; and the third on would the parties move to eliminate the subsidies on diesel fuel tax rebates to the fossil fuel industry, and re-assign the billions saved elsewhere.
It was noteable that Resources and Energy Minister Josh Frydenburg conceded that we have to ultimately transition away from coal.
Watch the forum below, which was streamed live, and the discussion on social media via the embedded storify: Coral, Coal and Climate at Box Hill Town Hall #ausvotes #climateforum2016