Belinda Hassan has been chosen by the Labor party to compete against George Christensen in the next Federal election.
Belinda Hassan has been chosen by the Labor party to compete against George Christensen in the next Federal election. Contributed

Labor candidate stumbles with unauthorised online campaign

EXCLUSIVE: The woman positioning herself to unseat Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen has come unstuck during one of her first major moves as Federal Labor candidate.

Enquiries by The Daily Mercury found a political fund raising website, registered on March 13 but which only went live on June 1, appears in breach of legislation and as such has been reported to authorities.

After questions, Labor candidate Belinda Hassan yesterday admitted the website had been live through the weekend without a compulsory authorisation banner required by federal law.

She wrote off the missing authorisation as a technology glitch.

"Thank you for bringing it to my attention," she told The Daily Mercury.

But a spokesperson for Mr Christensen's office said the Queensland Labor Party should apologise and "return all the money which has been illegally raised".

Ms Hassan would not confirm how much money the website had raised so far for the campaign.

Sporting the official LNP colours of blue and yellow, the site is complete with a caricature of Mr Christensen drawn by Daily Mercury cartoonist Harry Bruce but was missing authorisation for nearly three days after going live on June 1.

"For some reason when we've made the website live it did not load [the authorisation banner]," she said.

"It's up there now, as far as I'm aware it now meets the AEC rules.


Madura Mccormack


Apart from directing possible donors to the Electoral Commission of Queensland and Australian Electoral Commission websites, the site did not have Labor insignia or authorisation.

The website is registered by the Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party, under the name of their state secretary Julie-Ann Campbell.

"As far as I'm aware it went live on the weekend... it is Queensland Labor that authorised the page, but it is raising money for the Dawson campaign, which it clearly states on the page," Ms Hassan said.

A spokesman for Mr Christensen's office confirmed the website had been reported to the AEC for breaching the law.

"Queensland Labor have broken the law by setting up this website," he said.

"They should return all the money which has been illegally raised and issue an apology... they have also breached AEC guidelines on copyright by using LNP colours.

"The logo used is also George Christensen's property (purchased from cartoonist Harry Bruce) and that constitutes another breach."

The website was updated by 4.30pm yesterday afternoon with a bright red Queensland Labor authorisation banner.

Changes to the Electoral Act came into place on March 15 this year, after Labor controversially used bulk texts to claim the coalition was going to privatise Medicare in 2016, leading a parliamentary committee to call for stronger rules to apply to political advertising after the so-called 'Mediscare' campaign.

According to the AEC, all electoral advertising and communications or broadcasts of political, electoral and referendum matters that run from March 15 must include an authorisation compliant with the new rules.

Mr Christensen won 53.3 per cent of the two party preferred vote during the July 2016 Federal double-dissolution election, beating Labor candidate Frank Gilbert by 6000 votes.