BENDIGO East MP Jacinta Allan has flagged the Labor Party will seek to quarantine the use of its name in future elections after its booth workers claimed voters were confused about whether they were voting for Victorian Labor or the Democratic Labour Party.
The DLP’s logo included on the ballot paper makes prominent the word ‘labour’ above the party’s initials.
The logo was also used on how-to-vote cards and policy hand outs.
The tactic, and the deliberate campaigning by the DLP identifying the party as ‘labour’, is understood to have caused tension between candidates and booth workers of Victorian Labor and DLP in pre-poll canvassing, and led to both parties registering complaints with the Victorian Electoral Commission.
But DLP secretary Stephen Campbell said Victorian Labor had tried and failed numerous times to reserve the word for itself and no party could own the word ‘liberal’ or ‘labour’.
Mr Campbell confirmed his party had deliberately campaigned as another labour party during the state election, despite having no links with unions.
But he said it was unlikely the DLP took any votes off Labor.
“People aren’t stupid, they know the difference between the parties,” he said, adding that Labor enjoyed a swing in the election of both houses.
The DLP applied in August to register its logo to appear on the ballot paper for the November election, but under electoral law it can be rejected if it resembles another logo so that it will confuse voters, or it suggests some sort of connection with the other party.
Mr Campbell said Victorian Labor had objected, but the VEC approved the design.
A VEC spokesperson said a decision by the commission was reviewable within 28 days of the decision being made, a deadline which has expired.
The spokesperson said any amendments to the Electoral Act would be a matter for Parliament to consider.
Accepting victory on Monday at the declaration of the poll for Bendigo East, Ms Allan said Labor would take the issue up with the commission.
“There are probably a couple of things we will be taking up centrally with the VEC, about some of the issues that arose during the activities in prepoll and particularly a bit of a look at how parties get registered might be something we will take up over the coming months and years,” she said.
“I think it is something the electoral commission more broadly and the parliament more broadly can look at, particularly how some of the minor parties can register themselves and what we saw transpire on the booths.”