Independent candidate Zoe Daniel has won the Goldstein sign stoush, with the Victorian supreme court ruling her supporters have not displayed her signs prematurely.
On Wednesday Justice John Dixon declared that displaying the signs for a period of less than three months does not contravene Bayside City Council rules despite the fact the election has not been called.
He restrained the council from taking action against those displaying election signs unless they remain up for more than three months or more than 14 days after the federal election.
Daniel welcomed the result, advising supporters who had been waiting for the judgment they were “free to put your signs up”.
Dixon found that the election for the commonwealth House of Representatives “is an event” for the purposes of the rules “regardless of whether a writ” for the election had been issued.
Dixon found the time limit for displaying signs – three months, or 14 days after an event – applied even if the exact date of the event was unclear.
Scott Morrison has said the election will be held by May, making the theoretical possibility of a split half-Senate election with a House election to follow before September unlikely.
Dixon found it was unnecessary to answer whether the council’s interpretation breached the implied freedom of communication.
He suggested he was inclined to order Bayside to pay Badger’s costs.
Bayside City Council chief executive Mick Cummins said the council welcomed the ruling which would “provide clarity for all Victorian councils” on state laws regarding political signage.
“In line with the supreme court decision, residents who were previously notified that their signage was unlawful are advised that it is now permissible to display political signage,” he said.
No infringement notices have been issued over the signs.
Daniel is backed by the Voices for Goldstein community group and Climate 200, which has raised millions to support independents running on a platform of greater integrity in politics and more action to combat climate change.
Wilson said the decision was “welcome”.
“We have only ever wanted a consistent council rule that applies to all candidates equally, and now we have one we can get on with erecting our signs in the coming weeks,” he told Guardian Australia.
In February Wilsondefended his warnings about fines, arguing it was “other candidates” encouraging their supporters to erect signs putting them at risk.