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Basketball star Andrew Bogut accuses Victorian government of wanting to ‘silence’ him

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Basketball champ Andrew Bogut has lashed out at the Victorian government, claiming authorities were attempting to “silence” him.

Basketball champ Andrew Bogut has lashed out at the Victorian government, claiming authorities were attempting to “silence” him.

Taking to social media on Tuesday night, the Sydney Kings star shared a screenshot of a letter he recently received from the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).

It was in response to a Twitter post from Bogut’s account on October 27, 2021, which criticised the state government’s controversial pandemic powers bill.

The bill ended up passing the upper and lower house after weeks of negotiation, and will replace the government’s state of emergency powers.

That post included the message “Vote them out!” and was accompanied by a media clip directing viewers to the Vote Them Out website.

“No politician in Victoria should vote to give this government permanent pandemic powers,” the clip stated.

An image of three current members of the Victorian parliament was accompanied by the statement: “If these politicians vote these laws in, make sure you vote them out”.

According to the VEC, Bogut received a formal notice that his post appeared to have “failed to comply with the requirements for the publication of electoral advertisements, handbills, pamphlets or notices (Authorisation Requirement) under section 83(1) of the Electoral Act 2002 (Electoral Act)”.

The VEC said the post was problematic as it was “intended or likely to affect voting in an election”.

If found guilty of an offence against section 83(1) of the Electoral Act, a person can face “10 penalty units (equivalent to $1817)”.

Bogut was ordered to “immediately act” to prevent further offending.

The former NBA star has been highly critical of the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic and regularly shares material questioning vaccines and virus restrictions to his many followers.

Bogut discussed the saga in his Rogue Bogues podcast’s Common Sense series today, claiming he was “disillusioned with politics altogether” and had a “dislike of both major parties”.

He went on to discuss the letter, and issued a blunt reply to the VEC, claiming the letter contradicted the Act which states that social media posts “are not listed in Section 83(1) of the Electoral Act”.

“Well VEC here’s your reply – I don’t agree with your sentiment, I don’t agree with the offences you have stated in your very own Act, it basically says social media posts are not listed …” he said.

“The clip does not promote a political party, I believe it’s fully within the Act, within the law … I’m very careful about not promoting political parties.

“I don’t endorse any party. I’m not silly enough to go out there and promote one single party because at the end of the day, most of them will let you down eventually.”

He also questioned what had prompted the VEC to send the letter.

“Victoria’s a democracy right? Where did this come from? Did it come from the government I criticise almost on a daily basis?” he asked.

“Surely not, because the VEC are nonpartisan aren’t they? They’re there to protect the integrity of our democracy and our voting system, right?

“I endorse no political party in Victoria, none, not one, but I endorse voting for anyone other than the current one in power.

“If saying that is against the rules, then send me another letter with your open-ended jargon.”

In a statement sent to news.com.au, a VEC spokeswoman said it was an “independent and impartial body established under Victoria’s Electoral Act to conduct state, local and some statutory elections”.

“The VEC is also responsible for promoting public awareness and understanding of electoral issues, including the authorisation requirements for electoral material,” the statement reads.

“The letter issued to Mr Bogut advised that the electoral material published to his social media account did not carry the correct authorisation statement and therefore failed to comply with his obligations under the Electoral Act.

“This requirement does not prevent someone from publishing electoral matter; it simply means they are required to properly authorise their material.

“The VEC encourages healthy political debate which complies with the law, including the requirement to properly authorise electoral material.”



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