Libs clamp on send-ups
The WA Liberal Party is asking children to sign extraordinary “talent release” forms that seek to ban people from criticising or satirising the party in public, or in private, for five years.
The forms, which it is understood were handed out by a Federal Liberal MP’s staff to several children before a recent community event, also effectively seek to ban signatories from associating with other political parties.
Forms obtained by The Weekend West warn the “talent” that on signing the papers they agree they shall not for five years “in public or in private, disparage the Liberal Party of Australia, satirise the talent’s association with the Liberal Party” or otherwise make “any statement which might reasonably be expected to adversely affect the image” of the Liberals.
The forms demand that on signing, the person agree never to allow their image to be used by another major political party — complicating any association with an MP who is not a Liberal.
“The talent agrees . . . that the talent shall not from five years from the date of this agreement appear or feature in any other advertising or promotional material relating to Australian political party or association other than the Liberal Party,” the form says. The form is authorised by WA Liberal State director Sam Calabrese.
All political parties use image release forms for public events, where members of the public are sometimes asked to give consent for their image to be used in party campaign material such as mail-outs or advertisements.
But consent forms used by other parties typically ask signatories to simply agree to the release of their image and do not attempt to impose restrictions over expressing their views.
Figures from other parties said it was unheard of to try to prevent someone from expressing political views “in private”.
Mr Calabrese stood by the wording of the forms, saying it showed how seriously the party took the issue of the use of personal imagery.
“The forms are designed for parents/guardians to sign on behalf of minors and signing is, of course, optional,” he said.
Perth lawyer Tom Percy questioned whether the agreements were enforceable.