If you spotted one of the Malcolm Turnbull "Fizza" posters on a street near you recently, you may want to grab it now. They're about to become a collector's item after someone complained to the Australian Electoral Commission.
The posters started popping up around the country as soon as prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called the election earlier this month.
But the man behind the image, graphic designer Michael Agzarian, told BuzzFeed News he was contacted by the AEC almost as soon as the posters went up, to be told they violate electoral advertising laws.
The issue, Agzarian was told, was that the posters didn't contain the necessary authorisation disclosures - something the designer says he completely understands.
"There was no heavy handed approach, they were very reasonable," he said.
But the AEC would not tell Agzarian who had made the complaint.
"[The AEC] couldn’t spell it out, but it was obviously a couple Liberal people. Whether they’re voters or party members, they didn’t specify. They said it was a complaint by a couple of people in the Liberal party and they wanted it taken down," he said.
Agzarian has already printed stickers to attach to the posters that have already been distributed so that they comply with the guidelines. He's planning another run of new posters this week, which he says will all be within the rules.
It's not the first time Agzarian has distributed anti-Liberal posters. In the past, he's dedicated works to former prime minister Tony Abbott, former treasurer Joe Hockey and attorney general George Brandis. But this time, he says the posters are being removed almost as fast as he can put them up.
"I’ve been going around putting stickers on the ones I’d already put up, but I just couldn’t find any, which is unusual," he said. "They’re up one day and down the next."
Agzarian is hoping the next round of posters will be distributed far and wide, to spread the message of disappointment he feels in Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister.
"I was very depressed about having Mr Abbott as prime minister," he said. "Like a lot of people, I thought that [Turnbull] would be good. When I got wind that nothing was really changing, I got a bit frustrated and felt that I had to do something. Hence I came up with the poster."
Agzarian says the poster portrays the "god-like" image many people had of Turnbull before he became PM, contrasted with the prime minister Australia has now.
"The image reflects a sort of Christian iconic thing, where you’ve got this halo behind him, but the face is actually quite depressed and forlorn. That’s what I felt like. He came crashing down. His god-like status diminished in a lot of people’s eyes."
UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Liberal party did not say whether the party had complained to the AEC, but in a statement, said, “the Liberal Party always authorises all of its election materials, and expects that others would do the same.”
The AEC declined to comment for this story.
Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Rob Stott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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