By Brisbane City Hall reporter Rene Bargearses
The decision by Brisbane City Council to stop using the Liberal National Party of Queensland’s branded image has delighted one person in particular – hard-working and much loved Central Ward councillor Vicki Howard.
“It’s taken a huge weight off my mind,” the two-term LNP councillor told The Bug overnight.
“I’m just so happy I can now campaign for next month’s election knowing there will never again be unnecessary confusion between what I and other Team Schrinner candidates are doing and official city council business.”
The official campaign period begins today for the March 28 poll in which Ms Howard is vying for a third term.
The council only last week vowed to stop using for its own council material the LNP’s intellectual property – its branding image of blue and yellow blocks run consecutively down the left-hand-side of campaign documents. The LNP calls it their council campaign cleat.
Back in 2004, the “Can-Do team” of Campbell Newman introduced the distinctive pattern for council electioneering purposes. It was quite widespread by the time of the 2008 municipal poll and appeared everywhere in the 2012 campaign by Team Quirk under charismatic and much-missed Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.
Unfortunately, the City Council introduced its own copycat cleat in the early days of the LNP’s now 16-year-long and much deserved stranglehold on City Hall, causing ongoing friction and a series of costly court cases as the LNP fought to protect its intellectual property.
Ms Howard told The Bug: “At long last the confusion can end: was it their cleat or us?
“Back in 2012 when I was only the candidate and not the sitting councillor for Central Ward, I was naturally proud to display the LNP’s distinctive pattern down the left-hand-side of my election material – leaflets, footpath signs and the like. (shown right beside an official BCC leaflet of former Lord Mayor Newman).
“I was touted as the Lord Mayor’s ‘representative’ for Central Ward – which was fair enough considering all the amazing things I had already achieved by then for the local area – but because the council was also cheating by using our cleat, I was terribly concerned that the voters of Central Ward might think I was already the councillor!
“It used to keep me awake at night.
“I always hated to think that could happened, especially as the ward has always had a high number of new enrolments each election.
“You know, the council always claimed they never used our cleat but seriously, no-one could ever tell them apart.
“I scanned the LNP and BCC cleats from that campaign (below, right) and, seriously, could anyone tell the difference?
“I suggested legal action but Lord Mayor Quirk said: ‘What’s the use?’
Ms Howard remembered that during that 2012 campaign, some unfortunate things happened because she had also placed the LNP council campaign cleat on the the back of her “getting things done; delivering for you” campaign car.
“Because of that dreadful decision by the BCC to copycat our cleat, every time I stopped at traffic lights on my way to meetings, people tried to get into my car thinking it was a mini Brisbane City Council bus.” (top pictures).
Below: Back in the 2012 council election, Lord Mayor Quirk and his Central Ward candidate Vicki Howard bravely used the LNP’s council campaign cleat despite bitter opposition from the city council administration and CEO Colin Jensen.
Above: Front page ad in The Independent in early April 2012, proudly displaying the LNP’s council campaign cleat and detailing how Ms Howard and Lord Mayor Quirk had introduced the CityGlider service, air-conditioned the council’s bus fleet and completed the Cutters Landing bikeway! No wonder Vicki was subsequently reelected – sorry, we meant to say elected!