“You intended to convey the impression that this was an AEC corflute, didn’t you?” Lisa de Ferrari, SC, acting for the challengers, asked former Victorian Liberal Party director Simon Frost in the Federal Court in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Mr Frost, now an advisor to Mr Frydenberg, took a long pause before replying: “It was similar to the AEC colours, yes.”
“So the answer to my question is yes?” Ms de Ferrari pressed.
“Yes,” Mr Frost replied.
It came after he said the messages on the signs, displayed at seven electorates including Kooyong and Chisholm in both simplified and traditional Chinese script, were different to what had been approved.
“The translation was not as I had given … as it was re-translated back through the media,” Mr Frost told the court.
Ms De Ferrari said both Mr Frydenberg and Ms Liu knew about the signs and allowed them to be displayed.
Mr Yates and Ms Garbett are seeking to void the MPs’ elections, which their lawyer concedes is a “drastic measure”.
“The principle, we say, is also important and too important to have those considerations of practical inconvenience take over,” she said.
The AEC previously denied the posters were likely to mislead or deceive voters into thinking they were official instructions from the commission.
It urged the court to throw out the cases.
Outside court, Mr Yates said the case showed the AEC had “failed dismally”.
“The idea that we have political parties engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct at election time is appalling,” he told reporters.
“There should be no need for a case like this. We shouldn’t have to be running this case, the AEC should be running this case.”
Mr Frost declined to comment as he left court.