Lambassador Sam’s Conservatives political play upsets MLA

Terry Sim, October 18, 2018

The Australian Conservative’s Lambassador Facebook post.

MEAT & Livestock Australia appears to have been outmanoeuvred on the use of the word ‘Lambassador’ featuring Australian Conservatives supporter Sam Kekovich in a Facebook post.

MLA has sought a retraction of the Australian Conservatives’ use of the word ‘Lambassador’ in an October 12 post featuring well-known lamb industry promotional tool Kekovich.

MLA general counsel and company secretary Clare Stanwix has written to AC federal leader and South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi demanding the post be retracted and that he “forever cease and desist from using the MLA IP in anyway including any further campaign material or advertising”.

“I await your immediate response.

“In the meantime, MLA reserves its rights,” Ms Stanwix wrote.

Ms Stanwix has claimed use of the advertisement “is not only a breach of MLA IP rights in the MLA IP, it is also presented in circumstances where recipients might be led to believe that MLA has endorsed the Australian Conservatives, when this is not the case.”

However, the Australian Conservatives party is claiming the term cannot be trademarked and MLA does not own it as intellectual property. A search on the Australian Government’s IP Australia website indicates the word ‘Lambassador’ has not been trademarked.

Lambassador Sam Kekovich

An MLA spokesperson said MLA has had a long association with Sam Kekovich and he still works for MLA from time to time.

“However, Sam is not exclusively contracted to MLA and does work for other companies and organisations.

“Like all Australians, he is also free to express his personal opinion.”

The spokesperson said MLA is an industry owned company which delivers marketing, research and development services for Australia’s red meat producers.

“MLA has no political opinion and is expressly barred from encouraging or supporting a campaign for the election of any candidate, person or party for political office.

“MLA had no knowledge of Sam’s involvement in the Australian Conservatives campaign and MLA does not in any way endorse the use of ‘Lambassador’ as part of this campaign.”

The spokesperson said MLA developed and has utilised ‘Lambassador’ as part of its marketing for over 10 years and is disappointed that the term has been used in a political campaign.

“We have sought an immediate retraction of its use.”

The  spokesperson said the Lambassador term has immense goodwill and is publicly well known as being owned by MLA.

“MLA does not in any way authorise the use of ‘Lambassador’ by the Australian Conservatives and does not endorse the campaign.

“MLA is extremely disappointed with its unauthorised use and the suggesting that such use in some way is an endorsement of the campaign is also misleading to the public,’ the spokesperson said.

“We are awaiting a formal reply from the senator to our request.”

‘Baa…gger off’ says Bernardi

Australian Conservatives federal leader Cory Bernardi

Senator Bernardi told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that MLA’s claim of IP ownership is “simply outlambish” and said MLA should “baa…gger off” to focus on other red meat issues.

“Because they don’t own the word Lambassador, if you excuse that pun; it’s in widespread generic use, both in Australia and abroad.

“It’s in commercial use, it appears on Mr Kekovich’s own website, it appears on not-for-profit websites and it’s not registered with IP Australia or Trademarks Australia, so the MLA are really claiming … I think they are trying to jump on the coat-tails of our advertising campaign,” Senator Bernardi said.

The senator said MLA’s claim of ‘Lambassador’ ownership and a suggestion that the political party should have consulted it before using the word were “preposterous”. It was not reasonable to suggest that the advertisement might lead people to perceive MLA also supported the political party, he said.

Ms Stanwix wrote that MLA had no knowledge of Sam Kekovich’s involvement in the Australian Conservatives campaign and the advertisement suggests the party has some right or authority to use the MLA IP, “which you do not have”.

“Secondly, the content of your advertisement is political in nature.

“Under its funding agreement with the Commonwealth, MLA is expressly forbidden from engaging in agripolitical activity,” she wrote.

“As a matter of obligation, in principle and in practice MLA does not endorse candidates in elections. “This is an extremely serious matter.”

Ms Stanwix said the advertisement is not only a breach of MLA IP rights in the MLA IP, it is also presented in circumstances where recipients might be led to believe that MLA has endorsed the Australian Conservatives when this is not the case. Mr Kekovich was contacted for comment.

To hear Lambassador Sam’s Australian Conservative spiel click here.


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  1. John Gray, October 19, 2018

    Sounds like just a case of sour grapes on the part of the MLA. The MLA needs to go to the medicine cabinet and take a proverbial ” Panadol” and basically get over it.

  2. Glen M. Feist, October 19, 2018

    I had to suppress a grin when reading this article. On the one hand, MLA has been trying to dissociate itself from Sam for years and in that time has been struggling to find a solution to what would be the next great lamb marketing campaign. On the other hand, the ads they have been making have been political. Mostly politically incorrect, but political all the same. In any case, which ever way you look at it, for the length of time this farce goes on the producers will get a bang for their buck for a change. As whenever Sam, or lamb or Lambassador is mentioned in the press, there is an intrinsic and long-lasting connection to great Australian lamb. It would be un-Australian to think anything else.

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