Electoral Act Reform a Crucial Opportunity for Tasmanian Truth in Advertising Laws

As the Tasmanian Parliament debates reforming the Electoral Act, integrity experts are urging politicians to use the opportunity to enact truth in political advertising protections, following deceptive and dangerous advertisements from the Australian Christian Lobby.

Key Findings:

  • Polling consistently finds most Australians want truth in political advertising laws, with 2021 Australia Institute polling research finding 87% of Tasmanians want Tasmania to pass truth in political advertising laws.
    • 80% of Liberal, 93% of Labor, 88% of Greens and 93% of Independent voters say Tasmania should pass truth in political advertising laws.
  • Deceptive ads from the Australian Christian Lobby that ran this month reinforce the case for Tasmania to legislate truth in political advertising.
  • With the Electoral Act currently being reformed, it is the perfect time to introduce truth in political advertising laws, which have worked well in South Australia for almost 40 years.

“It’s perfectly legal to lie in a political ad in Tasmania and it shouldn’t be. This month the Australian Christian Lobby misrepresented Liberal Government policy with advertisements targeting trans kids to sow fear and division for political gain. That should give the Parliament cause to protect democratic integrity by passing truth in political advertising laws,” said Eloise Carr, Director of the Australia Institute Tasmania.

“As Parliament prepares to update the Electoral Act and bring it into this century, this is a crucial opportunity to bring in these vital laws and stamp out misleading advertising in politics and protect our democracy.

“In a time where misinformation is rife, we know these laws work. South Australia has had truth in political advertising laws since the 1980s, the ACT recently legislated them and Victoria has bipartisan support to do the same.

“They are practical, popular, and very possible – right here and now for Tasmania.”

“We will be briefing politicians across the Parliament on the importance of truth laws. With Labor, the Greens and independents having voiced their support for these laws, we are hopeful all politicians can agree that misinformation is a threat to democracy and should be stamped out.”

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