Truth in Political Advertising

87.7% of respondents in a post-election poll say the Senate should pass ‘truth in political advertising’ legislation.

Only 5% of respondents in the survey of 2875 voters did not support legislation so that political parties and candidates could be fined for false and misleading advertising in the same way companies are.

“It would seem wise to hold an enquiry about how truth in political advertising could be implemented fairly, consistent with the constitution, in Australia,” Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist said.

“In the past there was an industry self-regulating system for truth in TV political advertising, but since then it has effectively been a free-for-all.

“Obviously political campaigning needs to be strong and robust, but it is time to have a fresh look at the system.”
Currently political parties are exempt from truth-in-advertising laws which apply to other products. 

“South Australia already has some limited provisions and Tasmania haves rules that prevent the use of an opponent’s name or image without their permission, but clearly there is an appetite for nation-wide laws.

“Scare campaigns have been blamed by incumbent governments who have lost support for at least the last four federal elections.

“It should be in the interest of all parties for rules that ensure that political expression is robust, fair and truthful.

“Time is ripe to see if it possible to have a national consistent scheme that is Constitutional, upholds free speech, but brings in a measure of fairness and accountability to the political process,” Oquist said.

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