The Liberal National party has cautiously endorsed some kind of truth-in-advertising provision, telling a federal parliamentary committee it should consider creating a mechanism to prevent the distribution of campaign materials that are “patently false”.
The Queensland representative of the Coalition has used a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of the last federal election, and the adequacy of Australia’s donations and disclosure regime, to argue in favour of expanding the authorisation requirements during elections to cover robocalls, texts and social media. It has also put a toe in the water about a truth-in-advertising regime.
“In relation to truth in advertising, while the voters should ultimately be the arbiters of truth in an election campaign, the committee should consider whether there should be remedies available to stop and prevent materials that are patently false,” the LNP submission says.
Truth in advertising has been added to the terms of reference for the donations inquiry because that change is being sought by the crossbench kingmaker Nick Xenophon. Xenophon was unhappy with some of the advertising directed at his Nick Xenophon Team party in South Australia during the 2016 federal election.
The federal Coalition has also complained volubly about Labor’s Medicare anti-privatisation campaign during the election campaign – complaints that are revived in the LNP submission.
Criticism is also directed at the campaign activities of progressive activist groups, such as “militant trade unions”…
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