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Election Advertising

29 Jun 2017 - 21:28 | Version 1 |

Advertising Blackout Period

There is a ban for broadcasters who are licenced under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) (BSA), on broadcasting election advertisements at the end of the Wednesday before the polling day for the election until the close of the poll on that polling day. It applies to all Federal, State and Territory local government authorities. The relevant broadcasting media is Commercial free-to-air television, Commercial free-to-air radio, Community radio and Pay TV / subscription narrowcasting.

"Election advertisement" is defined in the Act as an advertisement containing "election matter" relating to the election and for which the broadcaster will receive money or other consideration to broadcast, or a statement that a broadcast program is sponsored by an election candidate or party. This ban is not imposed on the ABC as this public broadcaster does not broadcast advertisements. However, similar restriction applies to SBS under the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 s 70C.

For further details on this ban, please see Broadcasting Services Act 1992 Sch 2 Pt 2 cl 3A. See also Investigation report no BI-266, Radio 2GZ Pty Ltd, 20 January 2017

http://acma.gov.au/theACMA/Newsroom/Newsroom/Latest-news/2017-radio-investigations

Identification and authorisation of election advertising

Commonwealth Legislation

Printing and publication of electoral advertisements

All "advertisements, handbills, pamphlets, posters and notices" for elections, excluding notices of meetings in newspapers, are required to identify the name and address of the person authorising it and the printer (if not a newspaper). Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the penalty of which is 10 penalty units if the offender is a natural person or 50 penalty units if the offender is a company.

Further, all electoral advertisements in newspapers spanning all or part of two pages are required to identify the name and address of the person authorising it, on the other page, unless particular formatting requirements are satisfied. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the penalty of which is 10 penalty units if the offender is a natural person or 50 penalty units if the offender is a company.

For further details, please see Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 ss 328(1), 328(1AB), 328(1AC),

Heading to electoral advertisements

Also, all advertisements for elections in "journals", whether or not published in exchange for consideration, are required to have the heading "advertisement". Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the penalty of which is 5 penalty units.

"journal" is defined in the Act to be a newspaper, magazine or other periodical, whether published for sale or for distribution without charge.

For further details, please see Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 s 331.

Publication of electoral advertisements on the internet - Federal elections

All "electoral advertisements" for elections published on the internet, which is paid for and intended to affect voting in an election, are required to show the name and address of the person publishing or authorising the publication at the end of the advertisement. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the penalty of which is 10 penalty units.

The restriction does not apply to general commentary on a website. For further details, please see Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 s 328A

State and Territory Legislation

ACT

Advertorials

The proprietor of the news publication must ensure that the word 'advertisement' is included, in legible form, as a headline to the advertisement on each page on which the advertisement appears. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 10 penalty units

This section applies to an advertisement in a news publication that appears to be reportage or commentary and includes electoral matter.

"reportage or commentary", in relation to a news publication means everything in the newspaper or periodical except advertisements; and letters to the editor.

"news publication" means a newspaper or periodical and includes an electronic publication of a similar kind.

Please see Electoral Act 1992 (ACT) s 291 and s 296

NSW

Name and address of author and printer to be printed on advertisements

Where a newspaper contains an advertisement, "how to vote" card, handbill, pamphlet, poster, or notice, containing any electoral matter and the name of the printer of the newspaper and the address at which it was printed appear on the newspaper in accordance with any Act, the name and address of the author of the advertisement is not required. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 5 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

For more details, please see Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912 (NSW) s 151E

Electoral advertisements on billboards, digital road signs must display authorisation of advertisement

A person who displays any matter, being an advertisement or notice, containing any electoral matter on an electronic billboard, digital road sign or other similar device, must, in visible legible characters, include the name and address of the person on whose instructions the advertisement or notice was displayed. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 5 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

For more details, please see Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912 (NSW) s 151EA

QLD

Author of election matter must be named

A person who, during an election period, prints, publishes, distributes or broadcasts or permits or authorises another person to print, publish, distribute or broadcast; any advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice containing election matter, must state the name and address (other than a post office box) of the person who authorised the advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice at its end. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 20 penalty units for a natural person; or 85 penalty units for a company

For more details, please see Electoral Act 1992 (Qld) s 181.

Headline to Electoral Advertisements

If, an article or a paragraph containing electoral matter is printed in a newspaper and it has been inserted in the newspaper in exchange for money or any reward or compensation or promise of an award or compensation, then the proprietor of the newspaper must cause the word 'advertisement' to be printed as a headline in letters not smaller than 10 point or long prime. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 10 penalty units for a natural person; or 40 penalty units for a company.

For more details, please see Electoral Act 1992 (Qld) s 184.

SA

Publication of electoral advertisements

A person who publishes or distributes, or causes or permits to be published or distributed, an electoral advertisement in printed form or on the Internet must put the name and address of the author of the advertisement or the person who authorised its publication, at the end of the publication.

Advertisements that are authorised for a registered political party, a candidate who is endorsed by a registered third party or a relevant third party must also include the party's name or the third party's name (as the case may be) at the end.

In the case of an electoral advertisement that is printed, but not in a newspaper, the name and place of business of the printer must appear at the end.

Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is $5000 for a natural person or $10 000 for a company.

"relevant third party" means an organisation or other person, other than a registered political party, candidate or natural person, who as at the day of the relevant publication, intends to spend more than $2 000 on electoral advertisements if the advertisement is published during the election period; or in any other case--during the election period for the next general election due to occur; or spent more than $2 000 on electoral advertisements during the election period for the general election immediately preceding the day of the publication.

For more details, please see Electoral Act 1985 (SA) s112.

Certain descriptions not to be used

A person must not publish an electoral advertisement or a how-to-vote card that identifies a candidate by reference to the name of a registered political party or a composite name consisting of the registered names of 2 registered political parties or by the use of words that were rejected by the Electoral commissioner for an application for registration of the political party, unless that candidate is endorsed by that party or the party has consented to the use of the relevant words.

Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is $5000

This section does not prevent the publication of background information, a personal profile, or a declaration of policy, by or in relation to a candidate.

For more details, please see Electoral Act 1985 (SA) s112B

Heading to Electoral Advertisements

The section applies if payment or other consideration has been or is to be given for publication of the matter (whether the journal or electronic publication is published for sale or for distribution without charge).

For publication of electoral matter in a journal, the publisher of the matter must cause the word "advertisement" to be included as a headline to each article or paragraph containing the electoral matter in letters not smaller than 10 point or long primer. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is $1250 for a natural person or $5 000 for a company.

For publication of electoral matter in an electronic publication, the publisher of the matter must cause the word "advertisement" to be included as a headline to each article or paragraph containing the electoral matter in letters of a size that will be readily legible.

"journal" means a newspaper, magazine or other periodical.

For more details, please see Electoral Act 1985 (SA) s114.

VIC

Printing and Publication of Electoral Advertisements

A person who prints, publishes or distributes or who causes or permits or authorises the printing publication or distribution of an electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice must include the name and address of the person who authorised the electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice appears at its end. And if the electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice appears in a medium other than a newspaper, the name and place of business of the printer or publisher must appear at its end.

Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the penalty of which is 10 penalty units for a natural person and 50 penalty units for a company.

For more details, please see Electoral Act 2002 (Vic) s 83.

Heading to Electoral Advertisements

If an electoral advertisement has been or is to be paid for or any reward or compensation or promise of reward or compensation has been made, or is to be, made for its insertion in a newspaper, then the proprietor of the newspaper must cause the word "advertisement" to be printed as a headline in letters not smaller than 10 point to each article or paragraph in the newspaper that contains the electoral matter.

Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the penalty of which is 5 penalty units for a natural person and 25 penalty units for a company.

For more details, please see Electoral Act 2002 (Vic) s 85.

WA

Name and Address of Author and Printer of Electoral Matter must be given

If a person publishes an electoral advertisement (other than an advertisement in a newspaper announcing the holding of a meeting), handbill, or pamphlet, or any issue of any electoral notice, the person must also include the name and address of the person authorising the publication at the end of the advertisement. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the penalty of which is $6000.

A person who prints or publishes any printed electoral advertisement, handbill, or pamphlet (other than an advertisement in a newspaper), must include the name and place of business of the printer being printed at the foot of it. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the penalty of which is $6000.

If a person publishes an electoral advertisement on the internet or cause or permits or authorises to be published an electoral advertisement to be published on the internet that is paid for, that is intended to affect voting in an election, the name and address of the person who authorised the advertisement must be included at the end of the advertisement. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the penalty of which is $6000.

It does not apply if the matter published on the internet forms part of a general commentary on an internet website.

For more details, please see Electoral Act 1907 (WA) s 187(1)(a)-(b), s 188(2)(b) and s 187B

TAS

Campaign material to be authorised

A person must not, during the election period, print, publish, keep on display or distribute, or permit or authorise another person to print, publish, keep on display or distribute, any printed electoral matter without the name and address of the responsible person being printed, in legible characters, at the end of the electoral matter; or publish, or permit or authorise another person to publish, any electoral matter on the internet without the name and address of the responsible person appearing at the end of the electoral matter. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 100 penalty units or 3 months imprisonment, or both.

This does not apply to electoral matter contained in reportage or commentary in an issue of a newspaper or periodical if the issue contains a statement to the effect that the editor or a person whose name and address appears in the statement has authorised the publication of all electoral matter contained in reportage or commentary in that issue. It also does not apply to a letter to the editor of a newspaper or periodical if the name of the author and the locality of the author's residence appears at the end; and the editor of the newspaper or periodical -keeps, for 6 months after publication, a written record of the address of the author, as stated in the original of the letter sent to the editor, or as otherwise ascertained by the editor; and provides, when requested by the Tasmanian Electoral Commission, a copy of a record kept.

The term 'election period' has substituted the words given in the Act, which are; 'between the issue of the writ for an election and the close of poll at that election'.

'publish' means publish by any means including by publication on the internet;

'responsible person' means the person taking responsibility for causing electoral matter to be printed, published or distributed.

For more details, please see Electoral Act 2004 (TAS) ss 190 - 194

Advertisements and advertorials

During the election period, If an electoral advertisement has been or is to be paid for or any reward or compensation or promise of reward or compensation has been made, or is to be, made for its insertion in a newspaper or periodical, then the proprietor of the newspaper must cause the word "advertisement" to be printed as a headline in letters not smaller than 10 point to each advertisement, article or paragraph in the newspaper that contains the electoral matter. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 50 penalty units.

The term 'election period' has substituted the words given in the Act, which are; 'between the issue of the writ for an election and the close of poll at that election'

For more details, please see Electoral Act 2004 (TAS) s 195

Candidate names not to be used without authority

During the election period, a person who prints, publishes or distributes any advertisement, "how to vote" card, handbill, pamphlet, poster or notice which contains the name, photograph or a likeness of a candidate or intending candidate, must do so with the written consent of the candidate. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 300 penalty units or 12 month imprisonment or both.

The term 'election period' has substituted the words given in the Act, which are; 'between the issue of the writ for an election and the close of poll at that election'.

For more details, please see Electoral Act 2004 (TAS) s 196.

Campaigning on polling day

A person must not, on Election Day, publish or cause to be published in a newspaper,

an advertisement for or on behalf of, or relating in any way to, a candidate or party; or a matter or comment relating to a candidate or a question arising from, or an issue of, the election campaign. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 100 penalty units or 3 months imprisonment or both.

Election Day has actually substituted the words in the act, which are; 'on the polling day fixed for an election, or on a day to which the polling for an election has been adjourned'

For more details, please see Electoral Act 2004 (TAS) s 198.

NT

Name and Address of Author of Electoral Matter must be given

During the election period, a person who publishes or distributes campaign material must clearly state the name and address of the person authorising the publication or distribution and if the material is a printed document, the material must include the name and address of the printer who printed the document and if the material is intended to be viewed from 2 sides, the required information must be included on both sides. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty of which is 100 penalty units.

This does not apply to the announcement by advertisement in a newspaper of the holding of a meeting.

'Campaign material' means an advertisement, document or any other thing that is intended to promote the electoral prospect of a particular candidate or group of candidates for an election.

'election period' means the period: starting on the date the writ for the election is issued; and ending on the date the writ is returned.

'publish' means publish or broadcast by radio, television, Internet, telephone or other means.

For more details, please see Electoral Act (NT) s 268A(1) s 270(1)(2)

Heading of Advertisements

If any payment, reward, compensation or promise is or is to be made for the publication of an advertisement in a newspaper, the proprietor of the newspaper must cause the word "advertisement" to be printed as a headline in letters not smaller than 10 point to the electoral advertisement.

"advertisement" means an article or paragraph containing electoral matter; or a report of a speech of a candidate in an election.

Please see Electoral Act (NT) s 272

Representations about an election candidate supporting organisations

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