RBA and the Toothless Tiger

One of the odd things to me about the whole interest rates advertising affair is the general assumption that the Reserve Bank was taking an active step when it referred Liberal Party ads to the Australian Electoral Commission. But as everyone knows (don’t they?) the AEC has virtually no role in governing truth in electoral advertising – including untruthful attributions. As AEC Backgrounder 15 states:

30. This means that the AEC has no role or responsibility in handling complaints about allegedly untrue statements in published or broadcast electoral advertisements that are intended to influence the judgement of voters about who they should vote for.

(Also see paras 46-57 on this issue)

Later in the same briefing paper, the AEC makes clear that about the only grounds on which candidates can appeal is defamation. And even then….

61. If candidates believe they have been defamed by statements made in electoral advertising, then the AEC recommends that they pursue their own action against those responsible, either under the common law of defamation or under section 350 of the Electoral Act. The AEC does not initiate action on behalf of candidates. Candidates are in a better position to know the truth of statements made against them than the AEC.

It seems a bit much to suggest that the RBA actually did something productive when it wrote to the AEC. Surely the RBA knew they were merely handing the issue off to a toothless tiger?

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3 Responses to RBA and the Toothless Tiger

  1. Sinclair Davidson says:

    This whole story is a bit dodgy. I think someone at the RBA is trying to embarress the government.

  2. numbat says:

    Knowing that howard is seen as a coniving, manipulative politician and a liar to boot. I wonder if all this hoo-ha is just window dressing, or those in the know covering their backsides.
    The AEC sounds as if it also has been “purchased” by howard. So the limp wrist response to liberals lying to the voters. Some will see that the impartial, vigilant AEC did at least look at the problem, even though it did nothing. But lying to the Australian people – so what!
    Then the Reserve Bank, both howard and sneeringly arrogant costello TOLD the board in no uncertain terms that interest rates should not be raised.
    Then this fiercely ‘independent group of people seemed to just roll over and obey. If howard/costello had a choice 1. Do the right thing for Australia and allow a rise. or 2. To hell with Australia we told the dummy voters that we would not allow interest hikes. I wonder what the choice would be?
    We know that they lie. we know that there is a strong allegation of a slush fund to buy votes.
    I wonder whose interest (no pun intended)howard/costello would put first.Regards, numbat

  3. Nancy McIntyre says:

    It appears that some RBA functionary tried to prepare the way for publicising the Government’s unethical use of implied RBA endorsement.
    How other than to establish a record of their concern with a third party? What other place to go to complain than the AEC for heavens sake?
    It is at least one step better than hoping to tip a journalist and then trusting that the journalist could dissect the issue carefully enough for it to be clearly treated in the press.

    This way, the full text of the RBA’s concern is quoted.

    Whether the AEC is other than a home for the permanently bewildered is not material in this case; the story came out.

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