Money For Nothing

Fred Argy has a carefully argued piece on government advertising on the ANU’s Democratic Audit of Australia website (PDF). He notes:

The current IR newspaper ads (responding to pre-emptive advertising by the ACTU), are said to cost $20m and are particularly controversial. Unlike the Medicare ads, which related to new legislated rights, the IR ads relate to a proposed unlegislated policy change – one that is highly divisive. And they do not tell a full and balanced story.

If the Government wanted to conduct a partisan ‘political debate with the ACTU and the ALP, it had other means – through news releases, talk shows, various other media forums and if necessary through Liberal Party ads. Even strong media supporters of the Government have declared the advertisements as “inappropriate use of taxpayers’ money”.

News today that Labor are challenging the spending as unconstitutional, on the basis that it hasn’t been specifically authorised by federal parliament. The case seems a long-shot – I suspect it’s mostly designed to draw more attention to the issue.

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2 Responses to Money For Nothing

  1. TB says:

    Since the goverment launched this advertising campaign, the Qld (Labor) government has responsed with a similar campaign, arguing that the State’s IR system is fine the way it is. A pity that Beattie couldn’t take the high ground by not using public money.

  2. Andrew Leigh says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

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