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Tuesday, 9 October 1984
Page: 1448

Senator REID —My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate concerns the fate of Government advertising campaigns in the light of yesterday's election date announcement by the Prime Minister. I ask: Has a review been conducted of all current Commonwealth advertising in the print media and on radio and television to determine which campaigns should be cancelled or suspended because of their overtly political nature? For example, will the Government stop the advertisements for Medicare? Which campaigns are to be stopped or discontinued and which are to be allowed to continue through the election period?

Senator BUTTON —I understand that consideration has been given to those matters particularly by the Special Minister of State. I am not able to give Senator Reid a comprehensive answer but I am able to answer in relation to the question of Medicare. The current Medicare advertising campaign is being conducted by the Health Insurance Commission and has been planned for some time. That campaign will conclude this Saturday, 13 October. No further advertising of this kind is planned before December 1984. The Government fully accepts that during the caretaker period before the election, which formally begins on the date of the dissolution of the House, no major advertising campaigns should be conducted. The Medicare campaign which, as I said, will conclude on Saturday, does not contradict this principle.