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Government Advertising (Prohibiting use of taxpayers' money on party political advertising) Bill 2005

Schedule 2 Principles and Guidelines for Government Advertising Campaigns

Principles

 

1.1       All members of the public have equal rights to access comprehensive information about government policies, programs and services which affect their entitlements, rights and obligations.  Access to information should only be restricted where its provision would jeopardise the national interest.

 

1.2       Governments may legitimately use public funds for information or education campaigns authorised by an appropriation in an Act, to explain government policies, programs or services and to inform members of the public of their obligations, rights and entitlements.

 

1.3       No campaign should be contemplated without an identified information need by identified recipients based on appropriate market research.

Guidelines

Material should be presented in an objective and fair manner

 

2.1         Information campaigns should be directed at the provision of objective, factual and explanatory information.  Information should be presented in an unbiased manner.

 

2.2       Information should be based on accurate, verifiable facts, carefully and precisely expressed in conformity with those facts.  No claim or statement should be made which cannot be substantiated.

 

2.3       The recipient of the information should, to a practicable and reasonable extent, be able to distinguish clearly and easily between facts on the one hand, and comment, opinion and analysis on the other.

 

2.4       When making a comparison, the material should not attempt to mislead the recipient about the situation with which the comparison is made and it should state explicitly the basis for the comparison.

Material should not be liable to misrepresentation as party-political

 

3.1               The dissemination of information using public funds should not be directed at promoting party political interests.

 

3.2               For the purpose of these guidelines, advertising for party political purposes is defined as any information involving the production and dissemination of material to the public which promotes activities, programs or initiatives of the Government in a politically partisan or biased manner.

 

3.3               Dissemination of information may be perceived as being party-political because of any one of a number of factors, including:

 

                            (a)    what was communicated;

                            (b)    who communicated it;

                            (c)    why it was communicated;

                            (d)    what it was meant to do;

                            (e)    how, when and where it was communicated;

                            (f)     the environment in which it was communicated; or

                            (g)    the effect it is designed to have.

 

3.4               Material should be presented in a manner free from partisan promotion of government policy and political argument, and in unbiased and objective language.

 

3.5               Material should not directly attack or scorn the views, policies or actions of others such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups.

 

3.6       Information should avoid party-political slogans or images.

 

3.7       Material should not be designed to influence public support for a political party, a candidate for election or a member of Parliament.

 

3.8       Distribution of unsolicited material should be carefully controlled.  All advertising material and the manner of presentation should comply with relevant law, including broadcasting, media, privacy and electoral law.

Material should be produced and distributed in an efficient, effective and relevant manner, with due regard to accountability

 

4.1       Information campaigns should be justified by a cost/benefit analysis.  The nature of the campaign should be justified in terms of society’s needs, efficiency and effectiveness, and there should be a clear audit train regarding decision making.

 

4.2       Care should be taken to ensure that media placement of government advertising is determined on a needs basis and targeted accordingly and without favour.

 

4.3       Existing purchasing/procurement policies and procedures for the tendering and commissioning of services and the employment of consultants should be followed.