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Government Advertising (Accountability) Bill 2011

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(Circulated by authority of Senator N Xenophon)

















1.         Short Title

This clause is a formal provision and specifies the short title of the Bill, once enacted, may be cited as the Government Advertising (Accountability) Act 2011.


2.         Commencement

This clause provides for the commencement of Sections 1 to 3 of the Act on the day the Act receives Royal Assent, and Schedule 1 to commence the day after this Act receives Royal Assent.


3.         Schedule(s)

This clause states that each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is to be amended as set out in the Schedule.


4.         Schedule 1 - Amendment of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

This Schedule repeals Section 14 of the Act and substitutes a new section 14 with two subsections.


Subsection (1) is consistent with the existing Act, and provides that an official or Minister must not misapply public money or improperly dispose of, or improperly use, public money.


Subsection (2) states that, in line with subsection (1) and without limiting the scope of subsection (1), it is improper for public money to be used for the advertising for a government policy, unless the policy has been either:

·          enacted in legislation, or,

·          a resolution has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, agreeing to the expenditure of money for the purpose of advertising a particular policy, or,

·          in the event of a national emergency, the Minister has obtained consent from the Leader of the Opposition to spend public money for the purpose of advertising a particular policy.


A 'national emergency' is considered to be events such as urgent health issues, natural disasters, defence issues, critical issues of public safety and importance and the like. Under this subsection, it would be up to the discretion of the Leader of Opposition to provide consent, and in doing so, decide whether he or she considers the event to be an emergency.


The penalty for a breach of this section is imprisonment for 7 years.


This penalty is in line with the existing penalty for a breach of subsection (1).