Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
New advertising guidelines.



Download PDFDownload PDF

SENATOR THE HON JOHN FAULKNER

Special Minister of State

Joint Media Release

22/2008 2 July 2008

The Rudd Labor Government has today released new advertising guidelines that will govern the content of Commonwealth Government campaign advertising.

Each advertising campaign will now be certified against the new guidelines by the chief executive of the commissioning department or agency, and major campaigns will be reviewed by the Auditor-General before the campaign is allowed to progress.

These new procedures will now give the public confidence that campaigns are legitimately authorised, properly targeted and non-political.

In 2007, Kevin Rudd made an election promise that campaigns over $250,000 would be scrutinised by the Auditor-General.

This election commitment is now met.

The guidelines and certification process will ensure Government advertising and information campaigns provide objective, factual and explanatory information, free from partisan promotion of government policy and political argument.

One of the first acts of the Rudd Labor Government was to abolish the Ministerial Committee for Government Communications (MCGC), and the Government Communications Unit (GCU) in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The MCGC was a committee of Howard Government politicians and staff which ran the Government’s advertising program.

Coordination of procurement contracts and managing the policy and procedures for the development and implementation of Government advertising campaigns will be undertaken by the Department of Finance and Deregulation so that in addition to increasing accountability and transparency, these new arrangements will also allow greater efficiency and savings through better coordination of government’s requirements and procurement contracting arrangements.

Ministers will be briefed on the progress of campaign development, but responsibility for that development will be wholly undertaken by the commissioning department, with assistance from the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

Campaign expenditures will be published biannually.

The new guidelines are based on those developed by the Auditor-General in 1998, after the previous Government’s first tax advertising campaign screened directly before that year’s election. Those guidelines were refined by the Joint Parliamentary Committee of Public Accounts and Audit in 2000.

Senator the Hon John Faulkner Cabinet Secretary Special Minister of State

The Hon Lindsay Tanner MP Minister for Finance and Deregulation

New Advertising Guidelines

Page 1 of 5 Joint Media Release 22/2008 - New Advertising Guidelines

11/07/2008 http://www.smos.gov.au/media/2008/mr_222008_joint.html

However, the Howard Government refused, for ten years, to adopt the Auditor-General’s guidelines and in that time spent more than $1 billion in campaign advertising including spending on the “Chains” campaign publicising the GST; the $116 million Workchoices campaigns and others. The figures show that campaign spending spiked just before each election.

The Rudd Government recognises that advertising and information campaigns are necessary to inform Australians of Government programs, and for operational activities of agencies such as defence recruitment. But the Government believes campaigns should be politically neutral and not a weapon of political incumbency.

A new apolitical approach to Government advertising was desperately needed. The new guidelines reflect the Government’s commitment that public funds not be spent on political advertising dressed up as Government promotion.

Guidelines on Campaign Advertising [PDF- 257 KB]

Key Features

Specific guidelines ensure that the Government advertising system is not abused and that all campaigns are properly authorised and funded within the boundary of legislative authority or a Cabinet decision:

The subject matter of material to be communicated to the public should be directly related to the Government’s responsibilities. As such, only policies or programs underpinned by legislative authority, appropriation of the Parliament, or a Cabinet Decision which is intended to be implemented during the current Parliament, should be the subject of an advertising campaign.

This guideline ensures that a Government cannot advertise, as “government policy”, a proposed election policy, as the Howard Government did in its tax advertising campaign in 1998.

The appearance and messages of campaigns are also addressed by the guidelines:

The material communicated must be presented in an explanatory, fair, objective and accessible manner. Specifically, information in campaigns should be directed at the provision of objective, factual and explanatory information and enable the recipients of the information to reasonably and easily distinguish between facts, on the one hand, and comment, opinion and analysis on the other.

This guideline ensures that emotive political imagery and slogans are avoided. This is also stipulated in the following guideline:

Material should be presented in a manner free from partisan promotion of government policy and political argument, and in objective language. The dissemination of information using public funds should not be directed at fostering a positive impression of a particular political party or promoting party political interests. Dissemination of information may be perceived as being party-political because of any one of a number of factors, including:

a. the content of the material - what is communicated;

b. the source of the campaign - who communicates it;

c. the reason for the campaign - why it is communicated;

Media Contacts: Website:

Senator Faulkner - Colin Campbell - 0407 787 181 Minister Tanner - Nardia Dazkiw - 0418 144 690 www.smos.gov.au www.financeminister.gov.au

Page 2 of 5 Joint Media Release 22/2008 - New Advertising Guidelines

11/07/2008 http://www.smos.gov.au/media/2008/mr_222008_joint.html

d. the purpose of the campaign - what it is meant to do;

e. the choice of media - how, when and where it is communicated;

f. the timing, geographic and demographic targeting of the campaign;

g. the environment in which it is communicated; or

h. the effect it is designed to have.

These guidelines also observe the sensitivity of the timing of advertising campaigns which could be politically favourable to the incumbent Government.

The procurement and management of the central advertising system was moved to Finance and out of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as part of the December 2007 machinery of government changes. The Cabinet Secretary will oversee the probity issues surrounding advertising. The Minister for Finance and Deregulation will oversee the management and procurement policies of the advertising system.

Home departments and agencies will be responsible for the commissioning, research and communications strategies, and creative decisions with guidance from the Department of Finance, and without political interference.

The Auditor-General will provide a “health check” on the final product of a campaign before it is communicated.

As part of the Government’s commitment to implement the JCPAA Guidelines, and particularly accountability and transparency, a report will be tabled in the Parliament biannually. It is proposed that reporting will be for the periods ending 31 December and 30 June.

Australian Government Advertising Placed Through The Central Advertising System

Financial Year Campaign $ Non-Campaign $ Total $

2008 (to Mar 2008) 17.9m 16.9m 34.8m

2007 281.2m 87.6m 368.8m

2006 139.6m 73.6m 213.2m

2005 134.0m 60.4m 194.4m

2004 94.4m 45.8m 140.2m

2003 63.9m 50.1m 114.0m

2002 60.4m 35.2m 95.6m

2001 117.3m 31.3m 148.6m

2000 177.6m 21.4m 199.0m

1999 91.4m 22.1m 113.5m

1998 57.6m 21.6m 79.2m

1997 50.3m 19.6m 69.9m

1996 36.1m 18.6m 54.7m

1995 54.9m 23.6m 78.5m

Financial Year Campaign $ Non-Campaign $ Total $

2007 - 2008 (to Mar 2008) 184.7m 53.9m 238.6m

2006 - 2007 196.4m 84.8m 281.2m

2005 - 2006 137.8m 70.7m 208.5m

2004 - 2005 88.0m 49.7m 137.7m

2003 - 2004 97.8m 45.5m 143.3m

2002 - 2003 51.8m 47.7m 99.5m

2001 - 2002 83.9m 31.1m 115.0m

2000 - 2001 133.2m 29.9m ^163.1m

Page 3 of 5 Joint Media Release 22/2008 - New Advertising Guidelines

11/07/2008 http://www.smos.gov.au/media/2008/mr_222008_joint.html

* Non campaign advertising comprises job advertising, tenders and routine advertising related to their operational activities

^ The 2000/01 Financial Year Non-Campaign figure is $6.6 million higher than reported in the PM&C Annual report for that year as the non-campaign placement agency had failed to include expenditure by untied government agencies in their end of year reporting.

1999 - 2000 186.8m 24.1m 210.9m

1998 - 1999 54.0m 19.4m 73.4m

1997 - 1998 55.1m 21.5m 76.6m

1996 - 1997 29.4m 16.9m 46.3m

1995 - 1996 47.6m 23.4m 71.0m

1994 - 1995 43.1m 23.1m 66.2m

Expenditure by Campaign since December 2007 to March 2008

Campaign Expenditure $

Defence Force Recruiting 8.7m

Skin Cancer 4.3m

Quarantine 0.3m

Other Campaign Expenditure 6.4m

TOTAL 19.7m

Expenditure by Campaign since July 2007 - December 2007

Campaign Expenditure $

Workplace Relations 48.8m

Australian Electoral Commission 16.5m

Defence Force Recruiting 12.4m

Illicit Drugs 2007 9.3m

Climate Change 8.0m

Skills for the Future 7.2m

Simpler Super 7.2m

Protecting Australian Families Online 6.4m

National Security 6.4m

Welfare to Work 6.2m

Citizenship Test Campaign 4.0m

Violence Against Women 3.9m

Child Support Scheme 2.3m

Smartraveller 1.9m

Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service 1.8m

APEC 1.7m

Gardasil 1.5m

Drought Assistance 1.5m

Defeat the Weeds Menace 1.3m

Other Campaign Expenditure 18.5m

TOTAL 166.8m

2007-08 Financial Year Expenditure by Campaign (to March 2008)

Campaign Expenditure $

Workplace Relations 48.8m

Defence Force Recruiting 29.8m

Page 4 of 5 Joint Media Release 22/2008 - New Advertising Guidelines

11/07/2008 http://www.smos.gov.au/media/2008/mr_222008_joint.html

Australian Electoral Commission 16.5m

Illicit Drugs 2007 9.3m

Climate Change 8.0m

Skills for the Future 7.2m

Simpler Super 7.2m

Protecting Australian Families Online 6.4m

National Security 6.4m

Welfare to Work 6.2m

Citizenship Test Campaign 4.0m

Violence Against Women 3.9m

Child Support Scheme 2.3m

Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service 2.3m

Smartraveller 1.9m

APEC 1.7m

Gardasil 1.5m

Drought Assistance 1.5m

Defeat the Weeds Menace 1.3m

Other Campaign Expenditure 18.5m

TOTAL 184.7m

Page 5 of 5 Joint Media Release 22/2008 - New Advertising Guidelines

11/07/2008 http://www.smos.gov.au/media/2008/mr_222008_joint.html