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Federal Labor to lift standards on taxpayer funded advertising: $1.7 billion spent by Howard Government.



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FEDERAL LABOR LEADER KEVIN RUDD MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY SHADOW MINISTER FOR CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY

SENATOR PENNY WONG

FEDERAL LABOR TO LIFT STANDARDS ON TAXPAYER FUNDED ADVERTISING - $1.7 BILLION SPENT BY HOWARD GOVERNMENT

A Rudd Labor Government will introduce new laws to stop the abuse of taxpayer funded government advertising.

Under the Federal Labor plan, all government advertising and information campaigns in excess of $250,000 will need to be vetted by the Auditor-General or his designate.

The Auditor General and/or his designate would independently apply criteria which limit public advertising to essential requirements for public information - for which explicit legislative and regulatory approval has been obtained.

The Howard Government has spent $1.7 billion of taxpayer funded advertising campaigns over the last 11 years.

Make no mistake, the purpose of these advertisements was to re-elect the Howard Government.

The abuse of taxpayer funds for activities like government advertising undermines basic principles of democracy.

Governments are entrusted to spend taxpayer’s money to provide essential services - not to use them as a re-election war chest.

In Government, Federal Labor through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to agree on a common set of national principles to be applied to state and territory governments as well on the future application of government funded taxpayer advertising.

Prior to the election, Federal Labor will release a full set of the criteria which the Auditor General will be required to apply.

Canberra 19 May 2007