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'Lucky' Ted Horton: whatever it takes!



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Media Release

Kelvin Thomson MP Shadow Minister for Public Accountability; Shadow Minister for Human Services Federal Member for Wills

137/05

‘Lucky’ Ted Horton: Whatever it takes!

While admitting Ted Horton was involved in the industrial relations advertising blitz, the Howard Government has not told us ‘Lucky ’ Ted had also been given direct responsibility for hiring the people appearing in the ads themselves and the higher the spend, the higher the agency commission payable.

According to today ’s Sydney Morning Herald, it was ‘Lucky ’ Ted ’s agency Dewey Horton that booked workers for $13/hour to appear in the ads under false pretences, while performers who ultimately did not appear as extras in the ads were paid $6000 each for sitting around on set for a morning.

A commercial producer has revealed the extent of the waste on Melbourne radio this morning. He compared the $6000 payments to extras not required for the ad shoot to the $4,000 paid to a ‘principal ’ artist for a substantial speaking role in a Victorian Government commercial involving a full day ’s work. He detailed ‘typical ’ half day payments for extras at $100 to $200 and went on to detail that the higher the expenditure, the higher will be the 10% commission payable to the agency.

“It is clear that the Government Communications Unit has been given carte blanche by the Ministerial Committee on Government Communications to do whatever it takes to sell this extreme, out-of-touch industrial relations package,” says Shadow Minister for Public Accountability Kelvin Thomson. “In turn they ’ve handed a ‘Lucky ’ Ted a blank cheque with which to spend taxpayers ’ money.”

“Sitting around on set while the ad is being made is worth six grand. Appearing in the ad pays $13/hour. This is the logic of the Howard Government ’s industrial relations proposals.”

“If sitting around for half a day doing nothing pays $6000, just what is ‘Lucky ’ Ted getting paid for dreaming up this outrageously wasteful campaign?”

But don ’t even think about asking Dewey Horton who hung up on the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday when asked whether the public was entitled to know how its money was spent.

Kelvin Thomson points out these recent revelations highlight two serious problems of the Howard Government ’s own making; the obscene cost of this campaign and the fact taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for Liberal Party propaganda.

The ads should now cease to enable a considered debate when the legislation is introduced into Parliament on 1 November.

/Ends Melbourne 21/10/2005 Contact: Cora Trevarthen 0418/770484