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Proposed ban on political advertising



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3 .

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A PARLIA M ENT H O U SE

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M E M B E R FO R KOOYONG SHADOW A T T O R N E Y -G E N E R A L SHADOW M IN IS T E R F O R JU ST IC E

HON. ANDREW PEACOCK, M.P.

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PRESS RELEASE BY HON. ANDREW PEACOCK, MP SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

PROPOSED BAN ON POLITICAL ADVERTISING

The proposal to ban political advertising on electronic media is clearly wrong at international law and may well be

unconstitutional.

Article 19(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and

Political Rights, to which Australia is a party, provides thatt

"Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the

form of art, or through any other media of his choice".

Under Article 19(3) the only permissible restrictions on this right are where such restrictions are necessary in order to protect the rights of individuals or the security of the nation.

These provisions set out the standard to which Australia has undertaken to the world to uphold. In the past, the Hawke Labor Government has been eager to rely on international instruments in order to extend Commonwealth power over the States. In this

instance, the Hawke Government has conveniently chosen to ignore Australia's international obligations to respect the right of freedom of expression.

The Premier of New South Wales has sought advice as to whether it is within the Constitutional power of the Commonwealth to impose such a ban with a view to determining whether the

legislation, if passed, can be challenged in the High Court. When the legislation is introduced into Parliament the Federal Coalition will also examine the question of whether the measure is Constitutionally valid.

The proposed ban represents an unwarranted and unjustified interference with the right of all Australians to participate in political life. The Coalition will take whatever steps it can to block the Government's attempt to impose political censorship upon the nation.

MELBOURNE 20 MARCH 1991

Enquiries to Sturt Glacken (03) 614 4022