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Forestry industry first victim of ludicrous advertising ban



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P A R L I A M E N T OF AUSTRALI A

HOUS E OF R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S DEPUTY LEADER OF THE NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

BRUCE LLOYD, M.H.R.

SHADOW MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRY MEMBER FOR MURRAY

Statement by the Acting Leader National Party of Australia

FORESTRY INDUSTRY FIRST VICTIM OF LUDICROUS ADVERTISING BAN

The rejection of two forest industry commercials by Tasmanian TV stations highlighted the absurdity of the Government's new ban on political advertising in the electronic media during election campaigns, according to National Party Acting Leader Bruce Lloyd.

The TV stations dumped the advertisements - one a commercial for major cricket coverage sponsor Forest Resources Pty Ltd and the other for the Forest Industries Campaign Association - following advice from the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal.

Mr Lloyd said the commercials were dumped because they related to the forest industries and forestry policies were an issue in the Tasmanian election scheduled for February 1.

"The fact that these commercials did not contain any political message is irrelevant in the context of this ban and highlights exactly how the Government has conspired to silence industry.

"The ABT's ruling means that as soon as something becomes an election issue, the advertising ban is applied irrespective of what the issue is. The implications for industry are awesome.

"Take BHP and its 'Big Australian' series of commercials and examine them in the context of Greenpeace's radical opposition to the company's plans to test drill for oil in the Otway Basin.

"If it becomes an issue in the Victorian election later this year and BHP is running the ads, the ABT could move to ban what is a series of commercials promoting BHP's corporate image because they could be seen to have some subliminal political message. It's absolutely absurd.

"This is the sort of political paranoia we would expect from a

Communist Government afraid of free speech, but not in Australia."

Mr Lloyd said radical fringe groups could now run wild making all sorts of spurious claims during an election campaign and industry would be unable to answer them through the mass media.

Mr Lloyd said the real reason for the ban was that Labor had exhausted its coffers running scare campaigns during past elections and no longer could afford to use electronic media.

"Already there have been court challenges mounted against the legislation and irrespective of the outcome, taxpayers, not the ALP, will foot the bill."

end 8/1/92

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