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Government advertising.



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JOINT STATEMENT

Hon. Kim Beazley MP

Kelvin Thomson MP

Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister

for Public

Accountability

and Human Services

GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING

This year will see the tenth anniversary of John Howard’s disgraceful broken promise that: “We will ask the Auditor-General to draw up new guidelines on what is an appropriate use of taxpayers' money [for Government Advertising]. (John Howard Press Release 5/9/1995)

He never did.

In fact, he’s spent $140 million over the last two years on campaign advertising.

With $140 million, Mr Howard could have provided funds to reverse Australia’s skill shortage which is starting to bite into our economic performance. The money would have provided training to 56,000 Australians for a year. Each year around 40,000 Australians miss out on a TAFE place including 15,000 young people.

Since 1996 Mr Howard has spent close to $1 billion on campaign advertising, much of it political propaganda that should have been paid for by the Liberal Party.

He has ignored draft guidelines drawn up by the Auditor-General in 1998 at Labor’s prompting, guidelines adopted by the Joint Committee on Public Accounts and Audit, but never by Parliament.

Now Mr Howard is about to spend $25 million on an industrial relations advertising campaign in an attempt to sugar-coat his extreme industrial relations regime which will hurt Australian families.

$0.9m

$61m

$24.3m

$6.5m

$5.2m

$8.6m

$20.6m

$13.5m

$-

$10,000,000

$20,000,000

$30,000,000

$40,000,000

$50,000,000

$60,000,000

$70,000,000

Jan - Mar 04 Apr - Jun 04 Jul - Sep 04 Oct - Dec 04 Jan - Mar 05 Apr - Jun 05 Jul - Sep 05 Oct - Dec 05

Government blows $140.5 million on campaign advertising in two years (2004-05)

[Cost in 9 month run up to 2004 election - $90 mill. Cost since election - $50.5 mill.]

Medicare "plus" campaign

Working to Keep the Country Connected

Super Ads - bigger pig campaign

Election

campaign begins - caretaker convention in place

Federal Election 9 Oct 04

National Security campaign relaunched

Industrial Relations campaign begins

Other dubious advertising campaigns over recent times include the Terrorism Fridge Magnet Campaign, “Working to Keep the Country Connected”, and the Strengthening Medicare campaign.

All of those campaigns have one blatant political motive - the re-election of his incompetent Government.

What a waste.

Labor will introduce a Private Members Bill to force Mr Howard to keep his 10 year broken promise and enact guidelines to prevent blatant, taxpayer funded political advertising.

JULY 21 2005

FOR COMMENT: Colin Campbell 0407 787 181/ Cora Trevarthen 0418 770 484