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The government ads you're not meant to read.

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Media Release

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

4 August 2005 106/05


On what basis is the Government spending $20 million of taxpayers' money on advertisements it doesn't expect to be read by 99% of Australians?

Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews' confession that the Government never expected more than 1% of people to read its industrial relations advertisements is remarkable.

And his response to concerns that the ads are ineffective - to say that the ads were intended to show there was substance to what the government was proposing, rather than to be read in detail - gives the game away completely.

Apparently the Government doesn't intend that we read the ads. If we do, we'll find there's no substance or detail at all.

What the Government wants to do is create an impression that it has a detailed answer to the ACTU's concerns.

The Minister has all but admitted that the ads are not about trying to inform Australians. They are about trying to deceive Australians.

Minister Andrews sounds as though he belongs on the set of that old British TV show, "never mind the quality, feel the width."

The heart of the problem is that the Government has no business spending taxpayers' dollars to promote changes which have not received parliamentary approval. The promotion of programs which have not received parliamentary approval is political propaganda, and the Liberal Party should be paying for it.

Labor will be introducing a Private Members' Bill, when Parliament resumes, to crack down on government advertising, which has risen threefold under the Howard Government. One of the key provisions of the Bill will be a ban on

taxpayer-funded advertising of government programs or policies that have not gone through the Parliament.

/Ends Canberra 4/08/2005 Contact: Cora Trevarthen 0418/770484