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Howard seizes control of Government propaganda.

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Media Release


Senator John Faulkner

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Shadow Minister for Public Administration and Government Services




The independence of the Office of Government Advertising and I nformation (OGIA) has been severely undermined by its shift from the Department of Finance and Administration to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Shadow Minister for Public Administration and Government Services, John Faulkner, said today.


The $100 million Commonwealth advertising budget is unfortunately now under the direct control of the Prime Minister’s office, Senator Faulkner said.


“The Prime Minister’s office has a track record of interfering with OGIA.


“In 1996 the PMO intervened in the choice of advertising agency for the guns buy back campaign. Earlier this year there was a direct manipulation of OGIA with the failed Wik newspaper advertising fiasco, and there are huge question marks still regarding the massive welter of advertising campaigns directly prior to the 1998 election including the $17.8 million GST advertising campaign.


“Now Mr Howard has seized control of the massive Government advertising budget and ditched the arms-length supervision of that budget by the Department of Finance and Administrative Services,” Senator Faulkner said.


There is no good reason for this shift in responsibility except to allow the Prime Minister direct access to the administration of Government advertising.


“The Howard Government has proven already it will shamelessly milk taxpayers’ money for political propaganda purposes,” Senator Faulkner said.


“The Prime Minister’s direct control of OGIA will make matters infinitely worse.”


FOR COMMENT: Colin Campbell 0419 634 919

OCTOBER 23 1998