Not with our money

Not with our money

You may have noticed, like I have, just how many government ads have been on telly the past few months. It’s a long running trend – starting some years ago.

These ads bug me on a number of levels, but I have often wondered just how much public money (our money) is being spent on what often amounts to little more than propaganda for the government’s (mostly unpopular) policies.

GetUp have just launched a campaign that puts the figure at $2 billion since the government took office – $200,000 of that this year.

Yep, you read that right – $2 billion! GetUp claim that that works out to be around $1 million a day.

This is what GetUp are asking for:

GetUp is calling for the introduction of a new law that ensures that:

  1. All future government advertising costs (from focus groups to media buying) are publicly available and easily accessible to the community via an annual report
  2. All advertising above $250,000 is to be approved by an independent auditor who applies strict guidelines to limit advertising to the dissemination of public information
  3. These guidelines are to be developed with public consultation with the final guidelines to be publicly available
  4. These conditions to apply in both the federal and state governments within 1 year
  5. A cap of $100 million p.a for total government advertising spending is to be imposed with any additional money to be approved by parliament.

The $100 million cap even seems high to me – I’m amazed that rules like this don’t already exist. Time we had some methinks…

  • I think things should be even more controlled in relation to WHAT it is the government is advertising – i.e. if the campaign is for education in relation to policy matters then that should be given less restriction than straight out and out advertising at election time.

    To the point where every major party is given an equal advertising budget at the beginning of an election campaign and that is all they are allowed to spend, period. That way our tax dollars are being used in a fair and equal manner and it doesn’t give a political advantage to the party with the most money to throw at a campaign.

  • I agree pretty much across the board John. The only caution I’d have in saying that is “policy matters” is a hard thing to quantify. The government claims all it’s propaganda around Work Choices is “education” – and at one base level that’s true – it outlines the mechanisms in place to (supposedly) protect workers under the new system.

    I’d be interested in how you could quantify “policy matters” to avoid the kind of rubbish we’ve been seeing lately…

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