An inquiry into truth in political advertising

An inquiry into truth in political advertising

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To the parliament of Australia,

The recent federal election was marred by frankly misleading and deceptive advertising, with the Australian Electoral Commission powerless to act. Clive Palmer spent $60 million dollars on advertising to undermine Labor’s campaign. Whilst Adrian Kelly, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia, misled the Australian public by claiming that Labor’s policies on negative gearing and capital gains tax would reduce property prices and increase rent, claims that are not substantiated by economic modelling. Another incident saw signs resembling official AEC signs directing Chinese voters to vote Liberal. Whilst claims that Labor would introduce a death and inheritance tax proliferated on social media and were amplified by the major parties.

Make no mistake. This should be a bipartisan issue. Both parties “play dirty” and do “creative calculations” at elections. Labor was caught saying the LNP would cut funds to public schools, when in fact they merely promised to spend less than Labor did. While less than ideal, the issue of spreading misinformation and manipulation of the public by vested interests is growing and will become a problem larger than the major parties. We live in a time when there is an unprecedented capacity to target the electorate through social media and mobile phones. If we want to safeguard our democracy we need to act now,

The Australian people deserve the opportunity to make genuinely informed decisions about their representation in government and should not be manipulated by wealthy special interest groups. We call for a government inquiry into how truth in political advertising laws could be implemented. The integrity of our democracy and the faith of the Australian people depends upon it.