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The AEC has powers to regulate political advertising, and there are very specific requirements for certain types of political advertising. Contravention of these laws can result in significant fines upon conviction of $1000 for natural persons and $5000 for a body corporate.
What is regulated?
The law pertaining to this is the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918|, more specifically sections 328 (Printing and publication of electoral advertisements, notices etc). and 328A (Publication of electoral advertisements on the Internet).
The Act states at s328:
- A person shall not print, publish or distribute or cause, permit or authorize to be printed, published or distributed, an electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet, poster or notice unless:
- (a) the name and address of the person who authorized the advertisement, handbill, pamphlet, poster or notice appears at the end thereof; and
- (b) in the case of an electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet, poster or notice that is printed otherwise than in a newspaper--the name and place of business of the printer appears at the end thereof.
The Act states at s328A:
- A person commits an offence if:
- (a) either:
- (i) the person publishes an electoral advertisement on the Internet; or
- (ii) the person causes, permits or authorises an electoral advertisement to be published on the Internet; ::and
- (b) the electoral advertisement is intended to affect voting in an election; and
- (c) the electoral advertisement is paid for by the person or another person; and
- (d) the name and address of the person who authorised the advertisement do not appear at the end of the advertisement.
What is exempted?
There are exemptions provided within the act include:
- Lapel Buttons;
- Lapel Badge;
- Business of visiting cards that promote the candidacy of any person in an election for the Parliament; and
- Letters and cards that:
- Bear the name and address of the sender; and
- that do not contain a representation, or purported representation of a ballot paper for use in an election for the Parliament.
Who can authorise publication?
The Party Secretary is responsible for all official communications and is responsible for the authorisation of advertising material. No other person is permitted without written or delegated authority to authorise or permit publication of materials on behalf of, or for the party.