Legal for politicians to lie?

The ABC’s RMIT fact-checker confirmed that political parties can lie with impunity in their advertising during federal election campaigns, or anytime really. Remember ‘Labor has secret plans to introduce a death tax’?

Zali Steggall has introduced a private member’s bill that would ban political statements that are not factual or could be misleading – much like consumer and corporation law already does – but when it comes to content, the major parties have stitched up the rules to let them use all the dirty tricks in the book.

There are strict rules to oblige political advertising to include the name and address of the person authorised to do the advertising, how the how-to-vote card must be laid out and a ban on broadcasting within three days of an election but that’s all.

In this, social media is showing something of a lead with Twitter banning all paid political ads and trialling the use of flags to warn users that content could be misleading.  

You won’t hear much debate about this in the non-ABC media because spending on political advertising is a bonanza for the commercial print and broadcasting sector. Until there are caps on election expenditure, as some states now have, the lying for votes will continue.

We would like to see Zali Steggall’s bill pass but it’s not looking likely.

See here for our Accountability plan.

Photo: ABC News: Siobhan Heanue)

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