Businessman with a megaphone

Shorten Out of Touch on Political Ad Blackout Rule

If you’ve been hoping for a bigger, better dose of political advertising streaming on your TV set, you’re in luck.

As it stands, political ads cannot be aired on TV or radio for three days prior to the upcoming federal election. But despite opposition from Labor leader Bill Shorten that ban could soon be scrapped.

A committee of Labor, Liberal and Greens senators have requested that the Morrison government review the advertising ‘blackout’ rule, AAP reports.

This rule however, doesn’t affect print or online media.

The ban, which was brought in in 1992, has been questioned by the committee as to whether it remains relevant or suitable due to the changes in media and tech industries in the last 27 years.

The recommendation came from a report covering a number of ‘freedom of speech’ draft laws listed late last week, according to AAP.

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Social media renders ban obsolete

Free TV Australia is in favour of eliminating the electoral advertising ban.

The industry body noted that political parties merely shift their advertising from TV to other digital podiums as soon as the three-day ban begins.

The Institute of Public Affairs, a right-wing think tank, claims that the spread of social media and rise in uptake of early voting has caused the restriction on TV and radio to become outdated, AAP tells us.

Ian Macdonald, the committee chairman, agreed:

The committee also notes the growing uptake in pre-poll voting in recent years, and considers this trend underlines the need for a review of the ongoing relevance and efficacy of the blackout rule,’ the Liberal senator said in the report.

Bill Shorten, Leader of the Federal Labor Party, disagreed on the lifting of the ban:

I think if you have a long election it doesn’t hurt to give people 48 hours break [from TV election ads] before they go to the polls,’ he told reporters on the Gold Coast.

Free Report: Australia’s right to free speech is under attack! Discover how a select group of Australians want to stifle your fundamental right to speak your mind — and what you can do help turn the tide. Download now.

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune Editorial

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