Prahran: Rules are rules

The VEC site has some fantastic dancing ballot papers...

Makes you wanna get up and vote! Makes you wanna get up and vote!
Makes you wanna get up and vote!

... but I couldn't find the specific rules relating to appropriate authorisation of campaign material. Does anyone want to offer an opinion on whether campaigning SMSs and emails are required to carry the standard "Written and authorised" tag-line? It would seem an unusual exception if it wasn't required of them, and a certain local Liberal candidate has been sending 'em out, authorisation-free.

UPDATE 22/11, 4:20pm: I found the relevant piece of legislation on the AUSTLII website (which, sadly, features no waltzing acts of parliament, nor lambadaing High Court judgements). Section 83 is the one for us:

83. Printing and publication of electoral advertisements, handbills, pamphlets or notices

1) A person must not print, publish or distribute or cause, permit or authorise to be printed, published or distributed, an electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice unless-

(a) the name and address of the person who authorised the electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice appears at its end; and

(b) in the case of an electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice that is printed or published otherwise than in a newspaper, the name and place of business of the printer or publisher appears at its end.

Penalty: In the case of a natural person, 10 penalty units; In the case of a body corporate, 50 penalty units.

(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1)(b), a person who makes copies for distribution of an electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice that is published on the Internet is deemed to be the printer of those copies.

(3) Sub-section (1) does not apply in relation to-

(a) a car sticker, an item of clothing, lapel button, lapel badge, fridge magnet, pen, pencil or balloon; or

(b) an article included in a prescribed class of articles.

(4) Nothing in sub-section (3)(a) is to be taken, by implication, to limit the generality of regulations that may be made by virtue of sub-section (3)(b).

So does a mass-circulation SMS or email constitute "an electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice" which is "printed, published or distributed"? Hmmm, one for the lawyers out there.


Anonymous said…
Email and SMS are also covered by the Spam Act which, according the ACMA, insists that must "carry accurate information to identify the person or organisation that authorised them." As far as I can tell though, they don't have to things like an unsubscribe option, a regulation which applies to commerical messages.
Anonymous said…
Ari, try looking at section 3, which should have definitions for things like 'publish'. Publish is normally construed very widely and could possibly therefore included SMS.

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