10 reasons why Canberra needs Truth in Political Advertising Laws Now
It’s perfectly legal to lie in a political ad — and it shouldn’t be.
1// Currently, it’s perfectly legal to lie in a political ad — and it shouldn’t be
While election campaigning by its very nature will always be strong and robust, it should not be perfectly legal to lie in a political advertisement
2// Without action, we risk election campaigns sliding into a fake-news free-for-all
Political advertisements that are deceptive and misleading interfere with the public’s ability to make informed decisions. Without action and regulation, we risk a democratic crisis and election campaigns risk sliding into a fake-news free-for-all.
3// As the nation’s capital, the ACT has the opportunity to play a leadership role
Around the world, democracies are struggling to adjust to a world full of disinformation. how to address this challenge will be a defining issue of our age. As the nation’s capital, the ACT has the opportunity to play a leadership role in this regard.
4// In fact, 9 in 10 Canberrans want Truth in Political Advertising Laws
Australia Institute research shows nine in 10 Canberrans want Truth in Political Advertising laws legislated, only 5% oppose. These results show overwhelming community support for robust Truth in Political Advertising laws.
There is support for Truth in Political Advertising laws across all parties, with 91% of Labor voters, 84% of Liberal party voters, and 94% of Greens voters supporting such legislation.
5 // Politicians from all sides of politics agree it’s a good idea
Truth in Political Advertising legislation enjoys cross-party support, with politicians from all sides of politics agreeing it’s a good idea.
Liberal MP Jason Falinski and Independent MP Zali Steggall co-wrote a submission to the parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) which said so, Labor elders Jay Weatherill and Craig Emerson recommended such laws in their review of the last election, the Australian Greens have long argued for such reforms— not to mention signatories to an Open Letter calling for such reforms including former Liberal Party leader John Hewson, former Democrats leader and Labor MP Cheryl Kernot, and Labor MP John Langmore.
6// Regulation for truth is not hard. In fact, we already do it
Australian consumer law requires truth in trade and commerce, if it’s good enough for products why isn’t it good enough for our politics?
Why should Australians have more protection from dishonesty when buying a used car than when they are casting a vote?
7// Seriously, we actually already do it in politics too: just look at SA
South Australia has had Truth in Political Advertising laws since 1980s, and that hasn’t prevented robust election campaigning nor has it impeded any notions of freedom of speech.
8 // Social Media Won’t Regulate Themselves
Twitter and Facebook have proven themselves unwilling to ensure that their platforms are free of fake news and misleading ads. Regulatory changes are needed.
9 // 15 Prominent Australians have written to the ACT Legislative Assembly calling for Truth in Political Advertising Laws
15 prominent Australians have written to the ACT Legislative Assembly calling for truth in political advertising laws — including former judges, former politicians from across the political spectrum, academics and civil society leaders.
10 // The ACT Legislative Assembly is considering Truth in Political Advertising Legislation this week
Canberra could pass Truth in Political Advertising legislation modelled on the existing SA laws this week.
The time is ripe for Truth in Political advertising laws that are constitutional, uphold free speech, but introduce a measure of fairness and accountability to the political process.
Enough is Enough. We need Truth in Political Advertising laws now more than ever. Add your name here.