Page 3616 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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MS LAWDER: Minister, how can you be sure there are no criminal charges if you did not refer it to the Director of Public Prosecutions?

MS BURCH: The findings of the report are in the public domain and it has not been raised with me by any agency or external body that that should be investigated.


MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, UnionsACT was allowed to run advertising in support of light rail in 2015 despite a ban on political advertising. Why was UnionsACT allowed to put pro-light rail advertising on ACTION buses despite the ban on political advertising?

MR RATTENBURY: I thank Mr Wall for the question because it provides me with a handy opportunity to clarify what people’s understanding of political advertising is. I have formed the view, and it is the view that I have asked ACTION to implement, that political advertising—and this is the intent of the guidelines—is political party advertising. I do not think—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR RATTENBURY: My view, as I have conveyed to ACTION, is that issue-based advertising should be allowed. We see a range of issue-based advertising. Members will know that there are ads on our buses, for example, on the issue of live animal exports. That is an issue-based advertising campaign. I believe that the campaign run by UnionsACT was also an issue-based advertising campaign. This is quite consistent. There is a clear distinction between that and political parties advertising on buses, which the Greens sought to do many years ago. We sought to book some ad space and we were not allowed to because of the rules that are in place. That is quite different to having issue-based advertising by a community organisation.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR RATTENBURY: Members can make all the snide comments they like, but the electoral law draws a distinction as well between issued-based organisations, third-party organisations, and political parties. It is quite clear in the electoral law. That is the standard which we are applying in ACTION’s advertising policy.

Members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to hear Mr Wall’s supplementary.

MR WALL: Minister, would the new guidelines allow groups such as Can the Tram to place ads on ACT buses?

MR RATTENBURY: Yes, they would. I look forward to the ads.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Coe.

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