The Australian Government will next week introduce legislation to bring the regime for authorising political material into the modern era.
These changes to one of Australia’s oldest pieces of legislation – the 99-year-old Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 – will require political parties, candidates and others to put their name to a greater range of political communications, ensuring voters fully understand who is trying to influence their vote. It will also strengthen laws to prevent individuals or organisations from impersonating a Commonwealth body.
Responding to recommendations of the December 2016 report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, the Turnbull Government will enhance the laws around the authorisation of public political communication, including updating the Act to cover robocalls and bulk SMS for the first time.
“These changes will better serve voters by making sure Australians know who is trying to influence them,” Special Minister of State Senator the Hon Scott Ryan said.
“This Bill will ensure all are treated fairly and equally in requiring political material to be authorised, and bring the regime into the modern era.”