Anyone intending to place electoral advertising must ensure that all advertisements are appropriately authorised.
Longstanding authorisation requirements under Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 changed on 15 March 2018.
New rules now apply when providing authorisations in federal electoral advertisements and other communications defined under legislation, including the broadcasting of political matter.
The Electoral and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (the EOLA Act) commenced on 15 March 2018, extending the application of previous authorisation requirements to modern communication channels and methods, including online platforms, bulk text messages and robo-calls.
Descriptions of specific communication channels and the corresponding authorisation requirements are contained in the EOLA Act and in the Commonwealth Electoral (Authorisation of Voter Communication) Determination 2018.
A consolidated summary of the requirements is available in a new Electoral Backgrounder entitled ‘Electoral communications and authorisation requirements’.
Previous advice on electoral advertising has been removed from the AEC website.
When planning advertising that will run, or continue to run, after 15 March 2018 it is important to include a compliant authorisation. For example, anyone planning advertising associated with the 17 March 2018 by‑election in the federal electoral division of Batman, is encouraged to closely examine the new Electoral Backgrounder.
From 15 March 2018, failure to comply with the new authorisation requirements will be subject to a civil penalty regime, to be administered by the Australian Electoral Commission.