For the 1996 election the AEC conducted an extensive public education campaign aimed at reminding voters of their electoral rights and responsibilities. The major messages conveyed in this campaign were:
In communicating this information to the public and in particular to key target audiences such as the young and those from non-English speaking backgrounds, the AEC used a range of communication strategies.
National and State based advertising was conducted throughout the election period. The first AEC advertisement was broadcast on television at 2.10pm on Sunday 27 January 1996, the afternoon following the announcement of the election. The final advertisement was heard on radio at 5pm, an hour before the close of polls.
The national advertising campaign involved five television commercials, 15 separate press advertisements and 13 radio commercials. This was supplemented by State based press advertisements which provided local information on candidates and polling places. As a result of the overlap with the Tasmanian State election special advertising was also prepared for this State.
The total cost of the AEC's advertising program was approximately $7m.
National advertising was translated into various community languages:
Radio advertising appeared on community service stations incorporating print handicapped and Aboriginal community as well as ethnic language programs. Expenditure on ethnic media outlets accounted for approximately 8% of press costs and 26% of radio costs.
Of the total media budget, 39% was spent on television, 13% on radio and 48% on press advertising.
The AEC distributed a multi-page election information leaflet, Your guide to the federal election, to households throughout Australia:
With the assistance of the National Federation of Blind Citizens of Australia the leaflet was also recorded on audio cassette and distributed to blind and other print handicapped electors.
A separate one-page leaflet was also produced for people living in the New South Wales divisions of Grayndler, Fowler, Prospect and Watson.
At the 1993 election these divisions recorded high informal voting rates.
For this election the leaflet showed a sample of a House of Representatives ballot paper and a generic Senate paper, together with voting instructions in English and 10 community languages. This was to assist Australians of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to cast a formal vote.
In parallel with the advertising campaign, the AEC conducted large scale public relations activities during the election period.
Public relations activities focussed on:
Other activities included: