Victorian Opposition in plans to stop “improper government advertising”

Victoria’s Opposition has taken aim at Premier John Brumby’s spending of taxpayer-funded political advertising, with plans to introduce a private member’s bill tackling the issue when parliament resumes next month.  

The Coalition’s Political Advertising Bill 2010 is based on proposed legislation pledged by the state’s Premier John Brumby when he was still the Opposition leader in 1995.

At the time he said: “I make it absolutely clear to the Parliament and the people of Victoria that we will not tolerate the sort of abuse of taxpayers’ money that has been occurring in the funding of political advertisements under the government. We will introduce this legislation when in government. It will be the first piece of legislation we put through.”

The current state Opposition, Victorian Coalition leader Ted Baillieu, said that despite the promise made by Brumby 15 years ago he has “spent unprecedented amounts of taxpayers’ funds promoting himself and his government”.

“In just one three-year period the government spent a massive $520 million on advertising,” Baillieu said.

“The Coalition’s bill will end this abuse by establishing an Independent Government Advertising Review Panel to oversee, scrutinise and approve taxpayer-funded advertising.”

The panel will include retired members of the judiciary, senior academics and former public sector auditors. The Opposition said the panel will be charged with independently reviewing government advertising to ensure campaigns are not party-political and not excessive.


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