Thursday, 9 February 2012

Julia Gillard broke advertising code

Labor carbon tax ads broke rules, says Auditor-General
THE Auditor-General has found the $20 million carbon tax advertising blitz breached financial regulations.

It also may not have delivered value for money and failed to effectively sway the public as the government scrambled to mount the campaign.

The audit discovered that at the height of the carbon tax controversy, the Gillard government awarded a $2.7m contract for the printing of an information booklet after a tender period of just 36 hours and demanded companies provide updated quotes in just 90 minutes. It also gave media buyers just one week to secure television and radio airtime for the campaign, undermining the effectiveness of the advertising because it limited the ability to get the best spots.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet unveiled the Clean Energy Future campaign in July to a storm of political outrage, including claims made by the Opposition Leader that they were inaccurate

But Mr McPhee did raise concerns about the key claims not being properly referenced in the advertising material, saying the government was not able to establish a "clear line of sight" between 52 statements of fact and sources used to support those statements. The audit, the first on the government's entire advertising spend from March 2010 to August last year, also revealed the department breached financial regulations in its tender process."A verbal approval was given by a (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) delegate for a spending proposal, valued at $1.7m, for the household mailout distribution contract," he wrote."However, a different person was recorded in DCCEE's systems . . . resulting in a breach of the financial management regulations."

The audit also revealed Julia Gillard approved an extra $8m on top of the original $12m campaign because there "remained confusion" in the public's mind about "key elements of the government policy" and competing ads against the carbon tax. Mr McPhee said a draft evaluation of the campaign, done by the Independent Communications Committee, found it was not very effective. "There was limited acceptance of key messages related to carbon pricing and household assistance. They did not translate into high levels of action," the committee told Mr McPhee.

Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said the findings were extremely serious. "They indicate that proper processes were completely disregarded in the government's desperate attempt to put a positive spin on the unpopular carbon tax," he said. Mr Combet called on Mr Abbott to apologise to public servants for saying the ads were inaccurate. The department has said it will amend internal processes to address issues raised by the auditor.

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1 comment:

  1. Trouble is the media failed to report on the issue in an accurate manner. Having an informed public is basis for democracy so if the media fail how else does government comminicate with the people?


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