Labor refuses to sign Honesty in Campaigning Pledge
Last week I asked the MP for Derrimut Telmo Languiller if he would sign an honesty in campaigning pledge. The reason for doing this was that in February 1984, the federal parliament passed an amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to insert s. 329(2), under which it was an offence to print, publish, distribute or broadcast any electoral advertisement containing a statement that was untrue or that
was, or was likely to be, misleading or deceptive.
This amendment was later repealed and now the Electoral Act states only that advertisements cannot mislead voters as to how they mark their ballot papers or defame a candidate’s character or conduct.
All political parties and their candidates now have absolute control over the content of their advertisements and there is nothing to prevent them from making false or misleading statements.In recent years the Labor and Liberal Party's have been responsible for the publication and distribution of deceptive and dishonest material in a bid to discredit the Greens and other hard working and well respected candidates who are a threat to them.
In the absence of an industry watchdog that enforces a code of practice the Greens have proposed an amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act to incorporate a Truth in Political Advertising Unit to monitor and regulate political advertising to ensure it is true and accurate.
However in the absence of federal truth in advertising laws to deal with unscrupulous tactics to mislead voters the Greens propose that all parties and candidates sign onto a voluntary pledge, consistent with the 1984 Electoral Act amendment.
In the absence of federal truth-in-advertising laws to deal with unscrupulous tactics to mislead voters, The Greens propose that all parties sign this voluntary pledge.
To that effect I signed the following. We, The Australian Greens, will not print, publish, distribute or broadcast any electoral advertisement, material or communication containing a statement that is untrue or that is, or is likely to be, misleading or deceptive. We understand this pledge to be consistent with the 1984 amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act.
Date ¬ 16/4/10
Name Geraldine Brooks
Telmo has written back to the Star Newspaper (not to me) saying that he won't be signing the pledge because he has already signed a pledge as a parliamentarian. He also goes on to attack the Greens for wanting a pledge because somehow this makes us guilty of the behaviour we wish to remove. This attack is fascinating when it is his party, the Labor Party that have been responsible for recent slanderous and defamatory flyers. At the last state election the ALP attacked the Port Phillip Greens, and Phil Cleary, in the Kororoit byelection they attacked Les Twentyman and more recently in Tasmania the Greens. I wonder if Telmo can show us this pledge that he signed in 1999 and the contents of it. Of course, it is not something I can sign given I have not been elected to parliament.
I am concerned that signing the pledge does not seem to have stopped Labor MPs from being party to slander and tries to prevent voters from electing representatives on their merits.
you can find the link to the story in the Star Newspaper here.