Truth in political advertising

In most elections in Australia, political candidates and parties have almost free reign in what they can say. Unlike for businesses in the commercial world, there is no requirement for political advertising to be truthful.

What’s the problem?

Political candidates and parties deploy deliberately deceptive and misleading advertising without facing legal penalties.

This practice has troubling consequences for our democracy, resulting in uninformed debate during election periods and reduced public confidence in the political process.

Although there is a balance to be struck between protecting freedom of speech and regulating for truth in political advertising, policymakers have many tried and tested options available to them, including improved standards or legislation. 

Existing models provide a good starting point for other jurisdictions. The Australian Capital Territory and South Australia already have laws ensuring truthful political advertising.

There is overwhelming public support for reform in this space. Public surveys show that more than 80% of Australians want political advertising laws.

While there should be a robust contest of ideas, lies and deception should not be part of Australian political discourse.

What we're doing

We’re helping to raise public awareness about the need for truth in advertising laws across all of Australia’s jurisdictions – state, territory and federal.

We’re lobbying the major parties and other members of the federal parliament and other jurisdictions to support political advertising reform.

Read our policy on ‘Truth in political advertising’ here.

What you can do

You can write to your local federal member of parliament or state/territory senators, or arrange a meeting with them, to voice your support for our positions.

You can also consider helping us to make an impact by becoming a member of the Rationalist Society of Australia or making a donation.

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