Up to $22 million in TV and radio election ads just disappeared

By Chris Pash | 5 April 2019

Federal MPs have been blocked from using their electoral allowances on TV and radio advertising, a combined total of about $22 million, during the coming national election.

The Coalition Government in February changed the rules to allow parliamentary members to spend their $137,000-a-year office budgets on TV and radio advertising.

However, the Senate yesterday voted 34 to 28 in favour of a Labor proposal to dump the change.

The rules are seen as discriminatory by the advertising industry.

“The current rules are yet another example of seriously antiquated legislation that does not contemplate the new media age," said Free TV CEO Bridget Fair when it looked likke the rules would change.

“It is outrageous that public money can be spent on foreign multinational social media platforms that do not even comply with Australian Electoral Commission rules around election advertising but cannot be spent on trusted Australian media outlets like commercial free-to-air television, particularly in regional areas."

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