21 March 2019
The Opposition is strongly opposing Public Information Act changes, which will allow the government to use the machinery of government to present its own spin as facts.
Deputy Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro said the legislative amendments were little more than an unashamed attempt by the government to further use Territorian’s tax dollars to advance political goals, and was a complete about-face for the Labor Government who promised to restore integrity to government at the 2016 election.
The amendments lift the prohibition against using public dollars to produce advertisements that present opinions or are factually inaccurate, instead requiring only that a ‘source’, such as a contact person or previous Ministerial media release be cited.
Last week the Opposition presented a dissenting report on the Public Information Legislation Amendment Bill 2018.
"In Opposition Labor made a great deal of noise about this issue and now we find them wanting to soften the legislation to allow them to present propaganda as fact," Mrs Finocchiaro said.
"The Government contravened the Act seven times last year. It is no wonder that 18 months out from an election they want to dismantle this legislation.
"The result of this change is the Government will be able to present its own spin as fact, market that spin and face no repercussions whatsoever for using public funds to advertise or distribute that messaging.
"We’ll be watching closely how they use these changes – none of this passes the pub test, it is yet another example of how Labor is arrogant and out of touch."
She said another change is a backflip by the government on the use of a Minister’s image on government materials. In 2016 they banned the practice – the amendments will allow them to use them again in government propaganda.
Labor is expected to push through the changes in parliament today.