Written and authorised by the government?

In this week’s episode of The Gruen Transfer they discussed this mining industry ad against the government’s proposed mining tax. Host Wil Anderson asked the panel about the ‘Authorised by M. Hooke, MCA, Canberra’ message at the end.

Rather surprisingly regular panel member Todd Sampson thought that this was a clever move to make it look like a government ad. Fellow panel member Carolyn Miller also thought that this was a sign of government advertising. In reality, as the other regular panel member Russel Howcroft pointed out, the written and authorised message is a legal requirement applying to electoral matter.

It seems that the government itself is such a dominant political advertiser that a provision aimed at revealing who is behind political campaigns is taken by people in the advertising industry itself to be a government endorsement. There is so little other political advertising that they don’t notice that all of it tells you who is behind it.

I’ve long suspected that the written and authorised message is useless. Now I think it may be positively misleading.