21 March 2022

Probing the polls: land releases and advertising allegations

| Genevieve Jacobs
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UAP advertising material

Clive Palmer’s extensive political advertising has caused considerable concern in the ACT. Photo: Region Media.

Canberra’s booming housing market and tight supply issues were the focus of this week’s poll as we asked whether simply releasing more land would solve the Territory’s housing pressures.

The Liberal Opposition and some housing industry advocates say the government’s focus on infill is misplaced and a political promise made essentially to satisfy the Greens. They argue that if enough land was available for people to buy, a significant number of housing problems would be resolved.

But Chief Minister Andrew Barr disagrees, noting that housing supply is tight across Australia. He argued that current federal tax settings and record low-interest rates favour investment in real estate.

We asked: would releasing more land solve Canberra’s housing pressures? A total of 1309 people voted and results were fairly evenly divided.

READ ALSO Would increasing land supply solve the ACT’s housing woes?

Your choices were to No, that’s a simplistic answer with damaging consequences. This received 57 per cent of the total, or 745 votes. Alternatively, you could vote Yes, releasing more land will obviously ease housing prices. This received 43 per cent of the total, or 564 votes.

This week we’re wondering about the truck you may have seen driving around central Canberra, featuring a Photoshopped image of Chinese leader Xi Jinping voting for Labor in the forthcoming national election. The truck joins posters across the region and mailouts promoting Clive Palmer’s political ambitions and a forthcoming torrent of electoral content.

The Xi advertisement is authorised by Matthew Sheahan and Advance Australia, a right-wing lobby group that has benefited from wealthy donors and sought to counter left-wing activist group GetUp.

The ad follows the revelation that ASIO had foiled a Chinese attempt to influence the federal election. Although the spy agency had not provided details or identified which party had been targeted, media reports subsequently revealed that the plot involved attempting to bankroll Labor candidates in NSW.

READ ALSO Right-wing group enters poll fray with China truck

But the blatant nature of the allegation stunned many readers who wondered whether it was legal. The answer is yes. The Australian Electoral Commission says that, for the most part, electoral laws did not restrict the placement, timing or content of political advertisements, so long as their source can be identified via an authorisation.

“There is freedom of political communication and it is the voter’s role to stop and consider what they see this federal election,” the spokesperson said.

Jason D. wrote: “Labor had also been having misleading advertising for many years, such as ‘Mediscare’ and nothing happened to Medicare. Then you have Senator Anne Ruston constantly debunking and refuting Labor scare tactics, yet they continue to mislead with the debunked and refuted information.

“It’s nothing new and both major parties have done misleading advertising, ie inheritance taxes. If anything, there should be better legislation for truth and accuracy in political advertising and claims. Any claims should be verifiable.”

But Andrea Riboust commented, “Wow, talk about sinking to the lowest of lows”, while Stuart Hume said, “This is why we need truth in political advertising laws. It’s nothing but a racist dog whistle”.

Vote on our question this week:

Does anything go in political advertising?

View Results

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Linda Seaniger7:25 am 22 Mar 22

At the time of an election it’s usually obvious what are the community or nations major objectives.
So candidates or parties should list their priorities in achieving those objectives.
At the time of the Subsequent Elections we should review their list and give them a report card on their success.
That would provide excellent Feedback on who achieves the best for our cities States and our nation.
Also truth in advertising and in all decisions should be a paramount objective.
Finally Establishing a royal integrity commission should be a priority.

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