Sydney Airport has refused to display a billboard from the Labor party after it deemed the message too political and contrary to its position of displaying or taking ad dollars from political parties.
The creative shows opposition leader Bill Shorten and a quote that says: “Our tax policy will make multinationals pay their fair share.”
It follows on from last week’s federal senate enquiry into alleged tax minimisation schemes used by multinational companies in Australia that had embroiled the local operations of such companies as News Limited, Apple, Google and Microsoft.
The billboard spaces are owned by APN Outdoor. B&T contacted APN for comment but had not received a reply at the time of publication.
However, yesterday the Fairfax press – who recently made allegations about rival News’ tax dealings – reported that it had uncovered correspondence from APN Outdoor that the actual reason the creative was pulled was it may be upsetting to its overseas business class passengers.
Fairfax claimed it was in the possession of an email from an APN Outdoor employee that said: “The issue was less that it was political but that the creative addresses foreign multinationals in a negative light, and because it is placed near the airport it’s not the ideal location for that sort of message.”
APN Outdoor counter-claimed that the email was the work of a junior employee and was not the official policy of the company.
Another reason the ad may have been scuppered was that the Airport itself – owned by a myriad of investors – had recently been in trouble with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). In 2014 it reportedly paid the ATO $69 million after being audited.
However, a spokesperson for the Airport was quoted yesterday as saying there was nothing sinister in the advertisement being refused other than it conflicted with its policy on political advertising.