Television networks may be forced to air political ads they had previously banned, as independent senator and anti-pokie activist Nick Xenophon pushes to change the Broadcasting Services Act.
Under the current Act broadcasters can refuse paid political ads outside election periods and at all times for non-party organisations.
Xenophon said the changes would allow groups and parties to access television advertising at all times.
“It is imperative that Australian broadcasters offer a level playing field for any group, organisation or political party willing to join an informed debate through television or radio advertising,” Xenophon said.
Xenophon cited the restriction of anti-pokies ads from activist group GetUp!.
A GetUp! Spokesperson told B&T the networks have knocked back four of the group’s ads including those which target supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths for their pokies businesses (below).
“Freedom of speech means all political parties and groups should have equal opportunity to debate political issues through television advertising in the months leading up to the 2013 election,” Xenophon added.
“Australian voters need to know all the facts and political debate should not be skewed by restricted television advertising.”