Controversial businessman and former politician Clive Palmer has been accused of putting public health at risk after he endorsed anti-COVID vaccination ads.
The ads have been played across Queensland and Sunshine Coast radio stations owned by Grant Broadcasters, including Zinc, Hot 91 and Hot Tomato on the Gold Coast, according to Radio Today.
“Australia has had one COVID-19 associated death in 2021. But the TGA reports that there have been 210 deaths and over 24,000 adverse reactions after COVID vaccinations. Authorised by Clive Palmer, Brisbane,” the audio says.
However, according to news.com.au, the ads failed to report that, apart from the single death linked to thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, COVID-19 vaccines have not been found to cause death, according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
The ads drew criticism from a number of radio listeners and media professionals, some of whom are actual doctors.
Why is Clive Palmer able to run radio ads misconstruing TGA info on post-vac deaths in OZ? @RadioNational
— Gillie Cumming (@gcumming_atCM) June 5, 2021
Have I got this right? Social media – Twitter, Facebook – are banning conspiracy theorists like Naomi Wolf and Craig Kelly for spreading damaging public health lies during pandemic, but commercial radio stations are allowed to profit by broadcasting Clive Palmer’s anti-vax lies?
— Dr Queen Victoria (@Vic_Rollison) June 5, 2021
Just heard the Clive Palmer anticovid vax radio advert . Outrageous claim that @TGAgovau have reported over 200 deaths linked to covid vaxs in Oz! He must be stopped from this nonsense campaign!
— Minh Le Cong (@ketaminh) June 6, 2021
When you see or hear a Clive Palmer ad, you know the people running it are actually a couple of rungs below Palmer on the integrity scale.
— Michael Pascoe (@MichaelPascoe01) June 5, 2021
Very disappointing to hear anti vax radio ads today authorised by Clive Palmer @ComRadioAU this is incredibly irresponsible considering the current political climate
— Penny Dahl (@Pennycopter) June 5, 2021
@RadioZincSC shame on you playing anti vaccination ads. Sold your soul to the likes of Clive Palmer. Shame shame shame.
— jenny weedon (@JennyWeedon) June 5, 2021
Clive Palmer is running an anti-vaxx campaign 🤯 heard one of his ads on the radio spouting fear-mongering no context data 🤬 what a dangerous pillock he is 🤮 #ClivePalmer
— Gabe (@FeathersMcGee) June 7, 2021
Palmer’s anti-vaccine ads are part of his ongoing campaign to keep Australian open during the pandemic.
Last year, Palmer was denied entry into Western Australia due to lockdown laws, a ruling that Palmer claimed impeded on his constitutional rights. Palmer then lodged a writ against the decision in the High Court.
According to the Australian Association of National Advertisers’ voluntary Code of Ethics (and as reported by Radio Today), encouraging or condoning “unhealthy or unsafe behaviour having regard to prevailing community standards” in content is a no-no, as is advertising material that goes against community standards on health and safety.
In a statement to B&T, Grant Broadcasters said: “Our radio stations strongly support their local communities, and that includes fully supporting initiatives that keep our community safe, like the federal and state government COVID-19 vaccination programs.
“Currently in Australia, there are not any regulations that restrict the contents of a political advertisement. We also have a responsibility to allow lawful public debate about matters of public importance.
“The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has acknowledged the concerns we raised regarding this messaging, and we are grateful to the TGA for stepping up to provide a clear statement of the federal government’s position on this type of political advertising.
“The advertisements are no longer running across our network.”
B&T has contacted Commercial Radio Australia for comment.