“Morons”: WA Premier Mark McGowan Slams Ads Aligning Labor With The Communist Party

“Morons”: WA Premier Mark McGowan Slams Ads Aligning Labor With The Communist Party

Western Australia premier, Mark McGowan, has chastised the individuals who reportedly parked a truck out the front of his Perth home which displayed a controversial political ad linking the Australian Labor Party to the Chinese Communist Party.

During a Wednesday press conference in the Hasluck electorate, McGowan (featured image) – who was joined by Labor leader, Anthony Albanese – took aim at the “idiots” who had been seen driving around with the aforementioned ad in multiple Australian cities.

McGowan was concise with his words regarding the moving billboards which depict Chinese president Xi Jingping voting for Labor with the accompanying caption, “CCP says vote Labor”.

“They’re idiots. And they’re morons… And whoever is behind that should be ashamed of themselves,” he said, before adding the truck drivers had also filmed his house.

“If that’s the Liberal Party then they should own up, because it’s a disgrace,” he commented further.

The same trucks were reportedly seen circling Wednesday’s press conference.

According to The Guardian the ads were authorised by conservative lobby group, Advance Australia, and had been spotted in several locations around the country, including Canberra and Melbourne.

“[It’s] no secret that China would prefer Labor win the election,” an Advance Australia spokesperson told The Guardian.

“Advance is committed to campaigning for our country’s freedom, security, and prosperity – and believe this is an important issue for voters to consider.

“We will continue to campaign on this and the other key message that Australia needs to be aware of before they go to the polls – if they vote Labor, they will get Green.”

Political ads with zealous claims prior to big elections have caused plenty of debate around the legality of such practices.

Independent federal MP Zali Steggall says on her website that it’s “perfectly legal to lie in a political ad”, a claim she reiterated in an interview with The Project in September last year. She’s not far off.

According to RMIT ABC Fact Check the Commonwealth Electoral Act prohibits misleading political advertising, but only to the extent it affects the vote-casting process.

Fact Check also found neither the national complaints body for advertisers nor the federal communications regulator discerned the fact or fiction behind political ads. The political sector also seemed mostly immune to the reaches of consumer law which typically regulates deceptive or misleading conduct.

Despite South Australia and ACT adopting legislation which allows political ads to be regulated, the laws are not applicable to federal elections.

“The reality is in Australia, it’s perfectly legal to lie in a political ad, and it shouldn’t be,” Australia Institute’s democracy and accountability senior researcher, Bill Browne, told The Guardian.

“We know that regulation along the lines of South Australia’s laws against misleading advertising would help address these problems generally.

“In South Australia, members of the public who think a political ad is misleading can make a complaint to the electoral commissioner who can can order the misleading ad to be withdrawn as well as give out financial penalties.”

The past two Federal Elections in 2016 and 2019 saw a fair share of ads with dubious political claims, including the Coalition’s “Labor death tax” allegations, and Labor’s “Medicare” campaign.

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