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Special ad safeguards for marriage survey

NewsMediaWorks has already advised members that advertising for the Yes/No Marriage Equality Survey should be treated as political matter.

The Australian government has hastily pushed through a bill which will provide additional protections to those participating in the postal survey on changes to the Marriage Act.

The Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Bill 2017 will bring advertising surrounding the marriage law survey more closely in line with legislation used during elections periods.

All publishers have been in discussion with NewsMediaWorks, and have come to the agreement that all advertisements promoting a position on the postal survey should include the word ‘advertisement’ at the top of the imagery and ‘Authorised by…’ at the end.

The act requires certain paid advertisements, printed material, and material intended to affect whether a person provides a response to the survey or the content of the response, to be clearly authorised.

The legislation also creates specific offences and civil penalties in relation to the survey.

For example, it is an offence:

  1. for a person to receive a bribe on the understanding that the person’s decision as to whether to respond to the survey, or the content of the person’s response, will be influenced or affected; or
  2. to bribe a person, or to make a threat to a person, for the purposes of influencing or affecting whether the person responds to the survey, or the content of the person’s response to the survey.

A person may, for example, be liable to a civil penalty if the person vilifies, intimidates or threatens to cause harm to another person or persons because of:

  1. views expressed or held, or believed to be held, by the other person or persons in relation to the marriage law survey question; or
  2. the religious conviction, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status of the person or persons.

If you have any concerns about an advertisement, please contact Lianne Richards at [email protected] or 0400 551 636


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