Government spends even more of your money trying to convince you to vote for them

I’ve had a whinge or two in the past about the disgraceful amount of money the federal government is now stealing direct from taxpayers to promote themselves. State governments are guilty of this too, albeit on a lower scale – although the more shameless the federal government is, the more the states will follow. There was also a Senate Committee report on the issue at the end of last year, which the government has duly ignored.

This amazing fact came out in one of today’s Senate Estimate Committee hearings:

Federal government spending on advertising increased by more than 50 per cent last year to over $200 million, but the figure was left out of an annual report in an “oversight”.
The Howard government’s advertising bill for 2005-06 – described by Labor as “a shocker” – has been revealed in a Senate estimates hearing.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) said the spending increased from $137.7 million in 2004-05 to a whopping $208.5 million in 2005-06.
That included $137.8 million on campaign advertising and $70.7 million on other advertising.
In the previous year, the government spent $88 million on campaign ads and $49.7 million on non-campaign ads.
The 2005-06 costs included $17.8 million to spruik the third tranche sale of the government’s shareholding in Telstra.
PM&C first assistant secretary Greg Williams said it was obviously a mistake that the latest figures were left out of his department’s annual report this year.
“It was an oversight, it was in an earlier version and I’m not sure why it didn’t appear this year,” he told the hearing. “I can give you the figure, but it just didn’t appear.”
Labor Senator John Faulkner was skeptical, saying it was the first time in the history of PM and C that the figure had been left out of an annual report.

And that’s in a non-election year! One shudders to think what the year ahead will bring.

PS: one should also not forget the huge increases in postage, printing and other entitlements which have been provided to incumbent MPs in the last few years too, providing a massive head start over any challenger come election time.

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73 Comments

  1. Welcome to the next 51st State of the United States of CorpAmerika…it seems Democracy & independence will fall w/ a barely a whimper in Australia.

    The ABC was worth every penny until the mongrel Govt. decided to put it in a cage, starve it & then began poking a stick in its ribs day & night.

    So many alternative views snuffed out like candles over the years…all in the name of making money…gaining power & influence…Yer one of the few REAL lights left standing Andrew…give ’em hell all the way…

  2. I’m with Jon.

    We should be informed about important changes that affect our lives, but only once they’ve become law. Things like letting us know about road closures, increased bus or train services, water restrictions, what can (and should) be recycled are all okay in my book.

    I guess governments of whatever colour are going to try to put their own spin on things like this, but some go beyond what is necessary or desirable.

    Re Coral’s comment about the violence against women campaign, I think it’s going to take a lot more than our government telling us it’s wrong to prevent this. If only stopping violence was that easy.

  3. #51 “We should be informed about important changes that affect our lives, but only once they’ve become law. Things like letting us know about road closures, increased bus or train services, water restrictions, what can (and should) be recycled are all okay in my book.”

    I agree with that. There probably are such rules in place already, but just flouted by all and sundry.

    The best one we’ve had lately in NSW is an ad telling us that our green slip charges are going up and we should be very grateful that by paying more all our children hurt in car accidents will be completly coveerd. About the only thing missing was a happy snap of some poor child just run over.

    I think a community service announcmeent prcoess as part of a public broadcasting licenese is preferable. No flashy ads, no advertsing agencies making millions, just a sombre face, minimilast set, (Jim Dibble springs to mind) for 5 minutes each day telling us the information governemnt needs / wants to pass on to its citizenry.

    Pigs fly

  4. Climton [post 45]:
    Spoilsport! I was just about to join Lynette2 [post 18] on a career path to untold wealth in advertising (and rorting?).

    EvilPindit [post 46]:
    0.8 billion? That’s nothing! If we taxpayers had gangs of Rort-Busters go right through government spending (and “misplacing”) like a dose of salts, we would have enough money to put a symphomy orchestra in every regional city in Australia, put ABC foreign correspondents in every major city in the world ….. and still have enough left over to house and educate every Aborigine in the country, launch four aircraft carriers, eradicate malaria in twenty countries. Who are the biggest squanderers of public money? Your “Lefties”? No. Pick another answer ……..

  5. Graham,

    Perhaps we could negotiate with Clinton to stop the funding after the next federal election. With figures like these we’d only need to score one Liberal election campaign. After that we could afford to settle for other, funnier, less poisonous clients. Maybe windmill manufacturers?

    nasking could design the corporate logo, dodgy and EP could write the jokes and Andrew could keep us all honest. After the first campaign of course. Sorry Andrew, but honesty and bastardry are a bit different.

  6. >>nasking could design the corporate logo

    sorry Lynette2, but i have a tendency to ignore Corporate logos, in fact i’d probably get a few Libertarian mates together & use it as target practice. Then sit under the stars, light the lantern, put on the music (got good solar charged ones now)…get pissed & write a poem or twelve…feed the odd wild dog…& chat to the passing roos…& jump at the odd wild pig noize…and listen to the toads making their way from the pond to the ‘hello boys’ moon. Gawd I luv this country.

    yea, like i said, I’m totally unreliable when it comes to anything not iconoclastic.

  7. Lynette2:
    Yea!

    Nasking:
    And beauty of it all is that, as a citizen, you would do all of those things for free and not invoice the taxpayers a cent in consultancy fees, cost over-runs, specified rorting charges, etc., for doing so. Good Lord! We might even have to face an outbreak of participative democracy if word of what you intend gets out.

  8. Graham Bell (post 57)

    yes, the attraction of small government is indeed appealing…but if i was bitten by a snake, had a stroke, fell into the fire…it would be reassuring to know that I had a mobile phone out there that worked…connected by a system that wasn’t all profiteering…on which i could call for a pre-paid ambulance…be taken to a hospital that didn’t charge so much I lost my house…on a paved road, then highway that didn’t impede my need to get to the desired location in the ‘nick of time’…where road lamps ensured the driver could see on all sides as he raced to the KINGDOM…& nurses & doctors were available & not on strike because of low pay & crap conditions…& on & on it goes…the race into the NIGHT OF CONVENIENCE…the SLAYER of the PAST…& the DREAM.

    The contradiction of our times.

  9. Nasking:
    Agree.

    We elect governments in the hope that such a big organization will protect our common interests and protect us from predators. We pay our taxes in the hope that the money will be used wisely for our common benefit and not to harm us or to reward those who harm us.

    So what hope do we have when the control mechanisms fail and the opposite happens?

    Hell, it’s our money they have stolen and they use it against us.

  10. GB: 0.8 billion? That’s nothing! If we taxpayers had gangs of Rort-Busters go right through government spending (and “misplacing”) like a dose of salts, we would have enough money to put a symphomy orchestra in every regional city in Australia, put ABC foreign correspondents in every major city in the world ….. and still have enough left over to house and educate every Aborigine in the country, launch four aircraft carriers, eradicate malaria in twenty countries. Who are the biggest squanderers of public money? Your “Lefties”? No. Pick another answer

    Thought this deserved repeating. This is one of the basic lines that a revitalised opposition, or a new left, or a third way, or whatever, should shout from the rooftop. Quality in Government, not quantity.

  11. Graham Bell:

    Here is what happens when the control mechanisms fail and we are not protected from predators.

    Grandad tells us he will kill anyone who tries to sexually assault ANY of his grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Since he doesn’t have too many years left, he is quite happy to spend them behind bars if he has to.

    Grandad isn’t a horrible or angry man – nor is he a criminal. Not long ago, he was awarded one of those medals given to volunteers.

    Here’s another terrible story about Queensland Health. Last Sunday night, our dance coach’s very elderly mother was taken to the Emergency Department of the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

    When he came back to see her 24 hours later, she was still lying on a guerney out in the open. When she needed to go to the toilet, they put her on a commode in front of everyone.

    There were 5 empty beds in a nearby ward, with no nurses available to service them.

  12. CORAL:
    The good news for independents and minor parties is that, apart from those who follow the three major political parties as they would their favorite football teams – regardless of performance, most people I know feel that government (federal or state) is failing and that they only continue to function by slashing services, robbing the public and flogging off our assets and resources. Big changes ahead.

  13. Good news for a change:

    A politician – I think his name is Santo Santoro – has ordered spot checks by accreditation teams at all nursing homes.

    Today I was interviewed by one member of a team about the goings-on at the nursing home I volunteer in.

    I found out that we are all being subjected to Information Control again. Residents aren’t supposed to supply their own toiletries, but they and their relatives don’t know about it.

    The savings on toiletries leave more profits for shareholders.

    We have no menu choices, except in Premium Care (snob level for the rich). I would like to see premium care cut out, so everyone is treated equally.

  14. EP, “Abolishing the ABC would save $700 million of taxpayers’ money annually, which is now wasted on funding left-wing propaganda.

    Can anyone possibly explain how Blue Water High, Ballykissangel and Bob the Builder (for s start) are examples of left wing proaganda?

    Let alone the more than 50 local stations that provide rural and regional listeners with local news and information they don’t get from the synidacted news from the capital cities.

  15. Re #49

    I agree about the ABC’s coverage of politics. The Greens and The Democrats never get a mention which is quite outrageous. The public should hear about all sides of politics not just the right. It’s particularly astounding given that Global Warming is such a big issue today.

  16. Muzz, most ABC content is propaganda in one form or another. From politically slanted “comedy” shows like the late unlamented Glass House, to “documentaries” revising history, it’s mostly toxic to some extent.

    Why do you think the Left defends the ABC? Because the ABC is the mouthpiece of the Left.

  17. Given the scrutiny that the ABC is under from any number of politicians these days (see Matt Price http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20694723-12854,00.html) , I’m surprised that one can claim that this propoganda exists. As to the Glasshouse (which I never watched), I think satirical comedy pokes fun at whoever is in government. Beazley is a common target as well.

    “Most” is an awful lot when you look at the amount of programming the ABC provides. If you want to oppose some programming due to alleged propaganda, do so rather than claiming that the entire budget goes to this ends. The argument simply isn’t valid.

    Also a large part of the rural population (well known for voting left) also support the ABC. Why? I presume it’s because they enjoy watching and listening to it.

  18. At one time, the ABC was the only channel the rural population could get. It has programs such as “Landline” which would be of interest to farmers.

    I would have thought that a large part of the rural population would vote for the National Party. They kept Joh Bjelke-Petersen in power for a very long time.

    Today I watched “Catalyst” which gave a bit of an overview of Therapeutic Cloning and its application to medical conditions.

    The ABC also has “The National Press Club Address” and “Dr Who”.

    In fact, the ABC has more shows of a scientific, futuristic, educational or intellectual nature than any other channel.

    Propaganda comes at us from every direction, every day of our lives.

  19. I agree that the ABC provides a wide variety of interesting (and sometimes less interesting) programs that address a wide variety of our population.

    I just hope you’re not arguing that all these programs are leftist propaganda though, Coral as EP would have it.

  20. No muzzmonster, if you read post #69 again, I don’t think you will find any mention of anything leftist, rightist or centrist – except for my comment about country people voting for the National Party.

    If you have ever studied social psychology and group dynamics; or mind control and manipulation; you will know that indoctrination comes at us from everywhere, using a variety of means.

    I would, however, like to know what EP determines to be “the Left”, so I can weigh up his opinion against what I see.

  21. Wasn’t trying to have a go at you Coral.

    I agree that there’s a multitude of voices on the ABC and that to dismiss the whole organisation as Leftist-propaganda just doesn’t stand up.

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