An issue has arisen in Australia that may foreshadow changes to funding for political campaigns, in a digital media landcape.
Given. Australia’s leadership on political finance, it is instructive to follow their debates. In this case it involves state funding for Yes and No material fir the upcoming Uluru referendum on enshrining an Aboriginal voice in the Parliament.
Australia inherited the Westminster model of funding political activitiess. A recent guide covers both the federal and the state parliaments. What is extraordinary about Australia’s political financing is it’s diversity ranging across the mechanisms currently in place throughout the Commonwealth. A peruse of financing “down under” pretty much informs one on global practices and trends.
So far, the Labour Government has resisted calls for state funding. They argue it is a matter for the public itself to donate. Further, they assert that digital media is practically cost less.
“The Labor government is standing firm against calls for public funding for the yes and no campaigns for the voice to parliament referendum, even drawing backing from a Coalition frontbencher who appeared to break ranks with the Liberal leader’s stance.”
“Simon Birmingham said taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for campaign advertising, despite it being a condition of opposition leader Peter Dutton’s support for the referendum bill.”
“Prime minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday confirmed an official information pamphlet would be distributed even though his ministers had criticised it as outdated and unnecessary, saying the government will do “what we need to do” to win support for the voice to parliament referendum.”
“As part of changes to the machinery rules governing referendums before Australia’s first referendum since 1999, the government proposed that the preparation and distribution of a pamphlet should be abandoned because of claims it was outdated in the internet age.”
Supporters of state-funded “dead tree” pamphlet mailed to each residence argue that it provides the opportunity for fact-checking this avoiding racist misinformation.
As governments seek to reduce costs, the temptation, for an incumbent party, may be to start with the funding of political activity.
The issue of a First Nations and Parliament referendum may come to Canada as may the issue of who should pay for what.