More than $22 million was spent on ads during the five week campaign by political parties, representative organizations, unions, businesses and consumer groups. The two major political parties--the conservative Liberal Party and the Australian Labor Party, which has been in office for 10 years-- spent more than $12 million on main media advertising, down 30% from the 1990 election, and some $6 million on direct mail.
Their efforts attracted more complaints to the ad industry watchdog, the Advertising Standards Council, than any other campaign in Australian history. The ASC met to decide whether the parties should be forced to pull their campaigns, said to be factually misleading. The Council ruled that, as political promotion, the spots constituted advocacy advertising, deemed opinion rather than fact.
The ASC received no complaints about any of the non-political ad campaigns, on which some $6 million was spent. An array of groups ran such ads, including a Sydney doctor concerned about the Liberal health platform, media operator Steve Cosser who challenged governmental pay TV policy, and the Institute of Marine and Power Engineers which ran anti-Liberal ads.
Australians can breathe easily, for now. It is all over for another three years.
Penny Warneford is news editor of AdNews in Sydney.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)