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UPDATED - The Broadcasting Services Act seems to be explicit about when the "election period" starts

Personally - I've had my dose of ABC monitoring for the next few months!   

But reader Chris though has a very good point here.   The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 seems to be explicit.

Chris said,

Hi Michael

Peter Reiths article on The Drum has an explanation placed by the ABC Editor which is legally and factually incorrect.


This is what the explanation says

*Editor's Note: While the ABC maintains due impartiality and balance in its coverage of politics throughout the year, the formal campaign begins in August when the writs are issued. That is when we will begin monitoring and recording "share of voice" and determining free time for the relevant parties.

This is what the BROADCASTING SERVICES ACT 1992 - SCHEDULE 2 says

"election period" means:

                     (a)  in relation to an election to the Legislative Council of Tasmania, or an ordinary election to the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory--the period that starts 33 days before the polling day for the election and ends at the close of the poll on that day; and

                     (b)  in relation to any other election to a Parliament--the period that starts on:

                              (i)  the day on which the proposed polling day for the election is publicly announced; or

                             (ii)  the day on which the writs for the election are issued;

                            whichever happens first, and ends at the close of the poll on the polling day for the election;

The Prime Minister has clearly and loudly set the proposed date [September 14] so the election period has commenced.

Think the ABC needs a blast for publishing false and misleading information, and for misrepresenting  the Broadcasting Services Act.


Chris I'm not sure that the ABC is covered by the Act - but there'll be an expert who'll know - over to you.


I am an avid reader of your site but this is the first time I have contacted you.

I refer to the article headed “The Broadcasting Services Act seems to be explicit about when the "election period" starts”.

The ABC is established under the AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION ACT 1983. The BROADCASTING SERVICES ACT 1992 does not apply to the ABC unless it specifically mentions the ABC in the relevant section. However in the AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION ACT 1983 there is a section with identical wording, namely SECT 79A - Broadcasting of political or controversial matter.  It would appear that the authors of the BROADCASTING SERVICES ACT 1992 simply lifted the same wording from the 1983 Act and included it in the 1992 Act.

Michael, here is a hotlink to the relevant Section in the 1983 Act.

It would appear the ABC’s advice – the Editor’s note - is simply wrong. Others may have further advice but so much thanks to Chris for pointing us in the right direction.

Kind regards


“A former bureaucrat”