Public Affairs Work

The Communications Council is currently involved in the following public affairs activities:

Outdoor Advertising

• We made a submission to the enquiry into outdoor advertising, conducted by the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, which looked into the current arrangements for the regulation of billboard advertising, and whether they continue to be an effective method for managing this form of advertising in Australia in line with Australian community expectations. 
• In our submission we stressed the right of the community to be protected from inappropriate and offensive billboard and outdoor advertising but also pointed out that existing industry self-regulatory arrangements are working.
•  We drew the Committee’s attention to the fact that according to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB), the vast majority of outdoor and billboard advertising do not give rise to complaints, that industry compliance with the code of conduct is very high and that the code is in step with community expectations.
• We submitted that any proposed changes to the self-regulatory system should take into account their financial implications and regulatory burden on the industry. 


Submission to the Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs - 215.25 KB

• The Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs on Outdoor advertising submitted its Enquiry report on outdoor advertising on the 4th of July.

• It was broadly supportive of the industry self-regulatory system while making a number of recommendations on how the ASB could modify its operations. It also called for additional research and policing by the sector’s various players.

• A lot of the suggested changes are already underway so we’ll work with other industry players that those changes get made and that the membership is sufficiently informed of them.

• We publically welcomed the report as a validation of the self-regulatory system. We welcomed the fact that the Committee acknowledged the strength and effectiveness of the system.

• The Communications Council is part of a cross industry forum discussing the recommendations of the report, examining its implications and determining what changes industry can make in response to the report.

 

Classification

• We made a submission to the enquiry into the Australian film and literature classification scheme, conducted by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee.

In reference to the Committee’s question whether outdoor advertising could be included in the scheme:

• We pointed out that existing industry self-regulatory arrangements are working and how agencies fit into the current scheme 
• We pointed out the significant commercial disadvantage that inclusion under a national classification scheme would place on the Australian advertising and marketing communication sectors.
• We submitted that self-regulation is an effective mechanism in ensuring that outdoor advertising meets community standards on sexualisation of children and objectification of women.

 

Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee _classification - 241.81 KB

• The Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee published its report on the Australian classification scheme on the 23rd of June. Part of the enquiry terms of reference called on the Committee to explore bringing outdoor advertising under the scheme.

• The Committee has recommended all advertising be brought under the existing National Classification Review structure but fell short of calling for it to be classified. It is suggested advertisers or industry bodies can self-assess advertising content alongside the introduction of 'heavy sanctions' for breaches in the codes. It could mean that that every piece of communications in every medium would need to be assessed either internally or externally against the classification codes.

• We publically rejected recommendations for changes to the way advertising is classified in Australia as providing no real improvement to the existing self- regulatory system or to the community. We also pointed to the fact that the system would burden business for no good reason.

• The Communications Council is part of a cross industry forum discussing the recommendations of the report, examining its implications and determining what changes industry can make in response to the report.

The Australia Law Reform Commission is currently also reviewing classification legislation.

• We submitted to The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) who are reviewing whether current classification regulations continue to be effective.


•  In our submission we reiterated the strength and effectiveness of the current self-regulatory system, but also highlighted our responses to current Committee reports on outdoor advertising. We also discuss the principles underlying the current self-regulatory system and its structure, our commitment to its improvement, and how it compares to other schemes, such as classification and ABAC.

Submission to the ALRC - 265.37 KB

Online Behavioural Advertising

• We are part of an ongoing cross-industry initiative to create self-regulatory guidelines regarding online behavioural advertising (OBA) bringing together the MFA, IAB, AANA and ADMA, as well as other publishers such as Google, Yahoo, Fairfax and Telstra.
• The guidelines provide consumers with a choice mechanism in regards to third party OBA.
• The guidelines  launched on Friday March 18, together with an associated consumer information website.
• We are currently engaging with government and consumer stakeholders about the initiative.

Find out more about the guidelines here.