Report No. 255
7.43. The Commonwealth Electoral Act, 1918 of Australia mandates disclosure provisions for any "electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet, poster or notice" containing "electoral matter".298 The Australian law also prescribes a 'Blackout Period' during which broadcasters must not display any material containing electoral matter which is intended or is likely to affect the voters. 299
The Broadcasters Services Act, 1992 provides that where any election matter is broadcasted during an election period by a broadcaster, that broadcaster must give all the parties contesting the election a reasonable opportunity to have election matter broadcasted during the election period.300It further provides that for ensuring equal access, free broadcasting is not required.301 However, it treats the editorial content and advertisement at the same footing. Therefore, there is no separate regulation on Paid News in Australia.
298. Section 328, Commonwealth Electoral Act, 1918
299. Schedule 2, clause 3A, Commonwealth Electoral Act, 1918
300. Schedule 2, clause 3(2), Equal Access
301. Schedule 2, clause 3(3) of the Act