Anyone intending to communicate regarding an electoral, referendum or political matter must ensure the communication is appropriately authorised.
An electoral communication is a matter communicated, or intended to be communicated, for the dominant purpose of influencing the way electors vote in a federal election. This includes, but is not limited to, a communication that expressly promotes or opposes a candidate, political party, member or Senator.
A referendum communication is a matter communicated, or intended to be communicated, for the dominant purpose of influencing the way electors vote at a referendum. This includes, but is not limited to, a communication that expressly promotes or opposes a proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution, to the extent that the matter relates to a referendum.
The authorisation requirements apply to electoral communication made at any time. The requirements are not limited to communication undertaken during an election or referendum period. The requirements apply to modern communication channels and methods including online platforms, bulk text messages and robo-calls.
The form of an authorisation particulars for electoral or referendum communication will depend on the type of communication, and the entity or person who authorises the communication. Please see the Backgrounder for more information.
Failure to comply with the authorisation requirements is an offence that may result in enforcement action, including seeking civil penalties.
The AEC has available a number of publications in relation to regulating electoral and referendum communications:
The Electoral Act does not regulate: