$55m on IR ads not ‘money down the drain’, says Howard

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$55m on IR ads not ‘money down the drain’, says Howard

Despite a poll showing 35% of the electorate is less likely to vote for the Coalition in the next election because of its IR laws, Prime Minister John Howard says the money the Government has spent on IR advertising – which has reached $55m – has not gone ‘down the drain’.

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Despite a poll showing 35% of the electorate is less likely to vote for the Coalition in the next election because of its IR laws, Prime Minister John Howard says the money the Government has spent on IR advertising – which has reached $55m – has not gone ‘down the drain’.

In a television interview Howard said he thought the expenditure of taxpayers money was ‘legitimate, given the importance of these measures and given their importance to the future of the economy.

‘I don’t think the campaign has been money down the drain at all,’ he said.

The $55m figure was revealed yesterday by Government officials, who said the campaign had a budget of $44.3m, but that did not include $8m spent on call centres and $2.6m on a booklet for households. 

Opinion poll results

An Ipsos/Mackay opinion poll in October showed 35% of the electorate said they were less likely to vote for the Coalition because of the proposed IR changes. 

It revealed that 20% of people who voted for the Coalition in 2004 were less likely to vote for them again because of the IR legislation.

The poll also showed that 49% of voters saw IR as an important issue, and they thought Labor was best to handle the issue by 50% to 26%. 

IR advertising successful according to US pollster

The ACTU has received advice from US national pollster Vic Fingerhut, who has worked on Democrat Party campaigns, that its own advertising on the IR issue has been highly successful.

Fingerhut has been reported as saying after analysing the Ipsos/Mackay poll: ‘These are great numbers. Very few independent media campaigns - anywhere - do this much damage.’

Asked in the TV interview whether he accepted that the ads were not popular, Howard said: ‘I accept at the moment that the fear campaign against them has had some success, but that always happens when you have a big change.’ 

The ads have been criticised as boring and ineffective by people in the advertising industry, and also by backbench members of the Government.

Ads counter-productive, says professor

John Roberts, professor of marketing at the Australian Graduate School of Management, said he believed the Government had spent so much money that its advertisements were counter-productive.

‘After your 25th exposure [to an advertisement] in a week you start thinking, ‘Hang on, there is something else going on here’, Professor Roberts said.

Opposition labels ads 'propaganda'

Opposition IR spokesman Stephen Smith said the expenditure was ‘a monstrous abuse of taxpayers’ money’. 

‘This is a Liberal Party propaganda campaign,’ he said. ‘It should be paid for by the Liberal Party.’

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