WorkChoices ads: $23m of taxpayers' money and lots more to come

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WorkChoices ads: $23m of taxpayers' money and lots more to come

The Federal Government has already spent $23m of taxpayers' money on its WorkChoices advertising, and doesn't know what the final cost will be.

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The Federal Government has already spent $23m of taxpayers' money on its WorkChoices advertising, and doesn't know what the final cost will be.

Prime Minister John Howard told Parliament yesterday that the 'information ads' will continue because the expenditure is 'totally legitimate'.

Legitimate information campaign

In answer to a question from Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, Howard said that the 'Barbara Bennett' ads (Bennett is the Workplace Authority head who appears in them) are 'legitimate information campaigns'.

'Not only that, they are completely in accordance with the values of the Public Service Act, as certified by none other than the Public Service Commissioner, Lynelle Briggs,' he said. 'I am informed that to date the information campaign in relation to the fairness test has cost in the order of $23m.

Further expenditure

'There will be further expenditure. I do not disguise that; I make no apology for it. I think the provision of legitimate information on the fairness test is justified.

'There is nothing in the Barbara Bennett ads that in any way attacks the Labor Party, in any way attacks the trade union movement or in fact provides other than factual information on the operation of our policies.

'In those circumstances, our expenditure is totally legitimate. The ads will continue.'

Don't know how much

In debate in Parliament yesterday, when Opposition IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard, remarked that the Prime Minister had not said how much would be spent in total on the ads, Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, interjected: 'We don't know.'

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