There are a number of restrictions placed on advertising during and outside of an election period. These are contained within Part 7 of the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999.
The Electoral Commission SA is unable to provide advice on the interpretation of these provisions. Therefore, if you are in doubt about the interpretation, we recommend you seek independent legal advice.
Electoral material is defined as an advertisement, notice, statement or representation calculated to affect the result of an election or poll.
Prescribed information as it relates to electoral material is defined as follows:
- if the printer or other person responsible for undertaking production of the printed electoral material has a physical address – that address; or
- if the printer or other person responsible for undertaking production of the printed electoral material does not have a physical address – the email address or website address of the printer or other person.
As provided by the Local Government Act 1999 s226(2a), electoral advertising posters (made from plastic or corflute) relating to local government elections are prohibited on public roads (including any structures, fixtures or vegetation on a public road), except in circumstances prescribed by regulation. Contact your council for details on signage that may be permitted.
Publication of electoral material
Local Government (Elections) Act - s 27
All electoral material must be authorised and contain the name and address of:
- the person authorising publication of the material, and
- in the case of printed material, the name and address of the printer or person responsible for its production, if they have a physical address. If they do not have a physical address, the name and email address or website.
The address may be a post office box or business address, provided it is the usual post office box or business address used by the person.
Electoral material published in a newspaper as a letter to the editor must include the name and address of the writer of the letter. This address cannot be a post office box.
Electoral material published on the internet must include the authorisation above, except where the name and address of the authoriser is immediately accessible by viewers of the material.
In the context of social media, all profiles, pages, or groups used to campaign must be authorised in the ‘about’ section. Any photos or videos containing electoral material and shared on social media should be authorised within that medium.
Comments and replies are not required to be authorised if the authorisation appears in the ‘about’ section of the page publishing the comments or replies.
If electoral material is published on the internet by a person other than the person who controls the site/page, the person who controls the site/page is not taken to have published material unless they directly or indirectly authorised its publication.
Publication of misleading material
Local Government (Elections) Act - s 28
Electoral material must not contain a statement purporting to be a statement of fact that is inaccurate or misleading to a material extent.
If electoral material contains a statement purporting to be a statement of fact, and the statement is inaccurate and misleading to a material extent, a person who authorised, caused or permitted the publication of the material (the publisher) is guilty of an offence.
This section applies to material published by any means (including radio or television).
If the Electoral Commissioner is satisfied that published electoral material contains a statement purporting to be a statement of fact that is inaccurate and misleading to a material extent, the Electoral Commissioner may request the publisher to withdraw the material from further publication and/or publish a retraction.
The publisher's response to a request by the Electoral Commissioner may be taken into account in assessing any penalty to which the publisher may be liable.
Publication of candidate profiles
Local Government (Elections) Act - s 19A
Candidate profiles must be published on the internet within 14 days after the close of nominations.
Candidate profiles and photographs are published on the ECSA website and are provided to electors with the ballot papers.