Anti-vaccine leaflets banned from publication by some Australian postal services | Australia News
Anti-vaccination leaflets, such as those distributed by the United Australia Party, could be banned from delivery by many of the country’s largest mail distributors.
The industry’s self-regulatory body has decided to change its code so that signatories cannot submit content that contains misinformation that could be harmful to health.
Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party has been mailing out Covid-19 and the vaccination program since the start of this year.
The yellow and black leaflets, similar to the text messages UAP sent and the advertisement it ran in newspapers, warn of “side effects” to vaccines, based on a TGA report that documents each reaction felt after vaccination, whether or not there is any connection to the vaccine itself.
Joseph Haweil, the mayor of Hume in northwest Melbourne, one of the areas hardest hit by the city’s current Covid outbreak, told Guardian Australia that the massive distribution of UAP leaflets had failed. “not helped” amid efforts to reduce reluctance to vaccinate in the region. .
In June, the Postal Industry’s Distribution Standards Board ruled that anti-vaccination flyers would be considered “adult content” and should be wrapped in plastic so children could not see the content.
Leaflets posted by UAP have since adopted this requirement.
But signatories of the code have signaled in recent weeks that they have been asked to spread more disinformation about Covid-19 and want the code to be strengthened.
After reviewing the proposed leaflet proofs to be sent out over the past 10 days, the DSB board decided on Thursday to update its code so that signatories “do not deliver inauthentic content.”
“This includes content that contains erroneous information that could have an impact on an individual’s physical or mental health, financial security, security, is knowingly fraudulent or is not supported by a qualified independent third party or is widely regarded as bogus content, ”the code states.
Kellie Northwood, Managing Director of DSB, said distributors have “a strong obligation to ensure that mailbox content is not misleading and does not have the potential to impact health. physical or mental of an individual “.
“Material relevant to a medical opinion that is not qualified by an independent third-party healthcare professional or that is widely viewed as bogus has no place in the mailbox,” she said.
“The mailbox carries a great responsibility, arguably higher than other media channels, as it includes material beyond unaddressed communications from various industries – addressed financial statements, government notices, health and education materials. , emergency service contacts, community directories and more – information that is trustworthy with a supposed level of accuracy.
It is not known which companies have accepted business from UAP in recent months. In August, Labor MP Patrick Gorman named Ive Group, the largest national mail distributor after Australia Post, in parliament as the originator of the leaflets.
“I’m calling the Ive Group – we normally know them here as Salmat – to stop taking Clive Palmer’s money. They are not doing any good. They can use their freedom of speech to stop taking their money. They don’t have to spread his misinformation.
Ive group referred questions on its role to the DSB. It is understood that Ive has not distributed any leaflets for the UAP in recent months.
Guardian Australia has solicited comments from the UAP.
Federal government under pressure to act
Since Craig Kelly became the federal leader of the UAP, unsolicited anti-vaccination text messages have been sent to millions of Australians by the party.
The Federal Government has recently come under pressure to take action against the posts, which the Australian Election Commission and the Australian Communications and Media Authority have been unable to sanction because anti-spam laws do not apply. not to political causes.
Both ACMA and AEC have indicated that they have limited powers of action. The ACS said it received and respond to complaints about the messages.
Acma said the spam law does not apply to messages that are not of a commercial nature. Australia also has no truth in political advertising laws, which means regulators have no role in verifying advertisements.
But the Therapeutic Goods Administration released a public statement last week saying her lawyers wrote to Kelly alleging the party violated her copyright and asking her to stop distributing “incomplete snippets” of adverse event reports. related to Covid vaccines, what the TGA thinks could be “seriously misleading.”
Kelly said this statement was “misleading” and “defamatory”.
The UAP did not respond to requests for comment, but Palmer previously told Nine News that he “is a strong supporter” of the campaign and that “all of the ads cite facts reported by TGA.”