Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party has caused outrage all over the country claiming to have sent 5.6 million unsolicited campaign texts asking for people to “vote 1 for the party”.
Palmer spoke during a press conference Monday afternoon calling the text barrage “successful” as from that “280,000 contacted our party website”.
Palmer said the texts are legal and he will continue to send them.
He said, “We don’t have the list (of contacts), of course you’ll realise under the privacy act all registered political parties are entitled to contact Australians via text.”
People have been receiving messages since last Friday, some even getting more than one message over the weekend.
Palmer added, “We have had over 3000 complaints which were mainly robocalls from the trade union movement directed at my mobile phone and other party members’ phones to try to intimidate us.”
These texts contained election promises including keeping 100 per cent of WA GST in WA, pay 20 per cent less tax in Tasmania and fast trains for Melbourne.
The message also contained a link to the political party’s web site, which some found was broken and others given a warning before entering the site.
The messages did not contain an opt-out function, leaving people logging on to Twitter expressing their outrage.
Some people — including two Which-50 writers — received messages discussing cities they didn’t live in.
Others mentioned the legality of these messages and if they were a breach of privacy.
Clive Palmer is sending out spam texts. Where is the opt-out link?!! I am fed up with this coal billionaire believing he can badger us into becoming PM so he can fight action on climate change. Pay your workers their entitlement Clive!#clivepalmer #uap #fightfascism— Woz (@piratekombi) January 11, 2019
Palmer assured there will be more messages as we get closer to the election saying “it’s a way of stimulating debate in our democracy”.
He said, “It’s a way of people being able to communicate with each other and it’s recognised by Liberal and Labor parties who brought in the legislation and supported it in parliament and thought it was a desirable feature of Australian public life.”
According to the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) because these messages “do not appear to have a commercial purpose” they are generally allowed.
ACMA said in a statement to Which-50, “Calls, emails or SMS that are not commercial — that is they do not have a commercial purpose — are generally allowed and not required to comply with the obligations under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and the Spam Act 2003. Communications about political matters do not usually include a commercial element.”
A commercial element, according to ACMA is an “offering, advertising or promoting goods or services”.
ACMA said a commercial element “may be exempt from the law if it was made by a body designated as exempt under the law. This will include messages from political parties, independent members of parliament (phone calls only), government bodies and registered charities.”
Palmer is known for his outlandish campaigning through loud, bold billboards showing himself and his infamous “make Australia great again” slogan.