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'Mediscare' crackdown in plebiscite bill

AAP logoAAP 12/10/2016

Laws which make it illegal to send political ads via text message without disclosing who is sending them have been introduced to federal parliament.

The changes, which carry fines and have been included in legislation for a same-sex marriage plebiscite, are seen as a way to crackdown on texts like those sent as part of the so-called "Mediscare" campaign during the recent federal election.

The section of the plebiscite bill makes it an offence to send a text message or make a political voice call without revealing the name and address of the person who authorised the advertisement.

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan has told News Corp Australia the legislation simply extends existing rules around political advertising in referendums to include text messages and "robo-calls".

"This is so voters will know who is sending them messages and communications related to the plebiscite," he said.

But Shadow Special Minister of State Senator Don Farrell said the laws were part of a "dummy spit" by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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