Despite the Government’s claims there is mass confusion in the community about its higher education package, its taxpayer-funded hotline – budgeted at $500,000 as part of the $14.6 million government propaganda campaign – has received only 134 calls.
Senate Estimates hearings today have revealed the confusion and waste at the heart of Christopher Pyne’s misleading taxpayer funded higher education advertising campaign.
What the Government can’t explain is that the overwhelming number of Australians have rejected Minister Pyne’s unfair and unnecessary $100,000 degree program and no expensive ad campaign will change that.
The Department claimed in the previous Estimates round in November 2014 that no decision had been made on a taxpayer funded advertising campaign.
But officials have today revealed that not only had market research had been commissioned one month earlier, Cabinet had approved the budget for the campaign on 28 October 2014.
Cabinet’s approval of the campaign budget is a clear sign that a decision to have a taxpayer-funded political campaign had indeed been made.
The Department of Education today also revealed that:
$6.1 million has already been spent on media buy.
$1.3 million was allocated to a website, but only $245 has been accounted for because the website has been produced “in-house”.
Using Departmental resources to support a politically-driven ad campaign does not make the campaign free. It simply serves to hide the real costs, leaving the remainder of the $14.6 million budget free to fund more misleading ads.
The Department’s answers today show that the Liberals are hell bent on doing whatever they can to get their unfair higher education agenda through the parliament, regardless of the cost.
The Abbott Government’s decision to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on false advertising to try and convince the Senate to pass this dud package is an absolute disgrace.