If you’ve received texts from politicians telling you how to vote in the upcoming Voice referendum, you’re not alone.
‘No’ campaign texts have been common in recent weeks, some addressed from leading Voice opponent Jacinta Nampijinpa Price.
How do they get your number?
Rules about texts from politicians
Australia has rules about spam communication. These rules ensure marketers must have your consent and offer you a way to opt out of messages.
The Government also operates a ‘Do Not Call’ register for those who wish to opt out of telemarketing.
However, these rules are designed for commercial marketing. They generally do not apply to political communication.
In general, the only requirement placed on political campaigners who send texts or make phone calls is to identify themselves by providing their contact details.
Like all forms of federal political advertising, these messages are not required to be factually accurate.
How did they get my number?
Political campaigns often maintain databases with contact information.
Campaigners also often claim to use random phone number generators to reach people whose details they do not have.
The ‘Yes’ campaign for same-sex marriage claimed to have used this tactic in 2017. Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party also did so prior to last year’s federal election.
Texts about the referendum
Some of the texts from politicians sent to voters in recent days include a link claiming to direct people to a ‘postal vote’.
The link directs to a Liberal and National party website, which encourages people to enter details to receive an email on how to register for a postal vote.
Anyone who wants to register for a postal vote can do so on the official AEC website without providing their details to a political party.