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Deputy PM backs push to review car advertising standards

By Cameron Kirby, 18 Oct 2018 News

Deputy PM backs push to review car advertising standards

Transport minister promises to look into plans to review the advertising code of conduct for automotive industry in response to a pedestrian lobbyist

THE second-highest ranking politician in the country has backed calls for a review of advertising standards for the automotive industry.

Michael McCormack, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Transport and Regional Development, has promised to seek advice from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) about a possible review of the current code according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The FCAI Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising was last reviewed in 2013, after being introduced in 2002, and provides guidance to members (car manufacturers) on what images, themes, and messages they can portray in advertising.

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The Deputy PM has promised to seek advice about plans to review the code from the FCAI.

His response was prompted by a letter from Harold Scruby, the chief executive of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, in relation to a BMW i3 ad which was ultimately banned.

Mr Scruby has called for the Advertising Standards Bureau to be given new powers which would allow it to withdraw ads that breach the code immediately, calling current enforcement methods “a farce” because penalties were not given for breaches.

"There has to be penalties. Advertisers should apologise and [be forced] to run road safety advertisements," Mr Scruby said, according to the SMH.

"Road traumas cost Australia $30 billion a year and they are promoting speed and dangerous driving, and having a serious influence on young drivers.”

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McCormack hasn’t indicated whether or not he’ll toughen or soften the regulations, but in his response to Scruby stated it was “concerning to see acceleration figures are directly promoted in vehicle advertisement, including the BMW advertisements which was the subject of your complaint".

The FCAI’s voluntary code states car ads should not “depict, encourage or condone dangerous, illegal, aggressive or reckless driving”.

The regulations ban depictions of driving that breach federal or state laws where the ad is shown, regardless of where the ad is filmed or location depicted.