Australians may be contacted by phone, email, SMS or instant message in the lead-up to elections or about current political issues, to seek views, influence your vote or seek donations.
Are political messages covered by telemarketing and spam laws?
Calls, emails or SMS that are not commercial—that is, they don’t offer, advertise or promote goods or services—are generally allowed. They are not required to comply with the obligations under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and the Spam Act 2003.
Communications about elections or political matters are often not commercial.
This means if an email or SMS is not commercial, the sender does not need your permission to send you a message, and the message does not have to contain an unsubscribe option.
If a call is not commercial, it can be made to a number on the Do Not Call Register.
What if it is commercial?
If the message is commercial it might still be allowed. Messages from political parties, independent members of parliament (phone calls only), government bodies and registered charities are exempt from most spam and telemarketing rules.
Commercial calls, emails and SMS from other organisations usually need to comply with the rules.
What about research and polling?
Telemarketing and research callers must also obey strict rules about when calls can be made, when they must be ended, and what information must be provided. These rules apply in all cases—even if the recipient is on the Do Not Call Register.
These rules are set out in the Telecommunications (Telemarketing and Research Calls) Industry Standard 2017.
What about automated or robo calls?
Automated or robo-calls are generally treated the same as calls made by a person.