Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to prohibit misleading or deceptive advertising or notification of pregnancy counselling services, and for related purposes
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Registered 20 Jun 2008
Introduced Senate 07 Dec 2006

2004‑2005‑2006

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy Counselling (Truth in Advertising) Bill 2006

 

No.      , 2006

 

(Senators Stott Despoja, Troeth, Nettle and Carol Brown)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to prohibit misleading or deceptive advertising or notification of pregnancy counselling services, and for related purposes

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                               1

1............ Short title............................................................................................ 1

2............ Commencement.................................................................................. 1

3............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

4............ Objects................................................................................................ 2

Part 2—Misleading advertising or notification                                                      3

5............ Misleading advertising or notification of pregnancy counselling services               3

6............ Requirements for advertising or notification of pregnancy counselling services     4

7............ Grant of Commonwealth financial assistance not payable where a pregnancy counselling service engages in misleading or deceptive conduct........................................................................... 5

8............ Minister to report annually on payments to and performance of pregnancy counselling services         5

9............ Disclosure of policy by pregnancy counselling service a condition of financial assistance     6

10.......... Regulations......................................................................................... 6


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to prohibit misleading or deceptive advertising or notification of pregnancy counselling services, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Pregnancy Counselling (Truth in Advertising) Act 2006.

2  Commencement

                   This Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

3  Definitions

                   In this Act:

non‑directive pregnancy counselling service means a service that offers counselling, information services, referrals and support on all three pregnancy options, being:

                     (a)  raising the child; or

                     (b)  adoption; or

                     (c)  termination of pregnancy;

and will provide referrals to termination of pregnancy services if requested to do so.

pregnancy counselling service means a counselling service that has as its purpose, or one of its purposes, the provision of advice or information services to women and their support persons regarding options in relation to pregnancy, childbirth or termination of pregnancy.

termination of pregnancy means the surgical or medical termination of a pregnancy.

4  Objects

                   The objects of this Act are to:

                     (a)  prohibit misleading and deceptive notification and advertising of pregnancy counselling services; and

                     (b)  promote transparency and full choice in the notification and advertising of pregnancy counselling services; and

                     (c)  improve public health; and

                     (d)  minimise the difficulties associated with obtaining advice to deal with unplanned pregnancy.

 


 

Part 2Misleading advertising or notification

  

 

5  Misleading advertising or notification of pregnancy counselling services

             (1)  A person who provides a pregnancy counselling service must not publish, distribute, display or broadcast, by Internet, television, telephone, radio or like service, or by post:

                     (a)  any material that is misleading or deceptive as to the nature of the services it provides; or

                     (b)  any material that is likely to mislead or deceive as to the nature of the services it provides.

             (2)  In relation to a pregnancy counselling service that is provided by way of telephone, a person must not publish, distribute, display or broadcast in connection with the advertising or notification of such service by any means:

                     (a)  any material that is misleading or deceptive as to the nature of the services it provides; or

                     (b)  any material that is likely to mislead or deceive as to the nature of the services it provides.

             (3)  In a prosecution of a person for an offence against subsection (1) or (2), it is a defence if a person proves that he or she:

                     (a)  took no part in determining the content of the material; and

                     (b)  could not reasonably be expected to have known that the material was inaccurate or misleading.

             (4)  This section applies whether the service is provided free of charge or for a fee.

             (5)  Contravention of subsection (1) or (2) is an offence.

Penalty:

                     (a)  for an individual—a maximum of 2,000 penalty units; or

                     (b)  for a body corporate—a maximum of 10,000 penalty units.

Note:          Section 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 does not apply.

6  Requirements for advertising or notification of pregnancy counselling services

             (1)  A person who provides a pregnancy counselling service that does not provide referrals for terminations of pregnancy must include in any material that advertises or notifies the public of its services by Internet, television, telephone, radio or like service, or by post, a statement that “This service does not provide referrals for terminations of pregnancy” or a like statement.

             (2)  A person who provides a pregnancy counselling service that does provide referrals for terminations of pregnancy must include in any material that advertises or notifies the public of its services by Internet, television, telephone, radio or like service, or by post, a statement that “This service does provide referrals for all pregnancy options” or a like statement.

             (3)  In relation to a pregnancy counselling service that is provided by way of telephone, where such service does not provide referrals for terminations of pregnancy, a person who provides such service must include in any material that advertises or notifies the public of its services by any means, a statement that “This service does not provide referrals for terminations of pregnancy” or a like statement.

             (4)  In relation to a pregnancy counselling service that is provided by way of telephone, where such service does provide referrals for terminations of pregnancy, a person who provides such service must include in any material that advertises or notifies the public of its services by any means, a statement that “This service does provide referrals for all pregnancy options” or a like statement.

             (5)  Advertising or notifying material that does not comply with subsection (1), (2), (3), or (4) is taken to be material that is misleading or deceptive to the public for the purposes of section 5.

             (6)  Contravention of subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) is an offence.

Penalty: 

                     (a)  for an individual—a maximum of 2,000 penalty units; or

                     (b)  for a body corporate—a maximum of 10,000 penalty units.

Note:          Section 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 does not apply.

7  Grant of Commonwealth financial assistance not payable where a pregnancy counselling service engages in misleading or deceptive conduct

                   Where a participating State receives financial assistance from the Commonwealth in whatever form and the financial assistance is used for making payments to a pregnancy counselling service and the service is found to have engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in accordance with section 5, or has not met the requirements of subsection 6(1), (2), (3) or (4), the financial assistance is not payable until the pregnancy counselling service has ceased to engage in the misleading or deceptive conduct or has met the requirements of subsection 6(1), (2), (3) or (4).

8  Minister to report annually on payments to and performance of pregnancy counselling services

             (1)  Where a payment or a grant of financial assistance is made by the Commonwealth:

                     (a)  to a State where the payment is made to a pregnancy counselling service; or

                     (b)  directly to a service provider engaged in the provision of a pregnancy counselling service;

the Minister is to report annually:

                     (c)  the amount of each payment to each State and each pregnancy counselling service provider; and

                     (d)  the name of each service provider receiving a payment; and

                     (e)  the policy that each service provider advocates being either:

                              (i)  a pregnancy counselling service which does not provide referrals for terminations of pregnancy; or

                             (ii)  a non‑directive pregnancy counselling service which provides referrals for all pregnancy options.

             (2)  The Minister must, as soon as practicable after 30 June but before 30 September in each year, cause to be laid before each House of the Parliament a report in accordance with subsection (1).

9  Disclosure of policy by pregnancy counselling service a condition of financial assistance

                   A pregnancy counselling service is ineligible to receive a payment or a grant of financial assistance from the Commonwealth:

                     (a)  unless it first discloses in any contract made after the commencement of this Act with the Commonwealth or with a State whether it is:

                              (i)  a pregnancy counselling service which does not provide referrals for terminations of pregnancy; or

                             (ii)  a non‑directive pregnancy counselling service which provides referrals for all pregnancy options; and

                     (b)  the Minister reports the information obtained in accordance with paragraph (a) in the annual report required by section 8.

10  Regulations

                   The Governor‑General may make regulations prescribing matters:

                     (a)  required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed; or

                     (b)  necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.