Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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A Bill for an Act to amend the Meteorology Act 1955, and for related purposes
Administered by: Environment
For authoritative information on the progress of bills and on amendments proposed to them, please see the House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, and the Journals of the Senate as available on the Parliament House website.
Registered 26 Jun 2014
Introduced HR 25 Jun 2014

2013 - 2014

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

METEOROLOGY AMENDMENT (ONLINE ADVERTISING) BILL 2014

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

METEOROLOGY AMENDMENT (ONLINE ADVERTISING) BILL 2014

OUTLINE

The Meteorology Amendment (Online Advertising) Bill (the Bill) 2014 amends the Meteorology Act 1955 (Cth) to provide certainty in relation to the Director of Meteorology’s powers to include advertising on, in or in connection with the Bureau of Meteorology’s (the Bureau) services.

The introduction of online advertising followed the 2011 Munro Review of the Bureau’s capacity to respond to future extreme weather and natural disaster events and to provide seasonal forecasting services which recommended that options be explored to obtain revenue from advertising on the Bureau’s website. The Australian Government’s decision to allow commercial advertising on a permanent basis was announced in the 2013-14 Budget. This followed a 12-month trial of online advertising that was announced in the 2012-13 Budget. The Bureau hosts one of the most popular websites in Australia and is the first Australian Government agency to accept commercial advertising.

This amendment will confirm the powers of the Director of Meteorology to accept paid advertising and require that the Director develop and publish guidelines on the types of advertising that the Bureau will display, allowing the Director to prohibit advertising that is considered to not be in the Commonwealth’s or the Bureau’s interests. It is expected that the Director’s guidelines will be based on the Bureau’s existing Online Advertising Policy, which was developed and published during the advertising trial. The Online Advertising Policy is founded on existing industry advertising laws, regulations and codes of conduct. The core principles of this policy are the maintenance of the Bureau's services and respect for the reputation of the Commonwealth and the Bureau.

An amendment will also be made to add to the list of items for which charges may be made, to provide certainty that the Bureau can charge for its services.

To avoid doubt as to the validity of past actions, an amendment will be made to validate any actions taken prior to the commencement of the Act.

Technical amendments will be made in nine places to update existing text to more modern language, to correct syntax and to update a reference.

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

There is no financial impact.

REGULATORY IMPACT STATEMENT

The Office of Best Practice Regulation has advised (proposal ID 16078) that the amendments do not require a regulatory impact statement.

 

 


 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Meteorology Amendment (Online Advertising) Bill 2014

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

Overview of the Bill

The Bill provides certainty in relation to the Director of Meteorology’s powers to include advertising on, in or in connection with the Bureau’s services. The Bill also requires the Director of Meteorology to develop and publish guidance determining the types of advertising that may be accepted on the Bureau’s website.

The Australian Government’s decision to allow commercial advertising on a permanent basis was announced in the 2013-14 Budget. This followed a 12-month trial of online advertising that was announced in the 2012-13 Budget. The Bureau hosts one of the most popular websites in Australia and is the first Australian Government agency to accept commercial advertising.

This amendment will confirm the Director of Meteorology’s powers to accept paid advertising and require that the Director develop and publish guidelines on the types of advertising that the Bureau will display, allowing the Director to prohibit advertising that is considered to not be in the Commonwealth’s or the Bureau’s interests. It is expected that the Director’s guidelines will be based on the Bureau’s existing Online Advertising Policy, which was developed and published during the advertising trial. The Online Advertising Policy is founded on existing industry advertising laws, regulations and codes of conduct. The core principles of this policy are the maintenance of the Bureau’s services and respect for the reputation of the Commonwealth and the Bureau.

Human rights implications

Article 19(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) protects an individual’s freedom of expression in any medium, including written and oral communications, the media, public protest, broadcasting, artistic works and commercial advertising.  The right protects not only the ability to impart information or ideas but also the ability to receive them. Freedom of expression may be limited under Article 19(3) only where provided for by law and when necessary to protect the rights or reputations of others, national security, public order or public health or morals. 

The Bill engages the rights in Article 19 by requiring the Director of Meteorology to publish guidelines setting out the types of advertising that may be published on the Bureau’s website. 

In practice, the Bill will primarily regulate advertising provided by companies, to which Article 19 does not apply. 

All advertisements placed on the Bureau of Meteorology’s website since 2013, when it commenced hosting commercial advertising, have been placed by companies. There have been no advertisements placed by individuals, and there are not expected to be any advertisements placed by individuals in the future.

However, to the extent that the Bill could apply to individuals, any restriction on the right is provided by law and is for the protection of public health, national security, public order or the rights and reputation of others. The guidance would prohibit the promotion of:

  • tobacco, gambling, lotteries or advertising promoting the consumption or sale of alcohol,
  • advertising that causes offence or incites hatred of any individual, group or class,
  • advertising directed at children 17 years or younger,
  • advertisements glorifying, or delivering for the purposes of entertainment, scenes or descriptions of non-consensual pain, suffering, death, torture or ill-treatment of humans or animals,
  • advertising relating to bombs, guns, ammunition and other offensive weapons,
  • advertising containing sexually explicit content and/or sexual innuendo and/or advertising containing offensive language,
  • advertising that is misleading or deceptive or be likely to mislead or deceive,
  • advertising that contains a misrepresentation which is likely to cause damage to the business or goodwill of a competitor,
  • advertising that is defamatory, and
  • advertising of a political nature.

The purpose of the Bill, in combination with the guidelines, is to ensure that advertising complies with all applicable Commonwealth, State and Territory laws and regulations, and industry guidelines including the Australian Association of National Advertisers codes. 

Conclusion

The Bill is compatible with human rights because to the extent that it may limit human rights, those limitations are reasonable, necessary and proportionate.

 

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment,
Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham

 


 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Part 1―Preliminary

Clause 1: Short Title

 

1.         This Item establishes the short title of the Act as the Meteorology Amendment (Online Advertising) Act 2014.

Clause 2: Commencement

 

2.         This Item provides the commencement date for this Act is upon royal assent.

Clause 3: Schedules

 

3.         This Item specifies that each Act that is specified in a schedule to this Act is amended as set out in the applicable items in the schedule.

Schedule 1—Amendments

Part 1—General amendments

Meteorology Act 1955

Item 1

1.1         Item 1 provides certainty to the Bureau of Meteorology to host advertising, and to use guidelines to determine the type of acceptable advertising to be displayed. The guidelines are not a legislative instrument within the meaning of section 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

1.2         Item 1 inserts a new section 7A, and three new subsections into section 7A.

1.3         Subsection (1) allows the Bureau to include commercial advertising on, in or in connection with any of its services.

1.4         Subsection (2) requires the Director of Meteorology to develop and publish guidelines relating to advertising.

1.5         For the assistance of readers, subsection (3) makes clear that guidelines made under subsection (2) are not legislative instruments.

Item 2

1.6         Item 2 adds the term “services” to the range of items listed in section 8 for which charges may be made by the Director of Meteorology. This will avoid doubt over the use of that term in Item 1.

Item 3

1.7         To avoid doubt as to the validity of past actions, this provision validates any actions taken prior to the commencement of the Act.

 

Part 2—Technical amendments

Meteorology Act 1955

Items 4-12

1.8         Technical amendments will be made in nine places to update existing text to more modern language and to correct syntax.

1.9         The word “shall” will be omitted in five places and replaced in four places with the word(s) “must”, “will” or “is to”.

1.10       The word “cease” will be replaced with “ceases” in one place, and the word “and” will be deleted in two places.

1.11       The reference to “the last preceding subsection” will be updated to refer to “subsection (1)”.