The NSW Electoral Commission has launched a campaign to help reduce the spread of disinformation ahead of the NSW State election.
The Stop and Consider campaign is based on the campaign used by the Australian Electoral Commission for the 2022 Federal election. This campaign is intended to provide voters with tools to identify disinformation when they come across it and direct them to more reliable information sources.
NSW Electoral Commissioner John Schmidt said there was already a lot of information circulating about the upcoming State election on Saturday, 25 March.
“With so much information available to voters it can be hard to know what is true and what isn’t. I encourage all voters to stop and consider the information they are seeing and hearing.”
The NSW Electoral Commission is encouraging voters to think about three things when they encounter electoral communications:
- Reliable: Is the information from a reliable source?
- Current: When was it published?
- Safe: Could it be a scam?
Mr Schmidt said false information about elections circulating in the community and online could undermine confidence in the integrity of democratic processes.
“The campaign aims to maintain public confidence in, and understanding of, the electoral process and election outcome.”
“Although the Commission’s role is not to regulate truth in political advertising, these principles can also be applied by voters to a broad range of information they encounter about the upcoming NSW State election.”
As part of the campaign, the NSW Electoral Commission has launched a disinformation register which rebuts prominent false and misleading statements about electoral processes in NSW. The register already contains examples of disinformation which have been identified.
“We do not comment on whether campaign claims made by political participants (or their supporters) are true or false. As the independent administrator and regulator of elections in NSW, our focus is on the integrity of the electoral process itself,” Mr Schmidt said.
Throughout the election, there will be ongoing monitoring of media and social media to identify disinformation. The NSWEC is also working with online platforms to reduce the risk of harm that may arise from the spread of disinformation.
The NSW Electoral Commission is also a party to the Electoral Council of Australia and New Zealand (ECANZ) Statement of intent concerning electoral management arrangements with online platforms for Australian Elections.
Find more information about the 2023 NSW State election on the NSW Electoral Commission website.
Find more information on maintaining the integrity of the electoral process, and to review the Disinformation Register, at the NSW Electoral Commission Integrity Hub.
The NSW Election will be held on March 25.