Premier Carmen Lawrence today issued a strict code covering Government advertising, publications and travel by Government MPs during the State election campaign.
The code bans Government-paid travel by Ministers and Members of Parliament and all Government advertising, except that commissioned by the State Electoral Commission.
Departments and agencies could seek exemptions for essential community safety, or commercial programs.
The Premier said the bans and restrictions would come into effect from the day after the issue of writs for the general election and would remain until the close of polling on the day of the election.
Dr Lawrence said the code would be distributed among Ministers, MPs and department heads.
The Premier said the code would replace the new Electoral Amendment Act which had been found to be seriously flawed, because of ill-conceived and last-minute changes imposed by the Opposition and Independent MP Reg Davies.
The amendments meant the flow of public information essential to Western Australians in their daily lives would be disrupted under the new Act.
If the Act were proclaimed tomorrow, a range of public information from the publication of the Tertiary Entrance Examination results to bushfire warnings, police identikit pictures and advertisements warning against drink driving would be stopped.
"Legal opinion about the implications of the new Act make it clear it should not be proclaimed because of the public disruption it would cause," Dr Lawrence said.
"However, the code during the election campaign period is consistent with the spirit of the legislation.
The Premier said the Government had argued strongly during the past three years for laws requiring political parties to disclose their sources of donations.
"It is a great disappointment that the Opposition amendments to the legislation have left it so seriously flawed," she said.
"It was never the intention of Parliament to impose restrictions on essential public information.
"The legislation will be re-introduced as a matter of priority in the new session of State Parliament.
"I will ensure the legislation is made retrospective so that political donations will need to be disclosed as if the Electoral Amendment Act had been proclaimed today."
The Premier said the present legislation had the potential to adversely affect a wide-range of activities including:
· publication of information leaflets produced by Government departments and agencies, including those designed to protect the lives or safety of the public such as publications issued by Marine and Harbours, Bush Fires Board, Police, Health Department or the Agriculture Protection Board;
· local government publications and notices;
· advertisements and literature relating to on-going community campaigns against smoking, drink and drug abuse, drink driving or domestic violence;
· sponsorship from organisations such as Healthways, Health Promotions Unit or the Lotteries Commission of cultural and sporting events with wide community support;
· magazines and newsletters published by or on behalf of Government agencies, including day-to-day publications within Government such as circulars, training brochures or social club bulletins;
· maps and tourism information published by the Tourism Commission;
· enrolment and other printed matter produced by universities, colleges and Government schools;
· examination results published generally or to individuals by educational institutions established by statute;
· reports of public inquiries;
· publication of catalogues, posters, advertisements and other publications of organisations such as the Western Australian Art Gallery, Museum or Library Board.