With Big Brother back on the telly it is appropriate that the Commonwealth Government chose this week to start spending our money to tell us about how it is protecting our interests.

The television advertising campaign for “Your Telecommunications Safeguards” will be followed shortly by a guide being mailed to 3.1 million households throughout rural, regional and remote Australia during May and June 2007.

This guide, the Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts proclaims on its website:

[W]ill help you understand what to do if you have a problem. It explains the consumer safeguards available under Australian Government legislation and regulation and how to access those entitlements. It outlines telecommunications service providers’ obligations to you, such as ensuring that connections and repairs are timely, and describes key Government initiatives to improve access to services.

Now none of this expenditure of tens of millions of dollars, Minister Helen Coonan will undoubtedly reassure people, has anything to do with the election to come later this year nor with the lingering resentment in the bush at the sale of the Government’s remaining share of Telstra before that dreaded oligopolist began providing an adequate service to country people. No. This campaign is merely “pointing you in the right direction” so advantage can be taken of wonderful initiatives like the Australian Broadband Guarantee and the Do Not Call Register.  

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Any advantage that might accrue to a political party is purely fortuitous as it will be when other massive advertising campaigns are rolled out by other Government departments in the very near future.

But keep in mind over the coming months that next week’s budget is sure to provide far more than the $251 million allocated for this financial year with most of the new money scheduled to be spent before polling day.