The government’s four most expensive advertising campaigns for the 2015-16 financial year have been revealed, with the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda as well as a campaign against domestic violence included in the list. In a letter from Special Minister of State Scott Ryan to a Senate estimates committee, the 2016 federal election and the campaign to inform people about new Senate voting rules were revealed as the most expensive at a cost of $43.3 million. The Defence Force also spent $31.4 million on recruitment advertising. Two areas of government policy also rounded out the list. The letter says $14.9 million was spent on the National Innovation and Science Agenda, which was launched not long after Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister.

The advertising program for the government’s innovation policies was originally set to cost $28 million, to spruik the $1.1 billion in “Ideas Boom” policies. So did the government tighten its belt in an act of fiscal responsibility? Or did the ads stop when it became clear the messaging was hurting, not helping, the government?