(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

Craig Kelly continues to spam Australians with his unwanted texts. Last week he unleashed a new and more offensive one linked to out-of-context “vaccine adverse events” data from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, plainly designed to undermine public confidence in vaccines.

Kelly also changed his phone number after Crikey published it and encouraged people to politely tell him what they thought of his spamming them.

As a number of outlets have explained, if Kelly was anyone else he could be prosecuted for spamming people, but he is able to exploit a loophole in the Spam Act 2003. Under clause 3 of schedule 1 of the act, texts sent by a “registered political party” automatically become a “designated commercial electronic message”, which are allowed under the act.

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Removing that exemption would be straightforward. It needs this simple piece of legislation to be passed:

Schedule 1 Amendment of the Spam Act 2003

Part 1 – amendment relating to designated commercial electronic messages

1 Subclause 3a of Schedule 1

Omit “(ii) a registered political party;”

Indeed, Craig Kelly’s party promised to do exactly that at the last election — when it mass-spammed voters as well. “United Australia Party will ban unsolicited political text messages which Labor & Liberal have allowed,” Clive Palmer promised in one of his spam texts in 2019.

Crikey says it’s time for Clive Palmer to live up to his commitment and demand Craig Kelly introduce an amendment removing registered political parties from the spam loophole when Parliament returns. And we encourage Crikey readers to text Kelly at his new number politely encouraging him to do so. Perhaps with the following message:

Dear Mr Kelly:
In addition to ceasing to send your unsolicited and offensive spam texts to my phone, would you please comply with your adopted party’s 2019 election commitment and introduce a bill to remove “a registered political party” from the Spam Act exemptions in subclause 3a of schedule 1 of that act, and publicly campaign against the exemption in the lead-up to the next election if it does not pass.

Kelly’s new number is 0429 493 241. Remember — please be polite. Who knows, perhaps Kelly will see the light and understand how annoying it is to be spammed by people wanting political support, and decide that politicians should be subjected to the same rules as everyone else.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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