Thursday, 26 September 2019 02:18

ACMA warns SA Liberal Party over robocalls breach Featured


The South Australian (SA) Division of the Liberal Party of Australia has been taken to task by the telecommunications regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for making polling robocalls during prohibited calling times.

The calls were made between 6.15 am and 7.30 am on two consecutive weekdays in July this year, prompting a formal warning from the ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin that “Australians have a right not to be disturbed by these types of calls early in the morning”.

Prohibited calling times are set out in the Telemarketing Industry Standard, and apply to all telemarketing and research calls, including opinion polling – and mandating that research calls must not be made on weekdays before 9 am or after 8.30 pm (or after 5 pm on weekends).

“This follows a recent unrelated breach for calling during prohibited times by Lonergan Research. In both cases, automated diallers or platforms were involved,” said O’Loughlin.

“If researchers or pollsters are using these types of systems, they should carefully check settings and install fail-safes.”

O’Loughlin said that, in both cases, the entities publicly apologised and quickly took steps to fix the causes of calls being made outside the allowed hours.

And in a final warning O’Loughlin said, “If we see further evidence of research calls during prohibited calling times, we may look at compliance more broadly across the sector.” added Ms O’Loughlin.

The Telemarketing Industry Standard sets out minimum obligations for all telemarketing and research calls, including prohibited calling times, information that must be provided to consumers during calls, and when calls must be terminated.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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