Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…
Christina Elisha

Clive Palmer has been the face of the United Australia Party’s recent campaign, the SMS aspect of which raised the ire of many. While sending the messages was not in contravention of Australian laws his response to consumer sentiment only added fuel to the fire.  

Registered political parties (and others) are exempt from certain provisions of the Commonwealth’s Spam Act and so the United Australia Party’s SMSs would not constitute Spam within the meaning of the Act provided they contained sender information.  A similar provision also applies under the Commonwealth’s Do Not Call Register Act.

Compliance with the law is a hallmark of good governance, however, through the lens of business sustainability, keeping consumers onside is vital.  This is a key precept to the argument for self-regulation.  The need to keep consumers onside is a core driver of business behaviour.

A consumer’s grievance is unlikely to be addressed if your response is simply that you haven’t broken the law.  Listen to their concerns, acknowledge them, give them preferencing options; content, channel, frequency – and more!

Palmer’s position was that he had not broken the law.  Not breaking the law may be seek as Compliance 101 however adopting such a position is rather short-sighted as ultimately, consumer sentiment is key.

DGA’s sister association ADMA partnered with the GDMA and Acxiom in 2018 to produce a report examining Consumer Attitudes to Privacy.


If you are seeking to assert that the law is on your side – ensure that you refer to the correct legislation.  Palmer asserted that he had not breached the Privacy Act in sending the messages.  This is true; however, it is the Spam Act that governs the sending of commercial electronic messages in Australia.

On the issue of sentiment, it seems that Universal Music Group, who own the rights to the anthemic “We’re not going to take it” by Twisted Sister, really aren’t going to take it anymore and have instituted legal proceedings for breach of copyright.


DGA provides guidance to Members, subscribers and participants. The information provided is general in nature only; it is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal advice. You should obtain legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on this information.