Advertising is defined as selling agency website space to commercial entities for the paid placement of advertisements (ads) on agency websites and displaying the name, logo, product, or service of a non-government entity in exchange for money, services, or other special consideration.
The Government has decided that agencies must not sell advertising space or host commercial advertising on their websites. Selling and hosting commercial advertising on Government websites may:
This position is consistent with the requirements of the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct.
This prohibition does not apply to other forms of government marketing such as promotion and sponsorship.
It is part of normal government business to promote an agency’s activities, the activities of other agencies and even the activities of non-government organisations if this is consistent with the agency’s role and functions. It is consistent with the role and functions of many agencies to conduct social marketing campaigns or to promote initiatives, events and conferences, which may involve the participation of non-government entities.
An example, which involves the promotion of other government initiatives, is the inclusion of promotional banners and links to agency initiatives on australia.gov.au. This is a legitimate promotional activity because it is part of the role and function of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) within Finance to promote the activities and campaigns of other Australian Government agencies.
Another example, which involves the participation of non-government entities with commercial interests, would be the Green Vehicles Guide website. This website promotes the use of fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicles by allowing people to compare the efficiency of various vehicles. It promotes the use of fuel-efficient cars as part of the Government’s environmental policy, but does not endorse any particular fuel-efficient car over another.
One example of sponsorship is where a government agency sponsors a third party (e.g. a commercial entity who hosts a conference or event relating to the agency’s role or function) and the agency includes a link to the third party’s website on the agency website. The link should be placed on the agency website in a context that clearly indicates the nature of the relationship between the agency and the third party (i.e. one of sponsorship for a purpose rather than a general endorsement).
An alternative sponsorship arrangement that may occur is one where a third party sponsors a government program and the responsible agency agrees (as part of the formal sponsorship agreement) to add a logo and/or a link to the third party’s website on the agency website. The link should be placed on the agency website in a context that clearly indicates the nature of the relationship between the agency and the third party (i.e. one of sponsorship for a purpose rather than a general endorsement).
Mentioning and linking to free reader software, like Adobe Reader, is permitted where it is related to government requirements to provide information in accessible formats. It is recommended that these be text links – not the logo of the software.
In the 2012-13 Budget the Australian Government announced that the Bureau of Meteorology (Bureau) will conduct a one year trial of commercial advertising on its website, commencing in July 2012 and ending in June 2013. This decision does not extend to any other parts of the Australian Government. The Bureau is the first Australian Government agency to trial commercial advertising on its website owing to the very large share of web traffic that it attracts.
An Online Advertising Policy will be established to support the trial and will be approved by a multi-agency Steering Committee. The core principles of this policy will be maintenance of the Bureau’s services and respect for the reputation of the Bureau, the Australian Government and its agencies. The policy, which will be made publicly available, will prescribe the types and formats of advertising that will be prohibited. For example, the policy will exclude offensive material or advertisements directed at children. Formats such as pop-ups will also be excluded.
The trial will assist the Australian Government to determine the long‑term feasibility of advertising, potential revenue and the level of public acceptance.
Last Reviewed: 2012-09-07