Election 2022: Loose change for Facebook in Coalition’s scare campaign about Labor APS reform

By Melissa Coade

May 20, 2022

How much did its risky warning cost the bubble-based Liberals? (Adobe/Aleksei)

How much did the Liberals spend spooking government contractors and consultants their jobs would vanish under a Labor government?

Earlier this week The Mandarin wrote about a Facebook ad purchased by the Liberal party warning the work of APS contractors and consultants were under threat if the Coalition was voted out of government.  

The word ‘risk’ appears four times in the ad, underscoring the ominous consequence of a Labor-Greens alliance should the government be voted out. 

So how much did this risky warning cost the bubble-based Liberals? According to Facebook, between $800 and $899 for the post that has been running since 11 May. 

The Liberal ad purchased on Facebook.

The post targeted an audience size of 100,000-500,000 people based in the ACT, and garnered between 30,000-35,000 impressions. 

A newspaper headline features at the centre of the ad graphic, announcing Labor’s cost-saving platform about targeting wasteful government spending on inefficient and excessive consultant spend. 

“Your job is at risk,” an ominous slogan read, with the font of ‘your’ underlined in red text reads.

“Don’t risk your job. Don’t risk Labor/Greens,” it goes on. 

People aged between 25 and 44 were the majority of Facebook viewers who saw the advertisement, with more women seeing the ad across all age demographics.

It is but one of many social media advertisements purchased by the Canberra branch of the Liberals, adding up to just under $2,000 this week alone.

The post has attracted more than 520 comments, 25 shares and over 600 reactions. 

Facebook user Russell Bee made a comment, which received 115 ‘likes’, saying it was ironic the Liberal party was attacking the Labor party for APS jobs.

“You guys are the mortal enemies of a functional APS. Under your watch there have been unprecedented cuts to jobs, but also a wholesale politicisation of what used to be an independent APS willing to provide unbiased advice to government,” Bee said.

“Now there are [sic] right wing cronies installed at all levels prosecuting an ideological agenda.”

Another user named ‘Scatty Anthony’ disagreed with Bee, claiming he remembered a period of difficulty when he served as a public servant and government contractor when Labor prime ministers Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd were in power.

“In 35 years as a PS employee and contractor the Rudd/Gillard years were hard,” Anthony said, referring to the bungled pink batts scheme.

“The pink batts cost more to clean up, than it even handed out during its run [sic] – the public servants administering this scheme, had no idea.”

Ben Waldock also commented on the ad, telling the Canberra Liberals to think twice before lying to a town where one third of the population were public servants. 

“So blatantly twisted up. The LNP has been undermining the APS for decades and sourcing out the roles to firms that are LNP donors. These roles should have always been in the APS,” Waldock said.


Voters support truth in political advertising laws, poll shows

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