The State Opposition has pilloried a series of leaked Barnett Government television advertisements that spruik Perth infrastructure projects and are expected to go to air this weekend.
Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt described the commercials as “deplorable” and claimed they treat West Australians like “utter morons”.
“In light of Colin Barnett’s previous comments about this sort of advertising, his demands in the past that this sort of advertising be banned … is without doubt the height of hypocrisy and nothing more than a misappropriation of taxpayers money,” Mr Wyatt said.
The ads depict scenes around new projects such as the planned stadium at Burswood, the Elizabeth Quay development and the new children’s hospital.
According to one of the scripts, which the Opposition says were leaked to them, a man out jogging with his dog studies a billboard promoting the new hospital before looking at his pet and talking.
“They’ve stopped by a worker as another worker in a Bobcat reverses out of the site to drop some rubble in a skip bin,” the script reads.
Jogger: “Whad’ya reckon? Impressive, huh?”
“The dog lets out a bark as they set off running again,” the script continues.
Jogger: “It’s all part of the bigger picture, you know."
Another script shows a boy fishing with his dad on the river opposite where the stadium is to be built.
Son: “Isn’t that where the new stadium’s going?"
Dad: “60,000 seats they reckon. All part of the bigger picture, son.”
Mr Wyatt said the Government had already “leaked” the fact that the ads were costing $1.5 million and that they provided information for the public.
“These ads are forcing struggling Western Australians to foot the bill for what is nothing more than political advertising,” Mr Wyatt said.
“There’s this idea that Colin Barnett is running around looking at the bigger picture,” he said.
“Well, to be frank the real picture, Mr Barnett, under your Government is the cost of living is going through the roof, congestion crisis on our streets and cuts to frontline services.”
Planning Minister John Day defended the ad campaign, saying “it will tell the story of what is happening in the capital of WA”.
Mr Day said the electronic ads would point people to a website where they could find detailed information on road closures, public transport arrangements and other impacts resulting from the civic works.
Printed advertisements would have more information than the electronic versions, he said.
“There has been research done that indicates that people do want more information about what is actually happening,” Mr Day said.
Mr Day said he did not believe Labor had obtained the final draft of the television ad script, maintaining there would be no dog in the material going to air.
“There’s no dog in it. The Labor Party’s misinformed, they might think they’ve got the right information but they’ve gone off half baked,” he said.
He said the final versions of the commercials did not include a dog barking back in response to its master talking.
He defended the ads saying they were about getting much-needed information to the public.