Oct 1, 2021

3 min read

Has Craig Kelly MP slid into your DMs?

This week David Szanto of Orchard’s Experience Team explains recent SMS communications by the United Australian Party.

If you are an Australian resident you could have recently received a text message from Mr Craig Kelly the Member of Parliament for Hughes.

If you are like me, getting a direct text from a member of parliament might come as a shock.

Source: https://tenor.com/view/flat-eric-phone-call-president-existentialism-swag-gif-17550041

After the initial excitement settles, you are probably left wondering how Craig Kelly got your phone number and if this marketing is legal.

Under the current Australian Spam Act (2003), politicians are free to send you campaign material, as long as it’s not commercial in nature. In this act politicians and political parties are viewed in the same vein as government bodies and charities and are therefore exempt from the spam laws.

Confusingly enough these laws that allow for intrusive messaging from Mr Kelly could be restricted if his party is elected.

So how did the United Australian Party get your phone number?

Unfortunately, it isn’t the case that Craig Kelly is sitting in a room typing out every combination of+614 00 000 000 to +614 99 999 999… it is much easier for him than that!

You may have noticed when signing up to a service from a website or business, that there is a tick box featured on the form that asks for consent to share your details with third parties. By ticking this box you consent to have your information on-sold to databases.

Essentially Craig Kelly and the UAP have purchased your contact information from a database provider and legally sent you a text for total cost of about 1 cent.

Perhaps in the future, the laws surrounding this type of messaging will change to ban it. The UAP might even get elected and be the driving force behind this reform. In the meantime though, maybe it is true what they say; any publicity is good publicity.