Australian Government Launches Anti-Terror Ad Campaign

31 December 2002

Urging its citizens to vigilance against terrorist threat, the Australian government has launched a major advertising campaign enjoining them: ‘Let’s look out for Australia’.

Says prime minister John Howard: “I don’t want Australians to be frightened. If that happens then the terrorists win. I don’t want people to stop living their ordinary lives.” His message was reinforced by visuals of sunny suburban scenes juxtaposed with shots of airport security staff in action.

The US$7 million (€6.72m; £4.37m) campaign is scheduled to run for three months and warns Australian to be on their guard against suspicious behavior and report it to security agencies via a toll-free hot line.

But the campaign, which comes just eleven weeks after the Bali bombing outrage, treads on eggshells with regard to Australia’s 400,000-strong Muslim community. “We are peaceful and democratic, and we're going to stay that way,” proclaims one ad. “ All of us can help by keeping an eye out for anything suspicious.”

Booklets in 28 languages are being mailed direct to the nation's seven million households. The mailshot also publicizes counterterrorism measures at airports, major events and key strategic installations.

The campaign, originally due to launch in November, was delayed after focus groups rejected images seen in the initial round of ads (among them masked commandos storming houses) as more alarming than informative.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff