In Australia, politicians and religious groups have gotten away with misleading the public and discriminating against homosexuals and same sex-couples (man, woman and transgender peoples) for years.

However, when it comes to businesses and companies, even social networks are not allowed to make statements that are incorrect or likely to create a false impression.

This rule applies to their advertising, their product packaging, and any information provided to you by their staff or online shopping services. It also applies to any statements made by businesses in the media or online, such as testimonials on their websites or social media pages.

For example, businesses cannot make false claims about:

  • the quality, style, model or history of a product or service
  • whether the goods are new
  • the sponsorship, performance characteristics, accessories, benefits or use of products and services
  • the availability of repair facilities or spare parts
  • the need for the goods or services
  • any exclusions on the goods and services.

It makes no difference whether the business intended to mislead you or not. If the overall impression left by a business’s advertisement, promotion, quotation, statement or other representation creates a misleading impression in your mind—such as to the price, value or the quality of any goods and services—then the behavior is likely to breach the law.

Apparently, there is only one exception to this rule. Sometimes businesses may use ividwildly exaggerated or vague claims about a product or service that no one could possibly treat seriously or find misleading. For example, a restaurant claims they have the ‘best steaks on earth’. These types of claims are known as ‘puffery’ and are not considered misleading.

But when it comes to online adverting and news feeds who responsibility should it be to ensure the content is top quality and not misleading or fake news?

What way do we as Educators respond to discrimination? Think about how you and your service handle discrimination by checking out this list.

Which of these approaches do you use most often?

Head in the sand – We try to ignore discrimination and prejudice, our own and what’s around us.

Giving out – We tell children what to think. We don’t really spend time discussing things with them.

Making space – We help children explore what they think and feel as well as telling them our views.

Getting support – We find out more about things we am unsure of, or unfamiliar with, by talking, discussing, and finding out, so we get a clearer idea of where we stand.

Seeing the big picture – We make links between our experiences and between different types of prejudice and discrimination. We discuss these issues with the children. What might the results be of each approach?

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Victor van der Meer

Founder & Director of My Rainbow Net Pty. Ltd.

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