Google Taking Heat From Australian Sex Party Over Election Ads

Bob Johnson

MELBOURNE, Australia — Google’s getting heat from The Australian Sex Party after the search engine giant refused to run the group’s Melbourne federal election ads.

Although the Party faired well in the by-election last week, coming in third with 6.56 percent of the primary vote, Sex Party chief Fiona Patten is still upset over the fact that Google wouldn’t approve the group’s ads.

"Google censoring our ads (and yet letting other political parties run theirs with the same details) is just one example of the discrimination that we (and others) face because we examine civil liberty issues and say 'wait a minute, that's not right.'

"And it is for this reason we will continue to push our agenda, and will be fighting hard for a Senate seat in the upcoming federal election," Patten said in the Party's newsletter.

Prior to the election, Patten said the Sex Party could take legal action over the disagreement, claiming Google wouldn’t approve the ads "because we have a donate button on our page and we're not a charity."

But the move raised suspicions considering Google also blocked Sex Party ads in the last federal election because the company thought the text copy was too racy, despite the fact that the ads were allowed the day before the election.

Patten told the Sydney Morning Herald that she felt Google is blatantly treating her party different from rival Green Party and she needs to take further action.

"It's giving me the shits that in two elections we've not been able to run ads with Google when all of the other political parties have had no problem," Patten said.

Patten maintained that Google has been inconsistent in its approval of ads, citing a state by- election in which Green Party ads ran on Google despite having multiple donation links on its candidate’s web page.

"We've sent them screenshots of the donate buttons on the ALP [Australian Labor Party] and the Greens' sites and they've allowed all of those ads to run," she said.

In an email to Patten, Google said it "doesn't allow the solicitation of funds (donations) unless they're tax exempt.”

But the Sex Party is a legitimate Australian political party — and donations are tax deductible.

A Sex Party consultant, Marcus Falley, told Google in an email before the election that it was "adversely impacting the results of an election" and threatened legal action if its actions were not corrected.