Many Australians in the past week have been on the receiving end of unwanted text messages from rogue MP Craig Kelly and the United Australia Party.
It is somewhat at odds with the UAP’s 2019 promise to ban unsolicited political text messages. But more importantly, it is within your power to block Mr Kelly’s text messages without outside help.
Here’s how you can prevent the party’s unsolicited texts spamming your phone for a second time — or even a third.
Can I block Craig Kelly’s spam?
Unfortunately, there is no way to pre-empt a wave of political spam messages.
Under Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) guidelines on spam and telemarketing, education institutions, government bodies and political parties are exempt from regulations required for marketing messages.
In short, he does not need your permission, or to include his contact details in the message, or provide a way for you to say “stop” getting messages as part of his spam texts.
For the message to be considered spam under ACMA’s rules, it must be a commercial message, meaning it contains either offers, advertisements or promotions.
There is no current law to help block these unwanted messages, but iOS and Android devices both allow you to block a particular number personally.
How to block spam texts on iPhone
First, open the Messages app.
Open the conversation you would like to stop sending you spam and hit the information button in the top right.
From there, tap on the contact information button and click Block this Caller.
The iPhone also has a filter messaging system that lets you mute unknown senders to stop pesky messages interrupting your day.
Go to Settings, then Messages, and tap Turn on Filter Unknown Senders.
It also prevents you from opening any links in a message from an unknown sender until you add the sender to your contacts or reply to the message.
How to block text messages on Android
Similar to the iPhone, open the Messages app on your Android device and touch and hold the conversation with the frustrating spammer you would like to block.
From the Home screen, tap Block and confirm your decision.
Telstra says it does not have the authority to block messages from political parties.
It also notes that spam messages like Mr Kelly’s can originate from a variety of different numbers and that blocking one number won’t silence the whole campaign.
A spam complaint form can be completed at the ACMA website.