Review for account to encourage Australians to vote on the Queen's future as head of state

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CANBERRA--The hunt has begun for an ad agency to handle the prestigious Australian Electoral Commission account, a three-year contract which will include the creation of a multi-million-dollar campaign to promote November's referendum on the republic.

The referendum campaign is in addition to $25 million being granted by the Australian Federal Government to fund a "yes" and "no" campaign. That money will be split between pro and anti-republican movements. Australia's head of state is still Queen Elizabeth, but the country has witnessed a growing movement to become a full republic.

Such a high-profile task as the referendum campaign, which will deal with such mechanics as how and where to vote, is expected to be hotly contested among the five agencies that have been invited to pitch for the business as the project promises its creator media exposure.

The AEC account, which like all Australian Government advertising contracts is subject to a three-year statutory review, is currently held by Melboune agency Whybin TBWA & Partners. Whybin inherited the business in September when it merged with Melbourne agency Box Emery & Partners, the AEC's agency since 1994.

Whybin has been invited to pitch for the business along with four unnamed agencies. The AEC is an independent statutory authority responsible for the administration of federal elections and referenda. It's duties include maintaining and updating Commonwealth electoral rolls, enforcing compulsory enrollment and compulsory voting and administering the registration of political parties.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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