The Ad Standards Community Panel represents the diversity of the Australian community

The world has turned upside down in 2020 and even the normally dynamic and colourful world of advertising has been affected. Brands today are marketing for mind and market share in new and exciting ways, but sometimes advertising can cross the line and raise the ire of the public – triggering complaints to Ad Standards.

Complaints are adjudicated by the Ad Standards Community Panel which decides whether the content is in line with the advertising Codes and prevailing community standards in Australia.

The Codes apply to advertising content across all mediums including online.

Members of the Community Panel represent the wide cross-section of community opinion, community standards, and a broad range of values, ages, skills, geographic and demographic groups.

The Community Panel works to represent and uphold community standards in advertising. Members have no connection to the advertising industry and impartially judge advertisements and reach decisions that represent community opinion and values.

Current Community Panel members include an anti-discrimination lawyer and former journalist, a university student, police officer, small business owner, nurse and fitness instructor, and a cultural adviser and human rights activist.

Ad Standards regularly commissions independent community perceptions research (// to ensure that decisions made by the Community Panel are in line with current community values. Research results are used to inform the Community Panel of community opinion and for future decision making.

In 2017, this research included an analysis of community perceptions data over the past decade (// by Colmar Brunton Social Research to determine the alignment of Community Panel decisions under the AANA Code of Ethics (//

The results showed that where community opinion and the decisions of the Community Panel did not align, that Panel decisions were more conservative less than 10% of the time, and less conservative just over 10% of the time.

Previous annual research has looked at specific areas covered by the Codes including clearly distinguishable advertising, advertising directed primarily to children, exploitative and degrading advertising, sex, sexuality and nudity, violence, and discrimination in advertising.

Earlier this year the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) launched an updated Code of Ethics and Practice Note providing clearer guidance to advertisers across a range of issues including the use of overtly sexualised imagery, graphic violence or horror where children are likely to see it, and gender stereotyping. The new rules are effective from 1 February 2021 and more information is on the AANA website.

More information about the Ad Standards Community Panel (// is online at You can also easily search for previous cases considered by the Community Panel  (// through Ad Standards’ online database.

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