Blocking political text messages: what you need to know

If you’ve received political text messages, you aren’t alone. We’ve been getting questions about what can be done about the messages if they are unwanted and why we don’t block them.
Luke Hopewell · 14 September 2023 · 3 minute read

We get that unwanted texts can be frustrating. Especially when it’s a message you don’t agree with.

What are these texts?

Some political parties have been sending text messages at random to Australian mobile numbers featuring their campaign messaging.

These messages often contain short slogans or links to campaign websites.

Why am I receiving these texts?

If you have received one of these messages, we’d like you to know first and foremost that Telstra didn’t send it, and we did not share your details with a third party to facilitate the text message campaign.

If you’re wondering how you received it without opting in, some organisations have said they use a random number generator to target the text.

Can these messages be blocked?

As a telco, we don’t have the authority to block messages from political parties.

The ACMA’s guidance on the Spam Act states that, in most instance, an organisation must have your express or implied consent before they can send you marketing messages, and have a way to stop the messages if you don’t want to receive them anymore.

However, some organisations can still send messages without having your consent to do so. This includes registered charities; education institutions; government bodies, and political parties.

You can learn more about what constitutes a spam message under the law at the ACMA’s website.

While the law doesn’t allow us to block these political text messages, iOS and Android devices both allow you to block a particular number from texting your device. These methods may not block all the messages from this campaign, but it may still be helpful.

How to block text messages on iPhone:

  1. In a Messages conversation, tap the name or number at the top of the conversation, then tap ‘i’ at the top right.
  2. Tap info.
  3. Scroll down, then tap Block this Caller.

To view and manage your list of blocked contacts and phone numbers, go to Settings  > Messages > Blocked Contacts.

On an iPhone you can also filter your messages, so that numbers not in your contacts are sent to a separate list. Find out more at Apple Support.

How to block text messages on an Android device:

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. On the Home screen, touch and hold each conversation that you’d like to block.
  3. Tap Block > Block.

Find out more at Google Support.

Keep in mind that these messages can originate from a variety of different numbers, so blocking one doesn’t block the whole campaign.

Can I make a complaint about these text messages?

For information about the Spam Act, and some actions you can take if you receive unwanted marketing texts or emails, visit the ACMA website.

The ACMA regulates the Spam Act which defines Spam (and specifically excludes messages from political parties) and the AEC regulates political messages.

Lodge a complaint with the AEC


By Luke Hopewell

Editor, tech expert and Senior Specialist Writer at Telstra Exchange

Luke Hopewell is an editor, tech expert and Senior Specialist Writer at Telstra Exchange. Luke joined Telstra in 2019 where he has had the privilege to help bring stories to life in a unique and human way. He was previously the head of editorial at Twitter Australia and the editor of cult tech site Gizmodo. For over a decade, Luke’s passion for technology has always driven him to seek out the latest gadgets and game-changers, and help others to understand how it all works. In another life he was a cyber security specialist where he sought to educate people about how to stay safe online. When he's not writing, he's getting outdoors and patting all the nice dogs he meets.

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