Automatic phone calls made to Canberrans on the eve of the election did not breach electoral laws because they only targeted "subscribers", the electoral commission has claimed.
However, The Canberra Times has spoken to many Canberrans who claim they received one of the survey calls or voicemail messages but had not opted into communications by Advance Australia.
The calls by the conservative lobby group targeted now ACT senator David Pocock and The Canberra Times.
Advance Australia is linked to former ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja, who was running against Senator Pocock at the time the calls were made. Mr Seselja denied having any knowledge of the calls at the time.
The Advance Australia calls included phone push-polling calls, in the form of a survey, and voicemail messages.
Some claimed Senator Pocock was an "extreme green", and that The Canberra Times was biased.
They did not include a full name and organisation name, as required by electoral laws.
An Australian Election Commission spokesperson told The Canberra Times Advance Australia told it all calls had been made to subscribers and the commission had "received no evidence to the contrary".
The commission's chief legal officer, Andrew Johnson, told a parliamentary inquiry the calls were not within the scope of the Electoral Act because they were only made to subscribers.
"Because it was a call made to a subscriber list, [it] wasn't a call made to the public randomly, that the content of the call wasn't [an electoral matter]. So it wasn't a matter for the scope of the Electoral Act to regulate," he said.
A spokesperson from the commission said the lobby group had responded to a legal notice.
"We contacted Advance before polling day and were advised that the calls were made to people who opted into communications from Advance," a spokesperson said.
"We investigated the matter further, which included seeking details via a legal notice from Advance. Advance confirmed via the response to the legal notice that the recording was distributed to Advance subscribers only.
"We are not aware of, and have since received no evidence, to the contrary."
The Canberra Times has asked the commission how thoroughly it investigated Advance Australia's claim.
Several Canberra Times staff were among those to receive the calls, and they had not signed up to the organisation's subscription list. It also received many messages from readers about the calls.
Commissioner Tom Rogers said the commission had examined the evidence.
"This was simply us going through a process as we said, we were looking at the evidence," he said.
"By the way, if Advance Australia have said something that's incorrect here and it wasn't to their subscribers, that's a whole different kettle of fish, and then the [thing is] back in play."
The commissioner maintained it did not "backflip" on a previous decision regarding the calls.
"I think at the time we said effectively, 'Well, if they were robocalls, they would need to be duly authorised in accordance with the act, but we will look at it'," he said.
"At election time, we get thousands upon thousands of complaints, issues that we need to examine.
"And given that they weren't robocalls, there was no reversal of the decision at all. Rather this was simply us going through a process, as we said we would."
The commission's spokesperson said in response to queries before the election, they directed people to the AEC website and "stated our intention to follow up on the matter."
The Australian Electoral Commission's ruling that corflutes of Senator Pocock and independent MP Zali Stegall wearing a Greens shirt breached electoral laws has not changed.
Did you know more?
Did you receive a robocall on election eve from Advance Australia? Were you on its subscription list? Let us know in the comments.