Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Question Time’

Just so you know, the government’s media reform case in Parliament today

In Media Reform on March 19, 2013 at 1:32 AM

House Of Representatives

19 Marc 2013


Media Reform

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (14:30): My question is to the Prime Minister. If this week she is unable to persuade the parliament to establish a public interest media advocate to regulate the content of newspapers for the first time in our peacetime history, will she have the courage of her convictions and commit today to take that policy to the next election and pledge to legislate it if she were to win government again?

The SPEAKER: The difficulty with the question is that it is slightly hypothetical.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER: And I am not referring to the last part of the question. It also presumes the outcome of a vote in this parliament, and that is a very dangerous precedent to set.

Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:30): In answer to the question from the member for Wentworth, the government does not have before this parliament and does not have as its policy a proposal to have a public interest media advocate that regulates newspaper coverage. That is not the case. That is a distortion of the reform proposition. I said it last week and I will say it again: I understand why the
member for Wentworth is seeking to curry a bit of favour with those who run media outlets in the hope of some good publicity—presumably for himself; maybe for the opposition—in the future. I understand that craven attempt at political advantage. But on more than one occasion—

Mrs Mirabella: That is the pot calling the kettle black.

The SPEAKER: The member for Indi will leave the chamber under 94(a). She was warned just moments ago.

The member for Indi then left the chamber.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The imputation from the Prime Minister concerning the member for Wentworth was unparliamentary and I ask that she withdraw it. It was absolutely outrageous.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has the call and will refer to the question before the chair.

Ms GILLARD: I was referring to the question before the chair and the distortion that appeared in the question of what the government’s intentions are. There is legislation before the parliament this week. The government will continue—

Mr Pyne: Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Madam Speaker, I am wondering whether you heard exactly what the Prime Minister said. She accused the member for Wentworth of improper motives for the position that the coalition has taken on the media reforms. We have asked her to withdraw that accusation.

The SPEAKER: I probably did not hear, actually, given the level of noise that continues to flow around the chamber. I did not think that the issue warranted a withdrawal. But I ask the Prime Minister to withdraw in order to assist the parliament.

Ms GILLARD: I withdraw. In answer to the question from the member for Wentworth, firstly, his question misconstrues the proposition that is before the parliament. Secondly, the parliament is yet to have a debate on these various pieces of legislation and the government obviously in that debate will be putting forward what is in the public interest in our nation. I am not going to speculate on the outcome in this parliament. We will work, as we always do, in good faith with those parliamentary members who are prepared to deal with reform propositions on their merits and on their facts.

When it comes to reform propositions on their merits and on their facts, the member for Wentworth has characterised this reform proposition one way in his question. I would refer him to the following: According to the international and well-respected organisation Reporters Without Borders, Australia currently sits 26th in the world when it comes to a free press. The country in first place, Finland, has specific laws that dictate to media organisations that they must provide a right of reply and correct factual errors. We are not proposing to do that. In Finland, the press council gets 30 per cent of its funding from the government. We are not proposing to do that. Denmark, which is sixth on the list, has a press council that was established by legislation in 1991. We are not proposing to do that. What the government has put forward are some propositions clearly in the public interest. They are propositions about freedom of the press, about diversity of voices and about self-regulation by our media. We believe that they are propositions of merit to be pursued this week in parliament. We will join in that debate well and truly.

* Read the rest of this entry »

The MSM won’t report this, so here’s Gillard and Conroy on media reform

In Freedom of Speech, Journalism, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited, Press Gallery on March 13, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Photo Alex Ellinghausen @ellinghausen  #thepulselive

Photo Alex Ellinghausen @ellinghausen #thepulselive

Question Time House of Representatives March 13, 2013

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (14:29): My question is to the Prime Minister. Can she provide the House examples of published content in breach of the standards her government wishes to enforce through the Public Interest Media Advocate? Is the front page of today’s Telegraph such an example? If she cannot provide any examples, what exactly is the mischief, the problem, that her new media controls are intended to address?

Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:30): I thank the member for Wentworth for his question and I understand its motivations. I understand that the opposition have decided to seek some political advantage by bandwagoning with media interests and media organisations, transparent—and bordering on the laughable—as that is. Yes, it is.

Opposition members interjecting—

Ms GILLARD: I am glad the opposition have the good grace to laugh when their motivations on this matter are transparently exposed. To the member for Wentworth I would say this: before we get into any sanctimonious nonsense about freedom of speech, it was under the Howard government that two journalists—

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER: Order! There seems to be sanctimonious disrespect for the standing orders. I am not going to preside over, yet again, another day when not a word can be heard in this chamber. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Yes—this is the kind of hypocrisy that we see from the opposition. It was under the Howard government that two News Limited journalists faced jail for contempt of court. The reaction of the Howard government: do nothing. The reaction of this government: provide journalist shield laws. It was under the Howard government that churches would have their grants taken away—their services smashed—if they spoke out against government policy.

Mr Turnbull: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is not relevant. I am more than happy to debate freedom of the press. I have asked the Prime Minister—

The SPEAKER: The member for Wentworth will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call. Read the rest of this entry »