Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Tony Windsor’

Can the cross bench deliver citizens accountability from newspapers?

In Margo Kingston, Media Reform on March 27, 2013 at 6:57 PM
Daily Telegraph Front Page 19 March 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page 19 March 2013

By Margo Kingston,
March 27,  2013

What a predicament. All seven cross benchers and the Government are dissatisfied with the standards of newspapers and want citizens to be protected against their abuse of their power. Julian Disney, who heads the Press Council which administers self-regulation, believes there are ‘substantial problems with media standards in Australia’.

Yet nothing will be done.

Let’s quickly address the blame game. The area is highly dangerous for any government, which is why newspapers have escaped any regulation for so long (see the Finkelstein report on the tortured history of journalists‘ fight to get even limited self regulation).

The government has dithered due to splits in cabinet, leaks to Murdoch papers (presumably from Rudd supporters) and fears of retribution by newspapers clearly barracking for the opposition.

So Gillard and Conroy rammed through Cabinet a set of reforms they believed were weak enough to pass muster with the proprietors and sought to blackmail the cross bench into saying yes or getting nothing.

The plan blew up in their faces. Murdoch media led an overblown and vicious campaign against the reforms. The cross bench was unhappy with the detail and the minimalist nature of the blueprint and refused to meet the deadline. Gillard and Conroy said it’s over, let’s move on.

So the government does lose-lose, angering proprietors with no result. The Opposition makes it clear it will not countenance any strengthening of self-regulation, keeping it onside with the Murdoch media. The chance is lost.

The real losers are the people and good journos who need to be empowered by some accountability for bad journos. As Julian Disney said so eloquently at the Senate inquiry, ‘Absolute freedoms attack freedom’.

Newspapers get protection for journalist’s sources and exemption from the Privacy Act with no obligations in return. And evidence to the Senate inquiry showed that News Limited and Seven owner Kerry Stokes believe there is no public interest in what newspapers separate from self-interest.

Disney articulated the public interest – freedom of expression – and gave evidence that the media standards problem was so significant that newspapers actually impeded the free expression of citizens.

This occurred through distortion, suppression of key facts and opinions, factual errors and invasion of privacy. (The worst example of factual error during the media reform debate was when two senior news limited journalists doctored a quote to falsely accuse Senator Conroy of doctoring a quote.) Read the rest of this entry »

The rich political history between Howard, the Nats and Tony Windsor

In Regional Rorts on March 2, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Tony Windsor’s riposte to John Howard’s allegation that he betrayed his voters by supporting a Labor government relates some of the rich political history of the country seat. There’s more, so today we republish two fascinating pieces by Webdiarist Craig Rowley, part one after the 2004 election and part two prior to 2007 election. At that time the Howard Government was fingered for regional grants rorts, and Tony Windsor told Parliament that National Party leader John Anderson and a NP Senator had offered him a bribe to leave politics.

One irony in Tony Abbott’s ‘trust‘ mantra is that Gillard’s government has been clean and Howard’s government was sometimes dirty.

I would like to follow the battle for New England , and hope NE tweeps will keep us informed in @NoFibs.


By Craig Rowley
First published: 2004

Desperate slaves: The Nationals, the Coalition and the pork-barrel system

Pork-barrel: n. Slang. A government project or appropriation that yields jobs or other benefits to a specific region and patronage opportunities to its political representative.

‘Pork-barrel’ has always been a derogatory term. First used in print by E.K. Hale for his story called“Pork Barrel” published in 1865 by Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. It comes from the plantation practice of distributing rations of salt pork to slaves from wooden barrels:

When plantation owners rolled out a barrel of salt pork into the slave quarters the desperate slaves engaged in a feeding frenzy to get the best pieces. It was a form of entertainment for heartless slavelords and their guests.

It became a common saying in 19th century politics. By 1890, the New York Times was comfortable in using “pork” in a headline knowing its readers would understand that it describes government spending intended to enrich the constituents of a particular politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes.

Regular Webdiarists are certainly familiar with the term. We’ve had a far bit of conversation on pork-barrels since last Spring.

From John Anderson to Mark Vaile. From Regional Rorts to AWB.

From John Anderson to Mark Vaile. From Regional Rorts to AWB.

Read the rest of this entry »