Slipper And Ashby: The Media Then And Now

Gillard government ministers continued their attack on the opposition today over its involvement in the Slipper-Ashby sexual harassment case.

Ministers repeatedly called on the Liberal National Party in Queensland to disendorse Mal Brough in Slipper’s electorate of Fisher.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Mike Kelly, described the affair as an “Australian Watergate”.

On social media, the Australian media was repeatedly attacked for its coverage of yesterday’s decision by the Federal Court to dismiss the case as an abuse of process and a conspiracy to damage Slipper politically.

This video was posted on YouTube by Twitter user @geeksrulz:



Leveson’s Australian Speech On The Media

Fresh from delivering his report on media standards and ethics to the British government, Lord Chief Justice Brian Leveson has given a speech on the media at the University of Melbourne.

Leveson called for tougher laws to regulate a changing media. He said the criminal and civil law needed to be equally applicable to the established media and the new world of bloggers and tweeters.

Leveson

In an unusual speech that somewhat simplistically restated basic observations about recent changes in the media, Leveson suggested that, in the face of amateur journalists online, the established media might cut corners and behave unethically in order to stay ahead of the game. “It may encourage unethical and, potentially, unlawful practices to get a story,” Leveson said.

  • Listen to Leveson’s speech (45m)

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  • Listen to Leveson’s response to questions (22m)

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ABC Puts News24 Channel On YouTube

The ABC has put its 24-hour news channel, News24, on YouTube, as part of its strategy to integrate its offerings into social media.

News24 can now be integrated into YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The ABC says: “It means users no longer need to leave these platforms to access the live ABC News 24 stream online.”

The YouTube service also enables third party websites such as this one to stream News24:

News24 is also streaming in higher quality on the ABC’s website at http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/.

Text of media statement from the ABC.

ABC News 24: Breaking New Ground In Social Media

In an Australian first, ABC News 24 is integrating the channel’s live news and other programs into YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, so viewers can watch live news within their favourite social network. It means users no longer need to leave these platforms to access the live ABC News 24 stream online.

From today, ABC News 24 can be watched live within YouTube, Facebook and Twitter with ‘YouTube live streaming’ at: http://bit.ly/abcnewsnow. [Read more…]


Today’s Political Messages: Swan And Abbott

The parliamentary year is over and Christmas is two weeks away but politics continued at full strength today.

The looming holiday period will presage a frantic election year and both sides continue to push their main messages.

In his media appearance today, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan spruiked the government’s economic message and condemned the opposition’s attitude to automatic enrolment of young voters.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also talked economic issues, predicting that the government would not achieve a budget surplus next year.

Both men took questions about the media in light of the 2DayFM royal prank call.

Wayne Swan

  • Listen to Wayne Swan (12m)

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Tony Abbott

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Swan has now flown out to visit India. Tony Abbott will be in England at the end of the week.

Text of media release by Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Visit to India to discuss the opportunities of the Asian Century

Tonight I depart for India to meet with senior Indian Government and business leaders to discuss the opportunities for our two countries in the Asian Century, building on the goodwill the Prime Minister generated in her October visit. [Read more…]


Stephen Conroy Responds To Furore Over Royal Prank Call

The Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, spoke to the media today about the controversy surrounding the 2DayFM Royal prank call.

The latest instalment in the debate about media standards, practices and regulation erupted over the weekend following the death, reportedly by suicide, of one of the nurses contacted by the Sydney disc jockeys.

Conroy

In essence, Conroy adopted a hands-off approach. He said it was up to the industry regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, to deal with the issue.

  • Listen to Conroy’s remarks (3m)

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Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Dies, Aged 103; Wife To Keith, Mother To Rupert, Philanthropist

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, mother of media magnate Rupert, has died at her home, Cruden Farm, in Melbourne.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

Dame Elisabeth reportedly died on Tuesday. She was 103 years, 300 days old. She was born in Melbourne on February 8, 1909.

Dame Elisabeth’s husband, Sir Keith Murdoch, died 60 years ago, in October 1952. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963.

In 1928, aged 19, Elisabeth Joy Greene married Keith Murdoch, then 23 years her senior. Murdoch, already well known as a journalist, and famous for his World War I campaign against General John Monash, was soon to begin a campaign to take over Australian newspapers. By the time Murdoch died, he had amassed a small media empire known as News Limited, centred on the Adelaide News. Elisabeth’s son Rupert subsequently built News Limited into a global media empire that he still presides over at the age of 81.

Dame Elisabeth devoted much of her life to philanthropy. Active in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals before her marriage, she was on the management committee of the Royal Children’s Hospital in the 1930s. She was involved with the Australian Ballet, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Deafness Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation and numerous other organisations and charities.


Fairfax Donates Historic Photographs To National Library

Historic photographs of Australia’s early federal history have been donated to the National Library and will soon be made available online.

The Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, announced today that the donation by Fairfax Media is to be supported by $425,000 of funding to the National Library of Australia to enbale the storage, cataloguing and digitisation of the collection.

The collection consists of 12,000 glass-plate negatives, the majority of which cover events from 1900 to 1930, including the departure of troops for World War I and the opening of the first parliament.

Text of media release from Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean.

Historic photo collection about to go digital

Twelve thousand photographs of key events in Australia’s early history—the entirety of Fairfax Media’s collection of historic glass-plate negatives have been donated to the National Library of Australia and will soon be available online.

Chair of the National Library of Australia Ryan Stokes today accepted the donation at a ceremony at Fairfax Media head office in Sydney.

Arts Minister Simon Crean said the extraordinary collection tells the Australian story through photographs. [Read more…]


Cameron And Miliband Respond To Leveson

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Opposition Leader Ed Miliband have spoken in the House of Commons in response to the Leveson inquiry report.

Cameron accepted the principles of the Leveson report but rejected the need for a statute, whereas Milband called for Leveson’s proposals to be accepted “in their entirety”.

David Cameron

 

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Ed Miliband

Transcript of Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement to the House of Commons.

David Cameron

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on today’s report from Lord Justice Leveson.

As we consider this report, we should consider the victims. We should remember how the parents of Millie Dowler, at their most vulnerable moment, had their daughter’s phone hacked and were followed and photographed.

How Christopher Jefferies’ reputation was destroyed by false accusations. And how the mother of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann, had her private diary printed without her permission and how she and her husband were falsely accused of keeping their daughter’s body in their freezer.

These victims – and many other innocent people who have never sought the limelight – have suffered in a way that we can barely begin to imagine.

That is why last Summer I asked Lord Justice Leveson to lead an independent inquiry.

It had the power to see any document and summon any witness under oath, to be examined by a barrister, in public.

It has been, as Lord Justice Leveson says, “the most public and the most concentrated look at the press that this country has seen”.

And I would like to thank Lord Justice Leveson and his entire team for the work they have undertaken.

Mr Speaker, Lord Justice Leveson makes findings and recommendations in three areas: on the relationship between the press and the police; on the relationship between the press and politicians; and on the relationship between the press and the public.

Let me take each in turn.

First, the press and the police. [Read more…]


Leveson Report On UK Media Released

Lord Justice Leveson’s report into the “culture, practices and ethics of the press” has been released in London.

Leveson

 

Leveson read a prepared statement about his report and said he would take no questions nor make any future public statements. “The ball is now back in the politicians’ court,” he said. “They must now decide who guards the guardians”.

Extracts from Lord Leveson’s statement.

For over 40 years, as a barrister and judge I have watched the press in action. I know how vital the press is – all of it – as guardian of the interests of the public, as a critical witness of events, as a standard bearer for those who have no one else to speak up to them. Nothing has changed that view. The press operating freely is one of the true safeguards of our democracy. As a result it holds a privileged and powerful place in our society.

But this power and influence carries with it responsibility to the public interest in whose name it exercises these privileges. Unfortunately as the evidence has shown beyond doubt, on too many occasions those responsible along with the editors code of conduct – which the press wrote and promoted – have simply been ignored. This had damaged the public interest, caused real hardship and on occasion wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent people. What the press do and say is no ordinary exercise of free speech; it operates very differently to blogs on the internet and other social media such as Twitter. Its impact is uniquely powerful.

A free press in a democracy holds power to account but, with a few honourable exceptions, the UK press has not performed that vital role in the case of its own power. None of this however is to conclude that press freedom in Britain, hard won over 300 years ago, should be jeopardised. On the contrary – it should not. I remain firmly believe that press, all of it, serves the public very well well most of the time. The are truly countless examples of great journalism, great investigations and great campaigns. Not that it is necessary for the press to be pursuing serious stories for it to be acting in the public interest. Some its most important functions are to inform, educate and entertain, and when doing so to be irreverent, unruly and opinionated. But none of that means that the press is beyond challenge. I know of no organised profession, industry or trade in which the serious failings of the few are overlooked because of the good done by the many. In any other case the press would be the first to expose such practices.


Gillard Fights Back Over AWU Allegations: Complains To Fairfax, Attacks Opposition

Julia Gillard’s office has reacted strongly to suggestions that the Prime Minister did something wrong in her work as a solicitor at Slater & Gordon in the 1990s.

As the final day of parliamentary sittings for the year unfolded, Gillard has complained to Fairfax newspapers over “the grievous misrepresentations in your reporting” of the AWU slush fund affair.

Her office has also issued a statement calling on the opposition to give up its “discredited smear campaign”.

Text of statement from Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s spokesperson, as published in Fairfax newspapers.

Statement from a spokesperson for the Prime Minister:

It’s time for the Liberals to give up their witch hunt and start talking about things that matter.

The whole country is sick to death of Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop pursuing a discredited smear campaign against the Prime Minister, when we could be talking about jobs, health, and education.

After months of speculation about a smoking gun, the Liberals have nothing.

So, the Prime Minister wrote to the WA Commissioner? So what? She did what lawyers do. Act on instruction. Provide legal advice.

So, the Prime Minister can’t remember writing one letter from 20 years ago. So what? Lawyers write thousands of letters in their careers. [Read more…]