Bureau Of Statistics Website Crashes; Census Debacle Embarrasses Government

11.55pm – The Federal Government faces ridicule in the coming days, following tonight’s Census debacle.

As unknown numbers of people attempted to submit their census forms through the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website, the server crashed. Around 11.30pm, the ABS announced on Twitter that the service would not be restored tonight and an update will be issued tomorrow.

Whilst many people completed the census online without any difficulty, it appears that the sheer volume of traffic during the evening was too much for the system.

The Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack, said in a statement that Australians would not be fined for not completing the census tonight.

The technical problems followed days of debate about privacy and security issues, following an announcement by the ABS that names of census participants would be retained for four years.

Statement from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Click to enlarge.

ABS

[Read more…]


Newspaper Editorials Overwhelmingly Favour Abbott

Australian newspapers have editorialised this morning, overwhelmingly recommending a vote for Tony Abbott and the Coalition in tomorrow’s federal election.

So far, only The Age has endorsed the Labor government.

The editorials from a range of newspapers are shown below. Others will be added as they become available.

Editorial in The Australian.

Leader who will govern in the national interest

Seldom has the bar been set so low for an alternative federal government. An opposition that can convince the Australian people that it can control the nation’s borders, its parliament and its purse strings would win the argument hands down. Yet a leader who aspires to govern in the national interest, restore confidence in government and offer hope for the future must do more than simply win this election by default. He must seek a mandate that lays the ground for a new era of reform to secure Australia’s future prosperity. [Read more…]


Press Council Rules Against Herald Sun Over Portrayal of Craig Thomson

The Australian Press Council has upheld compaints against the Herald Sun newspaper over its portrayal of Craig Thomson.

Herald Sun

The complaints related the Herald Sun edition of May 22, 2012. The News Limited Melbourne tabloid portayed Thomson on its front page with a Pinocchio nose.

Four pages inside the paper attacked Thomson over his statement to the House of Representatives on May 21 about the investigation into his behaviour as an official of the Health Services Union.

The Press Council concluded: “… that the overall impact of the front page and page 7 was highly unfair to Mr Thomson by seeking to convey too close an analogy with a courtroom conviction on criminal charges, especially at a time when the laying of such charges was being widely demanded and anticipated. Accordingly, the complaints against the newspaper’s coverage are upheld on that ground.”


Herald Sun

Herald Sun

Text of Australian Press Council Adjudication No. 1556. Available on the APC website.

Adjudication No. 1556: Debra Creevy and others/Herald Sun (November 2012)

28 Nov 2012

The Australian Press Council has considered complaints by a number of people about the coverage in the Herald Sun on 22 May 2012 of the speech by Craig Thomson MP to Federal Parliament on the previous day. The coverage featured a very large photograph of Mr Thomson, digitally altered to have a Pinocchio-like nose, over which was a headline reading “Teary Thomson claims he’s a victim of bizarre conspiracy”. A headline lower on the page read “But reader’s jury says his story is full of holes:” under which was a further headline reading “We don’t believe you”.

Pages 4 to 7 of the newspaper comprised a series of reports and comments about the speech (each of which had a banner headline running across the top which read “We don’t believe you”). Pages 4 and 5 were headed “Cops doubt Thomson phone clone claim” and quoted “law enforcement experts” to that effect. Page 5 consisted largely of a section headed “Reasons we know Craig is lying” which listed a number of his claims and reported evidence from court documents and the report of a Fair Work Australia investigator which appeared to conflict with those claims.

Page 7 consisted mainly of a section with the principal heading “The Reader Verdict”, above which was a heading “We asked our own jury if they believed Craig Thomson’s claims”. The names and photographs of each of twelve people were shown, together in each case with the heading “Don’t believe” (or, in two cases, “Can’t decide”) and a few sentences were shown as quotes of their views. The page also reported, under a heading, “What you said”, that of the 12,082 readers who replied to a poll on the newspaper’s website asking “Do you believe Craig Thomson was set up and did nothing wrong?” some 89% had answered in the negative.

Some complainants concentrated on the front page, but others were concerned about the overall coverage. The principal criticism was that the material unfairly pre-judged Mr Thomson and constituted “trial by media”. Some complainants thought the coverage did not provide adequate balance or was unreasonably offensive. It was also complained that the quoted comments accompanying some of the “verdicts” headed “Don’t believe” were not as unequivocal as that summary suggested.

The newspaper responded that the trustworthiness of parliamentarians was of crucial importance in a democracy and therefore required very close scrutiny by the media, especially when there were such strong grounds for concern. It said the coverage should be assessed as an overall package and had been accurate, fair and balanced. It said that the coverage accurately represented its readers’ opinions, as shown by its jury and poll, as well as those of many parliamentarians and press gallery members.

The newspaper said the coverage did not imply a jury verdict in a court of law, as the term jury was also used in many other, non-legal contexts. It said each juror had been shown the full speech by Mr Thomson and then chosen whether his or her views should be summarised as “Don’t believe” or “Can’t decide”. It also pointed out that the digital alteration of Mr Thomson’s photograph had been acknowledged on the front page.

The Press Council considers that detailed and forthright description and analysis of the issues in this case was not only acceptable but a matter of considerable public importance. It was reasonable to include extensive reference to the views of the newspaper’s readership and other members of the public, as well as the kind of trenchant criticism of Mr Thomson’s claims which was provided in the articles on pages 4 and 5.

The Council has concluded, however, that the overall impact of the front page and page 7 was highly unfair to Mr Thomson by seeking to convey too close an analogy with a courtroom conviction on criminal charges, especially at a time when the laying of such charges was being widely demanded and anticipated. Accordingly, the complaints against the newspaper’s coverage are upheld on that ground.

Supplementary Note (not required for publication by the newspaper):
Although many of the complaints focused especially on the altered image of Mr Thomson, the adjudication does not mean that the image in itself constituted a breach of the Council’s principles. It also does not imply any change in the Council’s principles relating to depictions of people in cartoons.

Relevant Council Standard (not required for publication by the newspaper):
This adjudication applies part of the Council’s General Principle 1: “Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced.”


The Herald Sun Adjudicates


Abbott Calls On Gillard To Require Slipper To Step Aside As Speaker

The Prime Minister should require the Speaker to stand aside, according to the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott.

Abbott today issued a statement following publication of lurid allegations concerning Speaker Peter Slipper.

James Ashby, one of Slipper’s staff-members, has alleged, in documents filed in the Federal Court, that Slipper sexually harassed him.

Describing the situation as a “tawdry state of affairs”, Abbott said that Julia Gillard should require Slipper “to stand aside until these matters are concluded before the courts”.

Abbott said Slipper was entitled to the presumption of innocence but “these allegations unquestionably have the potential to damage the reputation of the office of Speaker and the standing of the Parliament”.

Text of a statement from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

STATEMENT ON PETER SLIPPER MP

The Speaker is the presiding officer of the House of Representatives and is responsible for the orderly conduct of the House and the maintenance of standards of behaviour and integrity.

It is a very senior position within our Parliament and an office that should command respect.

It is important for our Parliament that the Speaker have the respect of colleagues and the trust of the community. [Read more…]


Prosperity And Growth: Herald-Sun Election Editorial

This is the election editorial from Melbourne’s Herald-Sun newspaper.

The Herald-Sun is a News Limited publication.

Editorial from the Herald-Sun.

Prosperity And Growth

Finally, the contest – between a man we barely know and a man we know too well – is drawing to a close.

Our relative ignorance of Labor leader Kevin Rudd has been fashioned by party strategists into promise and possibility – he’s shiny and new without any unfortunate past, save for a misguided night in a New York strip club. [Read more…]


Newspapers Report Pauline Hanson’s Jailing

The jailing of former One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, has received wide coverage in this morning’s newspapers.

The national daily, The Australian, ran the story in a side column on page one but most other papers led with the story.

Hanson and David Ettridge were sentenced to three years jail in a Brisbane District Court yesterday after a jury found them guilty of electoral fraud.


The Age

SMH

AFR

Aust

Telegraph

Herald Sun

Courier

Advertiser

Mercury

NT