November 23, 2010
Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd has announced the Federal Government is putting a 10-year contract for Australia Network, the country's international television broadcasting service, up for tender.
The network is currently provided by the ABC under a five-year contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
...October 18, 2011
The Australian reported this week that Sky News had won the assessment panel vote on whether it or the incumbent provider, the ABC, should have the ten-year, $233 million contract.
November 07, 2011
After months of speculation about who will get the contract to be the voice of Australia overseas, the Communications Minister has announced the tender process has been terminated. ... the Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says the Government has received legal advice that leaks have compromised the process.
The debacle over the $223 million Australia Network contract is a product of Labor's meddling in what should have remained an independent public tender. ....
.....But leaks are merely the symptom of a flawed process. The cause was the government's decision to tear up the rule book when it looked likely Sky News would win the rights to run the network over the ABC. Media scrutiny has ensured the government didn't get away with it....
Enough is enough.
Time to dump the Twitter feed from Q&A.
It adds nothing to the show. ...
Mining tax has exposed Abbott
# Laurie Oakes
# From: Herald Sun
# November 05, 2011 12:00AM
IT WAS an extraordinary complaint from Tony Abbott. "It's very difficult to have a sensible debate," he said, "when you are confronted with a feral Government".
Politicians don't come any more ferocious and brutal than Abbott. He reverted to the wild the moment he got his paws on the Liberal leadership.
His style is pure attack dog, as feral as you'd get. Everything, irrespective of merit, has to be opposed and torn to pieces.
The mining tax is a case in point. It is now glaringly obvious that the benefits of the mining boom should be shared around so that the overall economy benefits, rather than just a small and privileged section. Opposition to the tax is shrinking.
As long as the Government can deal with some last-minute peripheral worries of independents, particularly Tony Windsor, it will get through the Parliament.
But Abbott is sticking to his decision that he will abolish the tax - and all the benefits it will pay for - as soon as he becomes prime minister.
That means he will repeal tax cuts for business, big and small. He will slash proposed infrastructure spending. And he will take back superannuation increases for workers.
And why? Because he claims the mining companies exploiting Australia's mineral wealth cannot afford to pay more tax.
The risk for the Opposition Leader is that those he would deprive of benefits eventually may see that for the nonsense it is....<cont>
Further out, there are bigger worries if the likely events come to pass and Abbott is elected prime minister and Hockey becomes his treasurer.
Hockey's apologists claim he just has to run with the policies Abbott invents, but that excuse is wearing very thin. Hockeynomics looks like a dangerous cult – a world in which Canberra increases services but cuts taxes, while building up a massive surplus. No, it does not add up
...... So the position now seems to be that the Coalition wants to give billions of dollars to the huge, super profitable mining companies, and take benefits away from Australian working families, except for the super guarantee boost. Clear?
What Australians now need from Mr Abbott and his gang of wreckers is an explanation of how they are going to pay for the super guarantee boost. And while they are explaining that, they should explain what programs are included in $70 billion in cuts that the Liberals are planning. Is Mr Abbott going to cut the new paid parental leave scheme? Is he going to cut Labor's increase in the child care rebate? Labor's education tax refund? Is he going to abolish the 2009 tax cuts Labor delivered to lower paid workers? Is he going to take away the extra money Labor has given pensioners?
In overruling his Finance Minister Andrew Robb, his deputy Julie Bishop and his frontbench assistant Treasury spokesman Senator Mathias Cormann, who had previously confirmed that the Coalition would abolish the superannuation increase along with the mining tax, Mr Abbott has hit a brick wall. He will be picking up the pieces from the wreckage right through to the next election, because Australians will keep asking him for two things – coherent policy proposals, and an explanation on how he will pay for them.
Of course, Mr Abbott said on national TV you can't believe anything he says, so there's every chance he won't honour his pledge to leave in place the increase in the super guarantee, which of course will mean Australian workers retiring with lower savings while hugely profitable mining companies get a tax break. That's as neat a reflection of Tony Abbott's priorities as you could get.
News Ltd boss tells politicians to harden up
Updated November 10, 2011 10:00:21
Incoming News Limited CEO Kim Williams says Australian politicians need to toughen up and get over their glass jaws.
Foxtel CEO Mr Williams was yesterday named to take over from John Hartigan, who is resigning as CEO after nine years at the helm and after weeks of rumours about his resignation.
Mr Williams has played down suggestions he has been brought in to repair the company's relationship with the Federal Government.
Federal ministers and the Greens have accused News Limited papers of bias and being a "threat to democracy", but Mr Williams says the papers are just being "robust".
"A free and independent media must always examine government and oppositions, and do so confidently and independently," he said.
"I think we have a kind of national glass jaw syndrome in a lot of political life at the moment, and that is to be regretted."
Mr Williams says he will look at expanding the paywall for the company's online newspapers.
"Well I certainly bring skills in managing a subscription enterprise, that is obviously a skill set I have developed over the last 10 years," he said.
Mr Hartigan has played down the timing of his resignation, which comes as the company prepares to face scrutiny from the Federal Government's media inquiry.
He told Lateline there were a number of factors in his decision to leave.
"There are always things. There is a media inquiry next week which I will be appearing at. They are all part of the rich fabric of being in this industry," he said.
"So my timing is made by a whole host of things, but most of all the fact that we have got such a solid succession plan." ....<cont>
My news Boss
Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 06:28am
Quote:Mr Williams would not be drawn on whether his appointment represented a cultural shift in News Ltd, but said he would not object if that was written.
‘’I’m a confessed media addict. I love journalism, I love the work of journalists. I admire their work,’’ he said
Quote:Asked how he planned to tackle government relations in view of previous exchanges between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the company, he said: “One seeks to work with both sides and participate in a way that ensures their positions are understood. I do think we have had in Australia at times what I call a glass-jaw syndrome. People in public life were sometimes overly sensitive.
“I’m a strong believer in a free and independent media.”
.....We're left to speculate then that a key qualification for Williams is that he's a clean skin as far as the bulk of News Ltd's activities are concerned – he has no baggage from the newspapers' excesses, the whole rugby league saga, or the legacy aspects of print.
But even more surprising is Rupert taking on the chairman's role, as if he didn't have enough to do as executive chairman of News Corp given its various fires. After the empty shareholder gestures at the News Corp AGM, it's a clear demonstration that Rupert continues to do whatever Rupert wants.
As for motive, I'd suggest there are two possible readings: either Murdoch doesn't quite trust his punt on Williams and wants to keep a close and direct eye on what he might do with the legacy newspapers; or that he trusts him a great deal and wants to protect him from the legacy senior executives who might well have fancied the chairman's title themselves.
The one sure thing is that Williams has interesting times ahead of him, being of a different cultural and political hue than his new direct reports. The words “poison” and “chalice” come to mind.
The opposition's so-called "Nauru solution" for asylum seekers is in tatters with the sudden resignation today of Nauru's president Marcus Stephen and foreign minister Keiren Keke.
The two men were pivotal in supporting the Coalition's policy to reopen an asylum seeker processing centre on Nauru for boat arrivals, and had met Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison on their tour of Nauru in June.
Mr Keke, in particular, had travelled to Australia during the 2010 election campaign to meet Mr Abbott and promote his slogan to "stop the boats" and "pick up the phone to Nauru". ....