NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This outrage over what Conroy did... it took surprisingly long to build

I was working Sunday February 7 when Conroy made the strange announcement, and frankly felt a bit of outrage might be in order.

The ABC's Mark Scott, whose tweets I follow, actually seemed pleased with the announcement:

Government to rebate commercial free-to-air TV licence fees to promote Australian content.......very significant step. 3:30 PM Feb 7th  from TweetDeck

The Coalition's Communications Spokesman Tony Smith through his spokesman Andrew Cox dictated these supportive words to me over the phone:
"Preserving quality Australian content is important and there is little doubt the cost of delivering that content is higher at present. While we acknowledge support is warranted during transition to digital television, we look forward to considering further details and the government's costings."
No suggestion at the time that it could be inappropriate...

One week later on Sunday February 14, I was working again when news came through about Conroy's skiing meeting with Stokes.

Smith emailed Cox who emailed me:

From: Smith, Tony (MP)
To: Cox, Andrew (T. Smith, MP)
Sent: Sun Feb 14 17:00:02 2010

Senator Conroy has simply not been upfront and open in the last week.

He should release the full costings and all of the detail to justify both the size and the duration of the rebates.

And given his public linkage of the rebates with quality Australian content – he must detail what commitments he has sought and received to achieve this objective.

Again, no outrage at the idea of handing money to the commercial television networks.

Like I said, that took time to build.

Related Posts

. The networks war on TV

. Of all the dodgy explanations... (Stephen Conroy edition)

. Well it's quarter of a billion, see. And I'm handing it to Australia's commercial television stations