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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Harradine's feather duster « Previous | |Next »
June 24, 2003

I see that the Senate is doing its job with the Howard Government's proposed media reforms to increase the power of the big media.

The 4 Independent Senators are now making life difficult for Senator Alston. It looks as if Senator Harradine has found a way to allow for a lot of movement from the cross-media ownership point whilst preventing the big consolidation of the ownership of existing services. And he has done in such a way to gain support from the other Senators.

Its a good power play, don't you think? Scratching democracy where it itches. Very Socratic.

Margo Kingston doesn't seem to agree. She is almost in mourning at a sell out.

I also see that the media policy experts are speaking up. Jock Given's diagnosis of the outcome of the Alston's proposed legislation is good, but he has only disdain for the Senate, seeing it as little more than a feather duster.

I suspect that the feather duster Harradine once hung across his door to signify his insignificance after the GST has been taken down.

Will the old fox continue the noble tradition of going for long walks in the parliamentary gardens surrounded by a bevy of cameras, and meeting all media inquiries with quixotic replies and sphinx like smiles?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:31 PM | | Comments (1)



It seems to me what we are all concerned about here is diversity of viewpoint thus ensuring that democracy will not be suffocated by a powerful few. Fairfax, Lees and perhaps even crusty old Alston himself are trying to loosen the shackles a bit to allow a bit of dynamism to flourish in the industry, but rightly everyone is concerned that it will lead to greater concentration of ownership. Perhaps Harradine has found the solution to this with his Senate Ammendments.

I wonder however if there is not another solution. Can there be something like a leglislated/guaranteed right of reply on any show that purports to make public comment? Imagine a five minute block at the end of every Alan Jones session where those he has critisized have a right to come on and defend their case without interuption and commentarty from him.

Such a 'right of reply' could be mandated as part of every program, whether commercial or the ABC. There would naturally need to be an independent body that dolled out the right of reply slots as there would be more takers than available time, but maybe this is a way that diversity can be maintained, and still let the commercial stations pursue their commercial objectives.

What say you?