The Labor Party might be moving towards the termination of its disastrous shotgun wedding with the Australian Greens, but there are a number of policy positions spawned by this marriage of convenience which are still very much alive. The argument over preferences and formal alliances between the parties is largely an irrelevance to the day-to-day lives of voters. What matters most is the impact this relationship continues to have on public policy.
If Labor is serious about this discussion, its cooler-headed members should broaden the debate to include issues such as media policy, as the once-sensible ALP has disappeared into a vortex of paranoia.
The best politicians are those who cop scrutiny on the chin and get on with governing – in recent years, two of the best examples would be Bob Carr and John Howard – but in Canberra right now it is the whiners who have got the upper hand.
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I would bet that for probably 95 per cent of regular visitors to The Punch, media policy is quite a way down the list of topics of interest. Like, near the very bottom. Even below Tanya Zaetta. For the punters, it just isn’t the stuff of sexy reading.
But, for the egg heads out there, yesterday’s release of the final report from the Federal Government’s Convergence Review is the latest chapter in what can only be described as one big, hot, steamy, media policy orgy.
For some people (which does not include me… I am far too lazy, ahem, busy doing my job) wading through the various chunky reports is like taking Viagra.
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We live in a world where everyone knows everything all the time, where the limited old ways of accessing information are no more, where people who are quaintly still described as newspaper “photographers” now shoot video footage for 24-hour news websites which you can watch on your telephone, your tablet or television.
We also live in a more democratic media world than ever before. Once upon a time, traditional media companies and the people who wrote for them could posture as unchallenged oracles. That is no longer the case. The barriers for entry into publishing in the digital age are zero. If you don’t like what a columnist has written, jump on their website and say so, or start your own blog putting a different view.
We can also be more readily and instantly entertained than ever before. Thirty years ago there was no Foxtel, and the fact that you could set the timer on your VCR was cause for excitement. Now, you can program your IQ box online from your work PC, you can download anything from the app store, or find it anyway on YouTube, when and where you want it.
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