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Thursday, 14 March 2013
Page: 2192


Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (15:02): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to revelations today that members of the cabinet feel they have been given insufficient time to consider the most draconian curbs on free speech in peacetime in this country. Will the Prime Minister confirm what many believe—that this proposal is a stunt designed to distract the media, the caucus and the public from the crisis engulfing her leadership and stave off the member for Griffith for one more week?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:02): Of course, cabinet deliberations are confidential, but I would remind the member that on 14 December—

Opposition members interjecting

Ms GILLARD: No amount of bellowing is going to change these facts. On 14 December 2010 the government announced the Convergence Review. On 2 March 2011 the Chair of the Convergence Review was announced. On 1 June 2011 the Convergence Review framing paper was released. In June submissions started coming in. For example, Foxtel's submission on the framing paper was received. On 6 July 2011 the Convergence Review's emerging issues paper was released. On 14 September 2011 a media inquiry was announced. On 28 October 2011 submissions started being received by the Convergence Review from entities like the Newspaper Publishers Association. On 1 November 2011 News Limited made a submission to the Convergence Review. On 11 November 2011 News Limited made its submission to the media inquiry. Then on 15 November 2011 we had the interim report of the Convergence Review released. On 10 February 2012 the News Limited submission on the interim report of the Convergence Review was received; so was the Newspaper Publishers Association's submission. Then we released the Finkelstein report, and the Convergence Review final report was released. All of that happened in March and April 2012. So across a period now of a number of years, through a public course of inquiries and investigations which were well known, well reported and apparently understood by everybody except the member for Sturt, who asked this question, the government has worked through the policy issues and therefore brought to the parliament the legislation that was announced a little bit earlier this week.

As usual, from the opposition, what we continue to see is mendacious and silly claims, because the one thing they can never cope with, whether it is on carbon pricing, the economy, media policy or anything else, is the facts. They are simply beyond them.