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Statement by the Hon P J Keating - Remarks by James Packer



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06/10/99 12:01 NO.013 003

O F F IC E O F TH E HON P J KEATING LEVEL 1. 31 BU CK STREET

SYDNEY AUSTRALIA

T E L 61-2-9223 72Θ2 FAX: 61 ·2·9223 7280

G PO BOX 2 5 9 B SYDNEY N SW 2 0 0 1

Statement by the Hon P J Keating

Remarks by James Packer

Mr Packer contends that I am in a personal dispute with the Packer family which I somehow started. He suggests that my remarks were motivated by concern at the outrageous 60 Minutes defamations broadcast about m e earlier in the year, to which I was given no opportunity to respond in advance.

As M r Packer well knows, however, my disagreement with his family interests long pre-dates that program.

It began when I legislated to stop Mr Kerry Packer getting control of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age through a tricky legal manoeuvre and continued when I refused his demand effectively to hand half the value o f Telstra’s telephony interests, owned by the Australian people, to Optus, owned by Cable and Wireless of Britain and Continental Cable o f the United States, and with which he had commercial interests.

These were matters o f high principal and policy, not personal injury. So too is my view that further concentration o f media ownership in Australia would be dangerous for the nation.

Sixty Minutes simply showed what proprietors with that much power can do when they want to use it against those who oppose them.

Mr Packer suggests I use legal avenues to seek redress for the lies. However, he has ample defamation insurance and I have no desire to spend a year o f my life in the courts providing soap opera material for M r Packer’s network.

That does not mean however, that I intend to let the matter rest.

Sydney

4 O ctober 1999