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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 2377

Sky News

(Question No. 1022)

Senator Bob Brown asked the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, upon notice, on 23 August 2011:

(1) Will the Australian Government require Sky News to reveal:

(a) the details of the nature and extent of its discussions with Chinese state network China Central Television (CCTV) in relation to the agreement the two broadcasters signed on 17 August 2011; and

(b) what assurances of coverage, access and freedom of the press in China has CCTV given Sky News.

(2) To what extent will the Government take into account the agreement and discussions between Sky News and CCTV in relation to the Sky News bid for the Australia Network tender.

(3) What commitments have or have not been given by Sky News about its access and expansion into the Chinese market in relation to its bid for the Australia Network

Senator Conroy: The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

The Australian Government commenced an open tender process for the Australia Network service early last year. The government was subsequently advised that due to significant leaks of confidential information, the tender process had been compromised to such a degree that a fair and equitable outcome may no longer be achievable. As a result, on 7 November 2011, the government decided that it was in the best interests of all parties that the process be terminated.

The government subsequently decided that making the service a permanent feature of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) would enable Australia Network, in combination with the resources of Radio Australia, the ABC's international radio service, to best deliver international broadcast services on behalf of the government.