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Letter: [no reply to previous letter]



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PLS Resource Development T^: Political editor

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a s j t f t i f 99

Senator the Hon Richard Alston Minister for Communications, information Economy and The Arts Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Richard

I have yet to receive a reply to my letter to you dated July 2 on the appropriateness of comments by the chair of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Professor David Flint, on alleged media bias, but I now write agzin concerning a conflict o f interest between the role of Professor Flint in the No republic referendum campaign and his statutory position.

Professor Flint’s comments yesterday about media bias are in themselves of great concern - considering tis role as head o f a statutory authority which could be required to rule on issues pertaining to the conduct of the same organisations he is alleging to be biased, and also considering ho¬≠ is making these comments as national convenor of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy .

There is considerable community concern that Professor Flint is using his role as chair o f a the ABA advance the arguments and views -V \ >--’-aliens for a Constitutional Monarchy ..( vr’iy lijs extraordinary claim yesterday that freedom of the media (including broadcast media over watch he has direct regulatory purview) will be threatened if Australia replaces the Queen with an Australian Head of State.

Besides this being an alarming and seemingly reckless comment for a supposed learned chair o f the Australia)! Broadcasting Authority to proffer, even more alarming is that Professor Flint is increasingly making these comments and playing the leading role in making sure King Charles HI is the next monarch o f Australia during ABA time. I am sure this is not part of his job description or his role as defined by the Broadcasting Services Act.

Professor Flint, like any Australian, has a right to play a role in this people’s referendum. But it is highly questionable that he should be using his $225,000 taxpayer fended package position as the chair of the Australian Broadcasting Authority to run and lead the No case. This is further compounded by him using the authority of his publicly funded office to make accusations of bias

about the media he regulates.

For these reasons, if Professor Flint intends to continue to play a public role on the No case and referendum campaign, he should stand down from his position as chair o f the ABA until after the referendum. Further, I respectfully request that if Professor Flint does not stand down voluntarily to resolve this dear conflict o f interest, then the Government should instruct Professor Flint to stand down until after November 6.

Bap

Australian Republican Movement Limited A.C.N. 054 557 505 Telephone: +(61 -2) 9267 8022 Facsimile; +(61 -2) 9267 8155 P<> Box A870 Svdncv South NSW 1235 Level 11,60 Park Street Sydney NSW 200(1 * * Toll free; 1800 80 20(H)

Email Address: renublic@Q2iefnail.coni.au Internet Home Page: http://www.rcpublic.org.au

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if Professor Flint continues to use his office to intimidate the media under his purview, use his office o make wild and unsubstantiated accusations (similar to those about which 1 wrote to you about on luly 2) and use tax-payer funded time at the ABA to run a partisan political campaign, then the public m M have more than good reason to question whether the Government is sanctioning this type of use if public office and public res duress, which I am certain it in feet does not.

seek your urgent consideration o f this issue, and again attach my letter of July 2 in anticipation that rou may bo able to address that complaint as well.

iatiooal campaign director September 28,1999