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Environment and Communications References Committee—Media diversity in Australia—Report, dated December 2021


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December 2021

The Senate

Environment and Communications References Committee

Media diversity in Australia

© Commonwealth of Australia 2021

ISBN 978-1-76093-312-8 (Printed Version)

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Members

Chair Senator Sarah Hanson-Young AG, SA

Deputy Chair Senator Andrew Bragg (from 2 September 2021) LP, NSW

Members Senator Anthony Chisholm (from 21 October 2021) ALP, QLD Senator Nita Green ALP, QLD

Senator Sam McMahon CLP, NT

Senator Anne Urquhart ALP, TAS

Former Members Senator the Hon David Fawcett (to 2 September 2021) LP, SA Senator Catryna Bilyk (to 21 October 2021) ALP, TAS

Substitute Members Senator the Hon Kim Carr ALP, VIC

(for Senator Urquhart from 30 November 2020) Senator Gerard Rennick LNP, QLD

(for Senator Fawcett on 12 April 2021)

Participating Members Senator Alex Antic LP, SA

Senator Mehreen Faruqi AG, NSW

Senator Gerard Rennick LNP, QLD

Senator David Van LP, VIC

Senator Murray Watt ALP, QLD

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Secretariat Stephen Palethorpe, Committee Secretary Nicholas Craft, Principal Research Officer Monika Sheppard, Senior Research Officer Bronwyn Wrigley, Senior Research Officer James Dawson, Research Officer Margaret Jones, Senior Executive Assistant Morgan Jacobs, Administrative Officer David Pappas, Administrative Officer

PO Box 6100 Phone: 02 6277 3526

Parliament House Fax: 02 6277 5818

Canberra ACT 2600 Email: ec.sen@aph.gov.au

www.aph.gov.au/senate_ec

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Contents

Members ............................................................................................................................................. iii

Executive Summary ........................................................................................................................... ix

Chapter 1—Introduction .................................................................................................................... 1

Referral .................................................................................................................................................. 1

Conduct of the inquiry ........................................................................................................................ 2

Acknowledgments ............................................................................................................................... 2

Note on submissions ............................................................................................................................ 3

Structure of this report ........................................................................................................................ 4

Disclosure .............................................................................................................................................. 4

Chapter 2—Background to the inquiry ........................................................................................... 7

Background ........................................................................................................................................... 7

The importance of a healthy and diverse media sector ....................................................... 9

Negative effects of media concentration on democratic processes ........................ 9

Current diversity in the Australian media sector ................................................... 11

Concentrated ownership and declining number of outlets ......................................................... 15

Increased concentration of traditional news media .......................................................... 15

Changes to the Broadcasting Services Act in 2017 ............................................................. 18

Concentration and convergence of online media ............................................................... 19

Google and Facebook as platforms for the distribution of news media ......................... 20

The effects of the shift online ................................................................................................ 23

Effects on regional media ...................................................................................................... 25

Case study: television news in regional Queensland ............................................. 27

Chapter 3—Recent Commonwealth measures and the regulatory oversight of Australian media ........................................................................................................................................ 29

Recent Commonwealth measures ................................................................................................... 29

Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package ......................................... 29

Public Interest News Gathering program ........................................................................... 30

Funding of public broadcasters ABC and SBS.................................................................... 32

News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code (2020) ....................... 33

Media Reform Green Paper .................................................................................................. 36

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Oversight and regulation of news media ....................................................................................... 37

Broadcast media ...................................................................................................................... 37

Free-to-air commercial television .............................................................................. 37

Pay TV ........................................................................................................................... 38

Public broadcasters ...................................................................................................... 39

Print media .............................................................................................................................. 41

MEAA standards ......................................................................................................... 42

Digital platforms ..................................................................................................................... 43

Chapter 4—Traditional media: a weak, inconsistent and ineffective regulatory system ... 45

A system that is not fit-for-purpose ................................................................................................ 45

Traditional print media ..................................................................................................................... 46

Case studies .................................................................................................................. 50

Free-to-air, subscription and public television .............................................................................. 55

Co-regulatory model questioned .............................................................................. 56

Calls for a unified regulatory and standards system .................................................................... 58

Other potential considerations for reform .......................................................................... 60

Merger and competition laws .................................................................................... 60

Introduction of a ‘fit and proper person test’ or sanctions ............................................... 61

Divestment powers ................................................................................................................. 63

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 63

Conclusion ............................................................................................................................... 65

Chapter 5—Digital platforms: a regulatory void ........................................................................ 67

Concerns over the regulatory void for digital platforms ............................................................. 68

More strident calls for regulation of the digital realm .................................................................. 72

Case study: YouTube suspension of Sky News (August 2021) .................................................. 74

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 78

Chapter 6—Consequences of concentrated ownership and ineffective regulation ............. 81

The current situation in Australia. .................................................................................................. 81

The corrosive effects of monopoly on democracy ......................................................................... 83

News Corp’s reversal on climate change........................................................................................ 86

An unhealthy and dangerous influence on politics ...................................................................... 90

National security implications .............................................................................................. 94

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Public health misinformation ........................................................................................................... 94

Discrediting the science of COVID-19 and Australian researchers ............................................ 96

‘Not a fit person’ to steward a global media company ................................................................. 98

Corporate culture .................................................................................................................... 99

Vilification of individuals .................................................................................................... 103

Racism ............................................................................................................................................... 105

Committee view ............................................................................................................................... 108

Chapter 7—Policy and legislative reforms to support public interest news media ........... 111

Commonwealth funding for news media .................................................................................... 111

Stable and adequate funding for public broadcasters ..................................................... 111

Security of funding for AAP's newswire services ........................................................... 115

A fund for public interest journalism ................................................................................ 118

Journalist cadetships ................................................................................................. 120

Protecting public ownership of the NBN ......................................................................... 121

Support through reform of the taxation system .......................................................................... 122

Research and Development-style tax credits or rebates .................................................. 122

Deductible gift recipient status for news organisations .................................................. 123

Reform of law relating to defamation and freedom of the press .............................................. 125

Defamation laws ................................................................................................................... 125

Implications of the 'Voller' case ............................................................................... 126

Recommendations of the Press Freedom report .............................................................. 128

Committee view ............................................................................................................................... 129

Funding our public broadcasters—ABC and SBS ........................................................... 129

Funding for AAP ................................................................................................................. 130

Public investment in journalism through a PING Trust ................................................. 131

Responding to the Media Reform Green Paper ............................................................... 132

Protecting public ownership of the NBN .......................................................................... 132

Reform to the tax system ..................................................................................................... 132

Defamation and press freedom ........................................................................................... 133

Dissenting report by Senator Bragg ............................................................................................ 135

Dissenting report by Senator McMahon .................................................................................... 151

Appendix 1—Previous inquiries and reports ............................................................................ 155

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Appendix 2—Submissions and additional information ......................................................... 163

Appendix 3—Public hearing and witnesses .............................................................................. 285

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Executive Summary

This inquiry was established in the wake of more than half a million Australians signing a petition started by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calling for the establishment of a royal commission into Australian media.

This was the biggest electronic petition ever presented to an Australian parliament, and a clear indication that many Australians believe the system of media regulation in this country is not fit-for-purpose.

It is the Parliament’s responsibility to ensure that the nation’s news media are sufficiently diverse, in ownership and in opinion, to maintain a vigorous democracy.

As many submitters and witnesses to this committee noted, ours is not the first inquiry into the concentration of media ownership and the convergence of media platforms in Australia and their consequences for democracy.

The circumstances in which the committee’s investigations have been undertaken, however, distinguish its work and recommendations from those of its predecessors. Such a high level of discontent from the Australian public cannot be ignored, and it is what prompted the Senate to refer an inquiry into media diversity in Australia to this committee in November 2020.

Through the evidence presented to the inquiry, the committee found that the current regulatory environment for news media is weak, fragmented, and inconsistent. As a result, large media organisations have become so powerful and unchecked that they have developed corporate cultures that consider themselves beyond the existing accountability framework.

The case for a judicial inquiry The committee recommends the establishment of a judicial inquiry, with the powers of the royal commission called for by Mr Rudd’s petition, into media diversity, ownership and regulation. It is clear that the current regulatory framework is not fit-for-purpose and significant changes are required.

A judicial inquiry would have the capacity for a more comprehensive investigation, including compelling witnesses to give evidence, than can be undertaken by a parliamentary committee. Such an inquiry would also be conducted at arm’s length of all politicians to allow an independent investigation into media regulation and ownership.

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The regulatory framework is not fit-for-purpose The committee heard significant evidence that Australia’s system of media regulation is not effective, citing the weakness of its mechanisms, its inconsistent governance arrangements and standards across platforms, and the lack of oversight for digital media.

Evidence to the committee testified to the inability of existing regulators to ensure that standards of fairness and accuracy are maintained, and to prevent the spread of misinformation.

This report notes several times that more than a decade ago the Finkelstein Inquiry and Convergence Review found that there was a clear need for a new approach. In the decade since the Finkelstein Inquiry, no progress has been made on updating Australia’s out of date media regulation system. The imperative for change is now even greater given the technological changes that have occurred and the impact this has had on the media landscape.

The committee undertook close consideration and analysis of the suspension, in August 2021, of the broadcaster Sky News from the Google-owned platform YouTube. The incident exposes the pitfalls in self-regulation, and illustrates well the chasm between digital platforms that are not accountable to any external standards or regulatory frameworks, and traditional media businesses that are increasingly converged across platforms while remaining subject to a confusing patchwork of regulatory oversight.

It became apparent during the course of this inquiry that even large media proprietors concede that some degree of regulatory reform is required—though usually with the proviso that their own activities should not be held more accountable than they are at present.

This attitude was best summed up by the Global Head of News Corp, Mr Robert Thomson. On the fundamental point of whether a commission of inquiry, as called for in the Rudd petition, is necessary, Mr Thomson did not reject the idea outright: ‘It depends what the remit of any commission would be. What I’m looking at more is how to regulate for the future, not, frankly, focusing on the past’.1

When asked, however, whether anti-siphoning laws should be extended to cover internet platforms such as Google and Facebook to forestall them charging users for

1 Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head, News Corp, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021,

p. 3.

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viewing sporting events, Mr Thomson replied ‘honestly, I have conflicting views on this. I would like it to be relaxed for us and intensified for them’.2

Even the present Australian Government, although reluctant to confront the power of large media proprietors in this country, accepts that the global internet platforms must be brought within an effective regulatory framework.

The government has taken the first steps towards regulating Google and Facebook. It has legislated to establish the Media Bargaining Code, under which the internet companies negotiate with producers of news content to compensate them for lost revenue. The Communications Minister, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, has also foreshadowed legislation to protect children and teenagers from harmful content on the internet platforms.

These developments happened during the committee’s investigations and are acknowledged in our report. As the report was in preparation, the government announced further legislation to rein in internet companies. Under the proposed changes, the companies would be obliged to provide the contact details of people who anonymously post abusive or defamatory material online. If the companies are unable or are unwilling to do so, they will become liable for the defamatory content of the posts.

The announcement of 28 November 2021, made in the context of an approaching federal election, indicated the government’s awareness of growing popular anger at the ability of internet companies to evade responsibility for what is published on their sites.3 Two days later, on 30 November 2021 News Corp’s flagship masthead, The Australian, gleefully hailed the proposed legislation in an editorial that looked forward to breaking “open the cowards’ castle of anonymity that has allowed bullies to flourish unchecked”.4

The editorial acknowledged that the move had been prompted by the High Court’s ruling in the Voller case, which found that media companies are liable for defamatory comments published on their Facebook pages. The Australian also noted that ‘global social media platforms will be required to establish a quick, simple and

2 Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head, News Corp, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021,

p. 3.

3 Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP and Attorney-General Senator the

Hon Michaelia Cash, Transcript of Press Conference, Canberra, 28 November 2021, pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-7 (accessed 6 December 2021).

4 Editorial, 'Laws catching up with bullies of the digital world', The Australian, 30 November 2021,

theaustralian.com.au/commentary/editorials/laws-catching-up-with-the-bullies-of-the-digital-world/news-story/782f17a3e7925378bb483dd65f2c4156 (accessed 6 December 2021).

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standardised complaints system’.5 So far, however, neither traditional media companies like News Corp nor the government have shown any enthusiasm for broader regulatory reform of the media sector. It is the committee’s strong view, reflected in our recommendations, that focusing on the internet platforms alone will not resolve the grave problems in Australia’s media sector.

The committee heard extensive evidence that the complaints processes for traditional media are insufficient and slow. There was clear evidence that the self-regulation model for print media through the Australian Press Council is woefully inadequate. Equally, the Australian Communication and Media Authority’s (ACMA) oversight of broadcast media is slow, complex, onerous for complainants and often inconclusive.

The committee believes that with the convergence of media platforms brought about by the internet, there is merit in the creation of a single regulator with powers across all platforms. The efficacy of such a measure is a matter for the judicial inquiry, but the centrality of the delivery system (i.e. through digital platforms) means that it is firmly a Commonwealth responsibility and cannot have an ad hoc or piecemeal approach. The committee recommends that the terms of reference for a judicial inquiry include consideration of mechanisms for regulatory oversight, including the establishment of a platform-neutral single news regulator.

Issues with media ownership concentration It is widely recognised that Australia has one of the most concentrated media markets in the world. While it was hoped that the rise of the internet would democratise access to information, the business model that underpins public interest journalism is coming under great stress in the internet age.

The problem of concentration has been exacerbated by the rise of global internet platforms, which aggregate information from many sources, including the mainstream news media, but which at present are not subject to effective and independent regulation.

The whistleblower and former senior Facebook employee Frances Haugen testified to a United States Congressional committee that the algorithms of Facebook and Instagram had been used to manipulate users of the platforms, to ‘harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy’.6

5 Editorial, 'Laws catching up with bullies of the digital world', The Australian, 30 November 2021.

6 A series of Wall Street Journal articles based on these documents is available at

wsj.com/articles/the-facebook-files-11631713039 (accessed 6 December 2021).

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She said the company’s leadership know ‘how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people’.7

Ms Haugen’s testimony is a challenge to legislators in all democracies to devise a system for media regulation that can combat abuses, foster diversity and support the practice of public interest journalism.

Public interest journalism is essential to a democracy. Active citizenship requires access to reliable information, and democracy cannot flourish without a diversity of media sources and a regulatory regime that protects consumers against the spread of misinformation.

The concentration of media ownership is inherently corrosive of democratic practice because it places control over the sources of information and opinion in far too few hands.

Since the 2017 changes to the Broadcasting Services Act that removed the ‘2 out of 3’ cross-media control rule and the 75 per cent audience reach rule, the concentration of media ownership in Australia has increased. The passing of the legislation allowed the $4 billion merger between Fairfax and Nine in 2018 and has allowed News Corp to increase its dominance, owning radio, newspapers in each capital city, regional newspapers and a majority share of the Foxtel news network.

A comprehensive reform of media regulation is required, both to foster increased diversity in the sources of public interest journalism and to ensure that ethical standards are upheld.

News Corp, the media empire controlled by Rupert Murdoch is the clearest example of a troubling media monopoly in Australia. Mr Murdoch has been a US citizen since 1985, and since 2004 the US-based holding company News Corporation has been registered in Wilmington, Delaware. Its wholly-owned Australian subsidiary, News Corp controls nearly two-thirds of metropolitan print mastheads and the most frequently accessed online news sites in Australia.

Most recently, the power wielded by media proprietors has been glaringly obvious in the about-face on climate change in News Corp’s Australian tabloid newspapers. After nearly a decade of campaigning against the science of climate change and against policies aimed at lowering carbon emissions, editors of all of News Corp’s Australian mastheads suddenly decided, at the same time, to take the opposite line.

7 Wall Street Journal Articles.

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They called for the policy that the Morrison Government took to COP26—a pledge of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The Coalition had resisted this for more than a decade, but it now has, in effect, a licence to adopt this policy issued by News Corp. There could be no clearer example of the clout wielded by the proprietors that dominate Australia’s commercial media.

The spread of misinformation One of the major concerns that the committee heard from submitters was the rise of misinformation, both in traditional media and on digital platforms. The YouTube ban on Sky News over the publication of public health misinformation highlighted that there is an issue when a private company is able to act swiftly to protect the public from misinformation but the ACMA, the media regulator is not.

The need to preserve our public broadcasters, the NBN and newswire service The public broadcasters, as independent sources of news, are notable exceptions to the dominance of the private proprietors. They should be better resourced and calls to privatise them should be rejected.

The committee believes that the media diversity in Australia can be increased by ensuring widespread and faster access to the internet through the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Media diversity can also be supported by devising new forms of finance for independent ventures in public interest journalism. The committee supports increased public funding of start-up media engaged in public interest journalism. This could include both direct grants administered by an authority separate from the government of the day, and assistance through the taxation system. How best to implement these measures should be included in the judicial inquiry’s terms of reference.

In the context of direct funding, it is especially important that Australian Associated Press, Australia’s sole independent newswire, can survive under its new not-for-profit model.

To achieve these aims, it is essential that the NBN remains in public ownership. Ensuring access to the network for new content providers, especially those engaged in public interest journalism, can create opportunities to counter the power now wielded by big media proprietors through ownership of print platforms and associated online sites, and control of broadcast spectrum.

The committee offers this report and its recommendations to all who aspire to build a more vigorous democracy in this country.

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Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth initiate a judicial inquiry, with the powers of a royal commission, to determine whether the existing system of media regulation is fit-for-purpose and to investigate the concentration of media ownership in Australia. The committee believes that media convergence due to technological change has greatly strengthened the argument in favour a single regulator across all platforms. As a consequence, the committee further recommends that the judicial inquiry’s terms of reference include consideration of a single, independent media regulator to harmonise news media standards and oversee an effective process for remedying complaints.

Recommendation 2

It is the Parliament’s responsibility to ensure that the nation’s news media are sufficiently diverse, in ownership and in opinion, to maintain a vigorous democracy. In support of this goal, the committee recommends:

 That Australia’s two public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, be sustainably and adequately funded. The ABC’s Enhanced Newsgathering funding should be renewed in its upcoming budget.

 That the Government commit to long-term and adequate funding of Australia’s only independent newswire, Australian Associated Press.  That the Government release its final proposals for reform that have been developed through the Media Reform Green Paper consultation process.  That the Government establish an independent and permanent trust to

assist emerging news ventures, especially in regional areas. The trust’s responsibilities should include funding journalism traineeships.  That the National Broadband Network remain in public ownership and be upgraded to a fit-for-purpose standard as originally intended, to

provide crucial communications infrastructure for as broad a range of new media ventures as possible, especially those engaging in public interest journalism.  That concessional rates of taxation, modelled on the existing Research and Development Tax Incentive, be made available to new ventures investing in public interest journalism. The terms of reference for the judicial inquiry called for in Recommendation 1 should include consideration of how best to implement this tax measure.  That the Government extend Deductible Gift Recipient status for appropriate ventures in public interest journalism.

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Chapter 1 Introduction

Referral 1.1 On 11 November 2020, the Senate referred an inquiry into media diversity in Australia to the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee for an inquiry and report initially by 31 March 2021, with the

following terms of reference:

The state of media diversity, independence and reliability in Australia and the impact that this has on public interest journalism and democracy, including:

(a) the current state of public interest journalism in Australia and any barriers to Australian voters’ ability to access reliable, accurate and independent news;

(b) the effect of media concentration on democracy in Australia; (c) the impact of Australia’s media ownership laws on media concentration in Australia; (d) the impact of significant changes to media business models since the

advent of online news and the barriers to viability and profitability of public interest news services; (e) the impact of online global platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter on the media industry and sharing of news in Australia; (f) the barriers faced by small, independent and community news outlets in

Australia; (g) the role that a newswire service plays in supporting diverse public interest journalism in Australia; (h) the state of local, regional and rural media outlets in Australia; (i) the role of government in supporting a viable and diverse public interest

journalism sector in Australia; and (j) any other related matters.

1.2 In December 2020 the Senate granted an extension of time to report to 4 August 2021.1 The reporting date was subsequently extended through to 9 December 2021.2

1 As noted in the next sitting day's Journals of the Senate, No. 82, 2 February 2021, p. 2924.

2 See Journals of the Senate, No. 107, 3 August 2021, p. 3800; Journals of the Senate, No. 126,

22 November 2021, p. 4241; and Journals of the Senate, No. 130, 29 November 2021, p. 4339.

2

Conduct of the inquiry 1.3 In accordance with its usual practice, the committee advertised the inquiry on its website, and wrote to various organisations and individuals to invite submissions by 11 December 2020.

1.4 The committee received 5068 submissions, which are listed at Appendix 2. As noted below, the committee received more than 4400 additional submissions that were attached to GetUp’s submission.

1.5 The committee held five public hearings in Canberra on: 19 February 2021; 12 March 2021; 12 April 2021; 6 September 2021; and 22 October 2021. A list of witnesses who gave evidence at hearings is available at Appendix 3.

1.6 Evidence received by the committee can be found on its website. This includes Hansard transcripts of evidence from hearings, tabled documents, answers to questions on notice, and public submissions.3

Acknowledgments 1.7 The committee would like to thank those individuals, institutions and organisations that made submissions to the inquiry, as well as all witnesses who provided evidence at public hearings.

1.8 The committee would especially like to recognise the two former Prime Ministers of Australia, the Hon Kevin Rudd and the

Hon Malcolm Turnbull, who both gave evidence to the committee. Their expertise in the Australian media landscape provided an invaluable perspective to the committee's deliberations, not only regarding Commonwealth media policy, but also in the interaction between politics, the Parliament of Australia (Parliament), and the media that can sometimes be challenging.

1.9 The committee would also like to express its thanks to participating media organisations that made submissions or appeared at hearings.

1.10 In particular, the committee thanks News Corp for its cooperation with this inquiry. Numerous News Corp staff appeared at the hearing, including the Global Head, Mr Robert Thomson, and the local Executive Chairman of News Corp Australia, Mr Michael Miller.

1.11 The committee also appreciates contributions made by the senior management of several organisations, including: Facebook; Google; Guardian Australia; Nine; PRIME Media Group; and WIN Corporation Ltd.

3 See: aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/

Mediadiversity

3

1.12 A number of industry bodies also informed the committee's deliberations. The committee thanks the Australian Associated Press, the Australian Press Council, and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

1.13 The willingness of all these bodies to engage positively with the inquiry is much appreciated by all participating senators.

1.14 Lastly, the committee recognises the many individuals who spoke of their personal negative experiences with the media. In particular, the committee would like to thank those who spoke about their experiences working professionally in media organisations, including Ms Anna Rogers, Mr Tony Koch, Mr Anthony Klan, and a number of confidential submitters. The committee also thanks the individuals who came forward with evidence about becoming the target of unwanted and unwarranted media attention, particularly, Professor Michael E. Mann, Ms Cindy Prior, Associate Professor Michelle Telfer, and the Secretary of the United Firefighters Union (Victoria), Mr Peter Marshall, as well as some confidential submissions.

Note on submissions 1.15 As noted above, this inquiry received 5068 submissions. This unusually large number of submissions—one of the largest ever number received by a Senate inquiry—indicates the high degree of public interest in the health of Australia's

media sector, including the availability, diversity and reliability of news content.

1.16 The committee notes that former Prime Minister the Hon Kevin Rudd was instrumental in encouraging Australians to make submissions, as well as in the petition to Parliament on this matter. Further details on these submissions and the petition are available in chapter 2 of this report.

1.17 Submissions made by members of the public consistently expressed strong views about the need for a Royal Commission to address concentrated levels of ownership, the ineffectiveness of the current regulatory approach, and the contested new reality of news media in the digital age.

1.18 GetUp also provided the views of its membership to the committee, which it gauged through over 4400 submissions it received. GetUp provided an annexure to its submission of 996 pages of comments from these submissions, which it described as follows:

GetUp received over 4,400 submissions from our members in every state and territory detailing the importance of diverse media ownership, public interest journalism, and robust local and regional media. Members spoke about the need for government policy that supports a thriving media landscape including a fully funded public broadcaster and protection for journalists and whistleblowers.4

4 GetUp, Submission 85, p. 2 and the many views expressed in Attachment 1, pp. 1-996.

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Structure of this report 1.19 This report consists of seven chapters:

 This chapter provides details on the referral and the administration of the inquiry;  Chapter 2 provides the contextual background to the inquiry;5  Chapter 3 summarises some relevant government media policies and

legislation, and outlines the framework of oversight and regulation for media in Australia;  Chapter 4 considers the failures of the current regulatory approach to news media standards and complaints processes for print media and

broadcasters;  Chapter 5 considers the lack of regulation for digital platforms, particularly Google and Facebook, the emerging tension over content generated by

traditional media appearing on these platforms (including the YouTube suspension of Sky News), and the consistent calls for the Commonwealth to undertake reform in this area;  Chapter 6 considers the consequences of concentrated ownership and weak regulation, including considering evidence received by the committee regarding News Corp;  Finally, chapter 7 looks at various policies that the Commonwealth could consider in the near term to build a healthy and diverse Australian news media by supporting existing outlets across all platforms, and encouraging new entrants into the market.

Disclosure 1.20 The committee notes that the Chair, Senator Hanson-Young, in her capacity as an individual senator, has in the past been involved in two legal disputes involving a News Corp media outlet.

1.21 In July 2018, former senator David Leyonhjelm appeared on Sky News and made disparaging comments about Senator Hanson-Young. Sky News issued an apology to Senator Hanson-Young for ‘broadcasting appalling comments by [former senator David Leyonhjelm]’. Senator Hanson-Young subsequently launched a successful defamation case against Mr Leyonhjelm that was recently upheld by the High Court.6

5 Appendix 1 also contains an overview of some previous inquiries into media regulation that are

relevant background for this inquiry.

6 Guardian staff and agencies, ‘Sky News apologises over 'appalling comments' about Sarah

Hanson-Young’, The Guardian Australia, theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/01/sky-news-apologises-for-featuring-appalling-comments-about-sarah-hanson-young; and ABC News, ‘David Leyonhjelm loses appeal bid, must pay $120,000 for defaming Sarah Hanson-Young’, abc.net.au/news/2021-03-03/sarah-hanson-young-david-leyonhjelm-defamation-appeal/13210042 (both accessed 7 December 2021).

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1.22 In July 2021, Sky News issued a public apology and announced it would pay Senator Hanson-Young $40-000 in damages and her legal costs to avoid a defamation suit. The dispute arose from an April 2021 broadcast during which Sky News wrongly aired claims that Senator Hanson-Young had involved her young niece in a dangerous environmental protest. The settlement was donated to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.7

7 Michaela Whitbourn, ‘Sky News pays $40,000 plus costs to avoid Hanson-Young defamation suit’,

Sydney Morning Herald, 30 July 2021, smh.com.au/national/sky-news-pays-40-000-plus-costs-to-avoid-hanson-young-defamation-suit-20210719-p58azi.html (accessed 7 December 2021).

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Chapter 2

Background to the inquiry

2.1 This chapter provides the contextual background to the inquiry, including the trend toward greater concentration of media ownership.

2.2 The following chapter then provides additional background information on recent relevant Commonwealth legislation and policy, as well as the current regulatory and oversight mechanisms for news media content in Australia.

Background 2.3 It is widely recognised that Australia has one of the most concentrated news media markets in the world. At the same time, Australia's traditional media sector is facing an unprecedented challenge of reduced revenues from

increased competition from online platforms, such as Google and Facebook.1 In announcing the inquiry, the Committee Chair, Senator Hanson-Young, stated the inquiry would:

...analyse the impact that such a concentrated media has on our democracy and the public's ability to access independent and reliable sources of news.

It's been clear for some time that the business model for news media in the digital age is broken and this inquiry will investigate what the key barriers are for small, independent and new publishers in Australia. We will also look at the impact that global technology giants Google, Facebook and Twitter are having on the sharing of news in Australia.2

2.4 The Chair noted that the issue of an increasingly concentrated media sector is clearly of great concern to the Australian public:

Recently, half a million Australians signed a record-breaking petition calling for a Royal Commission into media diversity. The massive support for this petition showed just how concerned the Australia public is about the influence that media concentration has in our democracy.3

2.5 This petition was instigated by the Hon Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia. When it closed for signatures on 4 November 2021, the petition had

1 For example, see: the Hon R. Finkelstein QC, Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Media and

Media Regulation (Finkelstein Inquiry), Report to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, 28 February 2012, p. 10, apo.org.au/node/28522 (accessed 6 December 2021), and in a later chapter of this report.

2 Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, 'Senate inquiry into media diversity', Media Release, November 2020.

3 Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, 'Senate inquiry into media diversity', Media Release, November 2020.

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attracted more than 500 000 signatories—the largest electronic petition to the Federal Parliament in Australian history.4

2.6 The petition requested that the Parliament support 'the establishment of such a royal commission to ensure the strength and diversity of Australian news media'. The rationale for this request was that:

Our democracy depends on diverse sources of reliable, accurate and independent news. But media ownership is becoming more concentrated alongside new business models that encourage deliberately polarising and politically manipulated news.

We are especially concerned that Australia's print media is overwhelmingly controlled by News Corporation, founded by Fox News billionaire Rupert Murdoch, with around two-thirds of daily newspaper readership. This power is routinely used to attack opponents in business and politics by blending editorial opinion with news reporting. Australians who hold contrary views have felt intimidated into silence. These facts chill free speech and undermine public debate.

Powerful monopolies are also emerging online, including Facebook and Google. We are deeply concerned by: mass-sackings of news journalists; digital platforms impacting on media diversity and viability; Nine Entertainment's takeover of the Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald; News Corp's acquisition (and then closure) of more than 200 smaller newspapers, undermining regional and local news; attempts to replace AAP Newswire with News Corp's alternative; and relentless attacks on the ABC's independence and funding.

Professional journalists further have legitimate concerns around unjust searches, potential prosecution, whistle-blower protection, official secrecy and dispute resolution that should be comprehensively addressed. Only a Royal Commission would have the powers and independence to investigate threats to media diversity, and recommend policies to ensure optimal diversity across all platforms to help guarantee our nation's democratic future.5

2.7 In tabling the petition in the House of Representatives, Dr Andrew Leigh MP, noted there had been a deteriorating coverage of important types of public interest news from concentrated ownership, declining numbers of journalists, and cuts to public broadcasters:

From 2006 to 2016, the number of journalists fell nine per cent. Health reporting is down 30 per cent. Science reporting is down 42 per cent. Hundreds of local newspapers have closed. Yet the Morrison government is cutting the ABC. There are now over 20 'news deserts' in Australia,

4 And the third largest petition in any form in Australian parliamentary history. See Jack Snape,

'Petition calling for media royal commission and setting Australian record tabled in Parliament', ABC Online, abc.net.au/news/2020-11-09/media-diversity-petition-started-by-kevin-rudd-lodged-parliament/12863982 (accessed 6 December 2021).

5 Petition EN1938 - Royal Commission to ensure a strong, diverse Australian news media, aph.gov.au/e-petitions/petition/EN1938 (accessed 6 December 2021).

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which weakens the community and raises the risk of corruption going unchecked. Diverse choices of reliable, accurate and independent news are fundamental to our democracy.6

The importance of a healthy and diverse media sector 2.8 A common thread throughout the evidence was the importance of a diverse media sector in healthy democratic systems. Many submitters noted that the media plays an essential role in keeping the public informed with a range of

viewpoints, providing choice to consumers in content and platform, and in holding governments and influential private sector entities to account.

2.9 The Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI), for example, submitted:

An informed community is crucial to our democracy.

Public interest journalism-the news and current affairs media that has the primary purpose of recording, investigating and explaining issues of public interest or significance-plays a critical role in ensuring that the community is well and fairly informed. Without it, citizens' ability to engage in public debate and informed decision-making becomes challenged.

The importance and fragility of public interest journalism to our community have been held in sharp relief over the past year through national bushfires, the global pandemic and political disconcert amid rising misinformation and disinformation.7

Negative effects of media concentration on democratic processes 2.10 In September 2011, the government established an independent inquiry into the Australian media, led by former Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, the Hon Raymond Finkelstein and assisted by Dr Matthew Ricketson.

Although formally known as the Independent inquiry into the media and media regulation, the inquiry is commonly known as the Finkelstein Inquiry.8

2.11 In the inquiry report, Mr Finkelstein noted that there are three 'obvious dangers' of media concentration: a lack of diversity in the views that are given voice; the possibility that a handful of people (media owners or journalists) will unduly influence public opinion; and a decline in standards because of the absence of effective competition.9

6 Dr Andrew Leigh MP, House of Representatives Hansard, 9 November 2020, p. 9035.

7 Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI), Submission 79, p. 2.

8 Finkelstein Inquiry, p. 8.

9 Finkelstein Inquiry, p. 280.

10

2.12 Submitters and witnesses to the Finkelstein Inquiry agreed that media concentration negatively affects democratic processes in these and other ways. For example, Dr Benedetta Brevini, Associate Professor in Communication and Media, submitted that a lack of media diversity:

 reduces the plurality of voices, views and visions;  leads to market domination by a small number of large institutions that outgrow the regulatory infrastructure;  narrows the distance between politicians and media executives resulting in

disproportionate influence on public policy;  diminishes a sense of public responsibility in media institutions; and  reduces transparency in media ownership.10

2.13 GetUp referenced its 2021 report, Who owns our media? which examined media concentration in Australia before concluding:

…highly concentrated media ownership has had a corrosive impact on Australia's democracy. It has skewed public debate, favouring the interests of the wealthy and powerful over the public good. This has been clearly evidenced in the national debates on climate change policy, where the scale of News Corp's climate misinformation has hindered climate policy, encouraged negative sentiments towards climate action, and actively driven a political wedge into our public debate. This would not have been possible in a more diverse media landscape, where the excessive power of corporations like News Corp is diluted to make way for a media sector that not only holds the government to account, but itself too.11

2.14 GetUp further argued that media concentration can detrimentally affect the quality of journalism and lead to the production of misinformation:

[These effects include] reduced 'degrees of editorial freedom' and 'a perceived decrease in quality of the remaining newspapers serving local markets'. Moreover, media concentration leads to a 'reduced sense of responsibility in media institutions'—explored in depth in the 2012 Leveson Inquiry—and declining quality of news outputs, including a lack of fact-checking and editorial oversight. It is this environment that is critical to the production and spread of misinformation.12

2.15 The committee notes, as highlighted by the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, that in a depleted media industry there are also fewer jobs for journalists:

Fewer owners and services have led to fewer jobs [and] a significant loss in journalistic capacity in Australia. As many as 3,000 journalism jobs are estimated to have been lost in the decade to 2018, and further significant

10 Dr Benedetta Brevini, Submission 40, pp. 5-6. Also see, for example: Name withheld, Submission 5,

p. 4.

11 GetUp, Submission 85, Supplementary Submission 5, p. 5.

12 GetUp, Submission 85, Supplementary Submission 2, p. 3.

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cuts have been reported due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sustainable media diversity requires a viable workforce.13

2.16 GetUp went on to explain how cross-platform media concentration facilitates the spread of misinformation online:

It is this media environment—where ownership is concentrated across media platforms—that allows for the replication and spread of messages throughout the media, with few or no safeguards to ward against the propagation of misinformation. It is also in this kind of concentrated environment, with little media diversity, that it becomes more difficult for the public to contrast the quality of such sources.14

2.17 Mr Rudd observed that social and online media reproduces some traditional media content, so amplifying it across Australia and the world. In this manner, he noted, for example, that News Corp printed titles can 'set the agenda' for the daily news:

…if you look at the impact of the Murdoch print media operation, it's a bit like this: print seeks to determine and drive the national news agenda on a given day. The electronics—go to radio—bounce their stories each day usually, not always, but usually, out of what's in print. The televisions, who do not have independent journalistic resources to do their own investigative programs much, are also directly influenced by what appears in print... [Then there is] the wash through onto online platforms— ironically Google and Facebook [from] the print origins of the story or the colouring of the story that day. That then completes the picture… [Murdoch] knows that by owning print, even if it no longer delivers profitable revenue lines, he has enormous influence over the nation's future political and policy agenda. That's why he's in the business.15

Current diversity in the Australian media sector 2.18 There were many different views expressed as to whether Australia's media sector is sufficiently diverse, what diversity means in the news media context, and whether it is necessary for government to target policy or legal reform in

this area.

2.19 Some evidence suggested that media diversity in Australia has never been greater, due to the expansion and democratisation of online media platforms that give voice to diverse communities and points of view. For example, Facebook submitted:

Technology has democratised the sharing of ideas and information. Australians are no longer dependent on a small number of gatekeepers in order to access information; they are able to access information about newsworthy developments from international media publications,

13 Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, Submission 8, p. 2.

14 GetUp, Submission 85, Supplementary Submission 2, p. 6.

15 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 14.

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freelancers and bloggers, or from direct contact with journalists or newsmakers.16

2.20 Some submitters also suggested that recent changes to media ownership laws had not lessened diversity and competition in the sector, noting that traditional media organisations had an interest in maintaining a wide range of perspectives expressed across both new and traditional media platforms.17

2.21 However, the majority of submitters and witnesses argued that more diversity was needed in the Australian media landscape. The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) cited one respondent to its survey of Australian journalists, who said:

Despite great hopes that the internet would see a democratisation of the media and a diversity of media voices, the opposite has happened. We are seeing mergers, partnerships and consolidations that all amount to fewer voices, not more. Small, independent players have no hope.18

2.22 Another example came from Professor Allan Fels, Chair of PIJI, who commented on the importance and challenges of building a more diverse media:

News is an essential component of any working democracy. It's also a piece of critical emergency infrastructure, as seen in recent bushfires and floods. It assists community resilience and cohesion, particularly in rural and regional areas. However, the cost of producing public interest journalism is high and, as financial returns on this public good diminish, so too does the commercial incentive to continue its production. Yet sustainable public interest journalism relies on a thriving, diverse media sector that includes a variety of commercial, public and other operators. To ensure media diversity in Australia, a mix of fiscal measures is necessary to support transition, to stimulate existing news businesses and to encourage new entrants.19

2.23 Other evidence noted that quality public interest journalism required significant investment of funding, time and expertise to produce, and that small organisations and new entrants to the market may not have the appropriate resources. For example:

Media institutions capable of reaching large numbers of citizens have generally been capital intensive so there have been significant barriers to new entrants. Even if the cost of printing has dropped massively and accessing the internet is very cheap, regularly accessing large numbers of

16 Facebook, Submission 50, p. 7. See also: Institute of Public Affairs, Submission 21, p. 5; Australian

Press Council, Submission 41, p. 3.

17 See, for example: Nine, Submission 74, p. 3.

18 Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), Submission 26, p. 4.

19 Professor Allan Fels, Chair, Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI), Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, p. 18.

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citizens is expensive and is regularly achieved by those with large institutions and recognised 'mastheads'.20

2.24 The Centre for Media Transition and Media Pluralism Research Project suggested that a healthy diverse media sector must be underpinned by consistent and equitable media standards across platforms:

Media diversity is inextricably linked with media standards; we cannot hope to foster a news media landscape exhibiting sufficient diversity without addressing the underlying issue of media standards such as accuracy, fairness, protection of privacy and handling of conflicts of interests. Media standards seek to create an ethical and equitable news media landscape.21

2.25 Under the current Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA), 'diversity' relates only to the quantitative aspect of media ownership and control, rather than to a diversity of perspectives, sources, accessibility or any other factors. However, some evidence argued that 'diversity' should be interpreted more broadly than simply considering ownership when looking at the health of media in Australia. For example, Mr Peter Fray, an experienced newspaper editor, journalist and founder of Australia's first fact checking website, told the committee:

When we talk about diversity, we often talk about media ownership, and obviously we should [given studies that show the] overinfluence of News Corp in this country. But, when we talk about diversity, I think we should also talk about diversity of voice: which people's stories are told and who gets to tell them. We should talk about diversity of form and delivery… We need to talk about diversity of business models, diversity of demographics, diversity of literacies and diversity of forms of gender and sexual identity.22

2.26 The News and Media Research Centre also submitted that diversity should be considered in a broader way than ownership alone, by looking three types of diversity:

Source diversity refers to the need for diversity in media content, outlet, and workforce; while content diversity refers to the need for diverse viewpoints, program types, and demographic representation in media. Exposure diversity is concerned with the diversity of content or sources consumed by audience members.23

20 Professor Charles Sampford, Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law, Submission 87, p. 5.

21 Centre for Media Transition and Media Pluralism Research Project, Submission 44, p. 11.

22 Mr Peter Fray, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 42.

23 See News and Media Research Centre, Submission 1, p. 4.This categorisation draws on the model

Philip Napoli outlined in his 'Deconstructing the diversity principle' (1999), as set out in the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), News in Australia: diversity and localism, News measurement framework, December 2020, p. 28.

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2.27 This model was also used by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in a 2020 analysis of the diversity of Australian news media, as set out in the table below.

Figure 2.1 Categories of media diversity

Source: Australian Communications and Media Authority, News in Australia: diversity and localism, News measurement framework, December 2020, p. 28.

2.28 Although the current high levels of concentration of ownership in few hands was recognised generally across the evidence, it was also recognised that fostering diversity in these broader categories outlined above is critical to the health of our media and democracy. For instance, submitters expressed support for:

Diversity of media that provides a full range of news, comment and opinions from mainstream and minority groups.24

Reporting of news and the expression of opinion in the public arena through various platforms, is fostered, encouraged and promoted from a variety of perspectives and from a multiplicity of voices… across varying geographic, ethnic and socio-economic groups in our community.25

2.29 Moreover, some evidence noted that healthy competition between media organisations was not equivalent to healthy diversity in the sector. For instance, the Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Mr Rod Sims suggested:

I think things going digital does allow a bit more competition. One point that I often make is that, when I was growing up, the ABC was just TV and radio, and [today] I probably read as much of the ABC as I listen to or watch it, just because I get the feeds all the time when I go on the website. So they're very much digital, and so…they're now more directly competing with what was once just newspapers. So I think you've got more

24 First Nations Media Australia, Submission 19, p. 9.

25 Country Press Australia, Submission 73, p. 2.

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competition than you had before… The more competition you've got, I think it follows that the more diversity you've got, but sometimes people think of diversity in a different way that doesn't actually impact competition.26

Concentrated ownership and declining number of outlets 2.30 Australia's news media sector is one of the most concentrated markets globally, with ownership of traditional print media, TV and radio networks, and new online media being in the hands of a very few wealthy and influential

individuals and corporations.27

Increased concentration of traditional news media 2.31 The Finkelstein Inquiry final report observed that throughout the 20th Century the Australian newspaper industry became increasingly concentrated, until:

Sydney and Melbourne are the only cities with competing locally-produced daily newspapers [in 2012]. The other state capitals and major urban and regional centres have only a single daily newspaper. The metropolitan and national segments of daily press consist of 11 titles, eight of which already existed in the 1930s, plus two new nationally circulating papers and one based in the national capital, Canberra. These 11 titles have just three owners… It is worth noting that although the number of titles increased by four between 1960 and 1985, the number of owners continued to fall.28

2.32 Overall, the Finkelstein Inquiry found that the newsprint media sector in Australia was 'highly concentrated' in the hands of 'four major publishers':

Measured by circulation, News Limited is by far the largest with 65 per cent of total circulation of metropolitan and national daily newspapers, or 58 per cent of circulation when counting all daily newspapers. Fairfax Media, the second largest group, controls 25 per cent of metropolitan and national daily circulation, or 28 per cent of all daily newspaper circulation. WA Newspapers which owns two titles in Western Australia, most importantly Perth's morning paper The West Australian is the third largest in aggregate circulation (eight per cent). APN, owned by an Irish company owns many provincial daily newspapers in New South Wales and Queensland but controls only five per cent of aggregate daily circulation.29

2.33 Dr Benedetta Brevini, Associate Professor in Communications and Media at the University of Sydney, submitted that a more recent study of global media

26 Mr Rod Sims, Chair, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Committee

Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 17.

27 Dr Benedetta Brevini, Submission 40, p. 3.

28 Finkelstein Inquiry, p. 57.

29 Finkelstein Inquiry, pp. 58-59.

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ownership and concentration considered this trajectory had continued, finding:

…Australia has the most concentrated newspaper industry out of any country studied, with the exception of China and Egypt, which are not liberal democracies… According to a 2020 Guardian analysis…the top four companies in the newspaper market at present account for 92 per cent of the total market, with a single organisation, News Corp, owning more than half the market at 52 per cent.30

2.34 A recent report provided to the committee by GetUp noted that the current situation was more like a 'media monopoly'. Regarding traditional print media, it submitted:

…two media corporations [control] Australia's two national mastheads and two daily newspapers in Sydney and Melbourne, the only cities where they compete directly. Each of Australia's remaining capital cities have only one single, unchallenged daily paper, with ownership varied across each city.

News Corp…controlled by Rupert Murdoch—is the unchallenged dominant player, owning a 59 per cent share of the metropolitan and national print media markets by readership—up from 25 per cent in 1984. Nine Entertainment (Nine) is the second-largest media owner, with a combined 23 per cent readership share.31

2.35 Mr Rudd, who supported the establishment of a royal commission tasked with examining current and emerging media monopolies, described these monopolies as inherently bad and already present in Australia:

Monopoly in any form, as a matter of principle, is just wrong. It doesn't have to be a monopoly in business. It can be a monopoly in politics—look at one-party states. It can be a monopoly in news media operations, where you have a concentration of power. When you look at Australia, where 70 per cent of the print readership of this country is effectively owned by the Murdoch empire—and in my state of Queensland nearly 100 per cent of the print readership is owned by the Murdoch media empire—if the plans by Murdoch and others to see the end of Australian Associated Press comes to pass, that level of concentration of effective power in the Australian media market goes through the roof. The abuse of the monopoly power is along these lines—no-one disputes this.32

2.36 Like Mr Rudd, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Minister of Australia, described the impacts that media monopolies can and have had on Australian politics and democracy. For example, Mr Turnbull stated:

One media organisation in Australia, News Corp, belonging to Rupert Murdoch and his family, has profoundly changed in the way [the media]

30 Dr Brevini, Submission 40, p. 3.

31 GetUp, Submission 85, Supplementary Submission 5, p. 4.

32 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 2. Also see

Mr Rudd's Submission 52, pp. 1-2.

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works on our democracy… News Corp has evolved from being a traditional news organisation, or journalistic organisation, to one that is essentially like a political party but it's a party with only one member. You see the way in which it is used in an aggressive, partisan way to drive particular agendas… You see this kind of pressure that is brought to bear again and again and again. I'm telling a roomful of politicians what you live with. You know how intimidated politicians and governments are by the way in which that political power is wielded… I think we face a real threat to our democracy.33

2.37 Evidence submitted to the committee also shows a very high degree of public dissatisfaction with the concentration of media ownership in Australia, particularly the dominance of News Corp mastheads in print media, in broadcasting through Sky News, and in the subsequent re-sharing of content through the Google-owned YouTube and the Meta-owned Facebook. These submissions were overwhelmingly critical of News Corp's influence on political and social issues, which were alleged to be partisan, biased, and skewed.34

2.38 This public concern over levels of ownership, and a growing dominance or emerging monopoly in certain areas is also evident in Mr Rudd’s petition for a royal commission into media ownership. The petition, which received more than 500 000 signatures, is the largest electronic petition in Australian history.35 Additionally, a large number of submissions were received through Mr Rudd’s website, which included comments such as:

As a citizen of this country, I am concerned about the diversity of media in Australia. I am worried about the news that the majority of Australians receive, it's sensationalism and its validity. Australians deserve real, unbiased, factual news. (Georgia Brown)

I think fundamentally the level of control that one family have over the governing of our country is truly wrong. (James Howarth)

Historically, monopoly over anything has never been considered a fair practice within business. What’s happened here in Australia is a gross oversight of what is right and wrong being perpetrated by the media and the man in sole control of the vast majority of them here in Australia. (Hank Steele)

I would like to see a royal commission because I am concerned that Australia’s print media is overwhelmingly controlled by News Corporation, it is biased, it incites racial divide and hatred and spreads dumbed down misinformation. The role of media is to provide unbiased information and News Corp does not do that. A fair and equal democracy

33 The Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, pp. 1-2.

34 See, for example the overwhelming majority of individual submissions made to this inquiry, and

the views of GetUp members in Submission 85, Appendix 1.

35 Jack Snape, 'Petition calling for media royal commission and setting Australian record tabled in

Parliament'. See also Petition EN198 as cited above.

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requires diverse sources of reliable, accurate and independent news. (Samantha Winter)

I am concerned about the misuse of media power by Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp, and their affiliated properties within Australia. It is a major concern of mine that Sky news' ‘after dark’ programming is becoming increasingly like Fox News, which played a pivotal role in Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency, and continues to air his baseless claims surrounding electoral fraud. This is a danger to our democracy. (Finnegan Laird)

We can't have our media by owned by just one company. The media has so much power in directing people's opinions of important matters such as politics, the environment and climate change. We need to ensure our media isn't just telling one side of the story. By ensuring there is a large media diversity this should help, us the public be able to see all the information rather than being fed half a story. (Bethany Smith)36

2.39 A large number of members of the general public supported a further inquiry into the media in Australia, including submissions made through Mr Rudd’s website, and through GetUp.37

Changes to the Broadcasting Services Act in 2017 2.40 In September 2017, the government introduced changes to the BSA, including reform of two media control and ownership rules. The changes abolished a number of provisions aimed at preventing concentration of media

ownership, including:

 the '2 out of 3' cross-media control rule, which prevented a person controlling more than two out of three regulated media platforms in any one commercial radio licence area; and

 the 75 per cent audience reach rule, which prevented a person from being in a position to exercise control of commercial television broadcasting licences whose combined licence area populations exceed 75 per cent of the population.38

2.41 In introducing these changes, the government argued that reform was required to ensure the viability of Australian broadcasters, given the growth of online services, the challenge this growth has created for existing revenue models that rely on advertising, and to respond to how Australians are consuming media products across global platforms and traditional media formats.39

36 See submissions 2057, 760, 759, 1266, 3479 and 3361 respectively.

37 See, for example the overwhelming majority of individual submissions made to this inquiry, and

the views of GetUp members in Submission 85, Appendix 1.

38 Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Act 2017.

39 The amendments did not change the other three rules for broadcast media ownership under the

BSA, the five-four media diversity rule, one-to-a-market rule and two-to-a-market rule. See the

19

2.42 The rationale behind abolition of the reach rule was that it was redundant, given affiliation agreements between metropolitan and regional television licensees to share content and online streaming—whereby Australians generally receive the same broadcast content. The abolition of the '2 out of 3' rule had a similar rationale, based on many Australians accessing content from online sources.40

2.43 The committee notes that the media control and ownership changes have enhanced media concentration. For example, the reforms enabled the $4 billion merger between Fairfax Media and Nine in 2018.41 As reported by Guardian Australia:

The new entity will comprise the Nine network and its digital publishing assets, the Herald, the Age, the Australian Financial Review, a majority stake in property giant Domain, streaming service Stan and a 54.5% shareholding in radio network Macquarie Media, home of Sydney's 2GB and Melbourne's 3AW.42

2.44 It has also consolidated News Corp's dominance across media formats, owning radio, newspapers in each capital city, regional newspapers and a majority share of the Foxtel news network. Some commentators noted that the amendment of the BSA had immediate effects of further concentrating media ownership, reducing standards of journalism of newspapers acquired by larger media companies, and the creation of further job losses for journalists.43

Concentration and convergence of online media 2.45 The last decade has seen a profound shift in the news media landscape. While it has seen a decline in the reach and influence of traditional print media, many traditional mastheads now also have online outlets. Furthermore, there has

Explanatory Memorandum to the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Bill 2017 (Explanatory Memorandum, BSA), pp. 3-4.

40 Explanatory Memorandum, BSA, pp. 3-4.

41 Amanda Meade, 'Fairfax Media shareholders approve Nine takeover bid', Guardian Australia,

November 2018, theguardian.com/media/2018/nov/19/fairfax-media-shareholders-approve-nine-takeover-bid (accessed 6 December 2021).

42 Amanda Meade, 'Fairfax Media shareholders approve Nine takeover bid', Guardian Australia,

November 2018.

43 GetUp, Submission 85, Supplementary Submission 5, p. 40. See also Dr Tyson Wills, 'Media and

broadcasting in the digital age', Parliamentary Library Briefing Book: Key issues for the 46th Parliament (July 2019); Tim Dwyer, 'Starter's gun goes off on new phase of media concentration as Nine-Fairfax lead the way' and Denis Muller, 'A modern tragedy: Nine-Fairfax merger a disaster for quality media', both in The Conversation (30 July 2018 and 26 July 2018 respectively), theconversation.com/starters-gun-goes-off-on-new-phase-of-media-concentration-as-nine-fairfax-lead-the-way-100592 and theconversation.com/a-modern-tragedy-nine-fairfax-merger-a-disaster-for-quality-media-100584 (accessed 6 December 2011).

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been a recent rapid rise in the number of people accessing news through social media and aggregator platforms (notably Facebook and Google).44

2.46 GetUp observed that one company had a disproportionate share of Australian media across all platforms in the converged news environment:

The predominance of News Corp in cross-media settings is unprecedented in liberal democracies. In addition to its dominance in print readership and radio, it owns Foxtel—Australia's only subscription broadcasting service in practical terms—reaching an estimated audience of over 5 million people per week.

As a result, News Corp earns 40 per cent of total Australian television revenues—combining free-to-air television advertising and subscriptions— almost double that of second-place holder Nine.

Beyond direct ownership interests, [there are] extensive content licences and affiliate relationships by which the largest media corporations extend their influence across a range of other media outlets, including across rural and regional Australia [as well as evidence that a] few corporations are extending their dominant positions—from the legacy media services of radio, television, and print, into digital news and on demand services.45

Google and Facebook as platforms for the distribution of news media 2.47 The two biggest digital platforms, Facebook and Google, currently do not accept that they are publishers of information, arguing instead that they are platforms on which individuals are able to interact with family and friends,

and communities with shared interests. For example, Facebook submitted:

Although Facebook is primarily a service used by Australians to connect with their family and friends, to participate in causes that are important to them, and to interact with their community, we recognise that our services can play a role in the news ecosystem. This is because publishers choose to share stories on our services to connect with audiences, and because Australian users choose to share news content or react to news content that they read other than on Facebook with their family and friends. Publishers control whether and how they share news on our services and they also control whether members of the public are able to share stories on Facebook.46

2.48 The committee received evidence from these large digital entities that they take managing misinformation and disinformation on their platforms seriously. For example, Ms Lucinda Longcroft, Director of Government Affairs

44 Media convergence refers to the increasing intersection of information and communications

technologies, online networks and media content. It includes examples of where traditional media, such as broadcast or print, are now available online across various platforms, or where social media platforms can give people access to text, video, links or other resources.

45 GetUp, Submission 85, Supplementary Submission 5, p. 5.

46 Facebook, Submission 50, p. 3.

21

and Public Policy for Google Australia and New Zealand, told the committee about the oversight on their platform YouTube:

…we're dedicated to providing access to high-quality information and freedom of expression for all, but we are not an anything-goes platform. Our community guidelines set out clear rules of the road, which our team regularly review and update to ensure that they're current, keep our communities safe and preserve openness. The guidelines provide public guidance on content that is not allowed on our platform: spam, scams, hate, harassment, misinformation, disinformation and more. We apply these guidelines to all content equally on YouTube, regardless of who the creator is—whether an individual, an organisation, a news publisher or anyone else. Ultimately, we have to make difficult decisions about what is permissible and we take that responsibility seriously. With that in mind, we build our guidelines with input from a broad community of stakeholders not just YouTube users, content creators and advertisers but also civil society and public institutions.47

2.49 However, a number of stakeholders told the committee that Facebook and Google should be considered publishers, and so be accountable to the same kind of standards and regulation as publishers of other media. For example, noting that Google and Facebook 'publish information', Mr Robert Thomson, the Global Head of News Corp, stated bluntly: 'They are a publisher' and so should be able to be held to account for the material they facilitate.48

2.50 Although Facebook and Google both informed the committee of their processes and standards for handling inaccurate and dangerous information, some other stakeholders have noted that the sharing of misinformation and disinformation is endemic on social media. In 2020, for example, the ACMA suggested that where consumers have a range of indicators for the reliability of news from traditional media:

…many of these indicators are not as clear to users in the online information environment. This environment also includes a vast array of sources beyond professional news publishers and journalists.

A focus of platforms should be on increasing transparency in the online information environment—by, for example, increasing visibility of these indicators so that users are more easily able to make informed judgements about the quality of news and information they encounter. Many platforms have taken steps in this direction. Further codification would promote consistency and provide accountability for platforms in the services they provide to users and in their crucial role in the delivery and distribution of news and information.49

47 Ms Lucinda Longcroft, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google Australia and

New Zealand, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 1.

48 Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head, News Corp, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, pp. 2-3.

49 ACMA, Misinformation and news quality on digital platforms in Australia, p. 9.

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2.51 Negative effects from the proliferation of misinformation online have been noted, including:

 Acute problems such as for public health (particularly in the current pandemic), public panic and social disruption, electoral integrity, and financial harms through scamming or enabling people’s poor decisions;

 Chronic harms: lower trust in public institutions; eroding trust in professional sources of information (e.g. healthcare, media, academia and science); and a lower quality of social cohesion.50

2.52 A number of stakeholders were extremely concerned that digital platforms had no oversight or enforceable standards. It was argued that this encouraged the spread of misinformation online, contributed to a growing distrust of mainstream media, and was an unfair competitive advantage, which allowed them to pursue profits without accountability.51

2.53 A further complexity has been introduced by the debate about who is responsible for content distributed and disseminated online, including the question of whether Facebook can be considered as a 'publisher', and so liable for oversight in the same way as traditional media. Over the course of this inquiry, for example, the High Court of Australia reached a final decision in the 'Voller' case, which will have repercussions for mainstream media content reproduced on social media.52

2.54 Moreover, the ban of Sky News from YouTube for one week for violating the platform’s COVID-19 standards raised questions about how digital companies can enforce their own standards to block news organisations, whilst not being subject to enforceable or transparent regulatory standards themselves. Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Sky News Australia, argued that this decision suggested that YouTube was not a neutral platform, but was 'selectively broadcasting content and censoring certain views' expressed by an established media company. Given this, he told the committee:

We acknowledge YouTube has terms of service that publishers must abide by. However, YouTube's process lacks transparency, and this should be concerning for all media. It is now beyond debate that YouTube is a publisher, selectively editing content for political or commercial reasons,

50 These concerns were common themes of evidence submitted to this inquiry in submissions and

hearings, as summed up by the ACMA, Misinformation and news quality on digital platforms in Australia, p. 9.

51 See the debate at Chapter 4 of this report. Note this report follows the ACMA in the use of

'misinformation' to cover 'all kinds of potentially harmful false, misleading or deceptive information, with deliberate disinformation campaigns considered a subset of misinformation'. See ACMA, Misinformation and news quality on digital platforms in Australia (June 2020), p. 1.

52 Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Voller; Nationwide News Pty Limited v Voller; Australian

News Channel Pty Ltd v Voller [2021] HCA 27 (Voller Case).

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but unlike traditional media it does not accept any of the regulatory or legal burdens that being deemed a publisher carries with it.53

2.55 This perspective was shared by witnesses from Nine, who commented on Facebook’s restriction of news publishers sharing content and on users accessing news in Australia in February 2021. Mr Hugh Marks, the Chief Executive Officer of Nine, told the committee:

…in light of the events of this week [in February 2021] isn't it ironic that Facebook is not here, given their increasing role as a destination for consumers to access news and information. Yes, they produce no news but they control a lot of the access to it. And shouldn't we all be concerned when an enormous overseas multinational, having built a dominant habit for consumers, is prepared to take the reckless steps they did this week, without apparent concern as to its consequences, and deny Australians access to news published by professional news organisations—ironic indeed.54

2.56 This matter is discussed further in later chapters of this report.

2.57 Current indications are that the government is considering reforms to some relevant legislation and legal frameworks, which would see social media companies and aggregators held responsible for comments made on their platforms.55

2.58 Additionally, the government has also introduced the News Media Bargaining Code, which provides a mechanism by which Facebook and Google must reach agreements with some news media organisations to remunerate them for the use of their news content. This Code is discussed further at Chapter 3 of this report. The issue of the current lack of oversight for Facebook and Google is discussed further at Chapter 5.

The effects of the shift online 2.59 Over the past decade, the incredible rise of online search engines and social media has driven a revenue and reach crisis in the media industry. This has simultaneously hollowed out traditional sources of income from advertising

for newspapers, TV and radio, whilst also reducing the number of people consuming news from those traditional formats.

2.60 In short, as consumers have migrated to online platforms, the advertising revenues that sustained traditional media forms of print, broadcast and

53 Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer, Sky News Australia, Committee Hansard,

6 September 2021, p. 10.

54 Mr Hugh Marks, Chief Executive Officer, Nine, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 44.

55 Paul Karp, 'Scott Morrison backs Barnaby Joyce on social media crackdown as defamation changes

mooted', Guardian Australia, 7 October 2021, theguardian.com/media/2021/oct/07/barnaby-joyce-urges-crackdown-on-social-media-misinformation-as-defamation-changes-mooted (accessed 6 December 2021).

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television have plummeted. This not only includes commercial advertising, but also newspaper classifieds, which were once described by Rupert Murdoch as the 'rivers of gold' that subsidised newspapers' production of quality journalism.

2.61 This sharp reduction in revenue has led to an existential crisis in many traditional news media organisations, which have struggled to adapt their revenue structure to the digital age. Some new models have been adopted by media organisations, including:

 Membership subscriptions offering exclusive content or experiences, on a free basis, but requiring an email login;  Paywalls, where some or all content can only be accessed by a financial subscription;  Philanthropic models, where organisations are set up as charities or not-for-

profits and subsidise operations through donations;  Co-operative models relying on investment in shares, or projects raising capital through crowdfunding;  Micropayments for accessing articles or series of articles, including for

personalised news content;  New models of incentivising consumption of content, including through blockchain technologies.56

2.62 The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications' submission noted that the ACCC had found that moving online does not always secure sustainability and that new digital-only news publications have not been able to develop financially viable business models to deliver journalism online.57

2.63 Some media organisations, such as Guardian Australia, The New Daily and The Conversation were optimistic about the potential for new funding models to work in the sector, and increase the diversity of news media available to Australians.58 Others however, saw the alternative use of subscriptions and paywall models as impeding the public’s access to diverse opinions, which they saw as essential for an informed public debate.59

56 For some of these models, see: Jonathan Este and Khalil A. Cassmilally, 'The future of journalism is

being built today - what you need to know', The Conversation, theconversation.com/the-future-of-journalism-is-being-built-today-what-you-need-to-know-55585; and at 'Emerging new business models for News Media', Innovation Online, innovation.media/newswheel/emerging-new-business-models-for-news-media (both accessed 18 February 2021).

57 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications,

Submission 49, p. 6.

58 See submissions made by the following organisations: Guardian Australia, Submission 13, p. 3;

The Conversation, Submission 7, [p. 2]; The New Daily, Submission 17, p. 4.

59 See, for example: ABC Friends National, Submission 61, p. 2.

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2.64 Potential government support for new models of journalism is discussed further at Chapter 7 of this report.

Effects on regional media 2.65 In 2012 the Finkelstein Inquiry commented on the increasingly concentrated ownership of print media in regional Australia (mostly by News Limited, now News Corp), Fairfax (now part of Nine) and APN News & Media, since

acquired by News Corp in 2016. Mr Finkelstein noted that there were then:

[Thirty-seven] newspapers of varying size and quality, but with little impact or news gathering capacity beyond their own area. Nearly all these began as locally owned enterprises, but by 2008 only two remained so.60

2.66 These ownership trends have been exacerbated by contractions in the number of newsrooms and masthead titles, or the suspension of news services across Australia. Mr Rudd argued that media monopolies destroy alternative media voices in both metropolitan and regional areas. He suggested that the News Corp acquisition of APN News & Media a few years ago, which was approved by the ACCC, had reduced regional and rural media voices significantly, and that this had been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic:

We've seen [a decline in voices] most recently and spectacularly with Australian provincial newspapers. The decision by the ACCC to allow Murdoch to buy APN in 2016-17 meant you had in Queensland a 100 per cent near monopoly emerging. But, under the cover of COVID last year and despite the Murdoch empire's promises to enhance their regional and local coverage, something like 112 of these papers across the country were shut down, so local communities no longer have local papers and they are being starved of local news. It doesn't matter whether it's from the Left or the Right; they've just been starved of local news.61

2.67 Work undertaken by PIJI's Australian Newsroom Mapping Project supports this conclusion. It notes 182 'contractions' of existing news services over the past two years, 68 per cent of which were in regional Australia.62 Others submitters also noted the emergence of 'news deserts', areas that had no source of local news, not only in regional and rural areas, but also some suburban areas.63

2.68 Some of this has been driven by the expansion of larger media corporations, particularly News Corp, acquiring regional titles, or content licences or affiliate

60 Finkelstein Inquiry, p. 58.

61 Mr Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 3.

62 PIJI, Submission 79, p. 3.

63 News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra, Submission 1, p. 23; Guardian Australia,

Submission 13, p. 2; Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia, Submission 37, p. 3; Australian Associated Press Limited, Submission 60, p. 11; Country Press Australia, Submission 73, p. 1.

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relationships covering rural and regional areas. However, PIJI highlighted the impact of COVID-19 as a significant contributory factor:

Prior to COVID-19, the impact of digital transformation in the news industry and the evolution of social media had already fundamentally changed the nature of journalism. Content and audience reach had grown exponentially, but the economics underpinning the costly nature of producing public interest journalism was challenged. Advertising revenue that once funded reporting shifted away from journalism, compromising traditional business models. The ACCC found that 106 unique local and regional newspapers closed over the period 2008-09 and 2017-18, representing a decline of 15 per cent. This crisis has been accelerated by [the] economic shock of COVID-19, which dried up remaining advertising almost overnight. Newsrooms across Australia have shrunk and closed… [O]f the 182 contractions (e.g. masthead or newsroom closures, suspension of services) over the past 2 years, 164 occurred during the first three-month wave of COVID-19 in Australia.64

2.69 The submission made by the Media Innovation and the Civic Future of Australia’s Country Press Project at Deakin University agreed that the general trajectory of decline has been compounded by the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Within weeks of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in March this year, more than 200 local and suburban newspapers across Australia had either permanently or temporarily closed and/or shifted to digital-only platforms. A sharp decline in advertising expenditure had further crippled the media industry as Australian businesses slashed all but essential costs to survive the pandemic. This current media low-point follows more than a decade of cuts, layoffs and closures across rural and regional newsrooms. The ACCC has rightly highlighted concern for the continuing reduction in journalistic numbers, especially at the local level, in performing vital functions such as court reporting and investigative reports. However, it is important to note that many failed mastheads to date are connected to big conglomerates, such as News Corp, where profit margins are small (albeit shrinking), yet arguably more palatable for smaller independent owners.65

2.70 Ms Miranda Korzy noted in her submission that this has left many communities without a local newspaper:

News [Corp's] (and the former Fairfax's) buyout of local newspapers, radio and TV stations across the continent has meant that in addition to major political and other news obtained through subscriptions to AAP, local news is syndicated through News or now Nine, reducing local input, relevance, independence and diversity. With the onset of COVID, many small communities have now lost those outlets altogether. For example, more than 100 of News Corp's regional and community titles moved to

64 PIJI, Submission 79, pp. 2-3.

65 Media Innovation and the Civic Future of Australia’s Country Press Project, Deakin University,

Submission 2, p. 2.

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digital-only formats in May and another 14 titles ceased to exist earlier this year.66

2.71 However, Mr Bruce Ellen, Board Member from Country Press Australia, stated that in Queensland the closure of local and regional newspapers has led to new opportunities for independent media:

You would well be aware that News Corp shut down regional Queensland for [its] own good reasons. We believe they abandoned their regional communities. They put back in a couple of journalists that did some online filling of content, but it's our view from what we've observed that largely all they're doing is trying to drive audiences through their regional URLs into the metro papers, which quite clearly is not in the realms of what media diversity should look like. The result of that, though, has been that numerous independents have started up in the areas that News Corp abandoned.67

Case study: television news in regional Queensland 2.72 In addition to the closure of print editions in regional Queensland by News Corp, as outlined above, there has also been a contraction of local TV news bulletins in regional areas.

2.73 In March 2021, Nine News announced it would close its bureaus in regional Queensland under a deal signed with WIN TV.68 Following on from that decision, in May 2021, WIN News announced regional TV in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales would move to state-wide Bulletins, and the loss of news gathering staff in those regions.69

2.74 The effect of these changes is that a regional town may have started 2021 with three separate news bulletins (7News, Nine and WIN), which shared local news and stories with the local community, and ended the year with just two news bulletins sharing mostly state-wide stories.

2.75 At the same time, Newscorp’s regional free-to-air news channel Sky News Regional has increased its average audience numbers, with audiences growing

66 Ms Miranda Korzy, Submission 58, p. 8.

67 Mr Bruce Ellen, Board Member, Country Press Australia, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021,

pp. 26-27.

68 Tegan Annett, ‘Massive blow: Nine to ditch Coast news bureau’, Courier-Mail, 22 March 2021,

couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/sunshine-coast/business/channel-9-is-shutting-down-multiple-regional-news-bureaus-including-the-sunshine-coast/news-story/d645b3e802b11a9c25fe2bffc18bcd72 (accessed 7 December 2021).

69 Emma Field and Tyrone Dalton, ‘WIN News slashes more regional TV journalism jobs in

Queensland, Victoria, parts of NSW’, ABC Online, abc.net.au/news/2021-05-24/win-news-job-cuts-tv-victoria-queensland-journalists-regional/100161978 (accessed 7 December 2021).

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by 4 per cent year on year, when compared to its previous arrangement with the WIN channel.70

70 ‘Sky News Australia reaches new audience records in 2021’, skynews.com.au/business/media/sky-news-australia-reaches-new-audience-records-in-2021/newsstory/63fcee57985511401c91b25086cd1c1f (accessed 7 December 2021).

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Chapter 3

Recent Commonwealth measures and the regulatory oversight of Australian media

3.1 This chapter outlines government policy designed to assist the news media sector, and in so doing discusses areas that stakeholders highlighted for improvement and reform.

3.2 The chapter then outlines regulatory oversight mechanisms for Australian news media, not including digital platforms that are unregulated, as discussed in the following chapter.

3.3 Although this chapter briefly notes that the current approach is fragmented, inconsistent and not fit-for-purpose for the challenges of a converged market, it leaves a comprehensive discussion of this matter and subsequent consequences to the following chapter.

Recent Commonwealth measures 3.4 The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (the Department) outlined several ways in which the government supports media organisations to produce public interest

journalism, namely:

 the former Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package (RASPI);  the Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program;  annual appropriations for funding of the public broadcasters;  the News Media Bargaining Code; and  the Media Reform Green Paper.1

Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package 3.5 In 2017, the government introduced the RASPI in the wake of amendments made to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) (see Chapter 2). In doing so, it was suggested:

The media industry is in significant transition and this poses challenges for small publishers and small regional newspapers in particular. The business models that have traditionally supported journalism—particularly those funded by advertising revenue—are being challenged, and the need to adapt successful subscriber and revenue models is proving especially

1 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

(Department), Submission 49, pp. 12-15. Note: at the time of the Department's submission in late 2020, the News Media Bargaining Code was in development, and the Green Paper had only just been released for consultation.

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demanding for smaller publications. The provision of quality journalism is under pressure.

 Quality journalism is an important feature of our democracy, and access to locally relevant factual journalism is vital to developing and maintaining strong regional communities.

 Effective journalism also plays a vital role in holding our institutions to account and creates a framework in which complex issues can be understood, offering the public reliable information to support decisions in political, economic and social life.2

3.6 More specifically, the Department stated that the RASPI was designed:

…to help small metropolitan and regional publishers adapt to the challenges facing the contemporary media environment, create employment opportunities for cadet journalists, and support regional students to study journalism. The package was worth $60.4 million over three years and consisted of three programs:

• the Regional Journalism Scholarships Program;

• the Regional and Small Publishers Cadetship Program; and

• the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund.3

3.7 The Department's submission stated that the RASPI funded: 66 scholarships at 16 universities, and 43 cadetships at 39 small and regional publishers; and around $17.6 million was awarded in grants under the Innovation Fund administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).4 The Department also submitted that the RASPI package had disbursed just over one-third of its allocated budget:

Across its three-year period, the RASPI package allocated a total of $21.5 million of the $60.4 million available to regional and small publishers.5

3.8 Potential improvements to Commonwealth funding mechanisms for small and regional publishers is discussed further in Chapter 7.

Public Interest News Gathering program 3.9 The PING program is a $50 million support package targeting Australian media businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that was announced on 15 April 2020. The Department stated that the program consisted of

2 Department, 'Broadcast and Content Reform Package', infrastructure.gov.au/media-technology-communications/media-laws-regulation/broadcast-content-reform-package (accessed 7 December 2021).

3 Department, Submission 49, p. 12.

4 Department, Submission 49, pp. 12-13.

5 Department, Submission 49, p. 12.

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$13.4 million new funding, alongside $36.6 million in unallocated funds from the RASPI package. The program's purpose was to:

…support regional broadcasters and publishers to maintain or increase their production and distribution of public interest journalism in regional communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 29 June 2020, the Government announced that 107 regional broadcasters and publishers would receive funding under the PING program. The funding was allocated between three streams:

 Stream 1: Commercial Television—$20 million  Stream 2: Commercial Radio—$12 million  Stream 3: Publishing (including online and print)—$18 million.6

3.10 Dr Kristy Hess from Deakin University stated that ultimately the PING program did not properly recognise and support 'greenshoots' (new start-ups in the industry):

The PING funding was available only for existing and established media outlets, such as [Australian Community Media], which closed down dozens of printing presses during COVID. And when independent start-ups sought to enter the marketplace they were being hamstrung by structures that limited access to both subsidies and government advertising revenue, which put them at an immediate disadvantage.7

3.11 Dr Hess suggested that an immediate improvement would be to reconsider the funding eligibility criteria:

At the moment for PING funding, companies have to have a revenue of $150,000. We have to remember that local news is not only a public good but also a social good, so people trying to start up these ventures see the gap and see that people in their communities are crying out for reliable, credible information. That's where the attention needs to be when we think about supporting green shoots, not necessarily in terms of their commercial application but their social good.8

3.12 Mr Bruce Ellen from Country Press Australia acknowledged receipt of some funding under the PING program but asserted:

…the way PING funding was distributed was an absolute disgrace. It ignored the intent of the original regional and small publishers fund from where the government got the majority of that funding from. In reality, there was $38.4 million that remained a pool for regional and small publishers, and it had been allocated to regional and small publishers. The government decided to use the $38.4 million and add a paltry $11 million to spread cross a much wider range of publications, including some large corporates, with the result that the small publishers

6 Department, Submission 49, p. 13.

7 Dr Kristy Hess, Associate Professor, Deakin University, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 19.

8 Dr Kristy Hess, Associate Professor, Deakin University, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 21.

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who were the original intended recipients of the funding got less than 15 per cent of the amount that had previously been allocated to them.9

3.13 Dr Hess and Professor Matthew Ricketson, also from Deakin University, suggested that there needs to be an independent body—such as a regional media advisory council—tasked with evaluating government expenditure in the sector. Professor Ricketson said:

…it's hard to find the current mechanism by which those various initiatives are being both evaluated and then made transparent to the parliament and general public. This is a fast-moving space, the media environment, so if those programs are working, we need to know they're working and, if not, we need to know the same and act accordingly. It's hard to find accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive information about how those various initiatives are working.10

3.14 In the final stages of this inquiry, freedom of information (FOI) documents released by the Department demonstrate some questionable practices in the government’s administration of the PING funding. For example, PING funding was awarded to Australian Community Media (ACM), even when it was scaling back print distribution and some digital titles were not publishing new content. Guardian Australia, which obtained the FOI documents reported that there was a lack of clarity around how funding was adjusted to reflect ceased outlets:

…ACM’s grant was reduced to $10.46m as a result of these decisions [to not recommence printing of some newspaper titles], though they provide little clarity on how much ACM lost or the methodology used by the department to account for the reduced frequency or a digital return only.11

3.15 Chapter 7 of this report further discusses the need for funding and support measures for small and regional media organisations, including start-ups.

Funding of public broadcasters ABC and SBS 3.16 The Department stated that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) are provided with 'long-term certainty in funding' through the triennial funding process in the Budget, which is

currently:

…nearly $3.2 billion and $887 million respectively, over the three years of the current triennium from 2019-20 to 2021-22, [and] represents a

9 Mr Bruce Ellen, Board Member, Country Press Australia, Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, p. 27.

10 Professor Matthew Ricketson, Professor of Communication, Deakin University, Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, p. 21.

11 Anne Davies and Amanda Meade, ‘Australian Community Media awarded more than $10m in

COVID grants while scaling back newspapers, Guardian Australia,

theguardian.com/media/2021/dec/03/australian-community-media-awarded-more-than-10m-in-covid-grants-while-scaling-back-newspapers (accessed 7 December 2021).

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substantial investment of public funds in our national broadcasters. This funding assists the ABC and SBS in the provision of news and media services in line with their Charters.12

3.17 The Department noted that the ABC currently receives $43.7 million funding through the Enhanced News measure, which was established by the Rudd Government, to support the production of news and current affairs, including regional newsrooms and specialist investigative journalists:

The Enhanced News Funding program enables the ABC to deliver more tailored news, more local news and bring news from across the country to a national audience. As a result, ABC News has made a significant investment in its regional newsgathering capacity and local content-makers in regions where it was previously under-represented or not represented at all. Overall, it is estimated that there are currently 69 positions attached to the Enhanced News Services funding. This measure has enabled job creation at a time when commercial news media are rationalising their services and contracting or amalgamating regional news resources.13

3.18 Some stakeholders argued that the Commonwealth does not currently fund the ABC to an appropriate level, noting a number of negative effects on its provision of news. Chapter 7 of this report discusses this point in detail.

News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code (2020) 3.19 In April 2020, the government asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop a mandatory code to address the imbalance in power between Australian news media companies and digital

platforms, specifically Google and Facebook (also see Chapter 2). The News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code (the News Media Bargaining Code) was passed by the Parliament on 25 February 2021.14

3.20 In announcing the News Media Bargaining Code, the Treasurer and the Minister for Communications stated:

The Code will ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public interest journalism in Australia.

The Code provides a framework for good faith negotiations between the parties and a fair and balanced arbitration process to resolve outstanding disputes.

12 Department, Submission 49, p. 13.

13 Department, Submission 49, p. 14.

14 Parliamentary Library, Bills Digest No. 48, 2020-21: Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and

Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020

aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd2021a/21bd048#_Toc64377245 (accessed 7 December 2021).

34

Importantly, the code encourages parties to undertake commercial negotiations outside the Code and the Government is pleased to see progress by both Google and more recently Facebook in reaching commercial arrangements with Australian news media businesses.15

3.21 Essentially, the News Media Bargaining Code means that Facebook, Google, and other digital platforms where news appears, must reach a remuneration agreement on defined 'core bargaining issues' with eligible news companies for the content they generate. If no agreement can be reached directly between the digital platform and the media entity within three months, then the news organisation can notify the ACCC to commence arbitration.16

3.22 Eligible news companies must have a revenue exceeding $150 000, have a primary purpose of creating news, operate primarily in Australia for Australian audiences, and be subject to the various codes of conduct and standards of practice governing broadcast media.

3.23 The News Media Bargaining Code is mandatory, and digital platforms must participate if the Treasurer determines that the Code's provisions apply to them. The ACMA has three roles in this process, to:

 assess the eligibility of news businesses who want to participate in the code  appoint mediators to assist bargaining parties  register and appoint arbitrators if bargaining parties cannot agree on the

make-up of an arbitration panel.17

3.24 The ACCC is also:

…responsible for administering and enforcing the code, and would have a role in providing submissions as part of compulsory arbitrations conducted under the code.18

3.25 Representatives from the ACMA advised that 25 applicants have now been registered under the News Media Bargaining Code. However, the regulator does not know how many of these organisations have contractual relationships with Facebook and Google:

15 The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Treasurer, and the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for

Communications, 'Parliament passes News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code', Media Release, 25 February 2021, ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/parliament-passes-news-media-and-digital-platforms (accessed 7 December 2021).

16 ACMA, 'Media Bargaining Code', acma.gov.au/news-media-bargaining-code

(accessed 7 December 2021).

17 ACMA, 'Media Bargaining Code', acma.gov.au/news-media-bargaining-code

(accessed 7 December 2021).

18 ACCC, 'Draft News Media Bargaining Code', accc.gov.au/focus-areas/digital-platforms/draft-news-media-bargaining-code (accessed 7 December 2021).

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We are not privy to or advised of which organisations have actually reached a deal. Some have been reported in the media as having done so. But our role is to register them under the legislation, and that's what we've done. So we're not aware of which ones have or have not.19

3.26 The Chair of the ACMA, Ms Nerida O'Loughlin added:

…the news media bargaining code is specifically set up to provide very strong incentives for digital platforms to make arrangements and negotiate outcomes with publishers… I'm not party to why Facebook or Google, or both of them, or, particularly, one of them over the other, might make an assessment in that negotiation… I would expect that those negotiations will continue with Facebook and Google over the coming months because of the incentive put in place by the code.20

3.27 However, the committee is aware that some media organisations, including SBS and The Conversation have been excluded from making deals with digital platforms. Mr James Taylor, Managing Director of SBS, stated that:

There was a series of preparatory discussions about having the discussion [reaching an agreement]. But at the time when the discussion was to happen, Facebook indicated that they had no intention of entering into any form of negotiation and, therefore, any form of agreement with SBS.21

3.28 A senior departmental official advised that, while the minister has been briefed on Facebook's refusal to negotiate with SBS, the government has not yet taken action to designate the platform subject to the Code:

…we've briefed the minister. The government would be well aware of the scheme that has been established and the tools they've got available, so I couldn't comment on what the next step might be or when the next step might be taken.22

3.29 Mr Andrew Jaspan, a former newspaper editor appearing in a private capacity, suggested that the Code had primarily benefitted News Corp and Nine, and so did not genuinely encourage greater diversity:

…the news code legislation which is now being applied was largely scripted and driven by News Corp. That's why the biggest beneficiaries are News Corp and Nine Entertainment. The smaller players have been bought off with smallish sums of around $200,000 to $250,000 a year. But the deal simply reinforces media concentration.23

19 Ms Creina Chapman, Deputy Chair and Chief Executive Officer, ACMA, Estimates Hansard,

26 October 2021, p. 49.

20 Ms Nerida O'Loughlin PSM, Chair, ACMA, Estimates Hansard, 26 October 2021, p. 50.

21 Mr James Taylor, Managing Director, SBS, Estimates Hansard, 26 October 2021, p. 97.

22 Mr Richard Windeyer, Deputy Secretary, Department, Estimates Hansard, 26 October 2021, p. 14.

Also see: p. 13.

23 Mr Andrew Jaspan, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 44.

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Media Reform Green Paper 3.30 On 27 November 2020, the government released the Media Reform Green Paper: Modernising television regulation in Australia (Green Paper). On its purpose, Minister Fletcher stated:

The media landscape has changed significantly over the past decade, with faster internet allowing digital technologies to generate significant benefits for industry and consumers. However, these technologies have also fractured business models and rendered many of our regulatory structures obsolete… With declining revenues, rising costs and an outdated regulatory framework, the capacity of Australia’s media sector to provide Australian programming, local content and public interest journalism is being challenged. These structural pressures have been accelerated by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, reinforcing the need for regulatory action.24

3.31 The Green Paper sought stakeholder views on a number of issues, including:

 Offering commercial broadcasters the choice to operate under a new kind of commercial television broadcasting licence, with a reduced regulatory burden provided they agree to move at a future point to using less radiofrequency spectrum;

 Promoting the public interest by using proceeds from freed-up spectrum to invest in Australian news and screen content;  Introducing an Australian content spend obligation on video-on-demand services; and  Formalising the role of national broadcasters as key providers of

Australian content.25

3.32 The consultation process for the Green Paper ended on 23 May 2021 however, the government is yet to release its response.26

3.33 However, some commentary has already suggested that the proposed reforms may not go far enough. For example, Allens Linklater observed that it follows 'a long line of government papers on proposed media reform stretching back to the 2012 Convergence Review (and beyond)' however, it is not the required wholesale reform of the BSA:

24 The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communication, Urban Infrastructure, Cities, and the

Arts, 'Media reform Green Paper', Media Release, 27 November 2020,

minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/media-reform-green-paper (accessed 7 December 2021).

25 The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communication, Urban Infrastructure, Cities, and the

Arts, 'Media reform Green Paper', Media Release, 27 November 2020.

26 Department, 'New Rules for a new media landscape - Modernising television regulation in

Australia', infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say/new-rules-new-media-landscape-modernising-television-regulation-australia (accessed 7 December 2021).

37

The Green Paper represents another step along the way towards harmonisation of the Australian media regulatory environment-however it is no more than another step.27

Oversight and regulation of news media 3.34 Media regulation and oversight in Australia is primarily regulated according to the relevant platform, rather than content. Depending on the platform, it is shared across Commonwealth regulatory frameworks and self-regulating

industry bodies to enforce standards of practice.

3.35 This section outlines the principal institutions and mechanisms that regulate media in Australia, and where there are identified gaps, before the following chapter discusses both flaws in the system, and potential reforms.

Broadcast media 3.36 In 2018, the Centre for Media Transition observed:

In the broadcast environment, there are eight separate sets of rules as each type of broadcasting service has its own code of practice, as does each of the national broadcasters.28

3.37 Broadcast media is subject to regulation through the ACMA, which administers the BSA. Under the Act, the ACMA:

 plans the broadcasting spectrum  manages broadcasting licensees and collects licence fees  monitors compliance with ownership and control rules that apply to commercial tv broadcasters

 helps develop codes of practice  develops and administers program standards  manages local content rules for regional commercial tv broadcasters  investigates the broadcasting industry.29

Free-to-air commercial television 3.38 The ACMA oversees the Commercial TV Code of Practice, which regulates broadcast content of commercial free-to-air television 'according to current community standards'.30 It provides procedures for handling and responding

to viewer complaints, which can be made either directly to the broadcaster or

27 Allens Linklater, 'Media Reform Green Paper', 4 December 2021, allens.com.au/insights-news/insights/2020/12/media-reform-green-paper/ (accessed 7 December 2021).

28 Centre for Media Transition, The Impact of Digital Platforms on News and Journalistic Content, p. 88.

29 Department, 'Commercial and Pay TV', infrastructure.gov.au/media-technology-communications/television/commercial-pay-tv (accessed 7 December 2021). See also Department, Submission 49, pp. 7-9.

30 Commercial television industry code of practice 2015, p. 4.

38

through Free TV Australia—and for referring these complaints to the ACMA if the complainant is not satisfied with a broadcaster's response.31

3.39 The Commercial TV Code requirements were summed up by Free TV Australia, which noted that broadcast news must:

 present material facts accurately and ensure that viewpoints included in the relevant program are not materially misrepresented (clause 3.3)  present news fairly and impartially and to clearly distinguish the reporting of factual material from commentary and analysis (clause 3.4);

and

 disclose commercial arrangements when featuring third party products or services in current affairs, infotainment and documentary programs (clause 4).32

Pay TV 3.40 The Department states on its website that:

Pay TV broadcasters must follow any rules set out in their licence conditions, the ACMA program standards or the relevant code of practice when broadcasting content.

The codes of practice for pay TV in Australia were developed by the peak industry body, the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) in consultation with the ACMA.33

3.41 The ASTRA Code of Practice is available on the ACMA's website. Regarding news, it provides that broadcasters must:

(i) present news accurately, fairly and impartially;

(ii) clearly distinguish the reporting of factual material from commentary, analysis or simulations;

(iii) not simulate news or events in a way that misleads or alarms the audience.34

3.42 Moreover, the ASTRA Code also stipulates that:

In broadcasting news and current affairs programs to the extent practicable Licensees:

(i) must not present material in a manner which creates public panic;

(ii) must include only sparingly material likely to cause some distress to a substantial number of viewers;... [and]

31 Commercial television industry code of practice 2015, pp. 20-22.

32 Free TV Australia, Submission 22, p. 6. See also Commercial television industry code of practice 2015,

pp. 9-11.

33 Department, 'Commercial and Pay TV', infrastructure.gov.au/media-technology-communications/television/commercial-pay-tv (accessed 7 December 2021).

34 Subscription broadcast television codes of practice 2013, p. 5, acma.gov.au/publications/2019-10/rules/subscription-broadcast-television-codes-practice-2013 (accessed 7 December 2021).

39

(vi) will make reasonable efforts to correct significant errors of fact at the earliest opportunity.35

3.43 As with the commercial free-to-air code of conduct, complaints on content are to be directed to the broadcaster in the first instance, and responded to in a determined manner and timeframe. Should a complainant not be satisfied with the response they receive, the complaint 'may be referred to the ACMA'.36

Public broadcasters 3.44 Australia's two public broadcasters are not subject to the same regulatory regime as commercial broadcasters under the BSA, and the ACMA has only a 'limited role as regulator'.37 Rather, under their foundation legislation, the

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 and the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991, they are required to develop codes of practice relating to their content, and to provide this to the ACMA.

3.45 The ABC's 2019 Code of Practice sets out principles and standards across seven key matters, for content broadcast free to air.38 It also sets out associated standards, comprising a key editorial standard, for television programs broadcast on its domestic free-to-air services.39

3.46 The SBS's 2021 Code of Practice similarly sets out its principles and policies for content that is produced, commissioned, acquired or otherwise obtained by SBS for broadcast or publication on the platforms over which it has editorial control.40

3.47 Similar to the arrangements for commercial broadcasters, complaints that public broadcasters have acted contrary to their Code can be made to the broadcaster directly. Should a complainant be unhappy with the response or should no response be made, they are able to take up the matter with the ACMA, which has a discretionary power to investigate if it considers it is required to do so.41

35 Subscription broadcast television codes of practice 2013, p. 5.

36 Subscription broadcast television codes of practice 2013, pp. 11-12.

37 Department, Submission 49, pp. 8-9.

38 These seven key matters are: interpretation; accuracy; corrections and clarifications; impartiality

and diversity of perspectives; fair and honest dealing; privacy; harm and offence; and children and young people.

39 ABC, 'Code of Practice 2019', about.abc.net.au/reports-publications/code-of-practice/ (accessed

7 December 2021).

40 SBS, 'SBS Code of Practice', sbs.com.au/aboutus/sbs-code-of-practice (accessed 7 December 2021).

These principles and policies cover matters such as: accuracy for factual content; impartiality and balance in news and current affairs; scheduling of content; advertising; and complaints handling.

41 ABC, 'Annual Report 2018-19', transparency.gov.au/annual-reports/australian-broadcasting-corporation/reporting-year/2018-2019-80 (accessed 7 December 2021).

40

3.48 The ACMA has undertaken a number of investigations into ABC and SBS news content, which are listed on the regulator's website. These include complaints that the broadcaster has not been accurate, impartial, or caused harm and offence, contrary to their charter obligations.42

3.49 In 2021 to date, there has been one complaint alleging a breach of the ABC Code of Practice, which was not upheld. In 2020, there were three complaints alleging a breach of the ABC Code, with one complaint upheld. For this same two-year period, the ACMA has not reported any complaints alleging breaches of the SBS Code.43

3.50 An audit undertaken by the Australian National Audit Office in 2018 found that the ABC's complaints process is effectively managed by its complaints areas, although its 'limited visibility' of the content area's handling of a complaint 'reduces the overall effectiveness'. The audit found that the complaints process is accessible, easy to navigate, and responsive to complainants. It also found that the ABC's analysis of complaints data is shared to relevant stakeholders to inform 'continuous improvement of its programs and services'.44

3.51 In October 2021, the ABC announced that it has commissioned an independent review of its editorial self-regulatory system and complaints handling process. The review will be led by Professor John McMillan, former Commonwealth and New South Wales Ombudsman, and Mr Jim Carroll, former SBS news and current affairs director.45

3.52 ABC Chair, Ms Ita Buttrose, has described the review as a timely initiative to ensure the ABC's complaints handling procedures meets audience expectations.46

3.53 The following chapter discusses the regulatory framework for broadcasters, as well as the ACMA's handling of complaints concerning ABC and SBS content.

42 ACMA, 'Investigations into TV broadcasters', acma.gov.au/investigations-tv-broadcasters,

(accessed 7 December 2021).

43 ACMA, 'Investigations into TV broadcasters', (accessed 7 December 2021).

44 Australian National Audit Office, 'Australian Broadcasting Corporation Complaints Management'

anao.gov.au/work/performance-audit/australian-broadcasting-corporation-complaints-management (accessed 7 December 2021).

45 ABC, 'ABC announces independent review of complaints handling process with report expected

in March', 18 October 2021, abc.net.au/news/2021-10-18/abc-announces-independent-review-complaints-handling-processes/100546212 (accessed 7 December 2021).

46 ABC, 'ABC announces independent review of complaints handling process with report expected

in March', 18 October 2021.

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Print media 3.54 There are several sets of self-regulatory systems that cover Australian print news media (and associated online activities).

3.55 The Australian Press Council (Press Council) is one of the main content regulators, with responsibility for responding to complaints about Australian newspapers, magazines and associated digital outlets that are its members. Other industry regulators, such as the Independent Media Council (IMC), apply their own codes of conduct and standards to their members. Individual print media organisations and their online outlets may also adopt their own codes of conduct.

3.56 The Press Council submitted that it has 'responsibility for setting and promoting high professional standards' for its members, and for 'considering, dealing with and responding to complaints' about its membership, currently consisting of approximately 900 print and online mastheads. It set out its principles and activities in this regard as follows:

The Press Council sets General Principles covering accuracy and clarity; fairness and balance; privacy and the avoidance of harm; and integrity and transparency. It has approved Specific Standards on the coverage of suicide and of contacting patients in care. It has also approved a Statement of Privacy Principles (in consultation with the Federal Privacy Commissioner) and Advisory Guidelines on a range of journalistic issues.

The Press Council considers complaints about print and online publications. Where appropriate, it seeks to achieve agreed remedies, issues letters of advice to publishers and publishes formal adjudications regarding certain complaints.47

3.57 Seven West withdrew from the Press Council in 2012, announced that it would henceforth be subject to a new body, the IMC.48 The IMC's membership includes a number of Western Australian newspapers and online platforms, which are subject to established guidelines, codes of practice, and a complaints resolution system.49

3.58 Other news media organisations have their own media standards and complaints procedure. For instance, Guardian Australia is subject to its own

47 Australian Press Council, Submission 41, p. 2.

48 ABC Media Watch, 'Not so quiet on the western front', 16 April 2012,

abc.net.au/mediawatch/episodes/not-so-quiet-on-the-western-front/9974068 (accessed 7 December 2021)

49 Independent Media Council, 'Accuracy, fairness and journalistic integrity',

independentmediacouncil.com.au/ (accessed 7 December 2021).

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News and Media Editorial Code, which is overseen by its own internal ombudsman.50

3.59 The ACMA has a limited role regarding print media for 'associated newspapers' that are associated with commercial TV and radio license areas, which are subject to the media diversity rules under the BSA.51

3.60 The regulatory framework for print media is discussed further in the following chapter of this report.

MEAA standards 3.61 In 1944, the Australian Journalists Association (now part of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance [MEAA]) created and adopted the Journalist Code of Ethics (the Code of Ethics) for its journalist members. The MEAA

currently has 5109 members in its media section. Journalists with membership in the MEAA Media section are subject to the Code of Ethics.52

3.62 The Code of Ethics comprises four parts, including a preamble that sets out aspirations for journalism, the values on which standards are based and the standards themselves:

[Preamble] Respect for truth and the public's right to information are fundamental principles of journalism. Journalists search, disclose, record, question, entertain, comment and remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy. They scrutinise power, but also exercise it, and should be responsible and accountable.

[Values] MEAA members engaged in journalism commit themselves to:

Honesty

Fairness

Independence

Respect for the rights of others.53

3.63 The MEAA noted that almost all Australian codes of conduct for publishers and broadcasters are based on the Code of Ethics. However:

50 Editorial Guidelines, Guardian News & Media Editorial Code, Updated August 2011

uploads.guim.co.uk/2020/03/12/Editorial_Code.pdf. See also 'How to make a complaint about Guardian and Observer content' at theguardian.com/info/2014/sep/12/-sp-how-to-make-a-complaint-about-guardian-or-observer-content (both accessed 7 December 2021).

51 See the submission made by the Department, Submission 49, p. 8, and ACMA's information about

the 'Associated newspaper register', acma.gov.au/associated-newspaper-register (accessed 7 December 2021).

52 MEAA, Annual Report 2019-20, 2020, p. 2, meaa.org/download/meaa-annual-report-2019-20/

(accessed 7 December 2021).

53 MEAA, Submission 26, p. 6. Standard 1, for example, states: 'Report and interpret honestly, striving

for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply'.

43

The Code of Ethics, while influential, binds MEAA members only. This means MEAA's Ethics Committee is limited in its ability to enforce the Code to ensure high standards across the industry. Non-members are not subject to the committee's rulings and can be seen to 'get away' with ethical breaches.

Understandably this leads to frustration from consumers who feel hopeless to do anything about what they see as unethical reporting.54

Digital platforms 3.64 Digital platforms, such as Facebook and Google, are currently not subject to oversight mechanisms, although some choose to be members of the Press Council or apply internally-developed codes of conduct. The Department

submitted:

…digital-native media services, including online-only news publishers and internet streaming services, are not captured by current media regulation in Australia. For example, live internet streaming services (including television, radio, and social media video streaming services) are currently excluded from the BSA definition of a 'broadcasting service'… These services are not currently subject to the regulatory provisions in the BSA including media ownership rules, content regulation and quotas, and licensing requirements.55

3.65 In June 2019, the ACCC addressed the specific issue of regulating for disinformation as part of its Digital Platforms Inquiry. The ACCC considered that there is 'a risk of consumers being exposed to deliberately misleading and harmful news when using digital platforms', particularly 'serious incidents of disinformation' (false or inaccurate information deliberately created to cause harm). It recommended that 'digital platforms establish an industry code to govern the handling of complaints about disinformation'.56

3.66 In response, in February 2021, the Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI), the peak body for the digital industry in Australia, launched a new voluntary code of practice. This Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation has been adopted by a number of platforms—such as Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter—and commits these platforms to

54 MEAA, Submission 26, p. 6.

55 Department, Submission 49, p. 9.

56 ACCC, Digital Platforms Inquiry, Final Report, June 2019, Recommendation 15 and pp. 21-22,

accc.gov.au/system/files/Digital%20platforms%20inquiry%20-%20final%20report.pdf; and Australian Government, Regulating in the Digital Age, Government Response and Implementation Roadmap for the Digital Platforms Inquiry, 12 December 2019, p. 16,

treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-12/Government-Response-p2019-41708.pdf (both accessed 7 December 2021).

44

reducing harm that may arise from the propagation of disinformation and misinformation online.57

3.67 In October 2021, DIGI announced additional accountability measures, including an independent complaints handling committee to oversee potential breaches of the code.58 ACMA Chair Ms O'Loughlin welcomed these measures but commented:

…we do have concerns that complaints about non-compliance with opt-in commitments will be treated differently to those about mandatory commitments. We will be watching how this works in practice and whether expanding the committee's remit will be necessary.59

3.68 Generally, online platforms such as Google and Facebook do not accept that they are 'publishers' of content, but instead define themselves as platforms upon which a range of entities from media organisations to private individuals can publish material.60 It should also be noted that digital platforms that publish news content are, however, subject to general laws such as libel and other offences.

57 DIGI, Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation, 22 February 2021, cl. 5.2,

digi.org.au/disinformation-code/ (accessed 7 December 2021).

58 DIGI, Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation, 11 October 2021, cl. 7.4.

59 Ms Nerida O'Loughlin PSM, Chair, ACMA, 'Digital platforms complaints process a positive step',

Media Release, 11 October 2021, acma.gov.au/articles/2021-10/digital-platforms-complaints-process-positive-step (accessed 7 December 2021).

60 As discussed in Chapter 2.

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Chapter 4

Traditional media: a weak, inconsistent and ineffective regulatory system

4.1 This chapter looks more closely at the current regulatory environment for traditional media, which was outlined in the previous chapter. In particular, it sets out evidence that the current approach is weak, fragmented, and not-fit-for purpose, given the challenges of convergence and concentration. The chapter highlights that:

 many traditional media organisations are not able to be held accountable for their content by a strong regulator or robust self-regulation mechanisms; and

 across all media, complaints are difficult to make and appeal, and penalties do not carry sufficient weight to be meaningful.

4.2 The evidence noted that digital online platforms operating in Australia currently have no established regulatory mechanisms for oversight, enforcing standards and ensuring accountability, yet are able to enforce self-developed standards to remove content from news media outlets at their own discretion. Although this is foreshadowed in this chapter, the following chapter goes into this matter in greater detail.

A system that is not fit-for-purpose 4.3 Many stakeholders argued that Australia's system of media regulation is not effective, citing the weakness of its mechanisms, its inconsistent governance arrangements and standards across platforms, and the lack of oversight for

digital media.

4.4 For example, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) submitted that there were around 14 different 'forms of statutory and self-regulation of journalistic content in Australia', commenting that this created a 'disjointed and fragmentary approach' that is not fit-for-purpose.1

4.5 This fragmented approach was noted by the Finkelstein Inquiry and Convergence Review a decade ago. These reviews recommended the creation of a new independent regulator and platform-neutral approach for standards and oversight respectively. Professor Matthew Ricketson, Professor of Communication at Deakin University, told the committee that a decade ago when he worked on the Finkelstein Inquiry, it was clear that:

1 Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), Submission 26, pp. 6-7. Also noted by the Centre

for Media Transition and Media Pluralism Research Project, Submission 44, p. 11.

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…the system of regulation was both fragmented and weak, and the environment in which the news media existed then [in 2012] was already converged, or at least converging. The regulatory system that was then in place was separate, with the Australian Press Council looking after primarily print media and the Australian Communications and Media Authority looking after radio and television, and for online media there wasn't much regulation at all.2

4.6 Former Prime Minister the Hon Kevin Rudd summed up the flaws and gaps of the current arrangements, in building a case for a 'common regulatory approach' based on shared principles, to ensure news is based on 'fair, factual and balanced reporting':

The Press Council regulates, as an industry-only regulatory body, the guidelines for Australian print media, and it is, I think most commentators would agree, an utterly toothless tiger. ACMA was established to regulate the Australian broadcasting media, and, by this case, in terms of public disinformation on public health, has been demonstrated to be a toothless tiger as well. For the digital platforms, there is a voluntary digital code, as I understand it, from which News Corp have exempted themselves and said that in fact they will adhere to Press Council guidelines to govern what they should do. So there is this great, as it were, hole in the middle.3

Traditional print media 4.7 Professor Ricketson noted that no systemic reform had been undertaken to address inconsistencies in the print media regulatory environment that had emerged over the last decade:

…media convergence is a lived reality for both journalists and those who consume journalism, yet the regulatory framework has changed only marginally. The Press Council now regulates the online arms of formerly print media companies, as well as some online-only outlets. But there are still some online-only outlets that aren't regulated by the Press Council. The West Australian is one prominent example and more recently the Guardian Australia. And journalistic content that is not regulated remains available online, because the Press Council is a voluntary self-regulator.4

4.8 The committee notes that most of the evidence provided to this inquiry relates to the Australian Press Council's (Press Council or APC) regulatory approach, the largest of these oversight mechanisms.

4.9 The Press Council told the committee that its role in overseeing the independent self-regulation of the media was essential, and that it effectively

2 Professor Matthew Ricketson, Professor of Communication, Deakin University, Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, p. 19.

3 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 30.

4 Professor Matthew Ricketson, Professor of Communication, Deakin University, Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, p. 19. Also see: Chapter 3 which notes alternate regulatory mechanisms for the Guardian Australia and Western Australian newspapers.

47

binds members to 'high standards and to an independent complaints-handling system'. Ms Yvette Lamont, the Chief Executive Officer, outlined the purpose of the organisation:

It's essential in a democracy that the press is free to make available to the Australian people a wide diversity of views and opinions; to hold government, business and community leaders accountable; to protect the public's right to know; and to be a trusted source of news in a world of competing sources of information and, in some cases, misinformation. Meeting this objective requires high standards for editorial and journalistic practices. More than ever, people need to be able to access reliable and accurate news—news that is relevant to them, whether they live in the city or in rural or regional areas.

Publisher members of the Press Council commit to be bound by high standards and to an independent complaints-handling system. At this critical juncture there is a heightened need for independent self-regulation of the media, as the consumers of news need to be assured that complaints about breaches are assessed independently of government and publishers. The Press Council meets this need and will continue to do so by evolving, exploring partnerships and embracing opportunities and challenges.5

4.10 Following the release of the Finkelstein Inquiry report and the Convergence Review, the Press Council received doubled funding from its members and strengthened independence. It also resolved to deal with complaints ‘more promptly and rigorously’, and that the ‘setting and monitoring standards of media practice will be greatly strengthened’. This included that:

Publishers' obligations to provide funding and to comply with the Council's complaints processes will become legally binding.

This includes, for example, the requirements to publish our adjudications with due prominence, a matter that has been of great concern to some complainants and the Council.6

4.11 Professor Andrew Podger, a former Public Member of the Press Council until June 2021, has suggested that these reforms were made because of the ‘threat of government regulation’ expressed in the Finkelstein Inquiry and Convergence Review.7

4.12 Ms Lamont conceded there are still areas for improvement, even though she asserted the value of the Press Council in setting and overseeing standards. In particular, she indicated her priorities are working to ensure a more diverse

5 Ms Yvette Lamont, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Press Council (APC), Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, p. 11.

6 APC, APC Update: New Package to Strengthen the Press Council (11 April 2012),

presscouncil.org.au/apc-update-issue-7/ (accessed 9 November 2021).

7 Professor Andrew Podger, ‘Australian journalism needs more than better protection, it needs

better standards’, The Conversation, theconversation.com/australian-journalism-needs-more-than-better-protection-it-needs-better-standards-171117 (accessed 6 December 2021).

48

representation on the council and adjudication panel, addressing issues of convergence. She also acknowledged deficiencies with the council’s complaints-handling timeframes:

The [Press Council's] complaints-handling system, while robust, is too slow for the modern world.8

4.13 The Press Council’s sets out its complaints-handling framework and powers on its website:

The main roles which the Australian Press Council may undertake when handling complaints include

 investigating and considering the complaint;  seeking to facilitate an outcome acceptable to the complainant and the publication;  providing information and comment about the relevance of the

Council's Standards of Practice to the particular circumstances;  making an adjudication, where appropriate, as to whether the publication has breached the Council’s Standards of Practice.

Adjudications must be published by the publication in accordance with the Council’s specific requirements.

The Council has no power to order compensation, fines or other financial sanctions. Where a complaint is upheld, the adjudication may also include a reprimand or censure, and may explicitly call for (but not require) apologies, retractions, corrections or other specified remedial action by the publisher. The Council may also call for specific measures to prevent recurrence of the type of breach in question.9

4.14 The Press Council states that complaints are handled in three stages:

 Reception of complaints  Level 1: Consideration by Council staff  Level 2: Consideration by Adjudication Panel

In practice, the great majority of complaints are finalised at Level 1. If a matter is referred to Level 1, the Executive Director or another member of the Council's complaints-handling staff undertakes informal consideration and, if necessary, investigates the issues, before deciding whether to seek a response from the publication. There may be further communication with the complainant and the publication in order to clarify the issues and, where appropriate, explore the possibility of an outcome which both are willing to accept. This may involve a request for response being sent to the publication that identifies particular issues on which the Council is seeking information or comment from the publication. In some circumstances, the

8 Ms Yvette Lamont, Chief Executive Officer, APC, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 12.

9 APC, 'Handling of Complaints', presscouncil.org.au/complaints/handling-of-complaints (accessed

6 December 2021).

49

Executive Director may conduct or organise a formal mediation if the complainant and publication agree to that course of action.10

4.15 However, many participants in this inquiry argued that the Press Council is falling well-short of its purpose and stated goals, particularly in its ability to handle complaints in an effective manner and compel redress where these complaints are upheld. For example, when asked whether the Press Council was a ‘paper tiger’ with no real powers, Dr Denis Muller commented that:

…it is true that it is [a paper tiger], and it is a tragedy. It is yet another result of the lack of diversity because the financing of the Press Council is proportionate depending upon the circulation of the paper. Once again, News Corporation is a dominant force in the financing of the Press Council. Clearly the Press Council lacks independence… The Press Council over time has proved to be ineffectual.11

4.16 Professor Ricketson also noted that the Press Council is funded by the organisations it is meant to oversee and investigate, which compromises its processes:

…the Press Council is funded by the news media industry but, because of the highly concentrated nature of media ownership in Australia, it remains vulnerable to being disproportionately influenced by its biggest funder— and that would be News Corporation Australia. News provides 60 per cent of the council's funding. When the media inquiries looked into the Press Council a decade ago, that level was 45 per cent. The understanding was that no single publisher could contribute more than 50 per cent of the council's funds, and yet this is the situation in which the council finds itself today.12

4.17 Dr Muller told the committee that, even when the Press Council found adversely against one of its members, the outcome was not taken seriously, and therefore not meaningful for complainants:

…media members tend to treat [the Press Council’s] findings with contempt. Even when they publish negative adjudications against them, they will be published as far back in the paper as possible under a heading that says something like, 'Press Council adjudication number 1,506'—no signs of a verb or a noun anywhere.13

4.18 The committee is aware of the MEAA's decision to give a notice of withdrawal from the Press Council. In a press release the MEAA suggested this was because:

10 APC, 'Handling of Complaints'.

11 Dr Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, Committee Hansard,

12 March 2021, p. 54.

12 Professor Matthew Ricketson, Professor of Communication, Deakin University, Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, pp. 19-20.

13 Dr Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, Committee Hansard,

12 March 2021, p. 54.

50

Arbitrations have been inconsistent, slow and are increasingly out of touch with community expectations… The Press Council has lost credibility with journalists and even with the publishers who make up its membership. There have been too many cases in recent years where adjudications have been mocked or ignored…

In order to maintain trust in journalism in Australia, a credible regulator— where there are real consequences for breaches—is critical… It is MEAA’s view that unfortunately the Press Council is no longer fit-for-purpose for the modern, cross-platform media industry. The industry needs a simpler system of self-regulation that is consistent across all platforms and organisations, upholds the standards of public interest journalism, and serves the needs of members and the public who want ethical practices and accountability.14

Case studies 4.19 Submitters who had personal experience of dealing with the Press Council confirmed the deficiencies of its oversight. Two examples are discussed here: Associate Professor Michelle Telfer; and the United Firefighters Union,

Victoria (UFU Victoria). It should be noted that News Corp was provided with an opportunity to respond to these cases, but chose not to do so.

Associate Professor Michelle Telfer 4.20 Professor Telfer is an eminent paediatrician and head of the Gender Service at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne (RCHGS). Her submission contended that she had been personally targeted and vilified by the News

Corp title The Australian in 45 articles between August 2019 and July 2020. She considered this was an intentional campaign targeted at attacking and discrediting her work with children seeking treatment. Of this coverage, she stated:

It created a narrative that did not reflect reality. In my opinion, it was not news, it was disinformation. Its effect was to create fear and anxiety, to exacerbate the stigma, discrimination and prejudice that exists against trans children and young people in our society. It attempted to destroy my professional reputation and to destabilise the growing network of clinicians and researchers across the country who work to improve the health and well-being of this vulnerable group. It undermined the trust patients and families had in their treating clinicians and caused concern and trepidation for families who were yet to seek professional support and medical care. It also sought to influence political opinion and decision making at the highest levels of government.15

14 Karen Percy, Media Federal Vice-President, MEAA, cited in ‘Journalists’ union gives notice to quit

Australian Press Council’, Media Release, 21 April 2021, meaa.org/mediaroom/journalists-union-gives-notice-to-quit-australian-press-council/ (accessed 6 December 2021). Note: as a result of the 2021 Press Council reforms, members must give four year’s notice of withdrawal before the withdrawal becomes active.

15 Associate Professor Michelle Telfer, Submission 66, pp. 1-2.

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4.21 Professor Telfer suggested the articles used the following methods:

 'Use of headlines and by-lines that generated fear and anxiety of trans children and young people, often portraying them as victims, with their doctors portrayed as dishonest, manipulative or incompetent';

 'Use of expert opinion was delivered by people who were not qualified to speak on the issue';  'Material presented as fact was often inaccurate and/or misleading and indistinguishable from opinion'; and  'Over the 45 articles, not one trans child or adolescent is interviewed and

there is use of prejudicial language, derogatory terms and mis-gendering via the use of the wrong pronouns, designed to dismiss the identities of the young trans people portrayed'.16

4.22 Professor Telfer’s submission made no reference to the complaint she had lodged with the Press Council, which at that time was in train. However, subsequently the Press Council found that The Australian’s coverage of this matter had breached several standards, including:

 one breach of accuracy standards made in the coverage related to medical treatment standards (even if the Press Council was unable to 'resolve' broader 'conflict' in research material over 'regret rates for hormone therapy, rates of de-transition and social contagion');

 that The Australian had 'failed to take reasonable steps to ensure fairness and balance' by 'repeatedly quoting the views of professionals from various fields of medicine and psychology…without explaining that they are not medical specialists in the area, and linking the criticism so personally to the complainant'; and

 that although coverage of the matter 'was sufficiently justified in the public interest', this 'did not justify the extent of references to the complainant in so many of the articles or implying that the healthcare practised at the RCHGS is out of step with mainstream medical opinion'.17

4.23 On this finding, the RCHGS commented:

The continued campaign has impacted Michelle, the Gender Service team, our patients and the transgender community. The APC adjudication confirms that media outlets have an obligation to deliver accurate, unbiased reporting on transgender issues.18

16 Associate Professor Michelle Telfer, Submission 66, pp. 3-4.

17 Note that the Press Council found that there was no breach of standards in several of

Professor Telfer's complaints: Adjudication 1799: Complainant / The Australian, presscouncil.org.au/document/1799-complainant-8 (accessed 6 December 2021).

18 Royal Children's Hospital, 'Australian Press Council Adjudication', 3 September 2021,

blogs.rch.org.au/news/2021/09/03/australian-press-council-adjudication/ (accessed 6 December 2021).

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4.24 The editorial response made by The Australian on 3 September 2021 questioned the integrity of the Press Council's findings, including by suggesting the finding may have been swayed by activists and could be an example of 'cancel culture tactics used to stifle debate'. It further stated:

The question is whether the council's stance will further constrain legitimate scrutiny of gender clinics and stand in the way of good journalistic practice and free speech. It can be argued the APC has been swayed unduly by a concerted campaign by activists not interested in this issue receiving the public scrutiny it deserves. We contend that closing debate in this way will have a chilling effect on free speech.19

4.25 The Press Council responded to this statement in answers to questions on notice. It noted The Australian had complied with the Press Council’s findings in this case, prominently publishing the adjudication in print and online, as well as placing a note on archived articles. The Press Council further noted that it had no further powers to require ‘compensation, fines or other sanctions’.20

4.26 Counterintuitively, the Press Council claimed that The Australian’s editorial— which dismissed much of the adjudication and cast aspersions on the underlying motives behind it—actually demonstrated the adjudication had been taken seriously and carried weight with its members:

Publications are not constrained from publishing criticisms of an adjudication provided that: they do not misrepresent what was found in the adjudication; and the Council’s Standards of Practice are complied with. The Press Council submits that public criticism of Press Council adjudications demonstrates that publications do take findings by the Council seriously. If an adjudication carried little weight, it would seem odd that a publication would publish material to defend itself from a Council finding.21

United Firefighters Union Victoria 4.27 Other flaws in the Press Council's complaints handling processes were brought into focus by the UFU Victoria, which made five complaints against News Corp’s Herald Sun on 113 articles published over 2015 and 2016. The UFU

Victoria argued that this deliberate campaign was misleading, inaccurate, and failed to give a right of reply.

19 'Press deserves the right to explore difficult topics', The Australian, 3 September 2021,

theaustralian.com.au/commentary/editorials/press-deserves-the-right-to-explore-difficult-topics/news-story/e594172f1bc34e59ffe487885f29cdeb (accessed 6 December 2021).

20 Australian Press Council-Answers to written questions taken on notice from

Senator Hanson-Young, 19 November 2021 (received 26 November 2021), p. 2.

21 Australian Press Council-Answers to written questions taken on notice from Senator Hanson-Young, 19 November 2021 (received 26 November 2021), p. 3.

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4.28 Mr Peter Marshall, Secretary of the UFU Victoria, gave evidence about this coverage, which he called 'vilification' and 'grossly misrepresenting' the facts of the matter, which firefighters had summarised as:

…that certain sections of the media, working in concert with [the representative for volunteer firefighters in Victoria], propagated a dishonest and biased account of issues under discussion in the enterprise agreement negotiation, and vilified career firefighters as 'greedy' and 'thugs' because they argued for safer working conditions and demanded they have a say, through their union, over the quality of the equipment they are expected to use.22

4.29 Mr Marshall made several points, which suggested the Herald Sun had:

 made factually incorrect assertions about the UFU Victoria and its workplace bargaining negotiations;  not sought union input or responses to these allegations;  re-printed incorrect allegations after inaccuracies had been brought to the

media outlet's attention; and  refused to print retractions, clarifications or corrections on any matter, even when other newspapers did so.23

4.30 Regarding the effects of this vilification, Mr Marshall suggested that it:

 had been an intentionally politically motivated attack, which was designed to discredit the union;  caused immense distress to union members, including loss of morale, and negative mental health outcomes; and  created prejudice and ill-will in the community against firefighters, who had

been subjected to intense abuse in public and on social media.24

4.31 Mr Marshall commented that the Press Council told his union it was unable to process complaints about such a large volume of material:

The Press Council ended up coming back to us [after 7 months], saying, 'We haven't got the resources to be able to deal with that volume of complaints.' As I explained in my previous appearance, the volume of complaints was not because the union vexatiously put in complaints; it was because of the extent of the vilification. So…the Press Council said, 'Give us one or two; we'll fly them up the flag and see what happens.' We just ended up withdrawing from the process [13 months after commencing

22 Here, Mr Marshall was citing research from Newcastle University that summarised the views of

UFU Victoria members: see: Mr Peter Marshall, National and Victorian Branch Secretary, Victorian Branch, United Firefighters Union, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 36.

23 Mr Peter Marshall, National and Victorian Branch Secretary, Victorian Branch, United Firefighters

Union, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, pp. 35-36. See also: United Firefighters Union, Victorian Branch, Submission 46.

24 Mr Peter Marshall, National and Victorian Branch Secretary, Victorian Branch, United Firefighters

Union, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, pp. 35-36.

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proceedings]… We didn't withdraw the complaints. We just gave up pursuing them, because there was just no outcome.25

4.32 The UFU Victoria commented that it considered this lack of action by the Press Council to be politically driven, and that there was 'no way of making [the Herald Sun] accountable'26:

…despite numerous complaints to both the Herald Sun and the Press Council, there was no real avenue to adequately address the consistent and constant media vilification. The reporting remained biased, inaccurate, and misleading. By denying the UFU [Victoria], as complainant, a forum to allow for scrutiny of the Herald Sun media coverage, the Press Council allowed Victoria’s professional firefighters to be nothing more than political footballs in the Herald Sun’s public campaign.27

4.33 Mr Marshall suggested that, even should a Press Council finding be made in a complainant's favour, the consequences would be almost insignificant:

I've been around for long enough to see that, if there was a retraction, it would probably be on page 14 or 15 and it would be in small print. What would it mean? What would be the relevance?28

4.34 The UFU Victoria suggested that there were few other avenues to seek redress outside the Press Council complaints system. It noted that defamation processes were costly and time consuming for individuals to pursue, but that the UFU Victoria was unable to access defamation proceedings, as most organisations do not have standing under the current provisions:

For a person who has a grievance with a media outlet, the only alternative to the impotent Press Council is defamation proceedings. Legal proceedings are extraordinarily costly, lengthy and bring with them a risk. Most individuals cannot afford to sue… [However,] the Uniform Defamation Law prohibits a corporation from bringing proceedings unless they are an 'excluded corporation'… Generally speaking, and subject to limited exceptions, only natural persons are able to sue in defamation. Advice obtained by the UFU from a prominent Queens Counsel confirms that it is very unlikely for the United Firefighters Union of Australia (UFUA) to be able to sue.29

25 Mr Peter Marshall, National and Victorian Branch Secretary, Victorian Branch, United Firefighters

Union, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 54. Also see: Mr Peter Marshall, National and Victorian Branch Secretary, Victorian Branch, United Firefighters Union, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 39 (in relation to timeframes for the complaint).

26 Mr Peter Marshall, National and Victorian Branch Secretary, Victorian Branch, United Firefighters

Union, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 40.

27 United Firefighters Union, Victorian Branch, Submission 46, p. 25.

28 Mr Peter Marshall, National and Victorian Branch Secretary, Victorian Branch, United Firefighters

Union, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 39.

29 UFU Victoria, Submission 46, Supplementary submission 1, pp. 4-5.

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Free-to-air, subscription and public television 4.35 As outlined previously in this report, the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) oversight of broadcast media takes a co-regulatory approach. Under this arrangement, broadcasters must develop codes of

practice, which are then registered with the ACMA. Free-to-air codes are developed by Free TV Australia; Pay TV broadcasters do this through the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA). Public Broadcasters develop their own codes, which they then provide to the ACMA.

4.36 In a previous review of broadcasting standards, the committee observed that a robust and effective complaints handling process is 'a central requirement for an effective co-regulatory environment'.30 During the current inquiry the ACMA outlined its complaints processes, which are similar across free-to-air, subscription and public broadcasters:

Complaints made to the ACMA are referred to the broadcaster in the first instance to resolve and take action where they identify they may not have complied fully with their code of practice, and the complainant may come back to the ACMA if the complainant is not satisfied with the broadcaster's response.

We can also commence our own investigations into issues where we are made aware of serious allegations or significant public concern through complaints, our own intelligence, media reporting or other sources… Where there is a breach of the code, the ACMA negotiate with the broadcaster to take voluntary steps to address problems and avoid future breaches, or we can seek court enforceable undertakings. If there are repeated or systemic breaches of the code by a licensee, the ACMA may impose a new licence condition. If the ACMA considers there is an industry-wide problem and a code is deficient, it may put in place an industry standard. Licence conditions and standards, once applied, provide us with stronger judicial responses, such as remedial directions, civil penalties and licence cancellation.31

4.37 Regarding its powers to self-refer inquiries, Ms O'Loughlin stated that the last matter it considered was the standards of broadcast coverage of the Christchurch terrorist attack in 2018. She also confirmed that 'we do not have a monitoring role' to actively look for instances where codes of conduct may have been breached, but only 'a role in which our responsibilities are enlivened when a complaint comes to us in this area'.32

30 Senate Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts, Inquiry into the effectiveness of

the broadcasting codes of practice (July 2009), p. 1.

31 Ms Nerida O'Loughlin PSM, Chair, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA),

Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, pp. 40-41.

32 Ms Nerida O'Loughlin PSM, Chair, ACMA, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, pp. 43 and 46-

47.

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Co-regulatory model questioned 4.38 The committee considered evidence that suggested that the co-regulation of broadcasters by the ACMA is not sufficiently robust. However, it also considered evidence of a case study set out below, which demonstrates the

limitations of the ACMA's powers in a converged media environment.

4.39 Mr Rudd noted that the ACMA has considerable regulatory powers, including to remove licenses from broadcasters, but that it was slow to investigate complaints, reluctant to use its full powers, and so has 'been demonstrated to be a toothless tiger'.33

4.40 The MEAA submitted that many of its members did not believe the current regulators, including the ACMA, were 'adequately fulfilling their role in enforcing standards'.34

4.41 Mr Rudd also noted that the complaints process was complex to navigate and onerous for complainants:

Ultimately, the penalties available to ACMA are huge. They can withdraw someone's licence. It's getting from the complaint to that point which seems to be lost in a Byzantine tunnel of obscurity.35

4.42 This evidence contrasts with answers that the ACMA gave the committee on dealing with Sky News broadcasts in regional Australia.

4.43 Sky News has been carried by WIN in northern New South Wales, Griffith and South Australia since 2018, and by Southern Cross Austereo in Victoria, southern New South Wales and Queensland since 1 August 2021, thereby coming under the remit of the ACMA.

4.44 When asked about what action the ACMA has taken against Sky News as a broadcaster, the ACMA advised the committee:

Ms O'Loughlin: …My notes tell me that we had one complaint about the Alan Jones program, where the complainant had seen the broadcast on WIN News, and we investigated that matter under the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice.

Senator KIM CARR: How did that complaint go?

Ms O'Loughlin: It was found to be a non-breach…

Ms Rainsford: Certainly. The complaint related to an allegation that Mr Jones had inaccurately stated that children don't spread COVID, that masks were useless, that shutdowns didn't work and insinuated that COVID was a hoax. We looked into those matters under a range of provisions in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice. I understand that we found some of the allegations were not to be

33 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 38.

34 MEAA, Submission 26, p. 7.

35 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 38.

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breaches. We did find some concern around the accuracy of some of the statements, but, in that, a correction had to be made. The way that code operates means that that was not a breach…36

4.45 The committee further pressed the ACMA on Sky News’ obligations as a broadcaster on regional television:

CHAIR: Let's be very clear, Ms O'Loughlin. We're not asking you about the number of complaints. We've heard that. What we're asking is whether Sky News, free-to-air as opposed to subscription television, is abiding by their obligations.

Ms O'Loughlin: We do not see evidence before us, through the complaints process, that they are not.

CHAIR: You don't look for it, do you?

Ms O'Loughlin: We do not have a monitoring role.

Senator KIM CARR: That's right. Do you have any evidence that Sky News's arrangements are, in fact, consistent with a highly responsible corporate culture? Is it possible that the arrangements are, in fact, working really well, that the reason you don't have any complaints is because there's nothing to complain about?

Ms O'Loughlin: I can't speculate on why people make complaints. They watch programming. They complain to us.37

4.46 This highlights the inadequacy of the regulatory framework and the difficulty in ensuring broadcasters comply with their obligations. Even when the regulator holds concerns about accuracy, it is difficult for it to find that the code has been breached.

4.47 ABC Alumni suggested that the ACMA standards are inconsistent between commercial and public broadcasters. Their submission argued that commercial standards had been loosened in 2015, removing provisions to ensure a diversity of opinions are represented, whereas public broadcasters must do so:

The Commercial TV Industry Code of Practice…is now more specific: licensees must 'ensure viewpoints included in the program are not misrepresented'. There is no longer even an implicit requirement that all major viewpoints should be presented over time. Anyone complaining to the ACMA about the one-sided nature of Sky News's analysis and commentary, whether on a free-to-air WIN channel or on its subscription service, would find that no clause of the relevant codes supports such a complaint.

By contrast, the ABC's Editorial Standards specifically require its program-makers to 'present a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented' (4.2), and NOT to

36 Ms Nerida O’Loughlin PSM, Chair, and Ms Cathy Rainsford, General Manager, Content and

Consumer Division, ACMA, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, pp. 44-45.

37 Ms Nerida O’Loughlin PSM, Chair, ACMA, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 45.

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'unduly favour one perspective over another' (4.5). Citizens who believe that the ABC does not give adequate coverage to major viewpoints DO have grounds for a complaint to the Corporation, and ultimately, to ACMA.38

4.48 However, Free TV Australia argued that the ACMA's requirements for commercial broadcasters are more restrictive than those covering public broadcasters:

Before registering the Free TV Code, the ACMA must be satisfied that it provides appropriate community safeguards for the matters it covers; is endorsed by a majority of commercial television stations; and members of the public were given adequate opportunity to comment. Significant penalties apply for non-compliance. However, despite also offering a free-to-air television broadcasting service, the regulatory model that the ABC and SBS operate under only requires them to notify the ACMA of their Codes of Practice. The Free TV Code development process should be aligned with that of the national free-to-air broadcasters to avoid inequitable regulatory outcomes.39

4.49 The committee is also aware of public commentary on the ABC's complaints handling process, which suggests its model of self-assessment of complaints in the first instance has led to it ignoring complaints—even those made by the ACMA and its internal bias regulator, and argued that it is prone to making judgments in its own favour.40

Calls for a unified regulatory and standards system 4.50 A wide range of stakeholders called for a unified regulatory system that covered all players in the media sector, regardless of platform. For example, Professor Ricketson observed that the current approach was no longer

'fit-for-purpose' and should be reconsidered:

…it made no sense then, back in 2012…to have separate media regulatory bodies for separate parts of the media, when the media was already being converged. It makes even less sense now… I think there is a need for a new body that would regulate print—as in text—radio, television, online and, indeed, as you alluded to earlier in questions to witnesses, the big tech platforms, which are public and which produce huge amounts of content and/or the mechanism by which it's distributed.41

38 ABC Alumni, Submission 3, p. 7 (emphasis in original).

39 Free TV Australia, Submission 22, p. 14.

40 See, for example: Mr Richard Alston, 'Left-wing bias proves it is clearly 'their ABC'', Australian

Financial Review, 12 January 2021, afr.com/companies/media-and-marketing/left-wing-bias-proves-it-is-clearly-their-abc-20210111-p56taq; and Mr Jamie Hyams, 'Your ABC's complaints process might surprise you', Sydney Morning Herald, 13 July 2021, smh.com.au/national/your-abc-s-complaints-process-might-surprise-you-20210706-p587ex.html (both accessed 7 December 2021).

41 Professor Matthew Ricketson, Professor of Communication, Deakin University, Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, p. 19.

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4.51 Mr Rudd also highlighted the need for uniform regulatory system and standards:

The truth is, given media convergence across platforms, from print to digital to classic electronic, radio and the rest, what we need is an increasingly uniform set of regulatory arrangements rather than those we've inherited from the past.42

4.52 Ms Karen Percy, the Federal Vice-President of the MEAA, told the committee that her organisation and its membership supported consolidation of the regulatory environment:

[We] would like to see a streamlined approach to regulation. We know that we need a stronger, a simpler oversight mechanism that is transparent, that people easily understand and that is easy for people to access. A one-shop-stop is what we'd like to see. Sixty-eight per cent of our members worry that ACMA and the Press Council and other regulatory systems within our industry are just not adequately carrying out their roles.

There are too many sets of rules. Whether it's your separate broadcasters and different mechanisms for digital and different print media, there are too many. We know there's wider frustration not just within our sector but from the public about regulation and how news consumers can take part in regulation… There's a real lack of consistency between [the current self-regulatory approaches]. Members of the public, whether they're listeners, readers, viewers or our members, really don't have any recourse if you have issues about something.43

4.53 The Centre for Media Transition suggested that a single set of standards should be adopted across all platforms, with a single complaints mechanism that is independent of both government and news organisations themselves (i.e. not handled by the organisation that is the subject of complaint):

We propose that all businesses involved in the news process be subject to a single, consolidated news media standards scheme as a way to foster confidence in authoritative sources of news and information. This need not mean the same rule for all participants—there could be certain minimum standards and opt-in arrangements for higher standards—but all participants would be subject to the same core obligations and the same, independent industry-based accountability mechanism.44

4.54 It was argued that this would reflect the 'reality of how businesses are presently structured, across platforms', and that it would have a range of benefits for consumers and businesses, including digital platforms:

...the implementation of uniform standards that apply the same rule about accuracy wherever the content appears is a logical and necessary next step

42 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 30.

43 Ms Karen Percy, Federal Vice-President, MEAA, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 32.

44 Centre for Media Transition and Media Pluralism Research Project, Submission 44, p. 11.

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[of reform]. The benefits of a uniform scheme would enhance Australian voters’ ability to access reliable, accurate and independent news by providing a single destination for consumer complaints and recognising that platforms are firmly established in the news ecosystem, and that they have responsibility for the way in which news and journalism, as public goods, are treated. Furthermore, it would have the advantage over alternative approaches in that it would not treat platforms as publishers.45

4.55 Some cited the findings of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry that recommended the development of a platform-neutral approach to promote competition, which would have benefits for media organisations, consumers, and the economy.46 The government response to the ACCC report concurred that there is a need:

…to reform media regulation towards an end state of a platform-neutral regulatory framework covering both online and offline delivery of media content to Australian consumers.47

4.56 A number of submitters pointed out that there is currently a void in Australian media regulation regarding the tech giants, particularly Google and Facebook. This matter is discussed in the following chapter of this report.

Other potential considerations for reform 4.57 The evidence canvassed a number of other potential reforms to current media regulation.

Merger and competition laws 4.58 Some evidence argued that Australia's media merger laws do not have the capacity to assess the impact of mergers in the new converged environment.

4.59 The ACCC submitted that it only has the capacity to assess and approve mergers on the basis of competition, not public interest or media diversity:

…the ACCC's focus is always on competition, in particular, whether the merger lessens competition for readers/viewers, whether the merger lessens competition for advertisers, and/or whether the merger lessens competition in the buying or selling of content. A merger may lead to reductions in choice, quality and diversity, but not cause a reduction in competition.48

4.60 Professor Allan Fels, Chair of the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI), commented that the current approach to mergers within the broader converged media landscape should be reconsidered:

45 Centre for Media Transition and Media Pluralism Research Project, Submission 44, p. 12.

46 ACCC, Digital Platforms Inquiry, Final Report; see, for example, Free TV Australia, Submission 22,

p. 11.

47 Australian Government, Regulating in the digital age: Government Response and Implementation

Roadmap for the Digital Platforms Inquiry.

48 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Submission 48, p. 4.

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We have merger laws, but the competition merger laws only operate within an industry. So, if there's a newspaper merger, that's covered. But, if there is a cross-media merger, generally the competition law doesn't stop it. That gives rise to the issue of whether there should be some kind of test that goes beyond competition and runs into some kind diversity test or public interest test.

In the Productivity Commission report on it many years ago, they said, yes, there should be a public interest test, which would include criteria like diversity, pluralism and so on, I think the Convergence Review reached a similar conclusion… There was a general belief that those cross-media ownership restrictions didn't work terribly well and were somewhat outdated; it was better to have a general public interest test done by an independent regulator.49

4.61 The MEAA called for stronger merger laws that could 'prevent mergers that lead to more harmful levels of media concentration'.50 Similarly, Mr John Menadue called for a temporary moratorium on mergers or asset transfers between the large four media companies, News Corp, Nine, Seven West and Australian Community Media (ACM).51

4.62 Others called for a 'public interest test' to be added to the framework for considering mergers. For instance, pointing to the United Kingdom (UK) approach, the Centre for Media Transition stated:

In the event of mergers between media organisations an independent regulator should be able to apply a public interest test to assess whether the particular combination of media groups will benefit audiences in terms of the provision of public affairs content in the markets if the transaction were to proceed.

Much of our thinking on this aspect draws on the framework used in the UK where a public interest test is applied to media mergers by the media regulator, separately from the competition test applied by the competition regulator.

In our view, a fundamental flaw in the Australian regulatory arrangements is the reliance solely on outdated caps on ownership of commercial television and commercial radio licences.52

Introduction of a ‘fit and proper person test’ or sanctions 4.63 Many submitters and witnesses were concerned there was no mechanism to take action against media companies that consistently and wilfully act in bad faith.

49 Professor Allan Fels, Chair, Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI), Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, p. 23.

50 MEAA, Submission 26, p. 2.

51 Mr John Menadue, Submission 28, p. 4.

52 Centre for Media Transition and Media Pluralism Research Project, Submission 44, p. 9.

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4.64 For instance, the Centre for Advancing Journalism (CAJ) suggested that News Corp outlets systemically spread misinformation without fear of consequence. It noted that the restoration of a ‘fit and proper' person test in the BSA would act as a constraint on this kind of behaviour:

The reintroduction of a ‘fit and proper person’ test in the Broadcasting Services Act would open Murdoch’s holding of this licence to public scrutiny over conduct such as this. Equally it would open to public scrutiny all other applications for broadcast licences in the newly deregulated media ownership environment. This would insert an opportunity for public interest considerations to be weighed as factors in decisions whether to grant a broadcasting licence.53

4.65 The CAJ noted that Australia’s framework already has a ‘suitable licensee’ test in the BSA, which replaced a fit and proper person test in 1992:

In 1981 the Broadcasting Act was amended to give the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal [ABT] power to apply a ‘fit and proper person’ test to applicants for broadcast licences. In 1989 it found Alan Bond to be not a fit and proper person to hold a broadcasting licence, citing five grounds, two of which concerned Bond’s giving what the ABT said was misleading or false evidence to the Tribunal.

In 1992 this test was replaced by a ‘suitability’ test as part of what the Government of the day touted as a streamlined licensing procedure.54

4.66 However, the Centre for Media Transition noted that the current provision for a ‘suitable licensee’ makes the BSA much less robust than the more ‘far-reaching’ fit and proper person test contained in the UK model.55 In the UK system, its regulator Ofcom:

…shall not grant a licence to any person unless they are satisfied that he is a fit and proper person to hold it…[and] shall do all that they can to secure that, if they cease to be so satisfied in the case of any person holding a licence, that person does not remain the holder of the licence.56

4.67 Dr Michael E. Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science who appeared in a private capacity, was not specific about the mechanism, but called for 'sanctions for media outlets that repeatedly lie to their readers':

I call it a lie because it's wilful misinformation and disinformation that is being promoted by the Murdoch media around the world. Here in the United States, of course…they played an instrumental role in this deadly [January 2021] insurrection and attempt to overthrow our democratic government. The fact that the Murdoch media played a wilful role in that

53 Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne, Submission 64, p. 9.

54 Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne, Submission 64, p. 9.

55 Centre for Media Transition and Media Pluralism Research Project, Submission 44, pp. 9-10,

footnote 10.

56 Broadcasting Act 1996 (UK), paragraphs 42(2)(a) and (b).

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should chill every person to their bones. Clearly, they need to be reined in in Australia, in the United States and around the world.57

Divestment powers 4.68 Some witnesses also suggested that divestment powers in competition laws could be considered to tackle monopolies in the media sector, whereas others recognised this would be politically impossible to introduce.

4.69 For example, Professor Fels observed that 'there's no divestment power [in Australian competition law]. You can't break up someone who you think is too concentrated'.58 The submission made by a number of experienced newspaper editors suggested that forced divestment is 'politically implausible and legally questionable'.59

Committee view 4.70 This chapter has set out the evidence about the current regulatory approach to media regulation in Australia, and found that it is fragmented, weak, and inconsistent across the traditional formats of print and broadcast media.

4.71 It is not a new concept that Australia's approach to media regulation needs reform. This report has noted several times that the Finkelstein Inquiry and Convergence Review found more than a decade ago that there was a clear need for a new approach. More recently the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry recommended major reforms to the Australian media landscape.

4.72 It is apparent that the weak and fragmented regulatory system for traditional media noted in these earlier reviews is still not fit-for-purpose. The imperative for reform noted repeatedly in the past is even greater now, given the increased pace of convergence and concentration in the sector.

4.73 Submitters across the board—from global media conglomerates to individual submitters—perceived that a new approach to a converged marketplace was necessary.

4.74 As the Press Council told the committee, there are immense challenges stemming from a situation:

…where similar content on different platforms can be subject to different regulatory regimes, and the emergence of digital platforms which have disrupted the traditional revenue model of publishers and which

57 Dr Michael E. Mann, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 15.

58 Professor Allan Fels, Chair, PIJI, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 23.

59 See: Professor Allan Fels, Chair, PIJI, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 23; and

Ms Monica Attard, Mr Eric Beecher, Mr Peter Fray, Mr Bruce Guthrie, Ms Wendy Harmer, Mr Andrew Jaspan and Mr Alan Kohler, Submission 10, p. 2.

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disseminate stories through their own channels that are not part of any established regulatory system.60

4.75 This need for a consistently applied framework to address convergence issues and the unregulated digital media was also supported by academic, industry and individual commentators.

4.76 There is also a need to make media complaints processes more efficient and robust. The evidence clearly demonstrates that the self-regulation of the print media is woefully inadequate, and the ACMA's oversight of broadcast media is slow, complex, onerous for complainants, and often inconclusive.

4.77 This is clearly demonstrated by the case studies considered by the committee. The Press Council’s adverse findings regarding Professor Telfer were dismissed by The Australian as partisan and compromised by activists. The fact that a News Corp-owned entity can be so dismissive of the findings of an industry-based regulator, that derives 60 per cent of its funding from News Corp publications, demonstrates both the dubious ethical standards guiding The Australian’s editorial judgment, and the impotence of the Press Council.

4.78 Moreover, the Press Council's inability to investigate the serious complaints made by the UFU Victoria, due to claims that the volume of material containing allegedly egregious errors and vilification was too onerous, speaks volumes to its inefficiency. It suggests not only that the Council does not have sufficient resources to investigate serious claims, but also that it could be perceived at times to be reluctant to investigate a publication that is the principal funder of its activities.

4.79 The committee is also cognisant that some submitters are not satisfied with the complaints handling processes of the public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS. Indeed, these processes are now the subject of an inquiry before the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee.

4.80 The Senate has directed the Legislation Committee to suspend this inquiry ‘until the independent review of the ABC’s complaints system has been completed’, expected to be in April 2022.61

4.81 This report makes no comment on that inquiry, beyond this point: complainants who are not satisfied by the findings of the public broadcasters’ complaints handling processes have exactly the same recourse as unsatisfied complainants to the commercial or subscription broadcasters: the right to refer these matters to the ACMA for determination.

4.82 Even though the complaints oversight is broadly the same for all broadcasters subject to the ACMA process, the ABC and SBS’s operations are held to a

60 Ms Yvette Lamont, Chief Executive Officer, APC, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 12.

61 Journals of the Senate, No. 127, 23 November 2021, p. 4280.

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higher level of accountability in crucial aspects: they are scrutinised through various Parliamentary and Senate processes; and they are bound by their codes to reflect a diversity of views in their content, where the commercial broadcasters are not.

4.83 Rather than the Government using Senate committee processes to conduct a thinly-veiled political attack on the ABC, a more worthwhile venture would be to investigate how effectively the ACMA regulates, and determines complaints against all broadcasters within its oversight.

4.84 This inquiry has found that the ACMA's approach to managing misinformation and poor standards is woefully inadequate for a modern, converged media sector.

4.85 The committee is very concerned that the ACMA is not necessarily aware of harmful material that may put people's lives at risk, without a public complaint being raised. Moreover, it seems that even when complaints are made, the ACMA's processes cannot address them in a timely and efficient manner.

Conclusion 4.86 It is clear that the current system of oversight is inefficient, uneven across traditional media platforms and not fit-for-purpose. The call for a consistent oversight regime was expressed across the evidence. Commentators,

academics and individuals consistently recognised that the gulf between regulatory systems amongst traditional media makes the current approach unworkable.

4.87 Moreover, as the next chapter shows, many of these submitters recognised that it is remarkable that that there is no established and reliable framework to ensure digital giants, Google and Facebook, are responsible and accountable elements of the Australian media landscape. These concerns were also expressed by large global media outlets, who argued stridently for government to regulate digital platforms.

4.88 The following chapters also discuss ways in which the Commonwealth could best move towards a fair, equitable and reasonable system that levels the playing field for all elements of the media sector, in a consultative, responsible and independent manner.

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Chapter 5

Digital platforms: a regulatory void

5.1 The previous chapter outlined the compelling evidence that the current regulatory system for traditional media is weak, ineffective and inconsistent even within specific media formats. In short, it is not fit-for-purpose and long overdue for reform.

5.2 This chapter moves to consider the further challenges posed by the recent and dramatic rise of the ‘digital giants’ as major players in the media sector, particularly the regulatory void regarding digital platforms, especially Google and Facebook. This includes the lack of suitably robust standards, complaints and oversight mechanisms for a modern converged media that is fluid across traditional and digital platforms.

5.3 Over the course of this inquiry, the committee has been aware of strident calls from traditional media organisations and independent commentators for governments to regulate digital platforms and social media companies. Some of these concerns were discussed in the previous chapter.

5.4 This chapter discusses more recent calls for government intervention in the online space, which have expressed: the disjuncture between the regulatory systems of traditional and new media; the competitive nature of traditional and new media; as well as widely-held expectations on the role of government.

5.5 The chapter includes consideration of the recent suspension of the News Corp broadcaster Sky News from the Google-owned platform YouTube—an event that played out over the course of this inquiry. This incident illustrated to the committee the regulatory chasm between the unregulated new digital platforms, that are unaccountable to any external standards or regulatory frameworks, and the traditional old media forms, now increasingly converged across platforms and subject to a confusing patchwork of regulatory oversight.

5.6 This case study brings into stark relief the traditional media’s frustration with the power of the new platforms to remove content, which could be used to censor or restrict information arbitrarily, and their calls for government to consider regulation in this complex, contested and rapidly evolving area.

5.7 This development deeply concerns many traditional news organisations, and similarly concerns the committee.

5.8 However, the case study also illustrates the complexity of the regulatory system applying to traditional news media, particularly when content appears across platforms, including on unregulated social media channels and digital platforms.

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5.9 It also highlights the failures of the current system, particularly the inability of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and other bodies to adequately address misinformation and other complaints about content produced by traditional media.

Concerns over the regulatory void for digital platforms 5.10 A number of submitters told the committee that they were concerned about the lack of oversight and accountability of digital platforms that host news media content.

5.11 In evidence, Facebook underplayed its role in the Australian news media ecosystem. Ms Mia Garlick, Director of Policy, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands, said:

With respect to Facebook, we are primarily a service that Australians use to connect with friends and family, to engage in community groups that they're passionate about and to follow pages that they're interested in. News is not the primary reason people come to Facebook, and news is also highly substitutable on our services. When there is less news on Facebook, people engage with other content, and the revenue that we generate from news is virtually zero.

In addition to news only being a small part of people's experience on Facebook, all evidence indicates that Facebook does not play a significant role in the ability of Australians to access news...1

5.12 The committee asked Google whether it was subject to oversight under the Australian system of media regulation. Ms Samantha Yorke, Senior Manager, Government Affairs and Public Policy suggested that the organisation had recently:

…worked very closely with the ACMA on the development of the first Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation. While it is a voluntary code, it does set out a number of commitments that all of the signatories have signed onto, and the overseeing regulator for that code is the ACMA.2

5.13 Ms Yorke outlined that Google was also subject to a number of other non-regulatory accountability mechanisms:

…first and foremost we comply with the law, including antidiscrimination laws. From there, we are accountable to a number of different entities when we develop our community guidelines: we're accountable to governments, of course; we're accountable to our users, who give us lots of feedback about how our policies are working and how they're impacting the content that they are seeking to distribute on the issues platform. We're

1 Ms Mia Garlick, Ms Mia Garlick, Director of Policy, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands,

Facebook, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 21.

2 Ms Samantha Yorke, Senior Manager, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google Australia

(Google), Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 4.

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also accountable to our advertisers. YouTube is an ad-funded platform. It's made available for free to people around the world. Advertisers are also very quick to let us know if they think our policies are out of step or in some way unreasonable or unrealistic, based on community standards and expectations. So there are a range of entities that we do feel very directly accountable to, when we develop these policies.3

5.14 However, significant concerns were expressed by members of traditional media organisations that the digital platforms are not subject to more formal scrutiny and accountability standards and oversight. For example, Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head of News Corp, suggested that the real challenge facing Australian media is not diversity, but the lack of an agreed consistent set of regulatory expectations and standards for digital platforms:

The new big digital players are not subject to the laws that are imposed upon the traditional players. So diversity is not an issue; consistency is an issue… I think the best thing is for parliament to introduce legislation that covers the new big digital players.4

5.15 Along similar lines, Mr Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Sky News Australia asserted that digital platforms can enforce self-developed standards to remove content from media outlets at their own discretion, and with no external oversight:

It is now beyond debate that YouTube is a publisher, selectively editing content for political or commercial reasons, but unlike traditional media it does not accept any of the regulatory or legal burdens that being deemed a publisher carries with it.5

5.16 Mr Thomson drew this point out further. He suggested it was time for the digital giants Google and Facebook to accept responsibility and accountability, in the same way as traditional media:

They are a publisher. They publish information, and, as you well know, there was a recent court case in Australia which found a News organisation, us, responsible for comments on the Facebook site about content that may have originated with News Corp but was published by Facebook. One of the distinctions is that, if people have a complaint about an article, and there needs to be accountability with a newspaper, there are so many routes by which we can be held accountable…whether it's a standards editor, whether it's a readers' editor, whether it's a corrections editor, whether it's a media regulator, whether it's the libel laws…there are ways to hold publishers to account. Unfortunately, that's not yet the case for the big digital platforms.6

3 Ms Samantha Yorke, Senior Manager, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google Australia,

Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, pp. 5-6.

4 Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head, News Corp, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 4.

5 Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer, Sky News Australia, Committee Hansard,

6 September 2021, p. 10.

6 Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head, News Corp, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 2.

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5.17 Mr Thomson saw creating these mechanisms as a two-stage process. First, he thought it essential that organisations create their own internal mechanisms to set standards and deal with complaints. Secondly, he asked:

…what is the external mechanism of oversight? Both of those mechanisms are missing at the moment [in the digital realm]… I think if anybody who operates in Australia playing a role of content provider in order to make money should be subject to Australian jurisdiction.7

5.18 Other traditional media companies agreed. Nine told the committee:

This is the largest threat to media diversity in Australia—the uneven approach to regulation (resulting in reduced ability to derive revenue whilst simultaneously being held to a higher journalistic and content standard than digital platforms and other new entrants in the Australian media landscape) is having a disproportionate effect on the sustainability of Australian media companies.8

5.19 The Australian Press Council also noted issues stemming from the convergence of traditional and new media:

…where similar content on different platforms can be subject to different regulatory regimes, and the emergence of digital platforms which have disrupted the traditional revenue model of publishers and which disseminate stories through their own channels that are not part of any established regulatory system.9

5.20 As well as noting that online platforms are unregulated, Mr Stevens of the Australian Press Council (APC or Press Council) noted the need to harmonise the self-regulatory system of traditional print media and the regime broadcasters are under, which is ultimately a Commonwealth agency:

…one of the challenges of convergence, because some areas of the media, such as broadcasters, are in fact under the auspices, if you like, of ACMA. Others, the more traditional print media, are not. They are in a different self-regulatory environment. One of our challenges is trying to bring the two different environments together.10

5.21 The government has indicated that it considers reform is needed in this space. Responding to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry into digital platforms, the government made several commitments, including:

7 Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head, News Corp, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, pp. 2-3.

8 Nine, Submission 74, p. 2.

9 Ms Yvette Lamont, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Press Council, Committee Hansard,

22 October 2021, p. 12.

10 Mr Neville Stevens, Chair, Australian Press Council, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 15.

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…commencing a staged process to reform media regulation towards an end state of a platform-neutral regulatory framework covering both online and offline delivery of media content to Australian consumers...11

5.22 In addition, the committee is aware of some recent concerns about Facebook and Google’s behaviour—not only regarding their place in the news media landscape, but also relating to their inability to enforce internal standards.

5.23 A recently filed antitrust case in the United States (US) alleges that Google and Facebook colluded in 2017 to reinforce their dominance of online platforms by illegal anticompetitive actions. According to one analysis, the case:

…accuses Google of making an ‘unlawful agreement’ that gave Facebook special privileges in exchange for promising not to support a competing ad system. It’s just one of many claims made in a case that takes broad aim at Google’s monopoly over the online advertising ecosystem, but it could very well be the most consequential. The case is a civil suit, and it names only Google as a defendant. But if what [the Texas Attorney-General] is alleging is true, then both companies may have violated federal antitrust law—and committed felonies in the process…12

5.24 Facebook has also been hit by allegations of poor corporate behaviour, in that it is unwilling to address known negative effects on users and society more generally. A former senior employee turned whistleblower, Ms Frances Haugen, released a number of documents to the Wall Street Journal and gave evidence to a United States Senate committee as well as a United Kingdom parliamentary committee. The Wall Street Journal summarised the allegations as follows:

Facebook Inc. knows, in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, often in ways only the company fully understands. That is the central finding of a Wall Street Journal series, based on a review of internal Facebook documents, including research reports, online employee discussions and drafts of presentations to senior management.

Time and again, the documents show, Facebook’s researchers have identified the platform’s ill effects. Time and again, despite congressional hearings, its own pledges and numerous media exposés, the company didn’t fix them. The documents offer perhaps the clearest picture thus far of how broadly Facebook’s problems are known inside the company, up to the chief executive himself.13

11 Government Response and Implementation Roadmap for the Digital Platforms Inquiry

(12 December 2019), p. 3.

12 Gilead Edelman, ‘Texas Accuses Google and Facebook of an Illegal Conspiracy’, Wired,

wired.com/story/texas-accuses-google-facebook-illegal-conspiracy/ (accessed 7 December 2021).

13 A series of articles based on these documents is available at wsj.com/articles/the-facebook-files-11631713039 (accessed 7 December 2021).

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More strident calls for regulation of the digital realm 5.25 In the final weeks of this inquiry, Rupert Murdoch, the Executive Chairman and controlling owner of US-based News Corporation addressed a meeting of shareholders, and spoke directly of the disjuncture between the regulatory

regimes of traditional media and digital platforms, and the need for systemic reform.14 This was reported in Australia across News Corp titles. In the Daily Telegraph, an article ran under the headline ‘Time to rein in big tech tyranny News boss’ warning’:

[News Corporation] executive chair-man Rupert Murdoch has expressed deep concern over the corporate behaviours of Google and Facebook, accusing the tech giants of censorship, collusion and a lack of transparency that has left other companies and consumers worse off.

In his opening remarks to News Corporation’s annual meeting of stockholders, Mr Murdoch called for ‘significant reform’ of some of the business practices employed by the digital platforms.

‘For many years, our company has been leading the global debate about Big Digital. What we have seen in the past few weeks about the practices at Facebook and Google surely reinforces the need for significant reform,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt that Facebook employees try to silence conservative voices and a quick Google News search on most contemporary topics often reveals a similar pattern of selectivity—or to be blunt, censorship.15

5.26 Mr Murdoch drew shareholders’ attention to the recent examples of poor corporate behaviour exhibited by the digital giants, including alleged anti-competitive and anti-trust collusion designed to stymie competition by using their online monopoly:

The collusion between the two companies on ad tech as alleged in the Texas Attorney General’s complaint is extraordinary... obviously, publishers have been materially damaged, but companies have also been over-charged for their advertising and consumers have thus paid too much for products…

The idea falsely promoted by the platforms that algorithms are somehow objective and solely scientific is complete nonsense. Algorithms are subjective and they can be manipulated by people to kill competition and damage other people, publishers and businesses.16

14 Note: Rupert Murdoch is the proprietor and Executive Chairman of US-based News Corporation.

From 2013, this has been the controlling parent company of News Corp Australia (News Corp), of which Mr Michael Miller is the Executive Chairman. See ‘About News Corp’, newscorp.com/about-news-corp/ (accessed 7 December 2021).

15 James Madden, ‘Time to rein in big tech tyranny News boss’ warning’, Daily Telegraph,

19 November 2021, p. 3.

16 James Madden, ‘Time to rein in big tech tyranny News boss’ warning’.

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5.27 The same day, longstanding News Corp journalist, Terry McCrann pulled no punches in a News Corp editorial expanding on Mr Murdoch’s speech:

Facebook, YouTube and the rest, search engines like Google, don’t need to be better regulated, they need to be destroyed. This would be, this should be, achieved by the simple expedient of holding them accountable for what they publish—and that word is used very, very advisedly.

Holding them accountable like every other publisher would destroy their parasitic, all power and no responsibility, business models. If Facebook, for most telling example, had to check everything and I mean everything posted on every and I mean every Facebook page—for defamation, and for crossing thousands of other legal lines—like this paper and every other media publication has to, or take the consequences, it would become utterly unfunctional.17

5.28 Mr McCrann stated that Rupert Murdoch’s comments to shareholders were attacking the ‘widespread, deep and sustained censorship of Conservative voices and even plain news’ by Google and YouTube. Mr McCrann suggested the remedy was to ‘create a level playing field’:

Facebook, Google and the rest went aggressively and undeniably into the publishing business, by prohibiting content purely on the basis of editorial decisions. That is exactly what the censorship identified by Murdoch is: a publishing decision.

We don’t need a whole new regulatory structure around social media; simply remove their totally outdated unfair and unjustified advantage, to recognise the reality they have chosen to create.

Simply, create a level playing field for all media.18

5.29 These strident calls echo the evidence provided to the committee by News Corp executives, discussed both in the previous chapter and below. These include comments like those made on the need to regulate online platforms by Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head of News Corp, such as:

 ‘I think the best thing is for parliament to introduce legislation that covers the new big digital players’; and  ‘Honestly, I have conflicting views on this. I would like it to be relaxed for us and intensified for them’ (when asked about potential reform to

anti-siphoning laws for traditional and digital platforms).19

17 Terry McCrann, ‘Facebook Publishes and should be damned’, Daily Telegraph, 19 November 2021,

p. 73.

18 Terry McCrann, ‘Facebook Publishes and should be damned’.

19 Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head, News Corp, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 4 and p. 3

respectively.

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Case study: YouTube suspension of Sky News (August 2021) 5.30 In August 2021, YouTube (which is owned by Google) suspended Sky News from its video hosting platform for a one-week period. The committee was interested in this as an illustration of the inherent tension between traditional

and new media platforms, which shows the clear fault line in regulation, including that:

 a digital platform can act quickly and decisively to ban content reproduced on its site, when an industry regulator could or would not (in this case the ACMA); and

 a traditional media company was held to account by a digital platform enforcing its own self-developed standards and processes, which are not subject to external oversight or review mechanisms.

5.31 The suspension was imposed on Sky News for uploading content that violated YouTube’s medical misinformation policies, including content that suggested the COVID-19 virus did not exist, and which encouraged people to use non-proven treatments. This content featured the Sky News broadcasters Rowan Dean, Alan Jones, and Rita Panahi.

5.32 Sky News told the committee that it had taken down a number of other videos ‘of a similar nature’ as a precaution against potential future adverse findings by YouTube.20

5.33 YouTube confirmed that it had removed Sky News content because they breached the platform’s own COVID-19 misinformation policies which came into effect in March 2020. YouTube also explained that it had followed a publicly available process in providing a written warning and then a ‘strike’ to Sky News, and that its policies were applied ‘equally to all YouTube content and channel owners’—from individuals to global media companies. It was also confirmed that the Sky News videos had been detected by the platform’s automated intelligence system.21

5.34 Ms Longcroft of Google confirmed a number of details about the matter:

There is a total of 23 videos that have been removed… The majority of those videos were removed as violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy. Two videos were removed as violations of our election integrity policy… The action was taken in accordance with our normal policies and procedures. Subsequent to the strike being made public, we did receive a

20 Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer, Sky News Australia, Committee Hansard,

6 September 2021, p. 23.

21 Ms Lucinda Longcroft, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google, Committee

Hansard, 6 September 2021, pp. 1 and 4.

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communication from the ACMA asking for details about the nature of the actions we had taken and we responded to those questions.22

5.35 Ms Longcroft also confirmed that Sky News were offered an opportunity to appeal:

When we inform Sky News, as we inform all content and channel owners, that a violation has been found and material has been removed, we also very clearly inform that owner of the process of filing an appeal. Where they do not appeal—and, in this case, Sky News has not appealed—then the material is taken down. We would then take that as ceding to the violative nature of the videos. But I wouldn’t speak to Sky News’s intent in this case.23

5.36 The committee sought information about this matter from Sky News. Mr Whittaker, its Chief Executive Officer, told the committee that he did not accept YouTube’s rationale for the suspension:

YouTube asserted that the videos removed, some up to a year old, did not comply with its COVID misinformation policies. YouTube’s assertion that Sky News has ‘denied the existence of COVID-19’ is expressly rejected. That assertion is, frankly, ridiculous… Sky News Australia strongly supports vaccination. Any claims to the contrary are false and a blatant attempt to discredit and harm our news service.24

5.37 In taking this position, Mr Whittaker questioned whether YouTube’s standards were selective and censorious:

YouTube’s actions make clear that it is not a neutral platform, but a publisher selectively broadcasting content and censoring certain views, while allowing videos that are patently false, misogynistic and racist to proliferate. Sky News videos on crucial COVID-19 issues, ranging from important discussions about treatments to prevention measures, have been removed from public view, while tawdry tutorials on drug taking, videos glamorising gang violence, and a rich diet of crackpot conspiracy theories are freely and widely available on YouTube.25

5.38 Moreover, Mr Whittaker suggested that YouTube’s compliance practices ‘lack transparency and a clearly articulated process’ that would afford organisations the opportunity to address or challenge decisions:

If we’re saying that YouTube is the model that we want our regulator to abide by, that means we are saying that the regulator should be able to

22 Ms Lucinda Longcroft, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google, Committee

Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 2.

23 Ms Lucinda Longcroft, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google, Committee

Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 9.

24 Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer, Sky News Australia, Committee Hansard,

6 September 2021, p. 10.

25 Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer, Sky News Australia, Committee Hansard,

6 September 2021, p. 10.

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shut down a major TV network with 30 minutes notice, with no consultation, no explanation, no written justification and no procedural fairness. To me, that sounds more like the mentality in a totalitarian state rather than a liberal democracy.26

5.39 It was put to Google that YouTube’s actions had been cast as ‘agents for the authoritarian state’. To this, Ms Longcroft responded:

I would respectfully reject that characterisation. We take our responsibility to our users extremely seriously, in terms of safeguarding their rights as well as safeguarding them from harm. What we do is balance the importance of free information on the internet with that responsibility to keep our users safe. Our guidelines, as you heard reflected earlier, span a variety of conduct that would cause harm to our users. The policies have been developed through close consultation with authorities globally. They are revised constantly and they are enforced by highly trained trust and safety teams to ensure that they are applied robustly and agnostically regardless of whoever has uploaded the content.27

5.40 Mr Whittaker also commented that he considered the suspension to be symptomatic of ‘YouTube overreach’, and suggested the content would be more appropriately assessed through the ACMA’s processes:

Those videos were broadcast on Sky News and therefore come under ACMA’s regulations. But this particular issue with ACMA wasn’t because of ACMA inaction. It was a case, in my view, of YouTube overreach, because there were no complaints about any of those videos that were taken down by YouTube. Those are the complaints that ACMA would be acting upon… There were no complaints from the public about them, and ACMA rely on the complaints from the general public viewing them.28

5.41 On this point, the committee sought evidence from the ACMA on the material removed by YouTube, as well as any complaints about Sky News content before the regulator. Its Chair, Ms Nerida O’Loughlin, stated:

We’re not aware of the content that has been taken down by Google. We have not been informed of the specific pieces of content. We did ask Google that question, and they did not provide that information to us. I can say that, over the last eight months, we’ve received 37 complaints about COVID related Sky News reports. Of those 37 complaints, 24 referred to broadcast material and provided contact details, and we were able to refer those complaints back to the broadcaster, as the co-regulatory model requires us to do. To date, none of those have come back to us for further investigation. We had nine additional complaints and inquiries that referred to online content. Obviously online content is

26 Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer, Sky News Australia, Committee Hansard,

6 September 2021, p. 18.

27 Ms Lucinda Longcroft, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google, Committee

Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 4.

28 Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer, Sky News Australia, Committee Hansard,

6 September 2021, p. 15.

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beyond our remit, so we have not dealt with those. We also had three anonymous complaints. Anonymous complaints are difficult for us because it’s very hard for us to refer those on to a broadcaster for resolution. They’re still on our deck at the moment to see what the broadcasters have done with the complaints that have gone to them. And we had one complaint, which was from 5 August 2020, which we investigated and found no breach.29

5.42 More generally, the ACMA said that its timeframe for handling complaints was ‘around four to six months’, to give respondents ample time to respond to the complainant. Ms O’Loughlin commented that the regulator did not have the power to compel programs to be removed in a shorter timeframe due to the constraints of the ACMA’s guiding legislation:

…can I take programs off-air quickly? No, that would be inconsistent with the regulatory regime that applies and has applied since 1992.30

5.43 On this matter, former Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd, asked rhetorically:

…what were [ACMA] doing to earn their salary to allow this to occur? They have a direct responsibility here, under the law, because this material is being rebroadcast on free-to-air television. So, ACMA didn’t act. I have corresponded with them as to why they haven’t acted. They said that it’s within their powers to initiate their own investigation into such matters, which are deeply in the public interest, but they chose not to, and they pointed me…to the fact that it’s a matter for the parliament to change the laws governing the Broadcasting Services Act, which establishes ACMA, to enable it to do the job for the Australian people that YouTube have had to do instead.31

5.44 Mr Rudd also pointed out that this matter represented a clash between different kinds of monopolies—the concentrated market ownership in the traditional media, against the emerging dominance of the tech giants:

The problem that we’ve seen with Facebook’s actions in the last 24 hours [in suspending Sky News] is that they give us a graphic example of what a very large new media monopoly can do to abuse its power, just as we should be equally mindful of how a continuing media monopoly—that’s Murdoch—also abuses its power and has done so for a long period of time. That is why I go back to my original proposition…about why a royal commission is necessary: monopoly of itself is wrong in principle, whether it’s in politics, whether it’s in the economy, or whether it’s in the news media—of any form. I don’t want Facebook determining my future, and I don’t want Murdoch determining my future either.32

29 Ms Nerida O’Loughlin PSM, Chair, ACMA, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 41.

30 Ms Nerida O’Loughlin PSM, Chair, ACMA, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, pp. 44 and 48.

31 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 28.

32 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 14.

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Committee view 5.45 This chapter has focused on the current lack of regulatory mechanisms for online platforms, and the suspension of Sky News from YouTube.

5.46 The suspension illustrates the current disjuncture in regulatory systems where some platforms are unregulated, and regulatory standards and processes for other media formats could be greatly improved.

5.47 Regarding the performance of regulators, this matter shows that the ACMA has no real power or inclination to compel the removal of potentially damaging content hosted online, even if it was originally generated by a broadcaster subject to the ACMA’s regulations. In this, the committee considers that Google/YouTube acted appropriately and responsibly in removing dangerous and misleading content, which could have harmed Australians.

5.48 ACMA’s reluctance to intervene in the matter was reflected further in a puzzling answer it gave to a Senate Estimates hearing in October 2021. Asked whether ACMA had formally turned its mind to the adequacy of the broadcasting codes to protect Australians from misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the authority’s Chair, Ms Nerida O’Loughlin, replied that ACMA didn’t see the need to do this because of the low level of complaints throughout the period. Her answer, however, surely prompts this further question: if ACMA has not formally turned its mind to the issue, how can it know whether the codes are providing adequate community safeguards?33

5.49 The committee shares the concerns of submitters including News Corp that an online platform, which cannot be held to account by a regulatory mechanism or enforceable standards, can itself hold a powerful media outlet to account, as Google did in the case of Sky News. Google’s intervention shows it is clear that online platforms can decide to arbitrarily break the connection between broadcaster and audience, should they wish to do so.

5.50 Although the committee supports YouTube’s actions to address Sky News’ misinformation on COVID-19—where the government’s own regulator could or would not—it is alarming to think that this power could be used in other contexts to censor or block potentially valuable news coverage that could impact Australians’ right to access reliable information and news content.

5.51 The need for reform in the current outlook poses a clear but complex challenge, both for the Commonwealth and for self-regulated industry bodies.

5.52 For the traditional media, it is rightly concerning that unregulated online platforms enjoy a competitive advantage of being unregulated, and have the

33 Ms Nerida O’Loughlin PSM, Chair, ACMA, Senate Environment and Communications Legislation

Committee, Committee Hansard, 26 October 2021, p. 55.

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ability to block or restrict news content without established and transparent standards, or independent oversight.

5.53 However, as the following chapter discusses, evidence received by the committee suggested that News Corp is similarly unable to be held to account to its own standards, and that its own use of its dominance in the market is not beyond reproach.

5.54 For the Commonwealth, it should be concerning that inconsistent and weak regulation is corrosive for our society and democracy, and harms our national wellbeing, which is the subject of the following chapter.

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Chapter 6

Consequences of concentrated ownership and ineffective regulation

6.1 The previous chapters have outlined the increasingly concentrated ownership of Australian media, as well as the current deficiencies of news media regulation and oversight.

6.2 This chapter reviews recent indications of that concentration, as well as recent market performance data. Then there is discussion of some of the consequences of this situation, where the control over the sources of news, information and opinion is in far too few hands, and where the mechanisms and legal frameworks for regulatory oversight are not fit-for-purpose for a modern, converged media.

6.3 This includes evidence that some large media organisations have become so powerful and unchecked that they have developed an attitude and corporate culture that considers themselves beyond being held to account, both by the current media regulators, as well as agreed standards of good journalism.

6.4 It is noteworthy that the overwhelming majority of the evidence to this inquiry relates to one dominant media organisation, News Corp. As a consequence, many of the examples outlined in this chapter necessarily relate to that particular media outlet.

6.5 In accordance with the Senate’s standard adverse comment procedures, the committee provided many submissions containing strong claims to News Corp with an opportunity to respond should it wish to do so (a right of reply). The committee notes that News Corp chose not to respond to these various allegations.

The current situation in Australia. 6.6 According to the Centre for Advancing Journalism, Australia now has only three national-scale commercial media voices:

 News Corporation … controls about two-thirds of metropolitan daily newspaper circulation, including monopolies in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin; regional daily monopolies in a range of cities including Cairns and Townsville; substantial chains of suburban and rural newspapers; [and] the only subscription television news service, Sky News-which also operates as a free-to-air channel in regional areas.

 Nine Entertainment… owns the Nine television network, and the old Fairfax mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Financial Review.

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 In Western Australia … [Mr] Kerry Stokes, holds a controlling interest in Seven West Media Ltd, which controls WA’s only locally edited daily metropolitan newspaper, The West Australian, the state’s only other metropolitan newspaper, The Sunday Times, and Community Newspaper Group, which owns 23 local newspapers across Perth, as well as the Seven television network nationally.

6.7 In August 2021 Roymorgan.com published an analysis of ‘total news readership’ in Australia, which covered ‘all news brands (print and digital) and digital news websites’, as set out in Figure 6.1.

Figure 6.1 Top Ten most read news brands, Roy Morgan Research

Source: Roy Morgan Research, measured as ‘All audience data is based on the last 4 weeks averaged over the 12 months to June 2021’, roymorgan.com/findings/8788-thinknewsbrands-total-news-readership-release-august-2021-202108200629 (accessed 1 November 2021).

6.8 In August 2021 IBISWorld published its latest data on revenue share among Australia’s major newspapers, as set out in Figure 6.2.

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Figure 6.2 Major players in Australian media % share of industry revenue

Source: IBISWorld, Newspaper publishing in Australia, August 2021, p. 8.

The corrosive effects of monopoly on democracy 6.9 Some evidence suggested that the predominance of News Corp-owned titles in the concentrated Australian media sector was tantamount to a monopoly. It was claimed that when News Corp titles contained similar or identical

coordinated content, that it could easily be seen as an abuse of power.

6.10 For instance, the Hon Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, submitted that there are several principal negative issues with the current Australian outlook of media concentration, including that:

 in some areas of Australia, the level of News Corp media is close to 100 per cent, which prevents a diversity of views and good information being provided to local communities, which is bad for the health of democratic processes;

 media monopolies have ‘a real danger of encouraging, over time, corruption’ as political institutions are not scrutinised sufficiently; and  alternative voices are being silenced by the domination of outlets under concentrated ownership, including that local media outlets are ‘starved of

local news’.1

6.11 Speaking of the culture fostered by the domination of News Corp in Australia’s media landscape, Mr Rudd commented that it ‘cripples the national conversation’ on crucial issues such as climate change, our future relationship with China, and other large policy challenges:

1 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 2.

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I am concerned that, if you have a media monopoly, why is it constantly skewed in the direction of crisis, controversy, scandal, character assassination and demonisation of alternative points of view, rather than a sophisticated national conversation… That’s where I think we need a balanced, rational national conversation.2

6.12 Another former Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, told the committee that the Murdoch-owned Fox News had driven and fomented social divisions in America, including the 6 January 2021 ‘sacking of the US Capitol’ by armed supporters of former President Trump. He commented that in Australia, although we have a different context:

…we also see the impact of the way in which News Corp has evolved from being a traditional news organisation, or journalistic organisation, to one that is essentially like a political party but it’s a party with only one member. You see the way in which it is used in an aggressive, partisan way to drive particular agendas, whether it is fermenting antagonism and animosity towards Muslims…[or] whether it is the campaign against effective action on climate change, which has been where Murdoch is the principal amplifier and promoter of that in the English speaking world, at a huge cost to all of us, and to the planet—the whole world.3

6.13 Mr Rudd’s criticism of monopolies was not limited to News Corp. Of the emerging digital monopolies of Facebook and Google, he stated:

The problem that we’ve seen with Facebook’s actions in the last 24 hours [in suspending Sky News] is that they give us a graphic example of what a very large new media monopoly can do to abuse its power, just as we should be equally mindful of how a continuing media monopoly—that’s Murdoch—also abuses its power and has done so for a long period of time.4

6.14 A number of submissions also spoke of the effects the dominance of News Corp outlets in the media sector, and suggested its coverage could be driven by ideology more than objectivity. For instance, Professor Rodney Tiffen, a media expert from the University of Sydney, noted the decline in journalistic standards at News Corp, which he suggested stemmed from its leadership:

In such a hierarchical organization, the most important influence is the person at the top. The pressures towards internal conformity, joined with the arrogance stemming from external monopoly advantages, has produced an increasingly mediocre organization, and a hardening of the editorial arteries. The Foxification of News has manifested itself in several ways—a stable of columnists whose market appeal is their stridency, and whose main mission is to grab attention and to reinforce prejudices. It is also evident in its news priorities, such as its double standards in stories about the right and left in Australian politics. It is especially apparent in

2 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, pp. 5-6

3 The Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, pp. 1-2.

4 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 14.

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the way they report on global warming, a determined lack of coverage of scientific reports, including one a couple of months ago on damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Increasingly also it seems to have led to more incompetent reporting, and the organisation’s seeming indifference to inaccuracies in its news coverage.5

6.15 There have been indications that there is unease about News Corp media’s tolerance for legitimising misinformation within elements of the organisation itself. For example, the committee is aware that James Murdoch explained his resignation from News Corp ‘due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions’. He later reflected in a New York Times interview that:

I reached the conclusion that you can venerate a contest of ideas, if you will, and we all do and that’s important, but it shouldn’t be in a way that hides agendas. A contest of ideas shouldn’t be used to legitimise disinformation. And I think it’s often taken advantage of. And I think at great news organisations, the mission really should be to introduce fact to disperse doubt—not to sow doubt, to obscure fact, if you will.6

6.16 Mr Campbell Reid, the Group Executive responsible for Corporate, Policy and Government affairs at News Corp, was asked about Mr Murdoch’s comments. Noting that James Murdoch may not have been familiar with the Australian market, and that he may have been referring to overseas media organisations, Mr Reid told the committee:

With the greatest respect, I disagree with James Murdoch’s assertion. That’s his opinion, and he’s entitled to that opinion, but I don’t agree... James hasn’t worked in the Australian market. I’ve never worked with him. I am aware of his comments. I’ve never spoken to him about them. He’s never asked or given me feedback on any of our publications.7

6.17 An earlier statement by James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn Hufschmid in January 2020 commented on the effects of misinformation, particularly on climate denialism and political instability:

Spreading disinformation—whether about the election, public health or climate change—has real world consequences… Many media property owners have as much responsibility for this as the elected officials who know the truth but choose instead to propagate lies. We hope the awful scenes we have all been seeing [the Capitol insurrection] will finally convince those enablers to repudiate the toxic politics they have promoted once and forever.8

5 Professor Rodney Tiffen, Submission 9, p. 2.

6 Maureen Dowd, ‘James Murdoch, Rebellious Scion’, New York Times (10 October 2020),

nytimes.com/2020/10/10/style/james-murdoch-maureen-dowd.html (accessed 8 December 2021).

7 Mr Campbell Reid, Group Executive, Corporate, Policy and Government, News Corp Australia,

Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 30.

8 Mr Alex Barker, ‘James Murdoch blasts US media for unleashing ‘insidious forces’’, Financial

Times, 16 January 2021, ft.com/content/9eab68e1-7afb-4282-95fa-3149bd091efa (accessed

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News Corp’s reversal on climate change 6.18 Some commentators highlighted that the recent News Corp switch in positioning on climate change revealed an attitude that sees itself as beyond accountability, which favours content driven more by ideological dogma than

objective independence.

6.19 The News Corp media has been at the forefront of opposing action on climate change for decades.9

6.20 However, in October 2021, a coordinated campaign across News Corp outlets declared support for a cut to carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 in the interests of tackling climate change. Some commentators suggested that, after the previous decades of dismissing the scientific consensus on the need to reduce emissions to tackle climate change, this was an egregious about-face for News Corp, given its long opposition to climate change mitigation. For example, Mr Rudd suggested that News Corp’s historic coverage of climate change and willingness to misrepresent scientific data reflected the views of its owner:

Rupert Murdoch is an unabashed sceptic of the climate science as vetted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and every major scientific institution on earth, including the CSIRO [Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation]. His outlets frequently and uncritically publish pseudoscience that variously claims climate action is unnecessary, too costly or a stalking horse to establish a new socialist world order. Such data manipulation claims continue to be published, and older articles remain online, despite Press Council criticism. Because of Murdoch’s monopoly influence, Australia is now one of the few countries on earth where lasting, meaningful climate change action has not been possible. Murdoch has exercised a similar influence in the United States.10

6.21 An eminent climate scientist from the United States of America (US), Dr Michael E. Mann, spoke to the committee about the long record of climate denialism fostered and encouraged by News Corp-owned outlets. He suggested that this approach had systemically ‘spread disinformation about science solutions aimed at discrediting renewable energy sources such as wind and solar’. Speaking of the time he recently spent in Australia during the Black Summer fires which he linked to the very real and disastrous effects of climate change, he said:

Dangerous climate change has arrived for Australia, whether it is the unprecedented heat, drought and bushfires one year or the epic floods the

8 December 2021). See also evidence discussed later in this chapter regarding climate change and bushfires, as well as on corporate culture.

9 This was noted repeatedly in public submission to the inquiry made through Mr Rudd’s process,

as well as in contributions in Get Up, Submission 85 (Supplementary submission 1).

10 The Hon Mr Kevin Rudd AC, Submission 52, pp. 6-7.

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next. This is the new reality Australia faces and it will only get much worse if we—that is, the US, Australia and the rest of the world—fail to act boldly and immediately to reduce global carbon emissions.

As horrifying as it has been to watch these climate change wrought disasters play out in Australia, it has been equally horrifying to watch the pernicious efforts by the Murdoch media to sow disinformation about what is happening. I’m talking specifically about efforts by Murdoch owned papers like The Australian and the Herald Sun to promote thoroughly discredited myths, blaming the record fires last year on arson or back burning or really anything other than the inconvenient true culprit that must not be named if you are the Murdoch media.11

6.22 Dr Mann noted that the News Corp attacked and vilified public figures speaking out on climate change mitigation. On scientists, he said that the News Corp modus operandi includes:

…vilifying them on the pages of the Murdoch media outlets, basically as a way of intimidating scientists and preventing us from speaking out publicly about climate change and its impacts and the threat that it represents. It’s a form of intimidation intended to serve as notice for other scientists: ‘If you speak out about climate change, [and] the profound implications of the science when it comes to public policy and the need to do something about climate change, we’re going to come after you. We’re going to make an example of you for other would-be science communicators.’

I think any climate scientist in Australia would be scared to death to be engaged in the sort of commentary we have here tonight because their funding, their jobs, are at the mercy of this stranglehold that the Murdoch media has on the entire political environment in Australia...12

6.23 Mr Turnbull noted that the News Corp had also attempted to attack and intimidate politicians they saw as progressive on climate change, giving the following example:

At the beginning of last year when the bushfires were at their worst, in Sydney, [then-NSW Minister for Energy and the Environment] Matt Kean gave a speech about climate policy. It was a conventional speech. It was a good speech but there was nothing revolutionary, radical or anything like that. He basically said that the fires demonstrate that the climate is getting hotter with global warming and hotter and drier means more fires—true. The attack on him in the Telegraph following that was bitter, vicious and personal. It was designed to not just punish him but also send the message—and this is how it [the Murdoch media] operates like a Mafia gang—that, if you step out of line, you will cop some of this too. That’s the threat. So other politicians look at that and they say, ‘Oh, gosh, I don’t want to go there.’13

11 Dr Michael E. Mann, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 12.

12 Dr Michael E. Mann, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, pp. 13-15.

13 The Hon Malcom Turnbull AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 4.

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6.24 Moreover, it is clear that similar perspectives are held broadly by others, outside evidence received during this inquiry, including within News Corp itself. For example, at the peak of the bushfire crisis in early 2020, Ms Emily Townsend, a senior News Corp employee, resigned from the company in an open email addressed to the Executive Chairman, Mr Michael Miller. In this email, which Ms Townsend sent to all News Corp staff, she accused News Corp titles of misrepresenting facts on climate change and the cause of such bad bushfires, and spreading and legitimising misinformation among the general public:

I have been severely impacted by the coverage of News Corp publications in relation to the fires, in particular the misinformation campaign that has tried to divert attention away from the real issue which is climate change to rather focus on arson (including misrepresenting facts). I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies. The reporting I have witnessed in the Australian, the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun is not only irresponsible, but dangerous and damaging to our communities and beautiful planet that needs us more than ever now to acknowledge the destruction we have caused and start doing something about it.14

6.25 One week later, a spokesperson for James Murdoch and Kathryn Hufschmid revealed they were also frustrated by the angle taken in Murdoch-owned publications, stating:

…[their] views on climate are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known… They are particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary.15

6.26 Discussing News Corp’s coverage of climate change and Ms Townsend’s email, Mr Miller stated that he considered climate change was real, and that his organisation had printed a large number of articles representing a diversity of opinion:

There’s no misinformation campaign. [Ms Townsend’s resignation] was fairly confronting moment for a number of us: ‘Let’s go back and look at how we covered the bushfires.’ As is often the case on major issues, we do look back and do have reflection about how we could have done the job better and what we did. I do know how many articles we published, how many of our 100-plus journalists at the front line covered the stories in different communities up and down Australia and the support they gave. I’m really proud that they identified [areas of need] and, of the $10 million

14 Christopher Knaus, ‘News Corp employee lashes climate ‘misinformation’ in bushfire coverage

with blistering email’, Guardian Online, 10 January 2020,

theguardian.com/media/2020/jan/10/news-corp-employee-climate-misinformation-bushfire-coverage-email (accessed 8 December 2021).

15 Lachlan Cartwright, ‘James Murdoch Slams Fox News and News Corp Over Climate-Change

Denial’, Daily Beast, 14 January 2020, thedailybeast.com/james-murdoch-slams-fox-news-and-news-corp-over-climate-change-denial (accessed 8 December 2021).

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of donations and fundraising we’ve undertaken, that they’ve gone back personally to make those donations….

There were over 3,000 different articles over that period of time around the bushfires, and many of them did talk to the impact it was having and the impact that was caused by climate change.16

6.27 Over the course of this inquiry, News Corp signalled that it had changed its position on the issue of curbing Australian carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050, despite a long history of opposing stronger targets, including in the 2019 Federal Election.17 The change came in a printed 16-page cover supplement across the News Corp tabloid papers (see figure below), as well as the ‘Time is Now’ series on news.com.au, which looked ‘at how climate change will impact Australia by 2050’ in collaboration with the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub.18

6.28 Interestingly, The Australian did not publish a supplement, and several News Corp broadcasters and commentators spoke out against the campaign. Some Sky broadcasters expressed disapproval, including Andrew Bolt, who labelled it as ‘News Corp’s global warming propaganda’, and suggested it was an about-face of a long tradition for News Corp:

Because most of these same newspapers campaigned against Kevin Rudd’s global warming policies and against Labor’s later carbon tax and against Labor’s global warming policies at the last election and also mocked global warming extremists from Rudd to Greta Thunberg. And now this?… it’s rubbish. I don’t buy it.19

6.29 Only three days after the campaign’s launch, The Australian’s commentator Peta Credlin, the former Chief of Staff for Prime Minister the Hon Tony Abbott who campaigned vigorously against emissions reduction, noted some hypocrisy of Prime Minister Morrison’s commitment to a net-zero target, in relation to his earlier opposition—without mentioning News Corp’s shift on the matter:

16 Mr Michael Miller, Executive Chairman, News Corp Australia, Committee Hansard,

19 February 2021, pp. 33 and 34.

17 Ms Gabi Mocatta, ‘What’s behind News Corp’s new spin on climate change?’, The Conversation

Online, 18 October 2021, theconversation.com/whats-behind-news-corps-new-spin-on-climate-change-169733 (accessed 8 December 2021).

18 News.com.au, Time is now: Australia’s moment of truth, news.com.au/topics/time-is-now (accessed

8 December 2021).

19 Andrew Bolt, ‘The Bolt Report’ (11 October 2021), transcribed by ‘Media Watch’, ABC Online,

abc.net.au/mediawatch/episodes/climate/13591490 (accessed 8 December 2021)

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How can something be dead wrong two years ago—in the words of Scott Morrison, ‘a reckless target…(that) will come at a tremendous cost to Australians’—but now be absolutely right?20

6.30 This contrast between the 2019 and 2021 News Corp attitude to climate change is shown in Figures 6.3 and 6.4 below. Contrast the breathless opposition to the ‘apocalypse’ of Labor’s 45 per cent 2030 reduction target taken to the 2019 election, with the advocacy for the ‘How we can go Green and Save Jobs in a Net-Zero World’ approach in 2021.

6.31 Mr Rudd expressed great cynicism about this reversal in approach:

When you look at the representatives of Sky, for example… Rowan Dean said that climate change is ‘the biggest hoax of them all’. He said again, only this year, ‘There has been no net warming in the last 22 years.’ That’s news to me, to the CSIRO and to every credible climate scientist. Alan Jones, the archdeacon of climate change denialism, said they peddle the climate change hoax that apparently carbon dioxide, the source of all plant life, is evil. Therefore, given that’s what they actually put out, we’ve got to greet this with enormous scepticism. I use the term ‘greenwashing’ deliberately.21

An unhealthy and dangerous influence on politics 6.32 The committee was interested in the potential effects of media concentration on the health of democratic institutions and culture of politics. A number of stakeholders expressed concern that media conglomerates can have undue

influence over the Australian democratic system, through coordinated editorial positions on certain issues, politically loaded coverage, and the use of print media to set the agenda across other forms of media, as exhibited by the evidence set out above on climate change.

6.33 Moreover, in noting these trends, it was suggested that the concentration and polarisation of news content has had a ‘corrosive’ effect on politics, and reduced the trust that the general public had towards government.

6.34 A former journalist, Mr Tony Koch, gave evidence to the committee, based on his long and distinguished career with News Corp outlets. He expressed his concern about News Corp media outlets including noting a:

…bias that I perceived and their unwillingness to cover stories that were critical of the Liberal and National parties, and they always seemed to me to put a twist on that was anti-Labor, particularly leading up to the elections. That was never the case when I was a journalist [for more than two decades] with the organisation, and it worried me.22

20 Peta Credlin, ‘PM’s switch to net zero leaves us in dark’. The Australian (14 October 2021).

theaustralian.com.au/commentary/pms-switch-to-net-zero-leaves-us-indark/news-story/4b14f1b8ad9826294120c83f654adbda (accessed 8 December 2021).

21 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 6 September 2021, p. 31.

22 Mr Tony Koch, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 1.

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Figure 6.3 The Australian opposition to the Labor Party’s election platform of 45 per cent reduction by 2030, 20 February 2019.

Source: The Australian, 20 February 2019.

Figure 6.4 News Corp support for a net-zero emissions reduction target by 2050, 11 October 2021

Source: News Corp front covers compiled by the ABC’s Media Watch program 18 October 2021, abc.net.au/mediawatch/episodes/climate/13591490 (accessed 8 December 2021)

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6.35 Mr Koch noted that recent News Corp standards had reduced scrutiny on the current government, which he considered was politically-driven:

The News Corp papers have taken a huge right turn. They obviously favour the LNP and kick to death anybody else who is not connected with them. They ignore really serious important stories about the LNP— $400 million going to some unheard of Barrier Reef organisation, bushfire funds being collected but not distributed… The editors I worked for—if we had been confronted with these recent [Parliament House-based] rape stories, there is no way in the world we would be sitting off and allowing rubbish opinions like, ‘I haven’t read the documents; therefore he’s innocent.’… The editors I worked with and the journalists I worked with— in particular, the women journalists I worked with—would not have had a bar of that.23

6.36 Regarding federal politics, Mr Rudd outlined a number of examples of News Corp media outlets taking an ideologically-driven opposition to reform and stifling public debate on several matters, including:

 the National Broadband Network, where it encouraged opposition to the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises connections, as this was perceived as a threat to the Foxtel cable network;

 its coverage ‘misleading a generation of Australians about the real state of their country’s economic position’, by driving a narrative of unsustainable ‘debt and deficit’, when it was ‘among the lowest in the world’; and

 opposition to climate change mitigation, as discussed above.24

6.37 Moreover, it was also argued that negative coverage in News Corp outlets was used to intimidate politicians. Mr Turnbull told the committee:

I’ve absolutely experienced bullying and standover tactics from News Corp. You could fill a library with examples of it… It’s a way to intimidate politicians and get them to do what News or its proprietors want. I don’t want to go on about my removal as Prime Minister, but I think, as everyone knows, as the record shows, News Corp were part of that conspiracy that put the coup in action.25

6.38 Mr Rudd concurred that News Corp had a negative effect on politicians from all sides:

…the truth is—and probably the uncomfortable truth in [Parliament]—that everyone is frightened of Murdoch; they really are. There’s a culture of fear across the country, and the fear is rationally based. They’ve seen many cases of individual political leaders and others who have had their characters assassinated through a systematic campaign by the Murdoch media. In other words, what the Murdoch mob are after is compliant

23 Mr Tony Koch, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 2.

24 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Submission 52, pp. 6-7.

25 The Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 3.

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politicians who won’t rock the boat—in fact, even better if they provide them with taxpayer dollars to assist them on the way through.26

6.39 These two former Prime Ministers of Australia from different sides of politics both agreed that News Corp had shown its strong bias in its coverage of pandemic lockdowns, in favour of Liberal governments. Mr Rudd submitted that News Corp titles run a ‘protection racket’ for politicians they consider ‘useful’ to their own commercial or political interests. Regarding politics, he noted that coverage slanted favourably towards Coalition governments, citing:

…the NSW Liberal Government’s difficulties in managing the coronavirus pandemic have been documented by the Murdoch media, but with none of the venom reserved for the Victorian Labor Government when faced with a similar challenge. Any factual survey of the quantitative and qualitative front page coverage of the Sydney Daily Telegraph and the Melbourne Herald Sun during 2020 will validate this claim [see figure below].27

6.40 Mr Turnbull agreed that News Corp titles had more favourable coverage for the actions of Liberal Premiers, even where Labor Premiers had adopted similar policies:

To his credit, Kevin Rudd has done a good job, I think, in showing the way in which the News tabloids have flayed Labor state governments for their failings on the management of the pandemic but been very gentle in its treatment of Liberal ones.28

Figure 6.5 Front page coverage of Victorian Labor COVID-19 measures (left), compared with coverage of NSW Liberal policies (right)

Source: The Hon Kevin Rudd, Submission 52, p. 5.

26 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 3.

27 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Submission 52, p. 5.

28 The Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 5.

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National security implications 6.41 The committee is aware that some perceive media concentration and shrinking diversity as a potential national security issue. In particular, it has been noted that events of January 2021 in Washington, where the Capitol building was

stormed by supporters of former President Donald Trump who claimed that the election had been ‘stolen’, were fomented by misinformation broadcast on the Murdoch-owned Fox News network.

6.42 For instance, in an interview about this inquiry with Mr James Clapper, a former Director National Intelligence for President Barack Obama, former US Air Force Lieutenant General and academic, said an inquiry into the influence of the News Corp press was a ‘good idea for the sake of transparency and objectivity’. He commented that Fox News was the ‘principal media component’ in fostering ‘truth decay’, which had caused the Capitol attacks:

I have spoken a lot about a phenomenon that is not just in the United States but in other places as well of what the Rand Corporation has very aptly and cleverly called truth decay… This is the whole business of disregarding facts and objective analysis and empirical data… Unfortunately, in [the US] we’ve fallen into two separate reality bubbles, one of which is fomented and amplified by Fox News… Rupert Murdoch and Fox is part of a larger issue we have in this country. To the extent that anyone feeds, amplifies, expands, embellishes truth decay—that is insidious and dangerous to democracy.29

6.43 Mr Rudd warned of a potential ‘Foxification’ of Australian news:

I’m worried about the impact of this monopoly over time on the encouragement of political extremism of the Far Right. I’ve lived in the US for the last five or six years. I watch Fox a lot. I have to in my job. What I’ve seen over that period of time is the creation of the, frankly, alternative political ecosystem out there on the Far Right, which is self-contained and fed by a self-contained echo chamber, and it’s called Murdoch’s Fox News, whereby the most unfounded conspiracy theories are suddenly gospel truth, and they suddenly become adhered to as a call to action, a credo for arms. Look at those people who stormed the Capitol on 6 January and the arguments they put forward as to why they were doing it. What I worry about in this country is that Sky News is becoming the vehicle for the Fox-News-isation of Australia. You don’t have to look far at the Sky News coverage to begin to see the emerging similar patterns.30

Public health misinformation

29 Katharine Murphy, 'Former US intelligence officer backs Turnbull and Rudd's call for Murdoch

media inquiry', Guardian Australia (21 April 2021). theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/apr/21/former-us-intelligence-director-backs-turnbull-and-rudds-call-for-murdoch-media-inquiry (accessed 8 December 2021)

30 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 2.

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6.44 A broad range of stakeholders raised concerns about the prominence that some News Corp-owned outlets have given to misinformation or conspiracy theories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. This, it was argued, has been a considerable obstacle to Australians receiving timely and accurate information, which has serious consequences for their health and wellbeing.

6.45 A number of expert submissions recognised the importance of health expert voices in the media in addressing public health concerns during the pandemic, not only to inform the public with accurate information, but also to provide governments with clear communication channels to communicate about the health protection measures they were implementing.31

6.46 However, a recent article by Professor Paul Kelly, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, outlined the difficulties of communicating health information, given the rampant spread of misinformation about the virus, especially on the safety of vaccines, and unproven and speculative other treatments:

The virus is real, and its heartbreaking consequences are real. The loss of life is felt across communities, families and workplaces, here in Australia and right around the world.

The continued spread of misinformation makes the job of our health professionals on the frontline harder. From those caring for gravely ill people in intensive care units, to those conducting COVID-19 testing, tracing contacts and the thousands of Australian health care workers providing vaccinations to prevent serious illness and death.

It undermines the efforts of all those Australians who have acted responsibly and compassionately to protect their community when restrictions are needed to stop outbreaks. It also devalues the lives of those who have suffered from COVID-19, those who continue to feel its effects and every person who has died.32

6.47 Croakey submitted that News Corp had played a role in driving COVID misinformation, which had actively undermined the valuable work of public health officials:

The Australian media landscape is toxic, reflecting the market and political power of News Corporation, and its partisan agendas, including a long history of actively undermining effective climate policy. During a critical time for pandemic control, News Corporation was actively undermining

31 See, for example: The Conversation, Submission 7, p. 7. See also: Michelle Rowland, Submission 16,

p. 6; Free TV, Submission 22, p. 5; Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Submission 26, p. 3; National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council, Submission 62, p. 17; and Public Interest Journalism Initiative, Submission 79, p. 2.

32 Professor Paul Kelly, ‘Chief Medical Officer opinion piece on stopping the spread of COVID-19

misinformation’, health.gov.au/news/chief-medical-officer-opinion-piece-on-stopping-the-spread-of-covid-19-misinformation (accessed 8 December 2021).

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public health through commentary marked by racism, ridiculing of science and ideological warfare.33

6.48 In matters of health, the prevalence of misinformation has very real consequences, not only for the wellbeing of individuals, but also for social unrest. When making its submission at the end of 2020, The Conversation noted:

The consequences of uninformed decision-making can be dire and, indeed, deadly. A BBC investigation into the effects of coronavirus misinformation found that online rumours led to mob attacks in India, mass poisonings in Iran, physical and arson attacks against telecommunications engineers in the UK, and people swallowing fish tank cleaner and other harmful chemicals in the US. Needless to say, this is not the kind of information environment we want to see in Australia.34

6.49 Since then, Australia has unfortunately experienced some similar effects, which can be linked to the spread of misinformation. This includes instances of civil unrest protesting vaccinations and lockdowns, as well as increasing importation of drugs that are potentially harmful to humans, that are linked falsely to COVID-19 treatments.

Discrediting the science of COVID-19 and Australian researchers 6.50 During the committee’s public hearings several witnesses were asked to comment on reports in News Corp publications with headlines such as ‘China’s great science swindle’ and ‘Red Army Virus Probe’, which sought to

question collaboration between Australian and Chinese researchers. This collaboration ultimately led to the discovery of the genomic sequence of COVID-19 and thereby made possible the development of vaccines. The News Corp reports, however, effectively impugned the loyalty of the Australians involved in the collaborative research.

6.51 One of the individuals mentioned in the reports was the University of Sydney virologist and evolutionary biologist Professor Edward Holmes, who was subsequently named as the NSW Scientist of the Year and the recipient of the 2021 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Both awards were given specifically for his work in the discovery of the COVID-19 genomic sequence.

6.52 It was put to witnesses that Professor Holmes and his colleagues had been subject to extensive vilification as a result of the News Corp reports, including death threats to members of the team and rape threats to women on the team. When asked to comment, Mr Rudd said:

This is a real challenge. I accept that. At the same time, I have great confidence in our intelligence agencies' ability to discern fact from fiction, to discern real threats from imagined threats, and to actually be quite specific about what a real issue is concerning a core Australian national

33 Croakey Health Media, Submission 24, p. 9.

34 The Conversation, Submission 7, p. 3.

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interest at stake, as opposed to a general smear. We should have great confidence in our agencies' ability to do that. My experience with these agencies over the years is that these are first-class folks. They actually know what they're doing. My experience with them is they're not, frankly, partisan; they actually just want to do the job. So, where we need to be very cautious, Senator Carr, is this: to allow what is a legitimate concern about foreign intelligence activity in this country and foreign influence in this country, on the one hand, from becoming a general smear on people, semi-authorised by monopolistic media outlets like the Murdoch media. I'm disheartened by the accounts and reports that you have just referred to, about the threats to the gentleman and the woman concerned. That shouldn't be the case in Australia.35

6.53 When News Corp was asked to further explain the reports, given the actions that resulted, the company responded on notice:

The Australian maintains strongly that its reporting on Chinese academic recruitment programs-and naming those involved, as well as their individual responses-is important and vital journalism, very much in the public interest. There is no element of character assassination involved, as each of those named was given the opportunity to respond and their responses were included in the reporting, as demonstrated by the response regarding Dr Cai. In some cases even the universities involved were not aware that their academics were named in Chinese documents and websites as being part of the program, and in some cases were unaware their names had been listed on patents. This reporting is not character assassination, as claimed by Senator Carr, it is bringing to light important issues of potential national security, as evidenced by the response of ASIO and the subsequent parliamentary inquiry prompted by The Australian’s articles.36

6.54 The committee notes that the report mentioning Professor Holmes headlined ‘RED ARMY VIRUS PROBE, Aussie Link to China Military lab’ did include the words ‘There is no suggestion Prof Holmes has engaged in any untoward or unethical research and his own work on the papers was funded by Australian grants only’.37

6.55 Such language, however, strikes the committee as disingenuous. The report strongly implies that the collaboration between Australian and Chinese virologists on COVID-19 was a potential security risk, and thereby impugned the reputation of researchers such as Professor Holmes despite there being no evidence of disloyal conduct on his part.

6.56 These reports demonstrate how News Corp has allowed its publications to spread conspiracy theories on COVID-19 research, while giving scientists

35 The Hon Mr Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 10.

36 News Corp Australia, responses to questions on notice, 12 March 2021.

37 Sharri Markson, ‘RED ARMY VIRUS PROBE, Aussie Link to China Military lab’, Daily Telegraph,

11 May 2020, p. 1.

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named in the reports no opportunity to respond to unfounded claims and inferences made about them.

‘Not a fit person’ to steward a global media company 6.57 It was suggested in evidence that the record of News Corp-owned outlets, both in Australia and globally, demonstrated that Mr Rupert Murdoch is not a ‘fit and proper’ person to lead a global media company, due to repeated failures

of corporate governance and management. These include a culture of ‘hacking’ sources illegally, bribery of police officers, covering up sexual harassment cases among its employees, and promoting dangerous disinformation that puts the community at risk.

6.58 As Mr Rudd stated in his submission:

That Murdoch is allowed to control so much of Australia’s media is extraordinary given his company’s history of criminality and unethical conduct. It includes bribery of police, hacking into people’s phones to invade their privacy, and covering up for sexual predators while blaming victims. Murdoch is, by any objective measure, not a fit and proper person to control a media empire in Australia.38

6.59 In arguing for more constraints on the repeated broadcasting of misinformation, Centre for Advancing Journalism (CAJ) alleged that News Corp-owned titles acted as though they had no constraints on the spreading of untrue content:

Murdoch’s Sky News subscription television service in Australia requires a licence to operate. At the time of writing (early December 2020) this channel was engaged in outright lying about the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election. Two of its presenters, Rowan Dean and Alan Jones, continued to propagate the lie that the election was rigged or stolen, the same lies as those being inflicted on the American people through Murdoch’s Fox News.

There are no constraints on this crude abuse of media power or dissemination of disinformation.39

6.60 This issue was considered a decade ago by the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament and communications regulator, Ofcom, in the wake of a series of scandals in Murdoch-owned titles, over journalists hacking individuals for information, as well as sexual harassment cases.

6.61 In 2012, a UK parliamentary committee found that News Corp directors should be held responsible for huge failures of corporate governance and management, which had allowed phone hacking to go unchecked at the Murdoch-owned News of the World. The committee’s damning findings stated:

38 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Submission 52, p. 4.

39 Centre for Advancing Journalism, Submission 64, p. 9.

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News International and its parent News Corporation exhibited wilful blindness, for which the companies’ directors—including Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch—should ultimately take responsibility… We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.40

6.62 The UK committee also found that News Corp witnesses had attempted to cover up the scandal, not only at the time, but also in providing misleading evidence to the committee. Its report concluded:

Corporately, the News of the World and News International misled the committee about the true nature and extent of the internal investigations they professed to have carried out in relation to phone hacking; by making statements they would have known were not fully truthful; and by failing to disclose documents which would have helped expose the truth.41

6.63 The UK communications regulator, Ofcom, monitored Murdoch-owned enterprises in the wake of the hacking scandal, particularly in News International’s attempts to lift its then-39 per cent stake in the broadcaster BSkyB. In doing so, Ofcom expressed concern over the level of the Murdochs’ ownership of UK news and political media on character grounds. Although Ofcom found that Murdochs were ‘fit and proper’ to hold a broadcasting license, it also found that there was ‘extremely serious and disturbing’ evidence that the company had downplayed sexual misconduct and harassment allegations made against staff.42

6.64 The CAJ suggested that questions over the character of News Corp and its leadership are still relevant. Noting that one UK Member of Parliament had called Murdoch’s UK publication News International ‘a criminal enterprise’ in 2011, it submitted:

The Leveson inquiry and a series of court proceedings in the UK established that the Murdoch organisation there was involved in bribing public officials, conducting unlawful surveillance on individuals and multiple gross invasions of people’s privacy.43

Corporate culture

40 House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee report, cited in Georgina Prodhan, and

Kate Holton, ‘MPs say Rupert Murdoch unfit to run company’ (1 May 2012), Reuters Online, reuters.com/article/uk-newscorp-hacking/mps-say-rupert-murdoch-unfit-to-run-company-idUKBRE8400SD20120501 (accessed 8 December 2021.)

41 BBC, ‘Phone hacking: Culture committee’s verdict on Murdochs and other key players’

(1 May 2012), BBC Online, bbc.com/news/uk-politics-17905775 (accessed 8 December 2021).

42 Mark Sweney, ‘Ofcom has concerns about Murdoch power in UK if Sky bid allowed’, Guardian

Online, 30 June 2017, theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/29/ofcom-has-concerns-about-murdoch-power-in-uk-if-sky-bid-allowed (accessed 8 December 2021).

43 Centre for Advancing Journalism, Submission 64, p. 9.

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6.65 This inquiry has received evidence about the internal culture of News Corp, including that staff can be directed to cover issues in certain ways to fit a predetermined agenda, suggestions that there are highly sexist attitudes in the workplace and reporting, as well as a tolerance for racist attitudes informing its content.

6.66 A context for this discussion is similar concerns that have been raised in the past about Murdoch-owned titles in the US and UK.

6.67 As discussed earlier in this report, the UK Leveson Inquiry was prompted by evidence of poor ethics and culture of Murdoch-owned outlets. The issues Justice Leveson investigated included allegations that the News of the World had obtained evidence illegally from the phone of a murdered teenager, as well as hacking phones of celebrities. The Leveson Inquiry considered whether relations between the organisation and police involved corruption.44

6.68 Moreover, the committee is also aware of allegations of sexual harassment that have plagued the organisation overseas for several years. In 2016, these accusations centred on former Fox Chairman Roger Ailes, who was subject of a number of sexual harassment allegations following the case brought by Gretchen Carlson. Some estimates suggested that more than 20 women subsequently made claims they were harassed, moved into lesser positions after rejecting advances, and/or fired after making complaints.45 Several of these women, including Carlson, are subject to gag orders included in their settlement, so cannot discuss details of the case publicly.46 In this regard, the committee also notes the concerns of the UK regulator Ofcom, as outlined above.

6.69 There were several prominent examples provided to the committee that detailed troubling issues with News Corp’s corporate culture.

6.70 For example, Mr Bruce Guthrie, a former editor of the Herald Sun and the New Daily, told the committee about a ‘toxic culture within News Corp’ and the ‘dangers of giving them too much journalistic power’. He suggested that he was sacked from the Herald Sun ‘after I reported too vigorously on a friend of Murdoch’, which predated the British phone hacking scandal by several months.47

44 See Chapter 2 of this report.

45 For example, see: Molly Redden, ‘Roger Ailes accused of harassment by at least 20 women,

attorneys say’ (21 July 2016), Guardian Online, theguardian.com/media/2016/jul/21/roger-ailes-sexual-harassment-accusations-fox-news (accessed 8 December 2021).

46 Four Corners, ‘The Big Lie’, ABC Online, abc.net.au/4corners/fox-and-the-big-lie:-how-the-network-promoted/13510238 (accessed 8 December 2021).

47 Mr Bruce Guthrie, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 41.

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6.71 Mr Anthony Klan, an award-winning investigative journalist and formerly a News Corp employee, told the committee that he had seen News Corp editors be in the thrall of advertisers over potential negative coverage of their businesses. For example, he told the committee that his findings of enormous wrongdoings and client gouging in the superannuation sector were not published, after superannuation companies advertising with News Corp expressed their concern to his editors:

Big corporates can buy outsized clout within newspapers…he who pays the piper calls the tune, and that was exactly what was going on there [in the editorial decision to not publish these stories]. The big problem with that is that you have a couple of media organisations that pretty much run the show in Australia. If they get together and refuse to run this, you’ve got five million Australians getting robbed blind day after day and we can’t tell them about it because there is no avenue to get it out there. As an investigative journalist and a civic-minded person, like most of us are, it’s quite terrifying, really. Not to be able to get this information out in a democratic country such as Australia is quite a concern.48

6.72 Mr Klan suggested that the coordinated approach on editorial issues across News Corp titles could not be anything but intentional:

It’s statistically impossible. How could, every single day, all of the columnists wake up with the same point of view and have the same angle?... If you’ve got a point of view or an angle that doesn’t suit, it just gets axed; and if you’ve got an angle that does suit, it gets pushed through massively.49

6.73 Professor Tiffen noted that the dominance of News Corp put journalists in an invidious position to produce content that matched the ideological preference of their organisation:

In the 1975 Federal election, journalists at the Australian went on strike against the paper’s slanting of the news. We cannot be loyal to a propaganda sheet, they said. Current Murdoch journalists don’t have that luxury, because if they are out of favour with News Corp there are few alternative employers they can go to.50

6.74 Ms Anna Rogers, a former News Corp photographer, raised a number of serious concerns about the toxic work culture at the Cairns Post and Sunday Mail, and the pressures on journalists, particularly women:

I believe the lack of competition and emphasis on clickbait has created a toxic culture where staff feel intimidated and bullied, and many are just waiting for the next axe to fall and wondering if they will still have a job.

48 Mr Anthony Klan, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 58.

49 Mr Anthony Klan, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 59.

50 Professor Rodney Tiffen, Submission 9, p. 2.

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Women are treated particularly badly and are paid less purely because they are women.51

6.75 Ms Rogers outlined some areas in which the workplace culture had been hostile for female employees, saying:

I think the nature of the toxic workplace is that there has been such high staff turnover; I think that in itself is indicative of the nature of the workplace. The fact that you end up with one woman in a team with 12 males—the women all left. We were brought to tears time and time again, derided and so forth, treated differently to the men, and they all left…

A colleague who returned from maternity leave was offered no flexibility with regard to her hours and consequently resigned—that was quite recently. There was unlimited overtime and TOIL with no pay. I was told that if I didn’t like my job, I could get a job at Macca’s…

When the business editor was a male, he was in a very senior position. When it was given to a female, she was in the same junior classification as me.52

6.76 Moreover, Ms Rogers outlined a number of areas in which she felt women were treated poorly in sexist newspaper coverage:

When I was employed by the Sunday Mail in 2011 to do social photos, I was told by the acting picture editor that they did not want any photos of ‘pigs in lipstick’. I found this was extremely derogatory to women, but to keep my job I had to apply this test, which meant that women who were overweight or over 35 did not get a run in the paper…

Even the selection of which court stories to cover is now based on applying the subscriber-page-view model at News Corp. Former colleagues have told me that they are told to ignore the charges and instead look out for attractive women appearing in court. They check their social media following and lift their photos off Facebook. If the women are attractive and have more than 1,000 followers, then it is much more likely that they will run the story online and it will get more page views.53

6.77 A number of public submissions suggested that News Corp reporting included misogynistic or sexist viewpoints.54

6.78 Some evidence noted the disparity between the treatment of male and female politicians, particularly citing the example of News Corp treatment of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. This suggestion was refuted by Mr Campbell Reid, Group Executive, Corporate, Policy and Government Affairs for News

51 Ms Anna Rogers, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 8.

52 Ms Anna Rogers, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, pp. 12, 15 and 16

respectively.

53 Ms Anna Rogers, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 7.

54 Get Up, Submission 85 (Supplementary submission 1), pp. 28, 635, 814, 878, 901, 918 and 923.

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Corp, who stated that media coverage ‘reflected the extraordinary behaviour and tensions of that time’, and:

The story of that time was the fragility of Julia Gillard’s government and, frankly, the undermining attempts to bring her down from within her own party…. I think Australia missed an opportunity with our first female Prime Minister, but to blame News Corporation for that is a flight of fantasy.55

6.79 However, evidence from former Prime Ministers Rudd and Turnbull both noted the misogyny that characterised News Corp’s coverage of Ms Gillard’s tenure as Prime Minister. Mr Turnbull for example stated:

The treatment of Gillard was shameful, and it was pushed very strongly by the News Corp tabloids and, of course, most notoriously by Alan Jones who—while in his radio job he works with the Macquarie Group, or used to—also works with Sky. Yes, it’s this sort of deep misogyny that you see in the right-wing political ecosystem. Again, I’m not telling any of you something you don’t know, but has there ever been a male politician whose body shape has been commented on the way Gillard’s was? There was constant criticism of the way she dressed.56

6.80 Mr Rudd commented that this negative coverage made it harder for Ms Gillard’s government to overcome various policy challenges:

I believe the way in which the Murdoch media publicly depicted my successor, Julia Gillard, was particularly venomous. I noted that in particular in its cartoon coverage of her. While you couldn’t directly blame the Murdoch outlets for the protests, which appeared with Abbott, outside this building, where a large sign was held up behind Abbott saying, ‘Ditch the Bitch’, the fact that that sentiment was fairly redolent across the Murdoch coverage, I think made the challenges faced by the Gillard government greater than they would otherwise have been.57

Vilification of individuals 6.81 A number of stakeholders highlighted that News Corp titles could run vilification campaigns against individuals that held certain progressive socio-political views. For example, Mr Rudd suggested that the News Corp

press had abused its monopoly to ‘chill free speech in our society’:

[The Murdoch press] has, for many years, been the pioneers of ‘cancel culture’ by bullying individuals with ‘unacceptable’ opinions into the shadows. Murdoch hounds these opponents with a deeply personal viciousness, scouring through their personal lives and harassing them they and others like them understand the consequences of free speech. This happens frequently, although most are too frightened to complain

55 Mr Campbell Reid, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 35.

56 The Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 10.

57 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 17.

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about it. This is the most pernicious impact of Murdoch’s deliberately cultivated culture of fear.58

6.82 Mr Peter Fray, an experienced journalist appearing in a private capacity, told the committee that News Corp’s coverage could be vicious and intense against particular individuals:

I will say that all news organisations get it in their head that they have enemies and friends, or they believe so and so needs to be brought down a peg... This power has been abused for decades. I think what we see in News Corp, though, is a particular brand of it. The key characteristics are frequency and intensity. There’s the frequency of the attacks. Once you are a News Corp enemy, you will be attacked frequently—every day or every other day—and it will be intense… at times, bears very little resemblance to proper reporting.59

6.83 Mr Rudd cited the example of Mr Duncan Storrar, a minimum wage worker with a disability, who had asked pointed questions of a Coalition minister on the ABC’s show QandA. Following this, he was subjected to numerous News Corp articles, over the space of a week, impugning his character and ventilating his police record and family struggles. Mr Storrar’s complaints to the Australian Press Council were rejected, as it accepted the Herald Sun’s argument that he ‘had foregone any reasonable expectation for privacy’ by asking a question in a televised forum.60

6.84 The committee also received first-hand evidence from a range of individuals that felt they had been targeted unfairly by News Corp media. For example, Ms Cindy Prior told the committee that she had been targeted by The Australian when it reported on her discrimination case over 13 months, in ‘hundreds of articles, columns and opinion pieces’. She felt these sustained attacks on her had a political motive, ultimately aimed at repealing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and ‘tearing down’ the Australian Human Rights Commission.61

6.85 Ms Prior told the committee that she had been misrepresented, and subjected to biased reporting riddled with inconsistencies, with concerning results. Moreover, she submitted that she not only felt targeted by News Corp reporting, but also received threats that News Corp encouraged on social media and online forums:

I was subjected to thousands of death threats, rape threats and racist hate from hard right activists around Australia and in the United States. A lot of this was fueled by the adverse and vitriolic coverage in the

58 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Submission 52, p. 9.

59 Mr Peter Fray, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 45.

60 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Submission 52, p. 9.

61 Ms Cindy Prior, Submission 76, p. 1. See also evidence discussed earlier in this report provided by

Associate Professor Telfer and the UFU Victoria.

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Newscorp/Murdoch press and a lot of the racist and hateful comments were put up on the moderated website of The Australian and not taken down. Media plays a significant role in disseminating information to the public about current issues, and therefore has a responsibility in the interest of a diverse Australia, to report without biases and their own political agenda.62

Racism 6.86 A number of stakeholders argued that the Australian media, particularly the News Corp, has played a role in legitimising and spreading racist ideas in Australia. For example, Get Up’s submission included the following

contributions from members of the general public:

 Australia is a democratic society and our media should reflect this… The Islamaphobia that has been shown to exist in Murdoch media and the demonisation of sectors of our society including Lebanese Australians, African Australians, Chinese Australians, Indigenous Australians, trans people, and environmental activists work to divide our society and incite violence.

 I identify as aboriginal. Our mobs NEED a free and diverse press to expose the racism that is endemic in the Australian society and fostered by [the] Murdochs of this world.

 The Murdoch Press has an undue and corrosive influence on Australia’s democracy, spreading climate misinformation and stoking racist prejudices.

 The Murdoch press has proven over and over that it cannot be trusted to deliver the truth. It not only spreads misinformation but outright lies and manufactures storylines to suit the right wing corporate narrative as well as promoting racism and dangerous conspiracies.

 It is clear that not enough is being done to regulate mainstream media, particularly when talk show hosts can openly spout racist views.63

6.87 Two former Prime Ministers both saw News Corp coverage as perpetuating and legitimising racism. Mr Rudd submitted that News Corp ‘blatant race-baiting’ has attracted criticism from a wide variety of ethnic communities across the country, including Chinese, African and Muslim Australians.64

6.88 Mr Turnbull suggested that News Corp coverage divides Australian society:

Look at the way the News Corp tabloids, for example, regularly seek to incite animosity towards minorities, particularly Muslims. It was a huge issue while I was Prime Minister because everything I was doing was obviously designed to reinforce our success as a multicultural society. What is so frustrating is that these voices on the populist Right,

62 Ms Cindy Prior, Submission 76, p. 1.

63 GetUp, Submission 85, Attachment 1, pp. 706, 557, 535, 624 and 508 respectively. This was also a

perspective expressed in a large number of submissions received from individuals to this inquiry.

64 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Submission 52, p. 7.

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particularly from Murdoch’s organisation, are essentially doing the work of the terrorists. What a terrorist says to a young Muslim is: ‘They hate you, they don’t want you, you’re not one of them. You can never be an Australian.’… The counterargument to that…is to say: ‘You are one of us, you are an Australian, we’re a multicultural society, we love you and respect you. All faiths, all races, all religions are welcome here and part of our multicultural society’.65

6.89 A joint submission from All Together Now, Asian Australian Alliance, Colour Code, and Democracy in Colour (All Together Now joint submission) identified the mainstream media platforms they considered most responsible for perpetuating racism in Australia:

NewsCorp, Nine/Fairfax and Seven West Media all perpetuate racist narratives and ideas. NewsCorp publications frequently publish content that normalises white supremacy, using both overt and covert racism to reinforce racial inequity. Racism perpetuated by the media is not without consequence. It legitimises racist attitudes in the general public, which in turn legitimises acts of racism in its various forms—whether systemic, interpersonal, physical or otherwise. NewsCorp’s overwhelming control of Australian media is fuelling racism within the media and at the community level.66

6.90 In support of this view, the All Together Now joint submission noted media monitoring research from 2018-20:

All Together Now analysed 596 opinion pieces from mainstream media and found that 55% involved racist language and/or themes. Among the most frequently targeted communities were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Muslim peoples, Chinese and Chinese Australian peoples. Over 90% of these racist opinion pieces were published in three Australian newspapers: the Herald Sun, the Daily Telegraph and The Australian, all of which are NewsCorp publications. This highlights the role of NewsCorp newspapers in generating and promoting racist narratives.67

6.91 Croakey Health Media voiced concerns that the News Corp press’ coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been tinged with racist commentary, which had real consequences for communities of African and Asian Australians.68 This was supported by data provided in the 2020 COVID-19 Racism Incident Report Survey, which showed ‘that there has been a clear pattern of racist attacks against Asians and Asian Australians as a result of the COVID-19

65 The Hon Mr Malcolm Turnbull AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 4.

66 All Together Now, Asian Australian Alliance, Colour Code, and Democracy in Colour (All

Together Now joint submission) Submission 77, p. 4.

67 All Together Now joint submission, Submission 77, p. 5.

68 Dr Denis Muller, ‘Whether a ratings chase or ideological war, News Corp’s coronavirus coverage

is dangerous’, Croakey Health Media, croakey.org/whether-a-ratings-chase-or-ideological-war-news-corps-coronavirus-coverage-is-dangerous/ (accessed 8 December 2021). Also see: Croakey Health Media, Submission 24, p. 9.

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pandemic and that they are not isolated incidents’.69 The All Together Now joint submission noted this recent report and linked it directly to the behaviour and tactics of News Corp:

A recent survey from the Asian Australian Alliance recorded almost 500 incidents of COVID-19 related racism in Australia since the start of the pandemic, demonstrating that this issue is becoming dangerously out of hand. We know that racist rhetoric perpetuated by NewsCorp plays a huge role in exacerbating community racism. For years, NewsCorp has profited from the hate they proliferate. The commentators and opinion writers commissioned by NewsCorp actively vilify and scapegoat communities of colour and they do it to cause division and profit from the fear they stoke.70

6.92 The committee notes that, as this report was being finalised, the Sky News presenter Peta Credlin made a lengthy apology to the Australian South Sudanese community. This was a more substantial apology than one made previously on 28 June 2020, which was met with a significant backlash from the community and commentators.71

6.93 Ms Credlin’s original comments made numerous significant errors that members of the South Sudanese community considered highly offensive. This included incorrect assertions or selective reading of data about the level of education, English literacy, engagement with public health advice, and levels of employment and income of many members of the community. On 3 December 2021, Ms Credlin acknowledged her errors and the ‘genuine hurt and offence’ they caused:

In June last year, while commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic, the escalation of new infections in Victoria, and various public health measures, I incorrectly linked the South Sudanese community to a cluster of cases that had developed following an end-of-Ramadan dinner in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. This was factually wrong, and I again deeply regret the error. On the basis of that error, I made various other statements that I accept have caused genuine hurt and offence to South Sudanese community members. It was not my intention.

My statements were understood to mean that the South Sudanese community had been reckless, irresponsible, or even deliberate, in breaching social distancing requirements, that the community had failed to adapt its cultural practices like other Australians, and that this was putting Australians at risk. I do not believe there was any truth to those inferences… I extend to the South Sudanese community my sincerest

69 Asian Australian Alliance and Osmond Chiu, COVID-19 Racism Incident Report Survey, p. 5,

asianaustralianalliance.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/COVID-19-racism-incident-report-preliminary.pdf (accessed 8 December 2021).

70 All Together Now joint submission, Submission 77, pp. 10-11.

71 SBS, ‘Peta Credlin apologises for blaming COVID-19 outbreak on South Sudanese Melburnians’,

SBS Online, sbs.com.au/news/peta-credlin-apologises-for-blaming-covid-19-outbreak-on-south-sudanese-melburnians/37cc0316-7d6a-4f8b-89c9-6d804fced3f8 (accessed 6 December 2021).

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apologies for these errors, and the hurt, humiliation and offence caused by the broadcast.72

6.94 The committee notes that Ms Credlin’s apology in early December 2021 about comments in June 2020, means it took around 18 months for Ms Credlin to apologise for her remarks that were insensitive, erroneous, and vilified the South Sudanese community. It has been reported that the apology was delivered as a result of an Australian Human Rights Commission finding regarding a complaint by members of the South Sudanese community against Ms Credlin’s coverage and subsequent apology in 2020.73

Committee view 6.95 This report has shown that Australia faces three principal challenges to the health and diversity of its media sector: the growing concentration of media ownership, where too much influence is in the hands of too few organisations;

a regulatory framework that is not fit-for-purpose to enforce standards and complaints in traditional media formats in a converged market; and the non-existent regulatory arrangements for the powerful digital giants, which gives them a competitive advantage and near-monopoly powers that could compromise news delivery for all Australians.

6.96 This inquiry has been informed by an unprecedented level of public interest. This is demonstrated not only by the large volume of submissions received by the committee, but also by the largest electronic petition ever received by the Australian Parliament, which collected more than half a million signatures in support of a royal commission into the Australian news media.

6.97 This level of public interest in meaningful reform of the news media sector cannot be ignored.

6.98 Similarly, the committee is aware that calls for the government to undertake complex, landmark reforms to ‘level the playing field’ across the board have also come from the proprietors and senior management of large traditional media companies—though often with the suggestions that their own organisations should not be regulated any further than they are already. As Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head of News Corp told the committee:

 ‘I think the best thing is for parliament to introduce legislation that covers the new big digital players’; and

72 Peta Credlin, ‘Apology from Peta Credlin’, 3 December 2021, skynews.com.au/opinion/peta-credlin/apology-from-peta-credlin/video/8272a52adb0b794a9dad70b2196037fb (accessed 8 December 2021).

73 Nino Bucci, ‘Peta Credlin’s apology to South Sudanese community result of human rights

commission complaint’, Guardian Australia, theguardian.com/media/2021/dec/06/peta-credlins-apology-to-south-sudanese-community-result-of-human-rights-commission-complaint (accessed 8 December 2021).

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 ‘Honestly, I have conflicting views on this. I would like it to be relaxed for us and intensified for them’ (when asked about potential reform to anti-siphoning laws for traditional and digital platforms).74

6.99 The case of the YouTube suspension of Sky News illustrates the growing tension between the unregulated online media platforms, and the traditional news organisations working in a converged environment. These dominant and competing forces are increasingly calling out allegedly poor conduct of the other.

6.100 This is a matter only government can resolve—and cannot be left to a self-regulating system developed and administered by the platforms themselves.

6.101 Even the current government has recognised the need for reform in its response to the ACCC digital platforms report—particularly that the global internet platforms must be brought within an effective regulatory framework that takes a platform-neutral approach.

6.102 Given the current serious regulatory deficiencies, and the high level of public concern about News Corp’s own practices, standards, and inability to be held accountable, as discussed above, it is apparent to the committee more holistic reform is necessary than simply adding the regulation of digital platforms to an already flawed system.

6.103 Focusing on the regulatory arrangements for internet platforms alone will not resolve the serious problems in Australia’s current news media sector.

6.104 Genuine reform across the board is needed to support a healthy and diverse news media in Australia into the future. This much-needed reform should engage with the realities of a converged market, where outlets publish content across various media platforms. A reformed media landscape should be able to apply consistent standards that have been developed in collaboration with news media and other stakeholders in broad and meaningful consultation. These standards should be supported by a robust complaints mechanism that is not only fair, but also accessible and transparent for all Australians.

6.105 Reform should be based in the recognition that reliable news is essential for our future as a nation. It should take into account that misinformation and disinformation have serious and real consequences for our national and local communities, our democratic institutions and the health of our society.

6.106 It should also consider what is the most appropriate mechanism for regulating a unified system, drawing on both previous major reviews in Australia that

74 Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head, News Corp, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021, p. 4 and p. 3

respectively.

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advocated for a single news media regulator, and from best practice internationally.

6.107 Reform will be no easy task. The sector is complex and contested, and amongst certain outlets cautious of government involvement.

6.108 For this reason, the committee considers the right vehicle to start reform is a dedicated judicial inquiry with the powers of a royal commission.

6.109 This kind of inquiry would have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence, and would have the capacity, resourcing and expertise to undertake a more thorough investigation than a Parliamentary committee is able to do.

6.110 It would also be able to undertake broad consultation with all media players and other interested parties, at arms-length from government, to ensure its findings are independent, rigorous and based in the most solid evidence and analysis.

6.111 Such an inquiry could also have the power to address the emerging gulf between digital platforms and the traditional media, which has come to a head in the final weeks of this inquiry. This point was recognised by Mr Rudd, when he expressed the views of many Australians advocating for reform:

That is why I go back to my original proposition…about why a royal commission is necessary: monopoly of itself is wrong in principle, whether it’s in politics, whether it’s in the economy, or whether it’s in the news media—of any form. I don’t want Facebook determining my future, and I don’t want Murdoch determining my future either.75

6.112 Regarding this proposition, the committee notes that Mr Thomson directly addressed the many public calls for a royal commission that this committee and the Parliament have received, saying:

It depends what the remit of any commission would be. What I’m looking at more is how to regulate for the future, not, frankly, focusing on the past.76

6.113 In closing, the committee endorses that sentiment: that this reform process should be forward-facing, looking to the needs, health, and diversity of the future news media industry in Australia.

6.114 The following concluding chapter of this report considers a range of policy measures the Commonwealth should implement immediately to build much-needed diversity in the Australian news media.

75 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 14.

76 Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head, News Corp, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021,

p. 3.

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Chapter 7

Policy and legislative reforms to support public interest news media

7.1 This chapter sets out the evidence considered by the committee on some of the measures the Commonwealth could, and in some instances should, adopt to support a healthy and diverse public interest news media sector in Australia. This includes:

 adequately funding Australia's public broadcasters, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), including to cover gaps in the provision of news services in regional, rural and remote communities, as well as online;

 ongoing funding for the Australian Associated Press (AAP) to provide accurate newswire and fact checking services;  funding a permanent Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program to stimulate the production of news in Australia, including in small

communities, and rural and regional areas;  protecting public ownership of the National Broadband Network (NBN) as essential communications infrastructure for the future;  offering research and development-style tax credits or rebates (R&D) for

appropriate organisations investing in public interest journalism; and  encouraging philanthropic support for news media, by extending Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status to organisations producing public

interest journalism.

7.2 Following this, the chapter moves to consider potential amendment to legal frameworks that indirectly hamper a healthy media sector in Australia. This notes the committee's recent inquiry into Press Freedom, which made a number of recommendations that the government has not yet responded to, as well as the ongoing reform of defamation laws by states and territories.

7.3 Lastly, the chapter sets out the committee's views.

Commonwealth funding for news media 7.4 The committee received evidence on a number of potential measures or reforms that the Commonwealth could adopt to directly assist and fund Australia's news media sector, which will be discussed in turn.

Stable and adequate funding for public broadcasters 7.5 The submission made by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (the Department) stated that public broadcasters are provided with long-term funding certainty through a

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three-year allocation process which has been in place since 1988. This equates to a total of nearly $3.2 billion for the ABC and $887 million for SBS over the three-year cycle.1

7.6 Some evidence suggested that the government should reconsider funding the ABC, putting forward privatisation and cutting the current support for entertainment content as potential savings measures. For example, the Institute for Public Affairs argued that the government should consider 'privatisation, reform of the ABC into a subscription service, or to allow to the ABC to air advertising'.2 Freedom Publishers suggested the ABC charter should be amended for it to be solely a news service, which would allow 'wasted' funds spent on the creation of entertainment content to be used to produce current affairs.3

7.7 However, overwhelmingly the evidence provided by stakeholders was that they saw current funding levels for public broadcasters as being at a critically low level, and unsustainable for meeting charter obligations. This was particularly the case regarding ABC funding.4

7.8 One 2020 estimate suggested the ABC operational funding budget had been cut by a total of $783 million since the Abbott Government was elected in 2014.5 This analysis suggested that this general trend has been exacerbated by the 'funding freeze' put in place by the Turnbull Government in 2018, which has resulted in a cut in real terms of $83.7 million to the ABC's operating budget. Flowing on from the freeze, there were around 250 direct job losses at the ABC, as well as a reduction of some services, including axing the major 7.45 am news radio bulletin.6

7.9 Mr Ranald Macdonald, former managing director of David Syme & Co, owner of The Age, and principal founder of the Australian Press Council, outlined

1 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

(the Department), Submission 49, p. 13.

2 Institute of Public Affairs, Submission 21, p. 12.

3 Freedom Publishers, Submission 33, p. 5.

4 For example, see: Media Innovation and the Civic Future of Australia’s Country Press project,

Deakin University, Submission 2, p. 3; ABC Alumni, Submission 3, pp. 4-5; Journalism Education & Research Association of Australia (JERAA), Submission 37, p. 7; Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI), Submission 79, p. 3; as well as a large number of submissions made by individuals, including through Mr Kevin Rudd’s website.

5 Dr Alexandra Wake and Mr Michael Ward, 'Latest $84 million cuts rip out the heart out of the

ABC, and our democracy', The Conversation Online, 24 June 2020, theconversation.com/latest-84-million-cuts-rip-the-heart-out-of-the-abc-and-our-democracy-141355 (accessed 8 December 2021). See also: Mr Michael Ward, Submission 72; JERAA, Submission 37, to which Dr Wake contributed.

6 Dr Wake and Mr Ward, 'Latest $84 million cuts rip out the heart out of the ABC, and our

democracy'.

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some consequences of reduced ABC funding, which he saw as driven primarily by ideology, rather than sound fiscal management or efficiency:

The Federal Government's decision in effect to pursue the death of the ABC 'by a thousand cuts' as supported by many in the Coalition and boosted by the Murdoch Mafia, the Institute of Public Affairs and other short term thinking critics with political or other agendas… Australia is at risk of losing a strong and independent news and current affairs voice, as well as gifting to the commercials and pay for view [e.g. News Corp]…countless millions of dollars on top of what has already been gifted by this Government.7

7.10 A large number of submissions argued that these cuts should be reversed, and the ABC's funding be made stable. For example, Dr Benedetta Brevini, Associate Professor in Media and Communication at the University of Sydney, submitted that there must be:

A reversal of the drastic reduction of public funding to the ABC and SBS, as the remit of public service media is needed more than ever as a publicly accountable platform operating separately from the state and market.8

7.11 The University of Canberra's News and Media Research Centre (N&MRC) provided evidence that the ABC should be funded appropriately to provide more news and current affairs to regional and rural communities where there are 'news gaps':

Based on our data about lower engagement with news by rural and regional Australians and the news gaps in parts of regional Australia, we not only recommend an increase in funding to regional journalism outlets, but also to the ABC. [An] increase in funding specifically for regional news provision would help the ABC fulfil its charter by providing coverage of courts and council—basic public interest journalism—in areas where there is no local reporters and help maintain the health and identity of those communities.9

7.12 ABC Alumni argued that the steady diminution, in real terms, of the broadcaster's funding has a deleterious impact on its news journalism:

…the government has refused to rescind the decision made in the Turnbull government's 2018 budget that ABC funding should no longer be indexed, resulting in a cut, in real terms, of an estimated $80 million over the ensuing four years... [R]educed funding leads inevitably to centralisation. For example, the old state-based versions of the 7.30 Report cost many millions of dollars more than the Sydney-based national program that superseded them in the 1990s. Later, further cuts in funding forced the ABC, reluctantly, to drop the once-a-week state-based current affairs program, Stateline. In the view of ABC Alumni, the lack of a television forum for the scrutiny of state government and policy is deeply

7 Mr Ranald Macdonald, Submission 27, p. 5.

8 Dr Benedetta Brevini, Submission 40, p. 7.

9 News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra (N&MRC), Submission 1, p. 24.

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regrettable. But we accept that Stateline could have been retained only at the expense of even more savage cuts elsewhere in the ABC's output.10

7.13 The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) suggested that the view that public broadcasters 'should confine their operations to areas that commercial media do not resource' was 'specious'. It argued:

Our public broadcasters must be funded in a manner that enables achievement of their charter obligations and to provide high quality, fact-driven comprehensive news content across platforms.

As levels of commercial media concentration grow, the body politic must embrace the fact that our public broadcasters are invaluable public resources and should be funded accordingly.11

7.14 The total funding quantum for Enhanced Newsgathering, a program established in 2013 under Prime Minister Rudd, has also fallen under successive Coalition governments.12

7.15 The Journalism Education & Research Association of Australia noted that the ABC provided a valuable counterweight to the 'distortion' provided in some other aspects of Australian news media, which skewed public debate:

Restoring funding of the ABC and SBS to recommended levels is a powerful antidote to the distortion of the Australian public sphere. The ABC is bound by its charter to offer national forums for respectful public debate, in stark contrast to what occurs on Sky News after 6pm. Significantly, the amount and quality of journalism done by the ABC and SBS is not only a matter of concern for Australian citizens. Across the globe there are only between 11 and 15 properly funded public broadcasters that have independence from government and corporate influence and interference. Given these low numbers, if the ABC or SBS is diminished, so is independent in-depth journalism.13

7.16 The committee also notes the recommendation of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Digital Platforms inquiry, which advised that the public broadcasters should be given stable and adequate funding by the government:

In recognition of the role performed by the ABC and SBS in addressing the public good nature of journalism and consequent risk of under provision of public interest journalism, the ACCC recommends that stable and adequate funding be provided to the ABC and SBS.

10 ABC Alumni, Submission 3, p. 4.

11 Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), Submission 26, p. 13.

12 Fergus Hunter, 'ABC gets budget relief as Morrison government extends 'enhanced' news-gathering funding', Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April 2019, smh.com.au/politics/federal/abc-gets-budget-relief-as-morrison-government-extends-enhanced-news-gathering-funding-20190402-p519ve.html (accessed 8 December 2021).

13 JERAA, Submission 37, p. 7.

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However, while the public broadcasters have performed, and will continue to perform, an extremely important role in addressing under-provision of certain forms of journalism and contributing to media plurality, a wider range of news sources should also be active in the provision of all categories of journalism in order to ensure depth of coverage and broader range of media voices throughout Australia. Further, the public broadcasters are not currently resourced to fully compensate for the decline in local reporting previously produced by traditional commercial publishers.14

7.17 The ABC and SBS's three-year funding cycle will expire on 30 June 2022.15 Accordingly, the public broadcasters will shortly be submitting their next funding requests for the 2022-23 Federal Budget.

7.18 In its Annual Report 2021, the ABC particularly flagged that it will be seeking a continuation of funding for the Enhanced Newsgathering program, which enables it to deliver more tailored and local news, and bring news from across the country to a national audience: 'It is due to lapse at the end of the triennium'.16

7.19 In the Commonwealth Budget 2019-20, the government provided $43.7 million over three years from 2019-20 to the ABC 'to continue to support local news and current affairs services, particularly in regional areas'.17 Although the government has not formally committed to renew this important funding source, Senator the Hon Jane Hume, representing the Communications Minister, advised the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee that 'it is my understanding that [this funding] will be extended'.18

Security of funding for AAP's newswire services 7.20 Newswire services are critical to the health and diversity of news media, as they provide reliable and unbiased information that informs and sustains news organisations to produce public interest journalism.19

7.21 AAP is Australia's longest-serving and most-respected newswire service, which submitted that:

With no political axe to grind, nor advertisers to please, AAP was formed to supply news 'without any tendency toward or opportunity for the

14 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Digital Platforms Inquiry-Final

Report, March 2019, p. 19.

15 SBS, Annual Report 2021, p. 80; and ABC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Annual Report 2019,

p. 154.

16 ABC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Annual Report 2021, p. 16.

17 Australian Government, Budget Measures, Budget Paper No. 2, 2019-20, p. 57.

18 Senator the Hon Jane Hume, Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital

Economy, Minister for Women's Economic Security, Estimates Hansard, 26 October 2021, p. 10.

19 See Chapter 2.

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exercise of political partisanship or bias'… As Rupert Murdoch himself noted '[a]s an organisation that sits to one side in a fiercely competitive industry, it has a vital role in ensuring an accurate, independent and comprehensive coverage of the daily news events across the country, providing a wide choice of content for the media, no matter what they are or what their market'.20

7.22 AAP indicated that it has around 70 editorial staff, complemented by a network of regular freelance contributors, including journalists working in regions, and photographers covering local events. It noted that:

Around the clock, 365 days a year, AAP supplies core news to over 400 media outlets across Australia. Every day, AAP publishes over 220 stories and captures over 400 images for use by our customers across their websites, papers and broadcasts.

A pooled newswire service reduces the cost of general news collection for media companies, public broadcasters and the public at large. AAP is a 24 hour, 365 day operation playing a critical role in reporting areas of high public interest including national and state-level politics and policy, court reporting and breaking news from across the country.21

7.23 Evidence highlighted the value of AAP's newswire and fact checking services to the reliability and balance of Australia's media sector. For example, the Chair of the ACCC, Mr Rod Sims told the committee that newswires were important for diversity, competition, and encouraging new entrants to market:

Certainly some of the smaller publications to get started need that newswire because it can give them stories that they wouldn't otherwise get. As for what I think is the other point, taking court reporting as a classic, you're just not going to send journalists from four or five papers down there; but having an organisation that can send one [journalist] down there and then circulate it is really important… So I think it is important for quality of journalism and for competition as well because certainly some of the publications I'm aware of, and some who are perhaps doing quite well now, have said that they could not have got started without the newswire.22

7.24 In noting the value of newswire services, stakeholders recommended that the government should lock in funding for its viability, particularly given that AAP was very nearly shut down in 2020, due to News Corp and Nine pulling out of subsidising arrangements.23 Mr Campbell Reid, Group Executive overseeing Corporate, Policy and Government Affairs, at News Corp,

20 Australian Associated Press Limited (AAP), Submission 60, p. 9.

21 AAP, Submission 60, pp. 9-10.

22 Mr Rod Sims, Chair, ACCC, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 25.

23 Mr Peter Fray, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 42; Ms Emma Cowdroy, Chief

Executive Officer, AAP, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, pp. 52-53; Professor Jane Hall, President, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Submission 8, p. 2; ABC, Submission 14, p. 6.

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commented on the decision made by his organisation and Nine not to fund AAP, referencing the commercial realities of newswire services:

…newswire services globally are under immense pressure as media companies replace the services they traditionally provided with stuff that they can get for free on the internet. It was responsible, as board members, to make a decision. The very fact that AAP Newswire ended up in the hands of extremely good people, but with a philanthropy and a government model in train, is evidence that, in our view, the board was right that the commercial newswire was unsustainable.24

7.25 A range of submitters and witnesses, including AAP itself, noted that other countries had recurring funding from government for newswire services, recognising the crucial role they play in a healthy media landscape, including increasing diversity and the availability of public interest journalism.25

7.26 For example, Dr Denis Muller, a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Advancing Journalism, told the committee:

[AAP] has a long and distinguished history of providing comprehensive, accurate, politically neutral coverage free of commercial considerations. It's now owned by a consortium of investors and philanthropists who were alarmed when AAP was shut down as a result of a decision by its two biggest shareholders, News Corp and Nine Entertainment…

Government support for a newswire service would…go some way to remedying the deficit in public interest journalism, provide a news lifeline to rural and regional media and increase diversity by helping innumerable local media outlets to survive.26

7.27 The Chief Executive Officer of AAP, Ms Emma Cowdroy, told the committee in February 2021 that AAP's sustainability depends on three income streams: commercial revenue, philanthropic donations and government support, noting:

…every other newswire agency in the world gets a form of government support, as I say, whether by way of a commercial arrangement, so they take the service, or by way of funding. Some of them get both. In France, Agence France-Presse get 131 million euros from their government as a funded arrangement and then a further 20 million euros by way of the government paying for the service.27

7.28 At that time, Ms Cowdroy noted that AAP had received $4.5 million support from the Commonwealth, with a further one-off payment $500 000 to come in

24 Mr Campbell Reid, Group Executive, Corporate, Policy and Government Affairs, News Corp,

Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 28.

25 Ms Emma Cowdroy, Chief Executive Officer, AAP, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, pp. 52-

53; MEAA, Submission 26, p. 12.

26 Dr Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, Committee Hansard,

12 March 2021, p. 51. See also: Professor Rodney Tiffen, Submission 9, pp. 10-11.

27 Ms Emma Cowdroy, Chief Executive Officer, AAP, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 55.

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May 2021. Ms Cowdroy told the committee that AAP had requested government funding of $8-10 million dollars a year for three years, to ensure its short-term viability.28 Subsequently, the government committed $15 million funding over two years in the 2021-22 Budget to AAP, to support its financial sustainability over two years.29

A fund for public interest journalism 7.29 One of the proposals made in the government's 2020 Media Reform Green Paper (Green Paper) was to:

…establish new funds to support the provision of more regional news and more Australian drama, documentary and children's content, with those funds capitalised with a share of the expected proceeds from reallocating spectrum which will no longer be required by the free-to-air television sector.30

7.30 The reasoning underpinning this proposal was that the future rationalisation of the radiofrequency spectrum could result in certain frequencies becoming available for reallocation. The auction of this valuable spectrum could generate substantial proceeds for the Commonwealth, and potentially:

A portion of the proceeds of the auction could be allocated to capitalise specific funds that would be established to support future television content delivery, in two priority areas: support for regional news services; and support for Australian drama, children's and documentary content. Each would be established as a trust fund operating under a legislative framework and would be overseen by an independent board of trustees. The first would be known as the Public Interest News Gathering Trust (PING Trust); the second would be known as the Create Australian Screen Trust (CAST).

These arrangements would be implemented through legislative amendments to the [Broadcasting Services Act 1992], the

Radiocommunications Act 1992 and other relevant legislation.31

7.31 The Department clarified that this would not only apply to television content, but provide funding across media in regional areas:

The purpose of the PING Trust would be to provide a capital fund that could be drawn on over time for grant funding to support the provision of newspaper, radio, television and online news services in regional Australia. This focus on the needs of regional and remote areas of

28 Ms Emma Cowdroy, Chief Executive Officer, AAP, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021,

pp. 54-55.

29 Australian Government, Budget Measures, Budget Paper No. 2, 2021-22, p. 161.

30 Media Reform Green Paper, p. 5.

31 Media Reform Green Paper, p. 7. See also pp. 27-29.

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Australia recognises that the provision of news and journalism in these markets is particularly challenged.32

7.32 Some evidence to this inquiry confirmed that stakeholders supported this new funding proposal, with some qualifications. For example, Ms Rachel Launders and Mr Hugh Marks from Nine spoke favourably of the PING funding they had already received, and the potential for it to continue. In doing so, Ms Launders noted that any sale of spectrum could impact regional communications, and so should not be undertaken without due consideration.33

7.33 Free TV Australia expressed some doubts about the proposed PING Trust. First, it noted that the proposed funding model would depend on 'some of our members agreeing to transition to new spectrum arrangements'. Second, it suggested:

The spectrum auction will not occur until 2025. This is far too late to address this pressing concern, as the funding is needed now.34

7.34 However, Mr Marks noted the benefits of the proposal, specifically the great value of funding to employ journalists outside of metropolitan areas:

Obviously you want to have journalists employed in the regions. What is going to be the best way to do that? We have, and we have in the past, invested in local news gathering through our organisation, including in regional areas… Any [Commonwealth] funding that goes specifically to that regional news will be readily accepted by media organisations and used to support employment of journalists, and that's the best way you can continue to provide that sort of coverage.35

7.35 Ms Cowdroy of AAP judged that even if a PING Trust, as canvassed in the Green Paper, would be 'helpful' to the sector, it may take a while to develop and implement:

My understanding, though, is that that process is going to take some time, potentially some years. The industry is in a crisis now, and I think something needs to be done now.36

7.36 Some evidence suggested that government support should not be limited to supporting regional media outlets, but should also fund small, independent and new publications more generally. For example, a number of eminent editors and journalists recommended the establishment of:

32 Department, Submission 49, p. 15.

33 Ms Rachel Launders, General Counsel and Company Secretary, and Mr Hugh Marks, Chief

Executive Officer, Nine, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, pp. 45, 47 and 51.

34 Free TV Australia, Submission 22, p. 16.

35 Mr Hugh Marks, Chief Executive Officer, Nine, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, pp. 47 and

51.

36 Ms Emma Cowdroy, Chief Executive Officer, AAP, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 55.

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…a legislative or regulatory mechanism that actively supports and funds the growth of existing independent media and the creation of new journalism start-ups… It should support the viability and growth of public interest media ventures on a scale that aims to redress the imbalance created by the power and dominance of the major media companies and the economic collapse of quality journalism in Australia.

This could require a single initiative or a range of measures to strengthen existing independent publications and encourage would-be publishers to enter a space that is currently loaded against new entrants and incumbent independents because of the market power of the big players.37

7.37 This proposal recommended the fund be independent, as 'journalists like to be at arm's length from governments because they must, ultimately, hold them accountable'. It would encompass a range of functions, including to:

 'provide financial support for independent journalism publishers and start-ups';  'seek to address areas of particular market failure (and watchdog journalism) through the establishment of independent grants for

journalism'; [and]  '[provide grants] to hire journalists to provide coverage of town halls, courts and police rounds, regional Australia and specialist reporting in a range of

areas now sadly neglected'.38

Journalist cadetships 7.38 The Department noted that one of RASPI's objectives was to create employment opportunities for cadet journalists. As such, 'a total of $8.0 million in administered funds was allocated to the Regional and Small Publishers

Cadetships Program for two rounds'.39 However, only a fraction of this allocation has been granted to publishers:

A total of $1.922 million was committed under the first round of the Cadetships Program. A total of $0.957 million has been spent to date. Some grantees did not take up the full allocation of funding due to the co-contribution payment arrangement or had difficulties in finding or retaining cadets. A second round was not conducted.40

7.39 Mr Bruce Ellen, Board Member of the Country Press Association, commented that there should have been $6 million left in the Cadetships Program. He believed however that the money had been rolled into the PING program.

37 Ms Monica Attard, Mr Eric Beecher, Mr Peter Fray, Mr Bruce Guthrie, Ms Wendy Harmer,

Mr Andrew Jaspan and Mr Alan Kohler (Attard et al), Submission 10, pp. 2-3.

38 Attard et al, Submission 10, pp. 2-3.

39 Department, answers to written questions on notice, 25 October 2021, p. 7 (received

8 November 2021).

40 Department, answers to written questions on notice, 25 October 2021, p. 7 (received

8 November 2021).

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Mr Ellen noted that the government has since actively supported apprenticeships but that support has not been extended to cadet journalists:

…you'd be aware that the government allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to apprenticeship support. We have put numerous submissions into the Treasurer and into the minister for communications asking: what about our apprentices? Our apprentices are, obviously, our cadets. To me, it's a no-brainer that if we want media diversity, if we want young people to enter the industry and grow through it and if we want to help employ a greater number and variety of journalists, surely an apprenticeship program for newspapers—that being simply our cadets—should be put in place. I made the point that this was already in place and was working very well but was abandoned.41

Protecting public ownership of the NBN 7.40 Some evidence argued that the NBN should be regarded as, and remain, essential publicly-owned communications infrastructure. This, it was suggested, would ensure that Australians have a continued access to a healthy

and diverse news media. The submission made by Per Capita suggested that Australia's broadband communications infrastructure should remain publicly owned, as:

All media content will be delivered over the broadband technology sooner rather than later, with the exception of short-wave radio for emergency services. A publicly owned wholesale broadband distribution platform could radically democratise the distribution of media content in Australia.

The original FTTP NBN was designed to have a number of ‘ports’ into the home: to allow for ‘broadcast’ television and radio, and telephone and internet services, from multiple providers. Critically, the original design included an additional port to allow for the future delivery of public service content, particularly programs of communication around education and health.42

7.41 Per Capita noted that the NBN was originally intended to be sold once completed but argued that the government should reverse this policy as privatisation could compromise its accessibility, not only for everyday Australians accessing content, but also for start-up media companies trying to enter the market.

7.42 The submission proposed that a publicly-owned NBN could:

 incorporate a Commonwealth education platform, which could assist in delivering remote learning and support services;

41 Mr Bruce Ellen, Board Member, Country Press Australia, Committee Hansard, 22 October 2021,

p. 30.

42 Per Capita, Submission 53, p. 7.

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 a trusted public health information and communications portal, which would help combat misinformation and disinformation on private media channels;

 enable considerable savings to the operational costs of transmission for ABC and SBS (currently around 20 per cent of their funding), which they could put into content generation;

 accommodate commercial broadcasters in the provision of streaming services;  ensure accessibility to online infrastructure for existing and new entrants to the market, which would guarantee no concentration of ownership for

online infrastructure and create the conditions to drive diversity and competition.43

Support through reform of the taxation system 7.43 The committee considered several options for tax reform that would create increased diversity of titles and voices by supporting sustainable models for existing news organisations and encourage new players to enter the market.

Research and Development-style tax credits or rebates 7.44 The Commonwealth currently offers tax concessions for organisations undertaking R&D that would not have otherwise been conducted, to boost competitiveness and productivity. Some evidence to this inquiry suggested

that the Commonwealth could use this model to offer tax credits or rebates to organisations producing public interest journalism, to offset the considerable cost of employing journalists.

7.45 A report prepared for the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI) noted that 'tax credits were an efficient approach to targeting quality journalism', citing expert analysis that found:

Tax credits or other indirect subsidy schemes that directly reduce the marginal cost of investing in journalism are the most efficient scheme to increase the quality and quantity of journalism and stimulate investigative journalism. Tax credit schemes are widely used in OECD countries to promote R&D investments, but not much used as a media policy instrument. We believe they deserve far more attention from both academics and policy makers who reflect on how to secure high quality journalism when the traditional business model of the media industry is eroded by the internet and more or less free distribution of news.44

43 Per Capita, Submission 53, pp. 7-8.

44 See the report prepared for PIJI by the Centre for International Economics, Tax Concessions for

Public Interest Journalism (2019), pp. 4-5, citing Hans Kind and Jarle Moen, Effects of taxes and subsidies on media services Discussion Paper (2014).

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7.46 Mr Dan Stinton, the Managing Director of Guardian Australia, noted that a tax incentive could offset the most significant outlay of media organisations— employing journalists:

…our biggest expense, as you would expect, is investment in journalism and civic journalism. So, if there was a tax incentive for that investment, that would make a really material difference to our business because we would have a lot more money to invest in more civic journalism.45

7.47 It was noted in evidence that an R&D-style tax incentive would depend on the adoption of an adequate and assessable definition of 'public interest' journalism, to ascertain eligibility and ensure robust oversight.46 Ms Lenore Taylor, Editor of Guardian Australia, suggested ways that a tax incentive for journalism could be targeted, once that definition had been set, as well as other criteria, such as:

….how you define the eligible investment [in public interest journalism] and how you make sure that it is additional to investment that would have happened anyway. If policy makers wanted to help smaller publications in particular the benefit could be tiered; greater for companies with lower turnovers and lesser for higher turnovers.47

Deductible gift recipient status for news organisations 7.48 The committee is aware that many independent media organisations around the world are sustained through charitable donations and philanthropic bequests. This is encouraged by governments allowing donors to claim tax

deductions for donations for eligible news organisations.

7.49 The Australian Gdovernment has already approved DGR status for the AAP from 9 June 2020, which suggests there is some precedent for this to be extended to other eligible media organisations.48

7.50 A number of submitters and witnesses suggested that Australia should adopt this model to encourage diversity, as it would encourage new entrants to the market, as well as assisting the viability of a number of existing outlets.49

45 Mr Dan Stinton, Managing Director, Guardian Australia, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 49.

46 PIJI, Submission 79, pp. 5-6. See also the report prepared for PIJI that was provided to the

committee Tax concessions for Public Interest Journalism Examining the case for tax incentive based funding, pp. 9-10.

47 Ms Lenore Taylor, Editor, Guardian Australia, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 43.

48 See the Charity Register of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission at

acnc.gov.au/charity/charities/e7f9c06e-38c7-ea11-a812-000d3ad1f29c/profile (accessed 7 December 2021).

49 Croakey Health Media, Submission 24, p. 11; Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas,

Submission 42, p. 9; Macquarie University, Submission 51, p. 2; Paradigm Shift Media, Submission 57, p. 9; Professor David Shearman, Submission 70, p. 13; and Dr Benedetta Brevini, Submission 40, p. 6.

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7.51 The PIJI provided research to the committee that found there is a 'small but growing market of philanthropists supporting public interest journalism' because they see its value as a public good. This research noted that philanthropists are often unaware of the need for support, and that media organisations are not experienced in seeking philanthropic contributions. However, it was argued that the 'key constraint' was regulatory:

By addressing regulatory constraints and tapping into existing cause areas, there is potential to grow philanthropic support for the not-for-profit journalism sector.50

7.52 The Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas (JNI), an organisation using a philanthropic model, argued that government should amend current provisions to allow easier access for philanthropy 'supporting and nurturing' journalism, noting that in this regard 'Australia still lags behind other democratic nations'. In a 2019 submission to the ACCC Digital Platforms inquiry, the JNI set out the benefits of this model:

Philanthropy … can inject new funds into the industry… it can also help the media and correspondingly, the public, in other less immediate ways by taking the commercial risk out of innovation; by supporting emerging and local media that is not initially commercially viable; and by ensuring that issues that are neglected for commercial or other reasons receive appropriate coverage for the benefit of all Australians.51

7.53 One example of the use of DGR status is the Guardian's establishment of the Guardian Civic Journalism Trust. This entity can offer DGR status for philanthropic donations and uses this to fund positions undertaking 'specific in-depth public interest journalism years earlier than we might have been able to fund it on our own', including on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and Pacific issues.52 The Managing Director of Guardian Australia, Mr Dan Stinton, told the committee that current provisions for DGR could be made broader, and easier to access:

…it would be very helpful if there was a way that there could be across-the-board DGR status for philanthropic grants for public interest journalism. We accept philanthropic grants now because we have partnered with Melbourne University to launch the Guardian Civic Journalism Trust. That collaboration means that when we get a grant we can use it for journalism, but we also, through the partnership, have to use it to benefit journalistic education through internships, guest lectures, funding student reporting projects and the like.

50 Regina Hill, Understanding the role that philanthropy can play in supporting public interest journalism

and how to enable it (2021), p. 1: PIJI, Submission 79, Supplementary Submission 79.1.

51 Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas, Submission in response to the ACCC Digital

Platforms Inquiry Preliminary Report, p. 2.

52 Guardian Australia, Submission 13, p. 3.

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It is working well and it allows us to accept some philanthropic grants, but there is obviously a limit to how many projects you can accept with that kind of an arrangement. We have several times now suggested a small amendment to the income tax act to allow institutional philanthropic donations for the purpose of civic journalism.53

7.54 The use of DGR status was outlined in one of the recommendations made by the ACCC's Digital Platforms inquiry, which noted the promising success of philanthropic models for news overseas:

Philanthropic support for journalism could be encouraged in Australia by enabling donors to make tax-deductible contributions to not-for-profit organisations that produce, promote or assist the production of public interest journalism. To do so, the ACCC recommends that the Government amend tax settings to create a specific charitable purpose and a new category of deductible gift recipient (DGR) status for not-for-profit organisations that carry out such activities.54

Reform of law relating to defamation and freedom of the press 7.55 In addition to the measures the Commonwealth could adopt to directly support Australian news media, there are a number of areas of reform that government should consider to bolster the health of the sector indirectly.

7.56 In particular, the committee has considered evidence relating to the reform of defamation laws. Additionally, this section revisits some of relevant issues considered by this committee in its May 2021 report into Press Freedom, which has still not been responded to by the government.

Defamation laws 7.57 The Council of Attorneys-General representing all states and territories agreed to reform Australia's defamation laws in 2004, by supporting the enactment of uniform Model Defamation Amendment Provisions (MDPs). In 2018, the

Council agreed to review the MDPs, and in 2020 supported the enactment of Model Defamation Amendment Provisions 2020.55

7.58 These reforms set out to achieve a fairer balance between freedom of expression in the public interest, and the right of individuals to protect a reputation. 56

7.59 Stage 1 of these amendments came into effect in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia on 1 July 2021. The remaining Australian states and

53 Ms Lenore Taylor, Editor, Guardian Australia, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 43.

54 ACCC, Digital Platforms inquiry report, p. 20.

55 Explanatory note, Model Defamation Amendment Provisions 2020, p. 1,

pcc.gov.au/uniform/2020/Model_Defamation_Amendment_Provisions_2020.pdf (accessed 8 December 2021).

56 Explanatory note, Model Defamation Amendment Provisions 2020, pp. 1-2.

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territories have committed to implementing the new regime as soon as possible after 1 July 2021. Stage 1 reforms cover:

 Clarification of the cap on damages for non-economic loss  Introduction of a new public interest defence  Introduction of a serious harm threshold  Introduction of a single publication rule  Introduction of a mandatory concerns notice procedure.57

7.60 Stage 2 of the MDPs is still in development, and is focused on two issues: the question of internet intermediary liability for defamatory conduct of third parties; and considering the impact of defamation law on reports of alleged criminal conduct and misconduct.58

7.61 Evidence suggested that the cost of bringing defamation cases was too great for victims, particularly individuals of limited means who wished to challenge well-resourced media companies. Moreover, it was commented that defamation proceedings could only be brought by individuals, and so organisations who had been misrepresented could not take legal action to defend their reputation.59

7.62 On the other hand, media owners suggested that the risks of costly defamation settlements could diminish their willingness to publish some stories that were in the public interest.60

7.63 The Hon Malcolm Turnbull, formerly both a defamation lawyer and Prime Minister of Australia, suggested a potential reform to make defamation quicker and fairer for both individuals and media organisations:

…if a person…who feels they have been defamed brings their complaint to a publisher and the publisher, within a reasonable time, whether it is a week or two weeks, publishes a correction and apology in an equally prominent position, then they should not be able to get damages other than actual pecuniary damages—say, if their business revenues were halved, they could be compensated for that. In other words, it provides an incentive for media outlets to get the facts straight, quickly.61

Implications of the 'Voller' case

57 Attorneys-General, Review of Model Defamation Provisions-Stage 2,

justice.nsw.gov.au/justicepolicy/Documents/review-model-defamation-provisions/discussion-paper-stage-2.pdf (accessed 8 December 2021).

58 Attorneys-General, Review of Model Defamation Provisions - Stage 2.

59 For instance, see: Mr Peter Marshall, National and Victorian Branch Secretary, Victorian Branch,

United Firefighters Union, Committee Hansard, 12 March 2021, p. 40; and the Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 7.

60 Mr Hugh Marks, Chief Executive Officer, Nine, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 46.

61 The Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 12 April 2021, p. 7.

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7.64 In September 2021, the High Court affirmed that media organisations are responsible for comments posted by third parties on articles on their websites.62

7.65 The case stemmed from a claim made by Mr Dylan Voller in the NSW Supreme Court in 2019 against the owners of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, over third-party comments that had been made on news stories posted by those companies on Facebook. In this case, and a subsequent case in the Court of Appeal, it was found that the media companies who hosted the Facebook pages had published the material, and therefore were liable for any defamatory comments made about Mr Voller by users.63

7.66 In essence, this affirms that media companies are considered as 'publishers' of articles posted to online platforms, and so liable for third-party comments. By extension, this finding may have serious implications for platforms such as Facebook, which for many years has argued it is a 'tech platform' but not a 'publisher'.64

7.67 Nine's submission to this inquiry suggested there are opportunities for the government to reform defamation and related laws. On the Voller case—which at the time of submission was not yet fully resolved by the courts, Nine noted:

Developments in defamation law have significantly increased the risk profile of creating and supporting public interest journalism. In particular the Voller decision, makes Australian media companies responsible for user comments in circumstances where they cannot control or disable user comments. Compounding this issue was the removal of a proposed provision giving Australian media companies the ability to request this right, from the draft Mandatory Code before it was introduced into parliament on 9 December 2020, and the Digital Platforms making it clear in commercial negotiations that the right to disable or control user comments is not something they will grant.65

7.68 The full effects of the Voller findings have not played out at the time of writing. However, representatives of media companies, including News Corp and Nine, have indicated it will have significant consequences for the operation of any public page on social media, including those administered by large media companies.66

62 Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Voller; Nationwide News Pty Limited v Voller; Australian

News Channel Pty Ltd v Voller [2021] HCA 27 (Voller Case).

63 Voller Case.

64 See, for example, Sam Levin, 'Is Facebook a publisher? In public it says no, but in court it says yes',

Guardian Online, 3 July 2018, theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/02/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-platform-publisher-lawsuit (accessed 8 December 2021).

65 Nine, Submission 74, pp. 2-3.

66 Paul Karp, 'High court rules Australian media companies can be liable for defamatory comments

posted on Facebook pages', Guardian Australia, 8 September 2021,

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7.69 Members of the government, including the Attorney General, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, have also signalled to the states and territories that reforms to defamation laws must include consideration of the new realities of media content appearing on Facebook and other online platforms.67

7.70 The Prime Minister has also indicated potential changes to Commonwealth laws regarding social media platforms being considered as publishers under certain circumstances.68

Recommendations of the Press Freedom report 7.71 In May 2021, the committee tabled a report into Press Freedom. The report made 16 recommendations to the government for the reform of laws relating to reporting on issues of national security, the freedom of information

framework, whistleblower protections, and other matters.

7.72 The government has not yet responded to these recommendations, even though it is obliged to do so within three months of tabling.69

7.73 Concurrent with the committee's inquiry, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) conducted a similar inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press.70 This committee made 14 recommendations to the government, to which the government responded in December 2020.71

7.74 Many of the committee and the PJCIS recommendations overlap, and therefore the government already has a view on the matters examined by the committee in its inquiry. However, its response to the committee is now overdue.

theguardian.com/media/2021/sep/08/high-court-rules-australian-media-companies-are-liable-for-defamatory-comments-posted-on-their-facebook-pages (accessed 8 December 2021).

67 Reuters staff, 'Australian law chief wants defamation rules fixed for the internet age - letter',

Reuters, 7 October 2021, reuters.com/article/australia-defamation-idCNL1N2R301A (accessed 8 December 2021).

68 Lisa Visentin, 'Coward's palace: PM slams social media giants and anonymous trolls', SMH Online,

7 October 2021, smh.com.au/politics/federal/coward-s-palace-pm-slams-social-media-giants-and-anonymous-trolls-20211007-p58y59.html (accessed 8 December 2021).

69 Senate Resolution 44(1), which states that the 'government should, within the ensuing 3 months [of

a committee presenting a report], table a paper informing the Senate of its observations and intentions with respect to such recommendations'.

70 Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of

law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press, August 2020,

aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Intelligence_and_Security/FreedomofthePr ess/Report (accessed 8 December 2021).

71 Australian Government response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and

Security report, Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press, aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/ (accessed 8 December 2021).

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Committee view 7.75 As discussed in previous chapters, the legal and policy framework applying to Australia's media sector needs systemic and top-down reform, which the committee considers would be best developed by an independent judicial

inquiry.

7.76 However, the committee considers that there are several short-term reforms the government should adopt to foster diversity in Australia's news media and enhance public interest journalism in Australia. These reforms would support existing outlets and create conditions conducive to attracting more entrants to the sector.

7.77 This section outlines a number of matters for consideration, including adequate funding for public broadcasters, the potential for direct grants administered by an authority at arms-length from the government of the day, protecting public ownership of the NBN, and assistance to media organisations through adjustments to our taxation system.

Funding our public broadcasters—ABC and SBS 7.78 A common theme of the evidence received by the committee highlighted that the public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, are cherished national institutions that are central to Australia's media landscape.

7.79 Time and time again in evidence, it was noted that the ABC is the most trusted and valued news organisation in Australia, and unique in its capacity to reach Australians across the country with reliable news, including in regional and rural areas which are underserviced by other providers. Moreover, it was noted that SBS services an important and diverse segment of our community, and significantly enhances our multicultural nation's access to reliable current affairs.

7.80 Evidence strongly showed that well-funded national broadcasters ensure diversity, depth and balance in the news media ecosystem, and allow Australians from all over the nation to access quality journalism, as well as other essential services in times of crisis or emergency.

7.81 However, it was also widely noted in evidence that the current government has greatly reduced funding for our public broadcasters, and for the ABC in particular. Some also suggested that the government has engaged actively in politicisation of the institution and cast aspersions upon the ABC's production of fair, accurate and impartial news content, as it is required to do by its charter obligations.

7.82 In the campaign preceding the 2013 election, the then-leader of the Coalition, the Hon Tony Abbott, committed to making 'no cuts' to the ABC and SBS. Despite this, the Coalition Government has consistently and significantly cut the ABC's funding under three successive Prime Ministers.

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7.83 As noted above, a 2020 analysis showed that rather than the 'no cuts' promised, the ABC was subjected to around $783 million of cuts in the seven years following the Abbott Government's election in 2013.72 The current government has also indicated that there will be no change to the indexation freeze for the ABC, which means that the cumulative and ongoing cuts to the ABC's operating budget under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison governments have severely impacted its capacity and services to the Australian public.73

7.84 This has created tremendous uncertainty for the ABC, with job losses, the cessation of crucial established news programs, and reduced services including in news provision for regional and rural areas that depend heavily on the ABC for reliable news.

7.85 Moreover, in recent years, the ABC has endured accusations of partiality in its reporting, with the implication that the public broadcaster is biased and produces news material that goes against its charter obligations. This attack has come both from media companies, including News Corp, as well as from the ranks of the government itself.

7.86 Despite the present government’s attitude to the ABC, the broadcaster has consistently been found to be our most trusted and reliable news provider, and supported by Australians as a leading pillar of our news media and a vital part of our national identity.

7.87 It is essential that the government reverse the cuts to the ABC and increase its funding to sustainable levels, so the corporation can meet its charter obligations satisfactorily and provide public interest journalism for all Australians, including in regional and rural areas. In addition, the committee considers that the funding for public broadcasters should be increased from its current 3-year cycle to a 5-year cycle, which would give them certainty for their planning and security for the services they provide.

7.88 The committee notes that the government has flagged its intention to extend funding for the ABC's Enhanced Newsgathering program in the 2022-23 Federal Budget. The government should firmly commit to this extension in the ABC's next triennial funding cycle.

Funding for AAP 7.89 The committee considers that newswire services are an essential pillar in a healthy and diverse media landscape. Modest yet appropriate levels of Commonwealth funding would ensure the independence of AAP and ensure

72 Dr Wake and Mr Ward, 'Latest $84 million cuts rip out the heart out of the ABC, and our

democracy'. See also: Mr Ward, Submission 72; and JERAA, Submission 37.

73 Funding cuts to the ABC, and the government's argument that it has maintained ABC funding, is

discussed in an earlier chapter of this report.

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that it remains a significant contributor to the health, reliability and diversity of Australian media.

7.90 Evidence on AAP's value to Australian news media was expressed consistently in evidence, as was the observation that many governments around the world support newswire services with public funding.

7.91 The committee notes that the government did apportion two years of funding to AAP in the 2020-21 Federal Budget.

7.92 This funding will clearly assist AAP to transition to a new not-for-profit model, supported by industry and philanthropy. However, the committee considers that this funding should be made permanent, to give surety to its planning, and to consolidate it as a central pillar of our news media.

Public investment in journalism through a PING Trust 7.93 The government's own Media Reform Green Paper canvased the idea of setting up a permanent and independent PING Trust to support the health and diversity of regional and rural news media organisations.

7.94 The committee supports this initiative, as have numerous stakeholders to this inquiry. However, the Green Paper proposal is premised on a permanent trust being funded by the sale of broadcast spectrum, which is a proposal that will only occur well into the future.

7.95 Small, independent and local publications along with new entrants are essential components of a healthy and diverse news media industry. The committee heard evidence that called for a direct and targeted government funding mechanism for small, independent and new journalistic endeavours. The PING Trust could effectively provide this support mechanism. The proposed PING Trust as outlined in the government’s Green Paper should be broadened to include small, independent and emerging news media organisations. In addition to supporting regional news media, the PING Trust should be open to applications from this subsector of the broader news media landscape.

7.96 Many news organisations need assistance immediately, as without near-term support many will be forced to close. In regional areas, there is a risk that journalists will move on to different places and industries, and local communities will be left without the current affairs and local news they need.

7.97 An independent PING Trust should be funded by government immediately from general revenues, which could be offset by a future sale of spectrum.

7.98 Moreover, the committee notes the implementation and uptake issues for the PING program that were outlined in Chapter 3. The committee recommends that the fund be made more accessible and transparent, particularly for genuinely small and independent titles, rather than for large corporates that

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generally do not employ regional journalists to make dedicated content for local communities.

7.99 Similarly, the program should also extend cadetship provisions to small and independent news organisations.

Responding to the Media Reform Green Paper 7.100 The government's Green Paper sought stakeholder views on its proposals for crucial reforms to the future of Australia's television landscape. Submissions to the Green Paper process closed on 23 May 2021.

7.101 It is vital that the government clearly responds to this consultation process, and sets clear expectations for stakeholders, and let Australians know the government's intention for the final proposals for reform.

Protecting public ownership of the NBN 7.102 While the traditional media of newspapers, television and radio are sure to remain pillars of the Australian media sector for the foreseeable future, it is clear that online platforms will continue to grow.

7.103 News will increasingly be delivered and distributed online, including by traditional media through digital platforms, existing web-based outlets, and new entrants to the market.

7.104 Privatisation of all or parts of the NBN would risk large conglomerates in media and other businesses exercising even more control over a large swathe of our communications infrastructure. In turn, this could work against other media organisations and make it more difficult for new players to enter the market.

7.105 A publicly owned NBN would ensure Australia maintains open access to communications infrastructure. As a result, it would increase the viability of new entrants to the market, and enhance the diversity, depth and accessibility of Australian-produced public interest journalism

7.106 It is essential that the NBN remains in public ownership, for the health and diversity of our news media sector for the future. The committee considers that the Commonwealth should commit to protecting public ownership of the NBN.

Reform to the tax system 7.107 The committee heard of the opportunities available to the Commonwealth to support organisations producing public interest journalism through amendments to the tax system. It is clear to the committee that these would be

worthwhile the Commonwealth to consider, as they offer tremendous opportunities to revitalise Australian news media and increase diversity in the sector, with a very minimal impact on tax revenues. Moreover, such

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adjustments to the tax system would not compromise the principle of press freedom and journalistic independence.

7.108 Allowing some journalistic organisations to claim DGR status would encourage private benefactors to support not-for-profit media organisations, including new start-ups entering the market.

7.109 Although Australia does not have the same degree of philanthropic giving as some other jurisdictions, such as the US, this measure could unlock significant funding to support greater diversity in Australia's news sector.

7.110 The offering of an R&D-style tax concession would also be an opportunity for the government to encourage organisations to employ staff producing public interest news content.

Defamation and press freedom 7.111 Regarding defamation, the committee makes no recommendations, but notes that there is ongoing work across states and territories to harmonise defamation laws.

7.112 Moreover, the committee also notes there are serious implications for the press that stem from the High Court's findings in the Voller case. There have been no Commonwealth proposals in policy and law to date, and consequentially no Parliamentary consideration of these matters.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young Chair

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Dissenting report by Senator Bragg

The whole essence of freedom is that it is freedom for others as well as ourselves… [It is] a conception which is not born with us, but which we must painfully acquire. Most of us have no instinct at all to preserve the right of the other fellow to think what he likes about our beliefs, and to say what he likes about our opinions… [But] if truth is to emerge, and in the long run be triumphant, the process of free debate - the untrammelled clash of opinion - must go on.1

1.1 This timeless quote from the founder of the Liberal Party highlights the danger in the recommendations put forward by the majority report. These reckless recommendations would undermine freedom and freedom of the press in Australia.

1.2 In my First Speech to the Senate, I made it clear that my philosophy as a legislator would always be guided by the principles of free enterprise, saying ‘We support enterprise. We believe in markets. And we believe in some regulation of industry. We believe markets must serve the public interest’.2

1.3 Accordingly, I am open minded about intervention but there must be a very clear case.

1.4 There has been no case made for a judicial inquiry with Royal Commission style powers into the private economy. The threshold test of systemic failure or malfeasance for a Royal Commission into a sector of the private economy has not been met.

1.5 The threshold test is higher in this case as this sector of the private economy plays a pivotal role in our liberal democracy and government intervention should be an absolute last resort.

1.6 The recommendations are aimed at one particular organisation which has a large exposure to newspapers. Assessing media concentration upon the ownership of newspapers in the digital age is a deeply embarrassing and totally inappropriate measurement.

1.7 It would be like conducting an assessment on the prospects of Kodak film without considering digital cameras and iPhones.

1.8 The media landscape in Australia is extremely diverse. Following the disruption of Big Tech, which the majority report’s recommendations ignore, Australians can access a broad array of free and paid journalism.

1 R. G. Menzies, The Forgotten People.

2 Senator Andrew Bragg, Senate Hansard, 24 July 2019, p. 753.

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1.9 A 2020 University of Canberra study showed more than half of Australian news consumers (51 per cent) use five or more news brands.3 Only seven per cent of Australians access just one brand for their news.4

1.10 The same study states that 60 per cent of Australian news consumers use their mobile phones to access news.5 This occurs through various apps and social media platforms.

1.11 Australians can access streaming and on demand services through their televisions, computers, tablets and phones across the ABC, free to air television, Netflix, Prime or Stan.

1.12 Australians can read news about the economy, sport or politics for free on the Guardian Australia, the ABC and news.com.au.

1.13 They can purchase a subscription and access content from the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Economist or the New York Times.

1.14 Radio, subscription television and a range of established and new newspapers offer further options.

1.15 Google, Apple and Facebook offer curated content to their millions of users in Australia. Google News is the most popular news aggregator, being used by 17 per cent of Australians according to the University of Canberra.6

1.16 Younger Australians also source news information from Reddit and TikTok. The disruption of Big Tech has caused major changes in newsrooms, but it has widened the ability of Australians to access a broader range of content from more locations and sources.

1.17 The perspectives included across these platforms are extremely diverse. Australians can access news and opinions on politics which are totally different. They can do this on a range of platforms.

1.18 While it is true that there are two major newspaper outlets, this is not a proxy for media diversity. But even within the Nine and News Corp groups, there is significant diversity which can be seen in the various editorial positions of the respective mastheads.

1.19 The recommendations rest upon a 1950s formula which shows that this inquiry is a stunt and should not be treated seriously by the executive government of Australia.

3 Sora Park, Caroline Fisher, Jee Young Lee, Kieran McGuiness, Yoonmo Sang, Mathieu O’Neil,

Michael Jensen, Kerry McCallum, Glen Fuller, Digital News Report: Australia 2020, 16 June 2020, p. 54, apo.org.au/node/305057 (accessed 9 December 2021).

4 Sora Park et al, Digital News Report: Australia 2020, 16 June 2020, p. 54.

5 Sora Park et al, Digital News Report: Australia 2020, 16 June 2020, p. 57.

6 Sora Park et al, Digital News Report: Australia 2020, 16 June 2020, p. 64.

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Recommendations

Recommendation 1

1.20 There should be no inquiry into a private media organisation.

1.21 None of the recommendations are worthy of consideration, but this is not to say that we cannot improve the regulatory landscape.

1.22 It is not the role of the government to interfere in private media organisations, however the government has an interest in ensuring self-regulation measures are effective.

Recommendation 2

1.23 The Press Council should be reformed by its members to be more responsive and adopt stronger powers of self-regulation.

1.24 The Press Council has been a toothless tiger over newspapers, and it could only improve.

1.25 The government cannot compel non-traditional press organisations to join an industry body. But we can suggest to the organisation that it work with its constituent members to improve its standing with the community. The perception of the Press Council is generally poor. It should be taken more seriously and that is a job for the members.

1.26 One key point which is missed in the majority report is that most media consumption occurs outside of newspapers. Therefore, the self-regulation of media organisations which are not newspapers is of critical importance. There is no clear group of organisations which can represent the diverse technology companies with exposure to the media. The lack of such a body makes it difficult to make a recommendation which could be taken seriously.

1.27 In the online space groups such as DIGI could perform a similar role to the Press Council and have commenced with some industry policy work. For example, DIGI has launched a Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation, which has been adopted by Abode, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter.7

1.28 In the absence of serious self-regulation from Big Tech, the only option is government intervention. Accordingly, the government’s world-leading initiatives to regulate Big Tech should be maintained as the focus of our efforts. The initiatives have already supported Australians and public interest journalism.

7 DIGI, ‘Disinformation Code’, digi.org.au/disinformation-code/ (accessed 9 December 2021).

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Recommendation 3

1.29 Any outlet which publishes consumer media should consider having an independent Ombudsman, appointed by the board of the organisation.

1.30 Many issues on the regulation of Big Tech remain unresolved. One issue is that media outlets and Big Tech companies can be hard to deal with as a consumer. Accordingly, all media outlets, including the Big Tech publishers, should establish an Ombudsman to deal with consumer complaints.

Background 1.31 On 11 November 2020, the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee commenced an Inquiry into the state of media diversity, independence and reliability, and the impact on public interest journalism and

democracy.

1.32 The remit of this inquiry extended to the state of public interest journalism in Australia, media concentration, impact of online platforms, state of independent and community news, and the role of government in promoting public interest journalism.

1.33 The Senate performs an important function in inquiring into matters relevant to the public interest. The ability to collect evidence, call for submissions and witnesses, and report back to Parliament, is critical to the Senate’s ability to fulfill its legislative mandate.

1.34 We owe this to our constituents. I had hoped that this inquiry, like many others tabled in the past year, would be a worthwhile contribution to the legislative process and to wider policy debate. Unfortunately, this has not been the case.

1.35 This is a matter of profound regret. An open and vibrant public sphere is essential for the functioning of any democracy. Without the right to free speech and a free press, it is not possible to claim or assert other rights. Neither is it possible to maintain an open electoral democracy.

1.36 Despite the absence of any explicit constitutional protections, the value of free speech has been consistently recognised by the High Court, whose judges have stated that: ‘freedom of political communication is essential to the maintenance of representative democracy’8 and that ‘representative government…is not concerned merely with electoral processes… The central thesis of the doctrine is that the powers of government belong to, and are derived from…the people’.9

8 Australian Capital Television v Commonwealth [1992] HCA 1 at 5 per Brennan J.

9 Nationwide News Pty Ltd v Wills [1992] HCA 46 at 59 per Deane and Toohey JJ.

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1.37 Regulating the media environment in the public interest is a delicate exercise. I agree that a vibrant, diverse, and competitive environment is necessary in a democracy. Further, the Commonwealth has a responsibility to guarantee a framework where this can occur.

1.38 Instituting a framework which does not overstep the bounds of legitimate government action is a delicate exercise. As legislators, it is right that we keep a watchful eye on the operation of this framework, with a particular focus on its continual improvement.

1.39 We do this as part of our mandate to make laws in the public interest, specifically laws which relate to interstate commerce and corporations. Moreover, a free public sphere depends on competition in the media marketplace. This means that the government regulates to guarantee, not to restrict, market competition.

1.40 This idea does not mean that the government should determine or impede upon market outcomes. To do so would undermine not only the market but also our democracy. Simply put, members of Parliament do not pick the winners of the game, they write the rules. The two roles are not compatible.

1.41 The recommendations of this report do not represent a serious contribution to our national policy conversation. Instead, this report pushes an ideological agenda in the fulfillment of obscure and trivial goals.

1.42 In doing so, the recommendations of this report do not advance the stated objectives of this inquiry. Instead, if implemented, they would undermine it.

1.43 This process has been very unusual. Over 5000 public submissions were received by this committee. The vast, vast, majority of these submissions were done as part of a carefully coordinated campaign, one which was shepherded by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the activist group GetUp.10

1.44 Upon reviewing these submissions, it was clear that this campaign was not directed at good faith participation in the policymaking process. On the contrary, the volume of interest from specific sectors of society, all of whom seemed to be saying the same thing, had the effect of swamping and obstructing the committee process. Moreover, it served to obscure the views of stakeholders who sought to make a worthwhile contribution to the policy discussion. It is a classic case of stunts and gimmicks from protestors who do not expect to undertake roles in executive government.

10 Mr Michael Miller, Executive Chairman, News Corp Australia, Committee Hansard,

19 February 2021, p. 20.

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Response to recommendations in the committee report 1.45 Any market intervention must be justified, this is especially true of interventions in the media market, which has consequences for the health of our democracy.

1.46 We should take care to ensure that these interventions are only justified in light of the quantum of any adverse consequences. Unfortunately, the committee has opted not to conduct this analysis, instead the majority has decided to engage in empty performance politics.

Comment on committee Recommendation 1 1.47 With respect to committee Recommendation 1: The committee recommends that the Commonwealth initiate a judicial inquiry, with the powers of a Royal Commission, to determine whether the existing system of media regulation is

fit-for-purpose and to investigate the concentration of media ownership in Australia.

1.48 It is not clear what this recommendation is, or what it would achieve. While the recommendation states that the inquiry will look at a number of aspects of the media market, investigating the concentration of media ownership will no doubt end up being directed at one or two media organisations.

1.49 In doing so, the report does not cite any powerful or compelling reasons as to why such an inquiry would be specifically warranted. Nor does the report justify why this inquiry would be more appropriate or effective than existing processes. The regulation of the press is a profound public policy issue, one which affects the democratic process.

1.50 It is essential that these questions should be considered in the democratic sphere, and not outsourced to unelected judges or commissioners. We are elected to consider these questions. That is our mandate.

1.51 Moreover, conferring the powers of a Royal Commission on an inquiry which will have oversight of media operators endangers democracy. As mentioned, the questions which would be considered by this hypothetical inquiry would affect some of the core functions of democracy. To confer on an unelected official extensive investigatory powers over participants in the public sphere would constitute an unacceptable intrusion into our democratic process, for no apparent benefit.

Comment on committee Recommendation 2 1.52 With respect to committee Recommendation 2: Ensuring that the nation’s news media are sufficiently diverse, in ownership and in opinion, to maintain a vigorous democracy.

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1.53 It is ironic that this recommendation commences by saying that ‘it is parliament’s responsibility’ to uphold these principles, before recommending a series of expansions in executive power and more public funding.11

1.54 While I recognise that public interest journalism is valuable, I am not sure how this could be enhanced by furthering its reliance on government support. The diversity, both in ownership and opinion, sought in the news media market has always been a product of innovation and growth in the private sector.

1.55 The report has not considered the very real adverse consequences of making the media market further dependent on government support. Surely this is anathema to the idea of a vigorous and independent media.

State of Media Diversity 1.56 The majority report repeatedly contends that ‘Australia has one of the most concentrated news media markets in the world’12 but did not provide supporting evidence. There is a disproportionate focus on the market for

newspapers and other traditional media. The vast majority of news in Australia is consumed online.13

1.57 On the contrary, Australian news consumers have never been exposed to a more diverse media environment. Diversity extends beyond ownership and into the multitude of mediums which people can be exposed to. As the Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Mr Rod Sims, stated:

I think you’ve got more competition than you had before… the more competition you’ve got, I think it follows that the more diversity you’ve got.14

1.58 The repeated statement in the majority report that the Australian news media sector is ‘one of the most concentrated markets’15 cites scant supporting evidence. It is a statement of opinion which is liable to be contested according to assessments of the scope and structure of the media market, as well as comparability between countries.16 The committee should be wary about undermining its integrity by being so flippant about the distinction between fact and opinion.

11 Committee Report, p. xv.

12 Committee Report, pp. xii, 7 and 15.

13 Sora Park et al, Digital News Report: Australia 2020, 16 June 2020, pp. 50-62.

14 Committee Report, p. 14.

15 Committee Report, pp. xii, 7 and 15.

16 Australian Communications and Media Authority, ‘Understanding media control’,

acma.gov.au/understanding-media-control (accessed 9 December 2021).

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1.59 The most viewed news website in Australia is abc.net.au.17 Of the top 10, according to Nielsen data, one was owned by News Corp, three by Nine, and one each by Australian Community Media, the Daily Mail, the Guardian Australia, and Seven West.18 Individuals will often regularly consume news from four or five regular sources, including sources which are ideologically diverse.

1.60 News feeds on social media sites are typically used as landing pages, which can provide news from a range of sources offering a range of views. We also consume far more news than we used to. Gone are the days where one household would get the bulk of their news from a single newspaper with a highly loyal subscriber base.

1.61 The intense focus on News Corp also obscures the fact that News Corp is present primarily in the newspaper market. The viewership of Sky News is miniscule compared to the viewership of Nine, Seven, SBS, and the ABC.19 Although even News Corp’s presence in the newspaper market has been overstated.

1.62 Kevin Rudd claimed that News Corp accounted for 70 per cent of the newspapers in Australia.20 This is factually incorrect.21 It accounts for 33 per cent.22 News Corp websites reach 1.2 million fewer readers than those owned by Nine.23 Kevin Rudd repeatedly claimed that News Corp had a monopoly on newspapers in Queensland.24 Also patently untrue. There are 46 printed newspapers in Queensland, of which News Corp owns six.25

17 The Nielsen Company, Nielsen Digital Landscape Report, January 2021, p. 14, Nielsen-Digital-Landscape-Report-January-2021.pdf (accessed 9 December 2021).

18 The Nielsen Company, Nielsen Digital Landscape Report, January 2021, p. 14.

19 Oztam, Metropolitan Total TV Share of All Viewing, OzTAM (accessed 9 December 2021).

20 ‘FactCheck: does Murdoch own 70% of newspapers in Australia’, The Conversation Online,

8 August 2013, theconversation.com/factcheck-does-murdoch-own-70-of-newspapers-in-australia-16812 (accessed 9 December 2021).

21 ‘FactCheck: does Murdoch own 70% of newspapers in Australia’, The Conversation Online,

8 August 2013.

22 ‘FactCheck: does Murdoch own 70% of newspapers in Australia’, The Conversation Online,

8 August 2013.

23 ‘FactCheck: how large is Rupert Murdoch’s reach through News Corp in Australian media, old

and new’, ABC News, 14 April 2021, .abc.net.au/news/2021-04-14/fact-file-rupert-murdoch-media-reach-in-australia/100056660 (accessed 9 December 2021).

24 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity, Committee Hansard, 19 February 2021, p. 3.

25 Mr Michael Millar, Executive Chairman, News Crop Australia, Committee Hansard,

19 February 2021, p. 20.

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1.63 As the Press Council notes, ‘one of the most significant impacts on the Australian commercial media industry in recent times has been the emergence of digital platforms’.26 The five most visited websites in Australia: Google (Alphabet), YouTube (Alphabet), Facebook (Meta), Google Australia (Alphabet), Shopify (Shopify).27 All of these are foreign owned companies: four based in the United States and one in Canada.

1.64 They have a staggering amount of data points about their Australian users: where they shop, what they search, private messages, private emails, email addresses, viewing habits, location data. Algorithms are used to feed information to users in a way which is explicitly directed towards monetising this information.

1.65 This has a profound impact on our vital national interests. Often these sites operate as ‘platforms’ or gateways to the rest of the internet, hosting organic content which has been generated by users. Some have argued that the function of these sites is not dissimilar to a utility. But one cannot assume that they will conduct themselves properly. This poses some existential questions: do we really trust a foreign company with data which we would not be comfortable with personally sharing publicly? How do we know these entities are not vulnerable to outside interference in how they share this information?

1.66 Following the proposal for the News Media Bargaining Code, these platforms used their significant market power to manipulate our political process, threatening to withdraw services if the legislation passed.28 They also used their platforms to host their own content criticising the proposal.29 Parliament should be focused on the gross misuse of power by Big Tech companies, rather than the disrupted traditional media sector. Surely this would be the focus of any responsible or serious inquiry.

A Judicial inquiry or Royal Commission is not necessary 1.67 The Commonwealth has had nine Royal Commissions in the past ten years. By contrast, in the previous decade, we had five. The past decade also exceeds the number of Royal Commissions in comparable jurisdictions, such as New

Zealand (four), the United Kingdom (zero), and Canada (two).

26 Australian Press Council, Submission 41, p. 3.

27 Alexa, ‘Top Sites in Australia’, alexa.com/topsites/countries/AU (accessed 9 December 2021).

28 The Conversation, ‘Google’s and Facebook’s loud appeal to users over the news media bargaining

code shows a lack of political power’, 2 February 2021, theconversation.com/googles-and-facebooks-loud-appeal-to-users-over-the-news-mediabargaining-code-shows-a-lack-of-political-power-154379 (accessed 9 December 2021).

29 The Conversation, ‘Google’s and Facebook’s loud appeal to users over the news media bargaining

code shows a lack of political power’, 2 February 2021.

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1.68 While it is hard to arrive at an accurate cost estimate, the Banking Royal Commission cost taxpayers, at a minimum, $70 million, although estimates of the total (public and private) costs range as high as a billion dollars.30

1.69 Just as the frequency of these Commissions has increased, so has the scope. It used to be that Parliament dealt with matters relevant to the public interest, and Royal Commissions were established to answer very specific and serious questions.

1.70 A Royal Commission allows legal professionals to take a detailed look at specific questions, especially where the legislative framework has failed significantly. Notable examples include the inquiry into HIH Insurance, then the largest corporate collapse in Australian history; into the Oil-for-Food scandal; and the Banking Royal Commission.

1.71 It does not make sense to have Royal Commissions look at issues relevant to the broader public interest. That is our job as Parliamentarians. In effect, establishing a Royal Commission on a broad public policy question is tantamount to retaining lawyers to stand-in as legislators.

1.72 We need to establish that a clear threshold of seriousness is required for opening a Royal Commission. We have been far too flippant about what Royal Commissions entail: extraordinary costs, an outsourcing of the democratic process and broad legal investigations. This should only be reserved for serious issues which cannot be addressed through judicial, parliamentary or executive inquiries. We owe this to voters and taxpayers.

1.73 More weight should be given to the second part of this standard, especially the value of this process, the committee process. The tabling of reports in Parliament allows for recommendations to go straight into the legislative process. We are also elected to perform this function. The Senate can call for witnesses and documents, and such proceedings enjoy the protection of parliamentary privilege. We can table recommendations directly to Parliament.

1.74 In fact, this committee did just that, and failing to find the results that they were hoping for, and shrinking from the hard task of devising policy solutions, they have instead decided to outsource this responsibility to retained lawyers, at considerable public expense and for no apparent reason.

1.75 Calling for a Royal Commission into something that falls well within our purview, like media diversity, is not a serious contribution to public debate. In fact, calling for a Royal Commission amounts to running away from public debate and public responsibilities. They have kicked the can down the road and the taxpayer will be footing the bill.

30 Jennifer Hewett, ‘Banking royal commission may be a billion dollar show’, Australian Financial

Review, 11 February 2018, afr.com/opinion/banking-royal-commission-may-be-a-billion-dollar-show-20180211-h0vwcg (accessed 9 December 2021).

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1.76 Moreover, a Royal Commission can only be established by a Letters Patent signed by the Governor-General.31 It is a function of the executive government. The Senate knows full well that this is the case. They know that the decision to hold, or not hold, a Royal Commission is one which is at the discretion of the executive government.

1.77 It is a profound irony that the majority report is calling for a Royal Commission—the highest level of public inquiry—which appears to be directed at one or two media providers. This follows the Chair’s motion to gag a very specific and limited inquiry into another media provider which is funded by taxpayers.32 What explanation exists for this other than politics?

1.78 Let us spell out the hypocrisy presented by this situation. It is more than the Chair preventing an inquiry into one media organisation while calling for an inquiry into another. It is far more lopsided than that.

1.79 The ABC is publicly funded, News Corp is not. Taxpayers fund the ABC, giving it a stream of revenue that is more reliable than the revenue stream of any other media organisation in Australia. The ABC has a statutory mandate, News Corp does not.

1.80 ABC News is the most-viewed news website in Australia, ABC News 24 the most viewed news channel.33 News Corp-owned Sky News does not remotely approach this reach.

1.81 A Senate inquiry can report on its terms of reference with minimal costs to the taxpayer and minimal inconvenience to witnesses; the cost of a Royal Commission often goes into the tens of millions, the witnesses all have to retain their own lawyers and are subjected to intrusive questioning.

1.82 The terms of reference for the Senate inquiry were confined to a matter of public interest, the terms of reference for the Royal Commission are expansive and open-ended. Members of a Senate committee are elected and accountable directly to the voting public. Royal Commissioners are appointed for secure tenure. Members of a Senate committee report to the whole house, a Royal Commission reports to the government.

1.83 To argue that the Senate cannot inquire into ABC News, but that a Royal Commission is somehow required for News Corp, is an absurdity so extraordinary that it defiles the dignity of Senate processes. It is a flagrant abuse of one of the strongest and most productive tools of our democracy for nakedly political ends.

31 Royal Commissions Act 1902, s. 1A.

32 Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Senate Hansard, 24 November 2021, pp. 4-5.

33 The Nielson Company, ‘ABC News Websites Ranks No. 1’, 11 February 2020,

nielsen.com/au/en/press-releases/2020/abc-news-websites-ranks-no-1/ (accessed 9 December 2021).

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ABC inquiry 1.84 An independent public broadcaster performs a vital function in any democracy. The ABC is a national institution which serves us well. The ABC Act establishes the organisation as an ‘independent national broadcasting

service’34 and the Editorial Standards establish ‘maintaining independence and integrity’ as a core objective.35

1.85 This inquiry refused to consider if the ABC was living up to these aspirations. This undermines the extent to which this inquiry can be taken seriously, especially given the vital role that the ABC and public broadcasters play in the media ecosystem. Further, recent events have confirmed that serious questions must be asked about the extent to which the ABC is adhering to these standards.

1.86 The ABC is unlike any other media organisation in the country in being able to rely on a stable stream of revenue from taxpayers. We should always be holding it to the highest possible expectations, at a minimum this should require a level of scrutiny which ensures that they are living up to their statutory mandate. This is our responsibility.

1.87 I called for an inquiry into the ABC’s complaints handling procedures. This was in response to issues which had been raised with me personally by my constituents, as well as further inquiries which indicated that these procedures may not be meeting best practice. Certain multicultural groups were unhappy with complaints related to foreign coverage, and veterans felt they had been represented inappropriately.

1.88 To review the functioning of public agencies is one of the Senate’s core responsibilities, and a vital cog in the machinery of democratic government. That inquiry had a simple objective, set out in the terms of reference, to ‘examine the adequacy of the existing arrangements to provide a framework that is accessible, responsive, efficient, accountable and fit for purpose’.36 It is well within the practices of the Senate to review the performance of public bodies.

1.89 That is why I was surprised by the reaction of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

1.90 The Chair of the ABC, Ms Ita Buttrose, immediately put out a statement which was inappropriate and unfounded. In that statement, the Chair made three contentions which should make everyone profoundly uncomfortable.

34 Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983, s. 6.

35 ABC, ‘ABC Editorial Policies’ (Editorial Policies, Editorial Policy 1: Independence, integrity and

responsibility), edpols.abc.net.au/policies/ (accessed 9 December 2021).

36 See: aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/

ABCandSBSComplaints (accessed 9 December 2021).

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1.91 First, Ms Buttrose contended that the Senate inquiry was parallel to an internal review which the ABC initiated, claiming that ‘instead of respecting the integrity of this [internal] process, the Senate committee under the leadership of Senator Bragg has decided to initiate a parallel process’.37 I respectfully disagree. The ABC’s review is being conducted at the behest of the ABC. The organisation which is under review will also be the organisation which initiated the review.

1.92 Submissions and testimony will not enjoy the protections of parliamentary privilege, nor will it be conducted by individuals who are accountable to the public. By contrast, a Senate inquiry will be conducted in the public sphere, submissions and testimony will enjoy the protections of parliamentary privilege, and individuals conducting the inquiry are directly answerable to the electorate. To argue that there is any equivalency between the two is not only insulting, it also exhibits a profound misunderstanding of, and disrespect for, the democratic process.

1.93 Second, Ms Buttrose contended that this inquiry would interfere with the ABC’s editorial independence, stating that ‘the Committee has, on this occasion, sought to undertake a task that is not only already underway but also is the legal responsibility of the ABC Board’.38 As I have previously stated, the inquiry was about maintaining the independence of the ABC, not undermining it. It is one of the Senate’s core responsibilities to ensure that public agencies are fulfilling their statutory responsibilities.

1.94 Ms Buttrose contended that the Senate should be somehow restricted in that ability, and that any attempt to overstep this is ‘a blatant attempt to usurp the role of the ABC Board’.39 This contention exhibits a deep contempt for our parliamentary democracy, which requires Parliament to have the ability to inquire into any matter which is relevant to its legislative functions. I find it unfathomable that the Chair of our national broadcaster would hold such a position.

1.95 Third, Ms Buttrose contended that the inquiry was a politically motivated attempt to undermine the ABC, describing it as ‘an act of political interference designed to intimidate the ABC and mute its role as this country’s most trusted

37 ABC, ‘Statement from Ita Buttrose, ABC Chair, on ABC complaints handling process’, Media

Release, 14 November 2021, about.abc.net.au/statements/statement-from-ita-buttrose-abc-chair-on-abc-complaints-processes/ (accessed 9 December 2021).

38 ABC, ‘Statement from Ita Buttrose, ABC Chair, on ABC complaints handling process’, Media

Release, 14 November 2021.

39 ABC, ‘Statement from Ita Buttrose, ABC Chair, on ABC complaints handling process’, Media

Release, 14 November 2021.

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source of public interest journalism’.40 Unlike the ABC’s internal review, this inquiry would have been answerable to the public. It would have included representatives from across the political spectrum and called for public submissions on a range of views.

1.96 The findings of the inquiry would have therefore been an open question, capable of being judged by the democratic process. I am not sure why Ms Buttrose would take a position on the inquiry’s findings before the inquiry had properly commenced. As I have repeatedly stated, this was an examination of one specific aspect of the functions of a public organisation. An examination which would have ultimately been subject to the value of the democratic process.

1.97 Ultimately, the ABC made an extraordinary intervention into our democratic institutions. Unelected officials should not be directing the actions of an elected Parliament. The direct politicisation of their institutional interests is an extremely risky precedent.

1.98 Closing down a house of review’s capacity to conduct legitimate inquiries should trouble anyone who is concerned about responsible and representative government. For 50 years, the Senate committee process has been central to our democracy. The ABC has no business actively undermining it.

1.99 Moreover, the institutional stance of the ABC clearly bled into their own coverage of their statement. ABC News carried Ms Buttrose’s statement wholesale as a news item, when it was clearly intended as a statement of opinion.41

1.100 The Media Diversity Inquiry’s refusal to scrutinize a public broadcaster is emblematic of the attitude underpinning the majority report. They are interested in intentions over outcomes, performance over process, and opinion over substance.

Concluding remarks 1.101 This inquiry has been a stunt, conducted at taxpayers’ expense. It offers no serious recommendations for reform. It is designed for the social media platforms of politicians who are more interested in protesting than governing.

40 ABC, ‘Statement from Ita Buttrose, ABC Chair, on ABC complaints handling process’, Media

Release, 14 November 2021.

41 Craig McMurtrie, ‘The essential role of the ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs unit in

investigating complaints’, ABC News, 15 November 2021, abc.net.au/news/backstory/2021-11-15/abc-craig-mcmurtrie-on-abc-complaints-handlinginquiry/100620738; ‘ABC chair Ita Buttrose accuses government of political interference over complaints handling inquiry’, ABC News, 14 November 2021, abc.net.au/news/2021-11-14/abc-ita-buttrose-accuses-government-of-politicalinterference/100619454 (both accessed 9 December 2021).

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1.102 The Australian media landscape is dynamic and diverse. People can access news and information from more sources and in more ways than ever before. The policy settings have evolved to address the disruption of Big Tech and public interest journalism is supported by various interventions.

1.103 Over the next decade, the Parliament should maintain its focus on the challenges of the Big Tech disruption, rather than looking in the rearview mirror at bogeymen of yesteryear.

Senator Andrew Bragg Deputy Chair

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Dissenting report by Senator McMahon

1.1 This inquiry was established in the wake of more than half a million Australians signing a petition started by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calling for the establishment of a Royal Commission into Australian media.

1.2 The failure of the majority report is that it believes it is the responsibility of Parliament to censor Australia’s media. They disguise this censorship using terms such as ‘sufficiently diverse, in ownership and in opinion, to maintain a vigorous democracy’.

1.3 As many submitters and witnesses to this committee noted, ours is not the first inquiry into the concentration of media ownership and the convergence media platforms in Australia and their consequences for democracy. I suspect given the ideologically-driven grievances outlined in the majority report—it won’t be the last.

There is no case for a judicial inquiry 1.4 There is no case for a judicial inquiry. Any such move would set an unhealthy precedent. It would be a waste of taxpayer funds and a huge dent in resources to waste tens of millions of dollars on a Royal Commission when it is looking

at regulation and media ownership.

1.5 It appears on the surface that those who were most vocal in their criticism of media outlets were also, superficially at least, in an ideological war with media who failed to ‘rubber stamp their views’.

1.6 To have a judicial inquiry into the media would be to effectively brow beat them to ensure the point of view expressed in the media is aligned with an ideological view and it will have the exact opposite effect of diminishing diversity.

1.7 We may not like how the media reports us as politicians specifically however, the gap between media regulation and censorship is small and Australia’s press deserve all the freedoms they have.

1.8 It is equally disturbing that an Australian media outlet was censored by foreign owned entities. This should not be allowed to occur and features in the recommendations of this report.

1.9 This dissenting report recommends that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) be given expanded powers over the ABC and SBS and its ability to confer penalties for breaches.

1.10 It is clear the media landscape would be better if the ACMA had greater oversight of the ABC and SBS.

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Media Diversity in Regional and Remote Australia 1.11 This dissenting report recommends that media diversity in regional and remote Australia is critical. In many instances the major source of information is the ABC and the views of the ABC do not always align with the views of

regional and remote Australians. It is the view of this dissenting report that incentives, not dissimilar to incentives in other industries like resources and agriculture, be offered to ensure commercial media diversity in these areas.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

1.12 Reject the proposed judicial inquiry, with Royal Commission powers, to determine whether the existing system of media regulation is fit-for-purpose and to investigate the concentration of media ownership in Australia.

1.13 The suggestion to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a judicial inquiry to investigate regulatory reforms would be an abject waste of public monies. Regulatory reform can be completed without such an expensive vehicle that will turn into a political witch hunt aimed at stifling a free press. There is a distinct balance between regulatory reform and press censorship and a judicial inquiry will not aid that balance.

Recommendation 2

1.14 The Commonwealth should continue to actively encourage and ensure media diversity in remote and regional Australia by providing similar incentives to those made available to other industries.

1.15 The media diversity in regional and remote Australia must be maintained and actively expanded. In many instances the only source of media information is the ABC, and its reporting does not always align with the broader view or the contextual relativity of regional and remote Australians. Different industries like resources and agriculture receive incentives to operate and maintain a presence and a mechanism should be made available to encourage media diversity as well.

Recommendation 3

1.16 The Australian Communications and Media Authority should be given a stronger role of regulating the ABC and SBS.

Recommendation 4

1.17 The Australian Communications and Media Authority should be given the ability to apply penalties to media organisations found breaching the code.

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1.18 The ACMA has only a limited role when a complaint is made to them on alleged breaches of the relevant Codes of Conduct. It rarely imposes sanctions or penalties. It should be given stronger powers and as outlined in Recommendation 3 with respect to the ABC and SBS.

Recommendation 5

1.19 Internet and Social Media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Google should be prevented from censoring mainstream Australian media and news content.

1.20 Foreign entities, regardless of their alleged content provider contracts, should not have the ability to censor any Australian media or news content. An expanded ACMA should be able to act on such content. Social media platforms have already taken to putting notices on content advising them to check the veracity of statements made—specifically around the pandemic. Australia has a free press and the freedom of the press should not be subject to decisions of foreign owned social media entities.

Recommendation 6

1.21 ABC complaints handling process should be reformed to allow more accountability.

1.22 The ABC’s complaints process among other things offers a too narrow window for thoughtful complaints to be made. A Four Corners episode could be a twisted tale which could take weeks to unravel to formalise a complaint that is not easily dismissed, yet the window for complaining is only open for six weeks. This places the broader community at a distinct disadvantage and the public broadcaster at a distinct advantage. To avoid such a position the ABC should come under enhanced scrutiny of the ACMA as per

Recommendation 3.

Senator Sam McMahon Committee member

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Appendix 1

Previous inquiries and reports

Concerns over Australia's concentrated media market and the profound challenges faced by the news media sector are not new. This section canvasses a number of recent reports into the Australian media sector, as well as one international inquiry into the culture and ethics of media organisations in the digital age. The reports considered are the:

 Finkelstein Inquiry (February 2012);  Convergence Review (March 2012) (Convergence Review);  United Kingdom (UK) Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press, undertaken by the Right Honourable Lord Justice Brian Leveson

(November 2012) (Leveson Inquiry);  Senate Select Committee into the Future of Public Interest Journalism (February 2018) (Select Committee); and  Digital Platforms Inquiry undertaken by the Australian Competition and

Consumer Commission (ACCC) (December 2018).

Finkelstein Inquiry The Finkelstein Inquiry was established to examine the efficacy of Australia's approach to media regulation and focussed on the impact of technological change and digital platforms on traditional media, particularly print. Mr Finkelstein made a number of recommendations to government, including notably that a new body, a News Media Council, be established:

…to set journalistic standards for the news media in consultation with the industry, and handle complaints made by the public when those standards are breached. Those standards will likely be substantially the same as those that presently apply and which all profess to embrace.1

The Finkelstein report envisaged that the News Media Council would assume responsibility for news and current affairs on all platforms rather than being managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the voluntary Australian Press Council (Press Council):

[The News Media Council] will thus explicitly cover online news for the first time, and will involve transferring ACMA functions for standards and complaints concerning news and current affairs. It will replace the voluntary [Press Council] with a statutory entity. In an era of media convergence, the mandate of regulatory agencies should be defined by function rather than by medium. Where many publishers transmit the

1 Finkelstein Inquiry, p. 8.

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same story on different platforms it is logical that there be one regulatory regime covering them all.2

Commentators have noted that the Finkelstein Inquiry did not examine market concentration, which fell outside of its terms of reference.3

Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press (UK) In 2011, employees of the News Corp-owned News of the World were accused of illegally hacking the phones of celebrities, members of the royal family and public figures to access information that led to news stories. Allegations were also made that bribes had been made to police officers. These allegations led to the closure of the News of the World.4 It also led to more widespread questioning of the cultural and ethical practices of news outlets owned by Mr Murdoch, and the potential effects of News Corp on British elections and democracy.

In July 2011, a two-part inquiry was announced to investigate the role of the press and the police in the phone-hacking scandal, led by Justice Brian Leveson (Leveson inquiry). The Leveson inquiry was a wide-ranging exercise aimed not just at News Corp's newspapers but the press as a whole (the inquiry focused on traditional print media and did not examine online publishing). Hearings took place in 2012 and saw testimony from a variety of senior politicians, including four former Prime Ministers, as well as press figures including James and Rupert Murdoch.

Justice Leveson found evidence of the widespread use of phone hacking in some media organisations, particularly News Corp, which showed failures of process and governance in allowing these practices to be used.

More broadly, His Honour found that the press had prioritised 'sensational stories, almost irrespective of the harm the stories may cause and the rights of those who would be affected'. In this regard, Justice Leveson found that famous individuals did not waive rights because of their fame, including that they and their families had a right to privacy.5

2 Finkelstein Inquiry, pp. 8-9.

3 For instance, see some of the reactions from academic commentators in Associate Professor

Andrea Carson, Dr Alexandra Wake, Professor Brian McNair and Associate Professor Johan Lidberg, 'The Finkelstein Inquiry into media regulation: Experts respond', The Conversation Online¸ theconversation.com/the-finkelstein-inquiry-into-media-regulation-experts-respond-5675 (accessed 8 December 2021).

4 Ms Alanah Reid, A History of the News of the World, 10 June 2020, historic-

newspapers.co.uk/blog/news-of-the-world-history/ (accessed 8 December 2021).

5 The Right Honourable Lord Justice Leveson, An inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the

press (Leveson Inquiry), Executive summary, November 2012, p. 10,

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Regarding complaints about media practices, the inquiry's report suggested that there was a 'cultural tendency within parts of the press vigorously to resist or dismiss complainants almost as a matter of course'. This meant that complaints were not taken seriously by many media organisations, who often made 'high-volume, extremely personal attacks on those who challenge them' where complaints had been upheld.6

In making his recommendations, Justice Leveson noted that many previous inquiries had recommended a self-regulating approach for the media, but that this had repeatedly failed to deliver public accountability. The final report explained that 'what is needed is a genuinely independent and effective system of self-regulation'7, with the following key features:

 an independent statutory body free of any influence from industry and government, and governed by an independent board in a genuinely open, transparent and independent way;

 the independent statutory body to have 'sufficient powers to carry out investigations both into suspected serious or systemic breaches', and to fine organisations for breaches up to one per cent of turnover, to a maximum of £1 million;

 an arbitration process for claims against member media organisations, which is fair, quick and affordable, and able to strike out 'frivolous or vexatious claims'; and

 voluntary membership but non-members to be policed by the UK broadcast regulator, Ofcom.8

The planned second stage of the Leveson inquiry was cancelled, and key reforms that were recommended from the first stage have not been implemented.9

Convergence Review In early 2011, the then Labor Government commissioned the Convergence Review to examine the operation of media and communications regulation in Australia, particularly in light of new digital platforms and online delivery of media across multiple platforms. It concluded that there are three areas where regulatory

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/22903 9/0779.pdf (accessed 8 December 2021).

6 Leveson Inquiry, Executive summary, p. 11.

7 Leveson Inquiry, Executive summary, p. 13.

8 Leveson Inquiry, Volume I, p. xiii.

9 Mr Brian Cathcart, 'Brexit, Leveson II and why 2019 could be the year for press reform', The

Conversation, theconversation.com/brexit-leveson-ii-and-why-2019-could-be-the-year-for-press-reform-108614 (accessed 8 December 2021).

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intervention is justified: media ownership, media content standards, and Australian and local content.10

On media ownership, the final report of the Review noted: Diversity of news and commentary is fundamental to a healthy democracy. The Review has concluded that rules preventing the undue concentration of ownership remain an important factor in maintaining diversity of news and commentary. Diversity of ownership at a local and national level will be maintained by revising the existing rules to ensure that they are targeted and effective.11 [and]

Many elements of the current regulatory regime are outdated or unnecessary and other rules are becoming ineffective with the rapid changes in the communications landscape.12

The Review's recommendations included replacing several media control rules, including the since-repealed ‘2 out of 3’ rule (the 'cross media ownership rule'), with a 'minimum number of owners rule' and a public interest test.13

The Review proposed fundamental reform in regulating content across platforms equally under a single framework with an even set of standards. To do this, it recommended that two separate bodies be established: a statutory regulator to replace the existing [ACMA and]

an industry-led body to oversee journalistic standards for news and commentary across all platforms in the media and communications sector.14

The industry-body would 'enforce a media code aimed at promoting fairness, accuracy and transparency in professional news and commentary', and in doing so would: …would ultimately absorb functions performed by both the Australian

Press Council and the Australian Communications and Media Authority in news and commentary. Other media organisations would be free to become members of the news standards body and may see benefits in doing so.

The majority of funding for the body should come from its members. As it is in the public interest for the body to be appropriately resourced,

10 Australian Government, Convergence Review, Final Report, March 2012, p. 4,

apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2012-04/apo-nid29219_5.pdf (accessed 2 November 2021).

11 Australian Government, Convergence Review, Final Report, March 2012, p. ix.

12 Australian Government, Convergence Review, Final Report, March 2012, p. 1.

13 Australian Government, Convergence Review, Final Report, March 2012, p. xvii.

14 Australian Government, Convergence Review, Final Report, March 2012, p. xiii.

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government contributions should be available but limited to specific purposes, such as to cover a shortfall or to provide project-based funding.

In a converged world it is no longer viable to argue that news and commentary in print media should be treated differently from news and commentary in television, radio and online. The new industry-led body should cover all platforms—print and online, television and radio. 15

In March 2013, the then Labor Government responded to the findings and recommendations of the Convergence Review and the Finkelstein Inquiry by announcing five reforms to secure 'a media sector that is fair, diverse, and produces more Australian content'. These reforms included:

 a press standards model which ensures strong self-regulation of the print and online news media;  the introduction of a public interest test to ensure diversity considerations are taken into account for nationally significant media mergers and

acquisitions;  modernising the Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) charters to reflect their online and digital

activities;  supporting community television services following digital switchover by providing them a permanent allocation of a portion of Channel A; and  making permanent the 50 per cent reduction in the licence fees paid by

commercial television broadcasters, conditional on the broadcast of an additional 1490 hours of Australian content by 2015.16

Senate Select Committee into the Future of Public Interest Journalism The Select Committee was established in 2017 to examine the state of public interest journalism in Australia and globally.

Its focus was on what the government could do to support public interest journalism in the digital age. The inquiry's recommendations included:  adequate funding for the ABC and SBS;  additional funding surety for the community broadcasting sector;

 improved digital media awareness and media literacy in Australian schools;  extension of deductible gift recipient status for not-for-profit news organisations;

15 Australian Government, Convergence Review, Final Report, March 2012, p. xiv and xxvii.

16 Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital

Economy, 'Government Response to Convergence Review and Finkelstein Inquiry', 12 March 2013, static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/556710/22159687/1363068735030/Conroy_media_reforms.pdf (accessed 3 November 2021).

160

 cost-benefit analysis of extending tax deductions for all Australians being able to claim news subscriptions as a tax deduction;  the Australian Law Reform Commission conducting an audit on current laws impacting on journalists reporting on sensitive national security issues;  a review of defamation laws, and subsequent work to harmonise these

across states and territories; and  consideration of expanding whistleblower and shield law protections.17

ACCC Digital Platforms inquiry In December 2017, the ACCC was directed to inquire into 'the effect that digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content aggregation platforms are having on competition in media and advertising services markets', particularly relating to the sudden and massive growth of Google and Facebook.18 In July 2019, the ACCC released its final report, making 23 recommendations designed to ensure an appropriate level of oversight for evolving digital markets and their use of data. These recommendations included:

 process to implement harmonised media regulatory framework;19  designated digital platforms to provide codes of conduct governing relationships between digital platforms and media businesses to the ACMA;20

 stable and adequate funding for the public broadcasters;21  grants for local journalism;22  tax setting to encourage philanthropic support for journalism.23

Evidence received by the committee relating to these recommendations is discussed in Chapters 4, 5 and 7 of this report.

In December 2019, the government released its response to the ACCC Digital Platforms inquiry. This included, for example, asking the ACCC to work with digital

17 Senate Select Committee into the Future of Public Interest Journalism, Report (February 2018), p. ix

18 ACCC, 'ACCC commences inquiry into digital platforms', Media Release, 4 December 2017,

accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-commences-inquiry-into-digital-platforms (accessed

2 November 2021).

19 ACCC, Digital Platforms Inquiry, Final Report, June 2019, Recommendation 6.

20 ACCC, Digital Platforms Inquiry, Final Report, June 2019, Recommendation 7.

21 ACCC, Digital Platforms Inquiry, Final Report, June 2019, Recommendation 9.

22 ACCC, Digital Platforms Inquiry, Final Report, June 2019, Recommendation 10.

23 ACCC, Digital Platforms Inquiry, Final Report, June 2019, Recommendation 11.

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platforms and news media businesses to develop and implement a voluntary code to address these concerns.24

However, when these parties failed to reach agreement, the government introduced the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code (Mandatory Bargaining Code), which establishes a mandatory code of conduct to address bargaining power imbalances between digital platform services and Australian news businesses (see Chapter 3).

24 The Treasury, 'Government Response and Implementation Roadmap for the Digital Platforms

Inquiry, 12 December 2019', p. 8, treasury.gov.au/publication/p2019-41708 (accessed 8 December 2021).

163

Appendix 2

Submissions and additional information

1 News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra 2 Media Innovation and the Civic Future of Australia’s Country Press project, Deakin University 3 ABC Alumni Limited

 3.1 Supplementary to submission 3

4 Special Broadcasting Service Corporation 5 Name Withheld

6 Australian Deer Association 7 The Conversation 8 Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia 9 Professor Rodney Tiffen 10 Ms Monica Attard, Mr Eric Beecher, Mr Peter Fray, Mr Bruce Guthrie, Ms

Wendy Harmer, Mr Andrew Jaspan and Mr Alan Kohler 11 VOICE Australia 12 Solstice Media 13 Guardian Australia 14 Australian Broadcasting Corporation 15 News Corp Australia 16 Ms Michelle Rowland 17 The New Daily 18 NT Independent 19 First Nations Media Australia 20 Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society 21 Institute of Public Affairs 22 Free TV

 Attachment 1

23 Australian Community Futures Planning 24 Croakey Health Media  Attachment 1

25 Commercial Radio Australia Limited 26 Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance 27 Mr Ranald Macdonald 28 Mr John Menadue 29 Mr Leon Gettler 30 Mr Rod Barton MLC 31 Ethnic Broadcasters Inc 32 Media Diversity Australia

164

33 Freedom Publishers Union 34 Foundation for Young Australians  Attachment 1  Attachment 2

 Attachment 3

35 Amnesty International 36 Australian Communications and Media Authority 37 Journalism Education & Research Association of Australia 38 Australian Academy of Science 39 Prime Media Group, Southern Cross Austereo, WIN Network and Imparja

Television

40 Dr Benedetta Brevini 41 Australian Press Council 42 Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas 43 Queensland Council of Unions 44 Centre for Media Transition and Media Pluralism Research Project 45 Christian Media and Arts Australia 46 United Firefighters Union Victorian Branch

 46.1 Supplementary to submission 46  46.2 Supplementary to submission 46  Attachment 1  Attachment 2  Attachment 3  Attachment 4

47 Spectrum Labor 48 Australian Competition & Consumer Commission 49 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

50 Facebook 51 Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley FAHA 52 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC  52.1 Supplementary to submission 52

53 Per Capita

54 Adoptee Rights Australia (ARA) Inc. 55 Mr Jared Owens 56 Associate Professor Steven Maras 57 PS Media

58 Ms Miranda Korzy 59 Name Withheld 60 Australian Associated Press Limited 61 ABC Friends National 62 National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council

165

63 Community Broadcasting Association of Australia 64 Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne  64.1 Supplementary to submission 64

65 Australian Bahá'í Community 66 Associate Professor Michelle Telfer  Attachment 1  Attachment 2

67 The Australian Independent Media Network 68 Extinction Rebellion South Australia 69 Name Withheld 70 E/Prof David Shearman 71 Imparja Television Pty Ltd 72 Mr Michael Ward 73 Country Press Australia 74 Nine

75 ClimActs, CLIMARTE and LIVE 76 Ms Cindy Prior 77 All Together Now, Asian Australian Alliance, Colour Code and Democracy in Colour

78 Google Australia 79 Public Interest Journalism Initiative  79.1 Supplementary to submission 79

80 Mr Colin Hutton 81 Mr Josh Mason 82 Mr Eddy Staitis 83 Mr Thomas Bastin-Ross 84 Ms Teghan Webster 85 GetUp

 85.1 Supplementary to submission 85  85.2 Supplementary to submission 85  85.3 Supplementary to submission 85  85.4 Supplementary to submission 85  85.5 Supplementary to submission 85  Attachment 1

86 Name Withheld 87 Professor Charles Sampford, Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law 88 Mr John Brennan 89 Ms Christine Stewart 90 Mr Richard Lawton 91 Ms Jan Mitchell 92 Mr Wayne Richmond 93 Mr Graeme Batterbury

166

94 Ms Janina King 95 Ms Ana Vrantsis 96 Mr Patrick Mahony 97 Mr Hank Kingman 98 Mr Jonathan Peter 99 Name Withheld 100 Ms Shannon Kirley 101 Name Withheld 102 Name Withheld 104 Mr Ajsan Aje 105 Mr Stephen Weingartner 106 Mr Joe Lenzo 107 Mr Martin Scerri 108 Mr David Dynes 109 Mr Harry Johnson 110 Name Withheld 111 Name Withheld 112 Ms Estelle Marjorie Ross 113 Name Withheld 114 Name Withheld 115 Mr David Reid 116 Mr Rob Roy 117 Ms Wendy Cox 118 Name Withheld 119 Name Withheld 120 Name Withheld 121 Ms Fay Jones 122 Ms Kylie Jones 123 Confidential 124 Mr Chris Beal 125 Mr Mark Delaney 126 Mr Charlie Schild 127 Mr Oscar Delaney 128 Name Withheld 129 Mr Barry Tucker 130 Name Withheld 131 Name Withheld 132 Ms Annette Peters 133 Name Withheld 134 Ms Monique Mayze 135 Name Withheld 136 Mr Noel Rath 137 Mr Janak Gorana

167

138 Ms Katrin Swindells 139 Mr Hayden Roberts 140 Name Withheld 141 Confidential 142 Mr Sean McBride 143 Name Withheld 144 Mr Maurice Wilkinson 145 Mr Karl Williams 146 Name Withheld 147 Name Withheld 148 Mrs Jacquie Calvert-Lane 149 Name Withheld 150 Mr Stephen Lake 151 Ms Vera Hartelt 152 Mr Colin Smith 153 Mr Douglas Walter 154 Mr Malcolm McMillan 155 Mr Jakob Shanks 156 Dr Angela Munro 157 Friends of the ABC, Booroondara Branch 158 Name Withheld 159 Name Withheld 160 Name Withheld 161 Ms Carole Cooper 162 Mr Benny Zable 163 Name Withheld 164 Name Withheld 165 Mr Stephen Kolmann 166 Name Withheld 167 Dr Felix Rauch Valenti 168 Ms Jan Steen 169 Harry Alexiadis 170 Ms Denise Secomb 171 Ms Esther Cohen

 171.1 Supplementary to submission 171

172 Mr Cliff Hignett 173 Miss Erica Jolly 174 Mr Gavin Shanks 175 Ms Elizabeth Brett 176 Confidential 177 Dr John Mayze 178 Name Withheld 179 Dr Philip Laird

168

181 Mr Patrick Quaine 182 Name Withheld 183 Mr Andrew Oliver 184 Ms Maureen Davis-Catterall 185 Mrs Lesley Keegan 186 Confidential 188 Mr Jamie Allen

 Attachment 1

189 Mr John Dash 190 Ms Julie Schober 191 Mr William Ifield 192 Mr Ken Clarke

 192.1 Supplementary to submission 192

193 Ms Joanne Bould 194 Mrs Joanne Chenery 195 Name Withheld 196 Mr and Mrs Glen and Carol Lockyer 197 Ms Janine Kitson 198 Mrs Elizabeth McMillan 199 Mr Richmond Young 200 Mr Laurence Maher 201 Name Withheld 202 Mr Stuart Kelly 204 Confidential 205 Mr Craig Hudson 206 Name Withheld 207 Confidential 208 Mr Ahed Aladwan 209 Name Withheld 210 Mr Jeremy Maddox 211 Mr Michael Boyne 212 Ms Anne Shannon 213 Mr Benjamin Cronshaw 214 Mr Shane Dowling 215 Ms Lisa Train 216 Ms Marion Crooke 217 Mr John Inshaw 218 Mr John Nichol 219 Mr Jack Robertson 220 Miss Tracey Hoolachan 221 Mr. Philip Corser 222 Ms Rebecca Lumley 223 Mr Alain Nguyen

169

224 Name Withheld 225 Mr Julian Gallimore 226 Mr Ron Bewsell 227 Ms Elizabeth O'Hara 228 Name Withheld 229 Name Withheld 230 Mr Barry Rowe 231 Name Withheld 232 Name Withheld 233 Name Withheld 234 Mr Damien Smith 235 Ms Merle Hathaway 236 Ms Peta Terry 237 Mr Mark Cantor 238 Dr Marko Mandic 239 Mr Les Williams 240 Mr Keith Burrows 241 Name Withheld 242 Mr Robert Clark 243 Mr Anthony Klan 244 Ms Gayle Davies 245 Mr Jean-Francois Tixeront 246 Ms Emma Storey 247 Dr John Laurie 248 Name Withheld 249 Ms Simone Marsh 250 Ms Daisy Norfolk 251 Confidential 252 Ms Tory Jones 253 Mr Ken Parker 254 Dr Elizabeth Haworth 255 Mr Ewald Schober 256 Mr Peter Fraser 257 Mr Aaron Bonnici 258 Mr Adam Leonard 259 Mr Adrian Ashton 260 Mr Adrian Langker 261 Mr Adrian Pellegrino 262 Mr Aidan Page-Dhu 263 Mr Aiden Eyles 264 Mr Aiden Reale 265 Ms Ainsley Van Rys 266 Mr Albert Edgell-Taylor

170

267 Mr Alex Cooper 268 Mr Alex Duck 269 Mr Alex Paterson 270 Mr Alexander Baldacchino 271 Mr Alexander Barmuta 272 Mr Alexander Moran 273 Ms Alison Vickery 274 Ms Amanda Beran 275 Mr Anas Rahman 276 Mr Andrew Bonte 277 Mr Andrew Galloway 278 Mr Andrew Hartley 279 Mr Andrew Haysom 280 Mr Andrew Marriott 281 Mr Andrew Oskam 283 Mr Andrew Squires 284 Mr Andrew Stimson 285 Mr Andrew Traves 286 Mr Andrew Trevorrow-Seymour 287 Mr Angus Whitton 288 Ms Ann Cutajar 289 Ms Anna Gulyas 290 Ms Anna Newman 291 Ms Anna Sukas 292 Ms Anne Truong 293 Ms Anne Whiteford 294 Ms Annie Li 295 Ms Annie Paras 296 Mr Anthony Begg 297 Mr Anthony Paull 298 Mr Archie Williams 299 Ms Ashlee Peeters 300 Ms Ashley Brunner 301 Name Withheld 302 Mr Athanasios Poulos 303 Mr Atticus Bryce 304 Mr Axel Touchell 305 Ms Barbara Lohman 306 Ms Belinda Hogan-Collis 307 Mr Ben Long 308 Mr Ben Welsh 309 Mr Benjamin Etheridge 310 Mr Benjamin Evans

171

311 Mr Benjamin Kriesfeld 312 Mr Benjamin Riches 313 Ms Bernadette Peoples 314 Mr Besam Al Nashi 315 Mr Bhavik Singh 316 Mr Billy Scales 317 Mr Blair-Etian Thomas 318 Mr Bradley Ross 319 Mr Brandon Miller 320 Mr Brayden Holland 321 Mr Brayden Lynch 322 Mr Brett Moxey 323 Ms Bridgette Fahey-Goldsmith 324 Ms Britt Simmons 325 Mr Brody Whiteman 326 Ms Bronwyn Mason 327 Mr Bruce Dandie 329 Mr Byron Hawksmith 330 Mr Caleb Driessen 331 Mr Caleb Gupta 332 Mr Caleb Jones 333 Mr Caleb Thompson 334 Mr Callum Hays 335 Ms Carmela Parkin 336 Mr Cameron Giliberto 337 Ms Candice Lo 338 Ms Carly Dober 339 Ms Carmen Kenny 340 Ms Carol Jaffit 341 Ms Carolyn Worthy 342 Ms Carrie-Ann Smith 343 Ms Cassandra Patterson 344 Ms Catherine Brown 345 Ms Catherine Mackenzie 346 Ms Cathy Fricker 347 Ms Cathy Sullivan 348 Ms Celia Chalk 349 Mr Charles Laukka 350 Mr Charlie Harper 351 Ms Cherie Whiteside 352 Mr Chi-Wai Kou 353 Mr Chris White 354 Mr Christian Romuss

172

355 Ms Christine Egginton 356 Mr Christopher Boyd 357 Mr Christopher Green 358 Mr Christopher Mackinga 359 Mr Christopher Pomfret 360 Mr Christopher Seen 361 Mr Christopher Williams 362 Mr Ciaran Hoare 363 Ms Claudia Calci 364 Mr Clinton Matthysen 365 Mr Clive Ballantyne 366 Mr Colin Cassells 367 Ms Con Angelakis 368 Mr Connor Creevey 369 Mr Connor Le'Gear 370 Mr Connor Mishalow 371 Mr Corey Abolins-Bell 372 Mr Dalton Dalley 373 Mr Damian Gaffney 374 Mr Damien Moore 375 Name Withheld 376 Mr Daniel Poulter 377 Mr Daniel Torres 378 Mr Daniel Wale 379 Mr Daniel Woods 380 Ms Danielle Teveluwe 381 Mr Darryl Clube 382 Mr David Aked 383 Mr David Anthony 384 Mr David Grosvenor 385 Mr David Kearney 386 Mr David Keys 387 Mr David Kidd 388 Mr David Pocklington 389 Mr David Priddle 390 Mr David Simpson 391 Mr David Straman 392 Jessica Smith 393 Ms Deborah Austen 394 Ms Denise Bryant 395 Ms Denise Lippiatt 396 Mr Dennis Geoghegan 397 Mr Derrick Rabe

173

398 Ms Diane Platz 399 Mr Dinesh Piskala Mahadevan 400 Ms Donna Sadzius 401 Mr Douglas Harvey 402 Mr Dusan Gledovic 403 Ms Eileen Cardwell 404 Ms Ellery Saunders 405 Ms Emma Wheeler 406 Mr Eric Beech 407 Mr Ethan Borsboom 408 Mr Ethan Newnham 409 Mr Ethan Tilley 410 Mr Evan Skinner 411 Mr Evan Smith 412 Ms Eve Elliott-Smith 413 Mr Furht Puris 414 Mr Florian Mutter 415 Ms Gabrielle Duke 416 Ms Gabrielle Summers 417 Mr Gareth Morris 419 Ms Georgia O'Callaghan 420 Mr Gordon Grant 421 Mr Graham Chidgey 422 Mr Grant Spork 423 Mr Grant Windle 424 Mr Gregory Bell 425 Mr Gregory Hibbett 426 Ms Greta More 427 Mr Guy Hargreaves 428 Mr Hamish Church 429 Mr Hamish Gilsenan 430 Mr Harrison Barker Gale 431 Mr Harrison Gresham 432 Mr Harrison McKee 433 Mr Harry Barden 434 Mr Hayden Rodgers 435 Ms Helen Said 436 Mr Hendrik Brenner 437 Mr Henry Blain 438 Ms Holly Pearce 439 Mr Ian Connon 440 Mr Ian Kaye 441 Mr Isaac Manu

174

442 Mr Jack Cutting 443 Mr Jack Donovan 444 Mr Jack Lewis 445 Ms Jackie Muller 446 Ms Jade Powell 447 Mr Jaiden Tabell 448 Mr Jack Dickinson 449 Mr Jake Price 450 Mr James Allison 451 Mr James Caleo 452 Mr James Finch 454 Mr James Hanley 455 Mr James Kruss 456 Mr James Lawther 457 Captain James Lederhose 458 Mr James Pupillo 459 Mr Jamie Carl 460 Ms Jane Buckle 461 Ms Jane Sharp 462 Ms Jane Whitmore 463 Ms Janet Holmes 464 Ms Janet Thompson 465 Mr Jarred Walker 466 Mr Jarrod Fay 467 Mr Jarrod Wilton 468 Mr Jason D'Netto 469 Mr Jason Wright 470 Mr Jeremy Grey 471 Mr Jeremy Lovelock 472 Ms Jessica Allen 473 Ms Jessica Blowers 474 Ms Jessica Steel 475 Mr Joe Alizzi 476 Ms Joanne Cawthera 477 Ms Joanne Wheaton 478 Mr Jobst Schmalenbach 479 Mr Joel Raabe 480 Confidential 481 Mr John Cayless 482 Mr John Ledger 483 Mr John Singh-Nagyivan 484 Mr Jon Russell 485 Mr Jonathan Little-Hales

175

487 Mr Jordan Grauf 488 Mr Jordan Santos 489 Mr Joseph McCarthy 490 Mr Joshua Bowman 491 Mr Joshua Deeble 492 Mr Joshua Labrie 493 Mr Joshua Mason 494 Mr Julian Sinnema 495 Mr Julian Slatem 496 Ms Julienne Broun 497 Ms Jun Yang 498 Ms Justine Kelly 499 Mr Jzawo Pointon-English 500 Ms Kailah Hudson 501 Name Withheld 502 Ms Kandy and Dr John Curran 503 Ms Karen Salecich 504 Ms Karen Tok 505 Ms Karin Steininger 506 Mr Keith Devenish 507 Mr Keith Oakden-Rayner 508 Ms Kelli Simmons 509 Ms Kelly Mills 510 Ms Kerry White 511 Ms Keryn Jones 512 Mr Kevin Li 513 Mr Kevin Meyer 514 Mr Kieran Mala 515 Ms Kim Roberts 516 Ms Kirili Lamb 517 Ms Krissinda Brockwell 518 Mr Kristian Williamson 519 Mr Kyle Palmer 520 Ms Kylie Edmondson 521 Mr Lachlan Becke 522 Mr Lachlan Short 523 Mr Lachlan Verrall 524 Ms Lakeisha Watkins 525 Mr Leeroy Sharp 526 Ms Lesley Dickenson 527 Mr Lewis Nielson 528 Mr Liam Bowman 529 Mr Liam Dwyer

176

530 Mr Liam Kennedy 531 Mr Liam Massey 532 Mr Liam Murphy 533 Mr Liam Sharp 534 Mr Liam Woods 535 Ms Linda Dillon 536 Ms Linda Marks 537 Ms Lindsay Kent-Fahey 538 Ms Lisa Arthy 539 Ms Lisa Johnson 540 Mr Loklan Glance 541 Mr Loyd Passmore 542 Mr Lucas Hainsworth 543 Mr Luke Dixson 544 Mr Luke Johnson 545 Mr Luke Martin 546 Mr Luke Mitchell 547 Ms Lynn Carey 548 Mr Macewan Chaffe 549 Mr Marcelo Gonzalez Danke 550 Name Withheld 551 Mr Marcus White 552 M Maree Ryan 553 Ms Margaret Ludowyk 554 Ms Margo Davidson 555 Ms Maria Economou 556 Ms Maria-Luisa Spiller 557 Mr Mario Brischetto 558 Mr Mark Dawson 559 Mr Mark Doyle 560 Mr Mark Emerson 561 Mr Mark Fulford 562 Mr Mark Lamble 563 Mr Mark Paton 564 Mr Mark Rabanus-Wallace 565 Mr Martin Kennedy 566 Ms Mary Mannion 567 Ms Mary Nixon 568 Mr Mathew Morton 569 Mr Matt Harvey 570 Mr Matthew Etherington 571 Mr Matthew Hopkins 572 Mr Matthew Meersbergen

177

573 Mr Matthew Ng 574 Mr Matthew Peel 575 Mr Matthew Perrin 576 Mr Matthew Rath 577 Mr Max Duval 579 Ms Melanie Pinner 580 Ms Meredith Navin 581 Mr Michael Azevedo 582 Mr Michael Byrom 583 Mr Michael Collins 584 Mr Michael Haynes 585 Mr Michael Herron 586 Mr Michael Horton 587 Mr Michael Jarzebak 588 Mr Michael Lickorish 589 Mr Michael Mizzi 590 Mr Michael O'Brien 591 Mr Michael Riddiford 592 Mr Michael Rusin 593 Mr Michael Shand 594 Mr Michael Vaughan 595 Mr Michael Ward 596 Ms Michelle Cowan 597 Mr Mik Way 598 Ms Mikaela Thompson 599 Mr Mike Kavazos 600 Mr Mitchell Heading 601 Ms Mona Hecke 602 Mr Mudassir Mohammed 603 Mr Murray Manning 604 Mr Musa Odeh 605 Mr Mustafa Molod 606 Ms Mwansa Mubuyaeta 607 Ms Nancy Williams 608 Ms Natalie Bugg 609 Mr Nathan Bell 610 Mr Nguyen Pham 611 Mr Nicholas Cather 612 Mr Nicholas Cross-Payne 613 Mr Nicholas Norris 614 Mr Nicholas Young 615 Mr Nick Turner 616 Mr Nigel Glassey

178

617 Mr Noel Tillitzki 618 Mr Oliver Trusler 619 Mr Oscar Welch 620 Ms Oshini Perera 621 Ms Pamela Austin 622 Mr Parth Girdhar 623 Mr Patrick Ackland 624 Mr Patrick Sarkis 625 Mr Paul McGuire 626 Mr Paul Standley 627 Mr Paul Tachdjian 628 Mr Peter Cowled 629 Mr Peter Helft 630 Mr Peter Hope 631 Mr Peter Moore 632 Mr Peter Watson 633 Ms Peyton Matheson 634 Mr Philip Jancik 635 Mr Phillipe Dupuy 636 Mr Phillip Nyssen 637 Mr Prince Sebastian 638 Ms Rachel King 639 Ms Rebecca Crowe 640 Mr Rem Yunusov 641 Mr Rey Gian La Torre 642 Mr Rhodian Deetlefs 643 Ms Rhyme Michaelson-Lara 644 Mr Rhys Chinchen 645 Mr Richard Baker 646 Mr Richard Fletcher 647 Mr Richard Gillies 648 Mr Rick Pratchett 649 Mr Riley Martin 650 Mr Ritchie Chakma 651 Ms Robin Sproule 652 Mr Ron Birch 653 Mr Ronald Hill 654 Ms Rosalie Lennon 655 Mr Ross Clark 656 Mr Ross Honniball 657 Mr Rudolf Vergunst 658 Mr Russell Edwards 659 Ms Ruth Allen

179

660 Ms Ruth Kenrick-Smith 661 Mr Ryan Lukic 662 Mr Ryan Sorensen 663 Mr Ryan Trimmings 664 Mr Ryan Ward 665 Mr Ryan Wyllie 666 Mr Sam Nelson 667 Mr Sam Pilcher 668 Mr Sam Squires 669 Ms Samantha Kennedy 670 Ms Samantha O'Brien 671 Ms Samiuela Tapa'Atoutai-Holmes 672 Mr Samuel Jones 673 Mr Samuel Porter 674 Ms Sandra Seymour 675 Ms Sarah Bassett 676 Ms Sarah Julien 677 Ms Sayma Zaman 678 Mr Scott Drummond 679 Mr Scott Ellis 680 Mr Seamus Billings 681 Mr Sean Brown 682 Mr Seci Sekinini 683 Mr Shadab Ali 684 Mr Shane Loseby 685 Ms Sharyn Eastaugh 686 Ms Sharyn Sale 687 Mr Shaun Friswell 688 Ms Shea Reaston 689 Ms Sheila Hewitt 690 Mr Simon Bowles 691 Ms Si-Si Dai 692 Mr Luke Sonnenburg 693 Mr Soren Rea 694 Ms Stella Yee 695 Samantha Jakubiak 696 Ms Stephanie Burton 697 Ms Stephanie Vella 698 Mr Stephen Sparke 699 Mr Steve Hally 700 Thomas Reeves 701 Ms Sue Barrett 702 Ms Sue-Ellen Campbell

180

703 Ms Susan Byrne 704 Mr Sze Chun Kendrick Cheng 705 Ms Tamsin Gloster 706 Ms Taylor Spensieri 707 Ms Tenille Cozamanis 708 Mr Terry Howlett 709 Ms Therese Corban 710 Mr Thomas Barlow 711 Mr Thomas Papandoniou 712 Mr Thomas Penney 713 Mr Thomas Shiels 714 Mr Thomas Stofka 715 Mr Tim Johnson 716 Mr Tim Teather 717 Mr Tim Watkins 718 Ms Timmah Williams 719 Mr Timothy Kilroy 720 Mr Timothy Mott 721 Mr Timothy Wood 722 Mr Tobias Grimmer 723 Mr Toby Wilson 724 Mr Tony Brammer 725 Ms Tracey Le 726 Ms Tracie Aylmer 727 Mr Troy Frost 728 Mr Vince Figliomeni 729 Mr Vinson Peng 730 Mr William Holmes 731 Mr William Jack 732 Mr William Massie 733 Mr William Sumpton 734 Mr William Woods 735 Mr Wilson Gauci 736 Mr Xuan Zhou 737 Ms Yuen Cheng 738 Mr Zack Stayner 739 Mr Zlatko Damcevski 740 Mr Paul Devlin 741 Mr Bryce Halford 742 Mr Daniel Cooper 743 Mr Austen Humphreys 744 Mr Max Weichelt 745 Mr Max McGahan

181

746 Mr Kris Bell 747 Mr Daniel Jin 748 Mr Rod Toloui 749 Mr Michael Whittle 750 Mr Dean Whitworth 751 Mr Thomas Peacey 752 Mr James Burgoyne 753 Mr Brayden Cresswell 754 Mr Vaughan Crole 755 Ms Leslie Yong 756 Mr Benjamin Mckern 757 Mr Jared Roberts 758 Mr Thomas McCulloch 759 Mr Hank Steele 760 Mr James Howarth 761 Mr Marshall Hodges 762 Mr Andrew Peterson 763 Mr Cameron Gard 764 Mr Julius Toomey 765 Ms Emma Dow 766 Mr Josh Boileau-Evans 767 Mr Caleb Smith 768 Mr Wayne Kelly 769 Mr Gary Murphy 770 Mr Lachlan Heeb 771 Mr Patrick McAlary 772 Mr Cairn Peterson 773 Ms Meagan Fitzpatrick 774 Ms Shelley Hua 775 Mr Delwyn Kodippili 776 Mr Daniel Dubach 777 Mr Wisam Zoghbi 778 Mr Christopher Carpenter 779 Mr Noah van Gemst 780 Mr Reece Vey-Johnson 781 Mr Jesse Whelan 782 Ms Christiane Stehmann 783 Mr Nicholas Maurice 784 Mr Rory Tait 785 Ms Mackenzie Stone 786 Mr Tristan Beaumont 787 Mr Brandon Baylis 788 Mr Brian King

182

789 Mr Xavier Wiatrowski 790 Mr Eli Arts 791 Mr Dale Watson 792 Mr Matthew Connelly 793 Mr Alexander Wilson 794 Mr Jackson Wood 795 Mr Agamana Katta 796 Mr Samuel Brock 797 Mr Chisanuphong Thammanukitcharoen 798 Mx Marm Ollari-Hazy 799 Mr Anthony McGann 800 Ms Lynn Lockett 801 Mr Jonathan Wilson 802 Mr Phill Latham 803 Mr Sandeep Rai 804 Mr Goce Petrovski 805 Mr Yianni Kyriacou 806 Mr David Small 807 Ms Madison Jarrett 808 Mr Nickolas Clague 809 Ms Samira Liban 810 Mr Kurt Wagner 811 Mr Andrew Cipriano 812 Mr Anthony Hobbs 813 Ms Harui Koyama 814 Mr Liam Deutsher 815 Ms Camille Murphy 816 Mr Jack Nolan-Young 817 Ms Kavinda Ileperuma 818 Mr Milad Razzak 820 Mr Ryan Roberts 821 Ms Erica Low 822 Mr Tim Mutton 823 Mr Joshua Sanderson-Addlesee 824 Ms Kylie Smith 825 Mr Zachary Attard 826 Mr Joshua Castrechini 827 Ms Kaillen Dee 828 Ms Ashlyn Horton 829 Ms Stacey-Lee Clayton 830 Mr Shaun Marchesi 831 Mr Kostas Mitropoulos 832 Ms Sandy Von Nida

183

833 Mr David Dimovski 834 Mr Paolo Lamesa 835 Mr David Farran 836 Mr Dylan Sale 837 Mr Aaron Crooks 838 Mr Ben Schoer 839 Mr Thomas Vulinovich 840 Mr John Stark 842 Mr Jackson Shoobert 843 Mr Tyson Jiggins 844 Mr Jack Walker 845 Mr David Sheehan Smith 846 Mr Richard Milligan 847 Ms Emily Hoerlein 848 Mr Jarrah West 849 Mr Nathan O'Connor 850 Mr Sean Jelinek 851 Ms Julia Surace 852 Mr Jory Dunn 853 Ms Anna Rogers

 853.1 Supplementary to submission 853

854 Mr Curtis Boys 855 Mr Ray Shears 856 Mr Matthew Peel 857 Ms Tess Hutley 858 Ballarat ABC Friends 859 Mr Peter Chaly 860 Confidential 861 Dr Josh Mylne 862 Mr Patrick Hawke 863 Mr Richard Ure

 863.1 Supplementary to submission 863

864 Dr Shumi Akhtar 865 Mr Dary Lim 866 Mr Vince Raschilla 867 Mr Matthew Foster 868 Mr Asuman Barry 869 Mr Liam Ball 870 Mr Zac Knight 871 Mr Ilias Makris 872 Mr Alex Hubbard 873 Mr Stuart Danvers 874 Ms Hannah Mandelberg-Litten

184

875 Mr Mitchell Bergin 876 Mr Morgan Emmerson 877 Name Withheld 878 Mr Adrian Atkinson 879 Mr Dylan Ferguson 880 Mr Gabriel Maynard 881 Mr Harrison Slattery 882 Mr Brandon Ennis 883 Mr Julian Hird 884 Mr Amit Sharma 885 Mr Tom Laird 886 Mr Paul Darley 887 Mr Kamyar Murphy 888 Mr Declan Geard 889 Mr John Fedyshyn 890 Mr Martin Connolly 891 Mr Brodie Vause 892 Mr Henry Campbell 893 Mr Jackson Kenworthy 894 Mr William Parsell 895 Mr Jackson Conaty 896 Mr Seamus Clancy 897 Mr Nicholas Kardis 898 Mr Alexander Hill 899 Mr Jayesh Wadvani 900 Mr Matthew Berry 901 Mr Tobias Larmar 902 Mr Kevin Phan 903 Mr James Heathwood 904 Mr Ben Barnett 905 Mr Jack Woollams 906 Mr Leon Cho 907 Mr Charles McCafferty 908 Mr Ryan McGrath 909 Mr Russell Withers 910 Mr Tony Hang 911 Mr Sam de Pury 912 Mr Harry Freeman 913 Mr Christopher Warwick 914 Mr Arjun Dilip 915 Mr Sean Allington 916 Mr Timothy Burns 918 Mr Garry Allan

185

919 Mr Ron Tan 920 Mr Michael Tran 921 Ms Viviana Ciruelos 922 Mr Liam Patey-Dennis 923 Mr Winston Shefford 924 Mr Matt Wallace 925 Mr Patrick O'Leary 926 Mr Caelan Whiting 927 Mr Cooper Lee 928 Mr Esmond Missen 929 Mr Brent Williamson 930 Mr Mitchell Wood 931 Mr Levi Peters 932 Ms Tegan Klopper 933 Ms Michelle Cambers 934 Mr Zygi Barlow 935 Mr Jacob Allen 936 Name Withheld 937 Mr Matthew Ruiter 938 Mr Altay Nuhoglu 939 Mr Karl Williams 940 Ms Julie Schuch 941 Mr David Prior 942 Mr Tyrone Hare 943 Mr Cameron Hopes 944 Mr Matt Wood 945 Mr Kieran Scurrah 946 Mr Hayden Dalgleish 947 Mr Jayden Burton 948 Mr Josh Reynolds 949 Mr Jordan Brouwer 950 Mr Hamid Wahab 951 Mr Scott Patterson 952 Ms Emma McIlwain 953 Mr Dion Galea 954 Ms Shannon Kirley 955 Ms Alison Whitmore 956 Ms Tessa Binda 957 Mr Connor McDonnell 958 Mr Gavin Bird 959 Mr Geoffrey Lewis 960 Mr Anthony Eglington 961 Mr David Wu

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962 Mr Thomas Galvin 963 Mr Xiao Li 964 Mr Luke Kalms 965 Mr Jack Lumer 966 Mr Anthony Travers 967 Mr Alexander Trent 968 Maria Rivas 969 Mr Katho Halloway 970 Mr Lucius McPherson 971 Mr Nicholas McAnulty 972 Mr Patrick Kenny 973 Mr Joesf Kunta 974 Mr Max Benson 975 Mr Jordan Munro 976 Mr Daniel Wall 977 Mr Nick Papadatos 978 Mr Ryan Belcastro 979 Ms Jacqui Bianchi 980 Mr Nick Rose 981 Ms Milly Lake 982 Ms Marley Turnbull 983 Mr Tyson Lewis 984 Mr Ryan Scougall 985 Mr Ben Hoogenboom 986 Ms Jan Peens 987 Mr Trent Tiepner 988 Mr Corey Nieuwenhuizen 989 Mr James Nicholson 990 Mr Brendan Pallier 991 Mr Levi Jackson 992 Mr Daniel O'Connell 993 Mr Adam Snyder 994 Mr Dion Wilson 995 Mr Rhys Cheong 996 Mr Robert Ayres 997 Mr Arjun Pangeni 998 Mr Miller Marks-Boulton 999 Mr Ricky Murray 1000 Mr Thomas Marsh 1001 Mr Harvey Tonzing 1002 Mr Chris Mathew 1003 Mr Marcus Newton 1004 Ms Jenita Morrison

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1005 Ms Jamie Turbet 1006 Mr Asher Gunter 1007 Mr Byron Calvert 1008 Mr David Spark 1009 Mr Ryan Basile 1010 Ms Shannon Hanlen 1011 Mr Chris Burgess 1012 Mr Liam Galwey 1013 Mr Craig Backer 1014 Mr Luke Aspland 1015 Mr Daniel Connell 1016 Ms Shannon Le Roux 1017 Mr Darryn Boyers 1018 Mr Jasper Fitzgerald 1019 Mr Luke Syrylo 1020 Mr Robert Rodgers 1021 Mr Daniel Rykiert 1022 Mr Jack Cherry 1023 Ms Helen Zeng 1024 Mr Saxon Colbert-Smith 1025 Mr Jake Allen 1026 Mr Joshua Bailey 1027 Mr Zac Taylor 1028 Mr Anthony Gleeson 1029 Ms Carly Genat 1030 Mr Oliver Stofka 1031 Mr Luke Bacci 1032 Mr Oscar Carter-South 1033 Mr Harry Stieven-Dalton 1034 Ms Shantell Byrnes 1035 Mr Lewis Hall-Watson 1036 Mr Gary Brown 1037 Mr John Dan 1038 Mr Jordan Barnham 1039 Ms Vera Tiflides 1040 Mr Dion Woolley 1041 Mr Michael Stafford 1042 Six De-Saint Hillaire 1043 Mr Mark Maloney 1044 Mr Cameron Breen 1045 Mr Barry Smith 1046 Mr Matthew Briggs 1047 Ms Nicole Wood

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1048 Mr Luke Foley 1049 Mr Tim Elliott 1050 Mr Sam Hamilton-Barry 1051 Ms Nina Pell 1052 Mr Connor Clarke 1053 Ms Penelope Horton 1054 Mr Jason Kemp 1055 Ms Bronwyn Campbell 1056 Ms Maria Guerresi 1057 Mr Gil Hatch 1058 Ms Adrienne Price 1059 Mr Jack Massey 1060 Xu Dai 1061 Mr Kodi Ryke 1062 Mr Paul Shea 1063 Mr Timothy Neville 1064 Mr Jordan Hall 1065 Mr Henry Balmain 1066 Ms Jacqueline Bodill 1067 Ms Heather McClaren 1068 Mr Peter Ellersdorfer 1069 Mr Nicholas Fox 1070 Mr Riley Frogley 1071 Ms Jessica Willis 1072 Ms Ailsa Thomas 1073 Mr Ryan Turner 1074 Mr Samuel Butler 1075 Mr Telly Tilkeridis 1076 Mr Merrick Giles 1077 Mr Max Heins 1078 Ms Janu Dhayanathan 1079 Ms Jessica Graham Richards 1080 Mr Cody Jones 1081 Mr Mark Magro 1082 Mr Oliver Kirk 1083 Mr Ewan Brown 1084 Mr Aaron Parish 1085 Ms Zelma Milsom 1086 Mr David Mahoney 1087 Mr Brett Foster 1088 Mr Alwyn Lloyd 1089 Hani El-issa 1090 Ms Helen Gilmour

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1091 Mr Maximilian Ramsey 1092 Ms Taliah Hodgkinson 1093 Ms Margaret Radic 1094 Mr Jake Grossman 1095 Mr Christopher Ward 1096 Ms Wendy O'Keefe 1097 Mr Tremayne Babb 1098 Ms Melissa Miles 1099 Mr Tom Dwyer 1100 Mr Joshua Evans 1101 Mr Robert Longstaff 1102 Mr Tom Finn 1103 Ms Lisa Hersee 1104 Ms Fiona Knight 1105 Mr William Adams 1106 Mr Benjamin Wiseman 1107 Mr Shane Carter 1108 Mr Gerard Ryan 1109 Ms Natanya Davine 1110 Mr Andrew McLean 1111 Slavica Simicevic 1112 Mr Dominic Ford 1113 Ms Alison Parkes 1114 Mr Hewitt F. Luke 1115 Ms Amanda Robar 1116 Ms Belinda O'Lynn 1117 Mr Paolo Figlioli 1118 Mr Michael Houben 1119 Ms Nicole Wright 1120 Kiri Athanasiov 1121 Chere Koh 1122 Ms Amanda Frawley 1123 Ms Christine Scott 1124 Amarpreet Jutla 1125 Ms Tonia Ross 1126 Ms Kayley Simeon 1127 Ms Nicola Ivec 1128 Mr Brodie Czebotar 1129 Mr Gary Jenson 1130 Ms Christine Kruger 1131 Mr Leo Kane 1132 Phuongnhan Lepham 1133 Rejoice Goman

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1134 Ms Jess Lambie 1135 Mr Thomas McShane-Baker 1136 Pulith Vidanapathirana 1137 Mr David Mas 1138 Ms Jemima Vivian-Fagan 1139 Reggie Horton-Crundall 1140 Mr Christopher Tinworth 1141 Mr Corey Mckay 1142 Mr Cameron Wade 1143 Mr Justin Lo 1144 Mr Harry Mulry 1145 Mr David Ward 1146 Mr Nathan Shaw 1147 Mr Mitchell Herzog 1148 Mr Xavier Dolcel 1149 Mr Tobias Dare 1150 Mical Jury 1151 Mr Andy Nguyen 1152 Ms Maree Kripintiris 1153 Mr Jim Ng 1154 Mr Richard Waters 1155 Ms Sally McLean 1156 Mr Andrew Sinclair 1157 Mr Hugh McDonald 1158 Mr Russell Leung 1159 Mr Lewis Brown 1160 Mr Andrew Gozzard 1161 Mr Mohamad Raad 1162 Mr Terry Spackman 1163 Mr George Mylne 1164 Mr Ben Andriolo 1165 Mr Ian Manton 1166 Mr Alex Murphy 1167 Mr Eli Boulus 1168 Taylan Ceylan 1169 Mr Thomas Parker 1170 Ms Samantha De Feudis 1171 Ms Grace Rodrigues 1172 Ms Jaydn McKeown 1173 Mr Joshua Kreusler 1174 Ms Helen M. Jones 1175 Mr Mervyn Chiu 1176 Reif Virtue

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1177 Mr Liam Elksnitis 1178 Mr Tim McNamara 1179 Mr Graham Nguyen 1180 Mr Thomas Grantham 1181 Ms Simone Griffiths 1182 Mr Paul Hyndes 1183 Morgan Way 1184 Mr Hugh Guest 1185 Mr Nicholas Palmer 1186 Mr Trent Curran 1187 Ms Chantal Pennington 1188 Mr Anthony Caldwell 1189 Mr Maxim Grieve-Jones 1190 Mr James Cordi 1191 Ms Rachel Quennell 1192 Mr Frank Cairns 1193 Mr Robert W. Doyle 1194 Mr Darren Selby 1195 Jye McComb 1196 Mr Stephen Noble 1197 Ms Jenni Luoma 1198 Mr Petar Vjestica 1199 Mr Kyle Leeder 1200 Mr Tim Mallin 1201 Mr David Kitchener 1202 Ms Robyn Owens 1203 Afrouz Chiniforoush 1204 Mr Sebastian Moss 1205 Mr Damian Connelly 1206 Mr Angus Pearce 1207 Mr Cohen James 1208 Mr Harley Frahm 1209 Mr Samuel Legge 1210 Mr Shawn Ashton 1211 Ms Diane Proberts 1212 Mr Sebastian Roschi 1213 Mr Xavier Rozanc 1214 Mr Alexander Dunn 1215 Mrs Kailah Mastin 1216 Ms Christine Long 1217 Mr Oliver Ciaravolo 1218 Ms Laura Hunt 1219 Mr Adam Kweifio-okai

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1220 Riley Patch 1221 Ms Rebecca McMullen 1222 Jun Gao 1223 Ms Simone Guin 1224 Mr Callen Goldsmith 1225 Mr Greg Cook 1226 Celestrial Munro 1227 Mr Chris Chee 1228 Mr Orson Dempsey-Young 1229 Rob Boot 1230 Ms Kylie King 1231 Mr Dominic Ward 1232 Ashley Douglas 1233 Ms Amy Manusu 1234 Mr Benjamin Lyneham 1235 Ms Lynda Clarke 1236 Ms Anne Rutherford 1237 Ms Jesse Baker 1238 Xuejun Zhu 1239 Mr Bevan Green 1240 Zen Du Preez 1241 Mr Darren Black 1242 Mr Saxon Varley 1243 Ms Fatima Mohemmed 1244 Toni Brown 1245 Mr Solomon Dixon 1246 Mr Patrick McSweeney 1247 Mr Aaron Keetels 1248 Mr Jonathan Godley 1249 Ms Paula Marzo 1250 Mr Michael Irwin 1251 Mr Ethan Marsland 1252 Mr Ryan Clare 1253 Mr Ned Garrett 1254 Lee Paton 1255 Chiedza Mangani 1256 Mr Raja Sengupta 1257 Ms Maria Horigome 1258 Ms Amelia Cole 1259 Marte Tokerud 1260 Mr Neil Treganowan 1261 King S. Voon 1262 Jordan Faletti

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1263 Mr Adrian Gadaleta 1264 Gokhula H. Kannan 1265 Khiya Barrett 1266 Samantha Winter 1267 Mr Paul Clare 1268 Mr Andrew Gibson 1269 Mr Ben Parnham 1270 Mhano Harkness 1271 Ms Julie Shiels 1272 Ms Margot Southwell 1273 Mr Vincent Greathouse 1274 Lu Lee 1275 Mr Geoff Newman 1276 Mr Grant Turner 1277 Alex Lovell 1278 Mr Shane Robertson 1279 Mr Timothy Fay 1280 Ms Ariana Krynen 1281 Jeorje Kouvelas 1282 Ms Sophie Satnarine 1283 Mr Edward Kennedy 1284 Mr Matthew Dingle 1285 Mr Tyler Sajko 1286 Nic Pana 1287 Mr Joseph Mahede 1288 Rushani Epa 1289 Ms Lisa Summers 1290 Ms Erin Douma 1291 Mr Lochlan Webb 1292 Ms Lynette Webb 1293 Mr Mark Wadsworth 1294 Ms Sina Salsali 1295 Mr Jarrod Redway 1296 Tahseen Khan 1297 Mr Sebastian Lee 1298 Alex Hughes 1299 Mr Jasper Koop 1300 Mr Joel Adler 1301 Ms Gayle Stannard 1302 Ms Lauren Alice 1303 Ms Sandra Strong 1304 Mr Finnian Murphy 1305 Mr Max Pearson

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1306 Ms Louise Clarke 1307 Mr Mark Stammers 1308 Nikisha O'Dea 1309 Tian O'Connor 1310 Mr Kevin Theodore 1311 Ms Shai Martin 1312 Ms Julia Wang 1313 Liat Marmur 1314 Mr Brandon Spano 1315 Mr Greg Jones 1316 Mr Abdul Khalil 1317 Mr Gregory Bright 1318 Ms Lynn Booth 1319 Chris Maher 1320 Morgan Mok 1321 Mr Brendan Stevens 1322 Mr Andres Benarroch Carrasquilla 1323 Taliesin St. John 1324 Sk Ali 1325 Mr Timothy Carkery 1326 Mr Ahmed Ferkh 1327 Mr Brett Feenan 1328 Mr Bruce Newman 1329 Mr Sean Armstrong 1330 Mr Marco Vissers 1331 Mr Mathew Davies 1332 Mr Timothy Gayner 1333 Ms Vicki Clifton 1334 Mr Aidan Mala 1335 Mr James Hearn 1336 Mr Keaton Tang 1337 Mr Alexander Bachmann 1338 Sam Correll 1339 Ashley Stocks 1340 Mr Tom Cavanagh 1341 Mr Brendan Lee 1342 Mr Benjamin Riddle 1343 Ms Evelyn Santoro 1344 Mr Jared Palmer 1345 Ms Amy Scarella 1346 Mr Jack Scollay 1347 Mr Faheem Nishib 1348 Mr Robert Gillespie

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1349 Minsum Kim 1350 Mr Charles Henry 1351 Ms Kathryn Bickerton 1352 Mr Aaron Barrett 1353 Ms Fiona Kelly 1354 Mr Liam Saunders 1355 Mr Harry Wake 1356 Ms Ashlea Bisignano 1357 Ms Caitlin Jameson 1358 Ms Linda Corcoran 1359 Ms Danielle Zhang 1360 Mr Lloyd Taylor 1361 Ms Olga Zdjelar 1362 Mr Gregory Ashmead 1363 Ms Ruth Scott 1364 Mr Ahmed El-Khub 1365 Ravidu Dissanayake 1366 Ms Jocelyn Jacob 1367 Mr Graham Earley 1368 Mr Mark Murray 1369 Mr Martin Lagarenne 1370 Ms Julia Anaf 1371 Ms Leah Rolands 1372 Mr Peter Cho 1373 Jaki Fuss 1374 Mr Seamus Bretag 1375 Ms Rosanne Marwick 1376 Mr Charlie Seymour 1377 Mr Aaron Jennings 1378 Mr Domenico Coviello 1379 Chris Grgurovic 1380 Mr Christian M. Curcio 1381 Wai Yam 1382 Ms Jessie Deacon 1383 Billie Butler 1384 Rafila Shohrat 1385 Ms Louise Constantine 1386 Mr Callum Baxter 1387 Mr Antony Fenhas 1388 Mr Oscar McMullen 1389 Ms Judy Rosson 1390 Ms Amelia Saeedi 1391 Mr Bryan Punshon

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1392 Mr Fabian Di Mento 1393 Mr Dale Westlake 1394 Mr Tom Segev 1395 Mr Tyler Jordan 1396 Mr Sean Romer 1397 Mr Jack Baker 1398 Mr Danny Tran 1399 Mr Mark Stoneman 1400 Mr Leo Dadgostar 1401 Mr Alec Nichol 1402 Mr Benjamin Mathrews 1403 Ms Lorna Perry 1404 Ms Amber Hewat 1405 Mr Dean Bailey 1406 Mr Henry Jackson 1407 Mr Niam Watson 1408 Ryley Brown 1409 Ms Andrea Hodges 1410 Mr Alistair Wason 1411 Ms Amity Hunter 1412 Mr Josh Spencer 1413 Mr Stephen Cox 1414 Mr Patrick Farrell 1415 Mr Daniel Bowers 1416 Mr Jarrod Lee 1417 Maisam Bakhshi 1418 Ole Zhang 1419 Lam Flanagan 1420 Mr Jacob Bray 1421 Mr Eric Padman 1422 Ace Jansen 1423 Mr Joshua Schmalenbach 1424 Ramanan Mathisuthanan 1425 Mr Bradley Cassidy 1426 Mr Vincent Lim 1427 Ms Lysbeth Keating 1428 Mr Kieren Northam 1429 Mr Ryan Thompson 1430 Mr Samuel Shipman 1431 Mr Christopher Cacciola 1432 Ms Victoria Clark 1433 Mr Danial Bain 1434 Ms Roisin O'Reilly

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1435 Ms Stella Fawns 1436 Mr David Pickvance 1437 Mr Neil Campbell 1438 Mr Michael Archer 1439 Mr Max Mackenzie 1440 Mr Jeffry Ramos 1441 Syed Khan 1442 Mr Matthew Blair 1443 Christine Jones 1444 Ms Jordana Baron 1445 Mr Thomas Lovegrove 1446 Kushal Shrestha 1447 Mr Will Zenke 1448 Ms Anastasia Kasdaglis 1449 Mr Samuel Tann 1450 Mr Grant Laker 1451 Eyup Terzi 1452 Ms Skye Cody 1453 Nadezda Babjakova 1454 Mr Alec Spyrou 1455 Mr Nicholas Russell 1456 Tennessee Haigh 1457 Mr Oliver Wild 1458 Mr Joseph Paglia 1459 Mr Ali Al Sharifi 1460 Darby Nash 1461 Mr Mitchell Kehn 1462 Mr Ryan Tyrrell 1463 Mr Adrian Fitzgerald 1464 Ms Tess Barich 1465 Mr Tristan Barr 1466 Mr Denis Curnow 1467 Ms Renee Vinen 1468 Mr Xavier Beckitt 1469 Mr Edgar Mueller 1470 Ms Alison Copley 1471 Mr Scott Klein 1472 Mr Cameron Fletcher 1473 Ms Brenda Cooney 1474 Mr Craig Firman 1475 Mr Joshua Potton 1476 Sam Wallis 1477 Mr Howard Learmouth

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1478 Ms Carrie Yates 1479 Ms Cherie Harbrow 1480 Ms Zahny Hannan 1481 Mr Jack Eldridge 1482 Kaishu Yamasaki 1483 Mr Patrick Kelly 1484 Mr William Lucas 1485 Mr Ethan Marano 1486 Ms Christine Holtom 1487 Ms Courtney Thomas 1488 Mr David Logan 1489 Ms Simone Parkinson 1490 Mr Dane Archer 1491 Mr Luke Jakins 1492 Ms Simone Young 1493 Ryley Walley 1494 Mr Thomas Smith 1495 Mr Matthew Edie 1496 Mr Ewan Barnett 1497 Genos Cheong 1498 Mr Sean Fitzgerald 1499 Mr Michael Carswell 1500 Mr Michael Leclair 1501 Robbie Mann 1502 Mr Andrew Evans 1503 Mr Mathew Hrkac 1504 Sanduni Ileperuma 1505 Mr Matthew Cochran 1506 Mr Harrison Winton 1507 Mr Lachlan Stamp 1508 Ms Angelique Valcanis 1509 Mr Tariq Al-zabidi 1510 Eshani De Silva 1511 Mr Luke Gange 1512 Karl O'Brien 1513 Ms Georgia Pearson 1514 Bailey Jenkins-Pearce 1515 Mr Allan Willis 1516 Mr Louis Ryan 1517 Ms Jacquie Keighran 1518 Mr Valentino Woszczalski 1519 Mr Thomas Paino 1520 Chris Strybos

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1521 Mr Matthew Bourke 1522 Abdus Sami 1523 Ms Laura Cripps 1524 Mr Ben Croxford 1525 Ms Meichelle Campbell 1526 Ms Emma Fitzgerald 1527 Mr Myles White 1528 Ms Holly Robertson 1529 Mr Hamish Wyatt 1530 Mr James Wakefield 1531 Ms Kate Meadows 1532 Mr Henry Monahan 1533 Mr Ben Poulsen 1534 Mr Jason Kamran Jr Eshraghian 1535 Mr Adam Murphy 1536 Mr Dan Weinert 1537 Mr David Steward 1538 Ashley Szalek 1539 Mr Robert Feldman 1540 Ms Valda Merton 1541 Ms Rebecca Gonsalves 1542 Mr Stephen Antoon 1543 Mr Antony Moore 1544 Ms Carol Park 1545 Mr Rocco Cirillo 1546 Mr Louis Faa 1547 Terri Sammons 1548 Mr Rodrigo Rodriguez 1549 Mr Jayden Lay 1550 Ms Jessica O'Connell 1551 Mr Hamza Tariq Khan 1552 Mr Alexander McLean 1553 Ms Stephanie Weaving 1554 Ms Nicole Abreu 1555 Mr Matthew Priestley 1556 Jesha Honey 1557 Ms Nadia Rebasti 1558 Mr Colin James 1559 Kaan Ozyurt 1560 Mr William Bourke 1561 Name Withheld 1562 Mr Harrison Manurung 1563 Ms Stella Marlow-Weir

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1564 Ms Lauren Van Der Westhuizen 1565 Bintu Colley 1566 Mr Dillon Birch-Munoz 1567 Timur Nugroho 1568 Ms Rebecca Coaker 1569 Mr Scot Horrocks 1570 Mr Vikram Kumar 1571 Mr Damon Coull 1572 Mr Thomas Annetts 1573 Mr James Fillippone 1574 AJ Kolpa 1575 Mr Scott McInnes 1576 Mr Flynn Holland 1577 Mr Ben Playdon 1578 Mr Simon Hawkins 1579 Mr Glen Duncan 1580 Mr Tyler Marszalek 1581 Mr Jackson Scahill 1582 Mr Wylie Graham 1583 Mr Jack Hands 1584 Mr Jonny Warren 1585 Mr Michael Tebble 1586 Mr Lachlan Jolly 1587 Mr Johann Tiede 1588 Mr James Raward 1589 Mr Simon Freebairn 1590 Ms Emma Rounds 1591 Mr Jesse Macharper 1592 Mr Joshua Dwyer 1593 Mr Nelson Frew 1594 Mr Jarrod Yeomans 1595 Mr Jacob Powell 1596 Mr Rajko Romic 1597 Mr Erwin Boermans 1598 Ms Freya Skropeta 1599 Mr Jack Flood 1600 Ms Hayley Fisher 1601 Ms Alisha Brown 1602 Mr Peter Corney 1603 Ms Elise Brookes 1604 Ms Carol Ross 1605 Mr Anton Kurtz 1606 Ms Heidi Van Haren

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1607 Mr Ross Matheson 1608 Nikayla Austin 1609 Mr Edward Stallard 1610 Mr Luka Katic 1611 Mr Tyson Hickey 1612 Mr Nesh Nikolic 1613 Mr Giles Cheers 1614 Mr Carlos Zeballos 1615 Kim Allen 1616 Mr Andrew Fereday 1617 Quyen Do 1618 Mr Peter Vulinovich 1619 Ms Ally van Dalen 1620 Mr Eric Tompson 1621 Mr Carter Barber 1622 Rajesh Mohanty 1623 Mr Andrew Ponton 1624 Sheriden Fraser 1625 Jaime Francis 1626 Ms Madeleine Sagner 1627 Mr Michael McKinley-Kiefel 1628 Mr Alexander Sargeant 1629 Mr Timothy Nolan 1630 Mr Jack Lauder 1631 Mr Callum Hughes 1632 Mr Stephen Ellul 1633 Mr Tom Scott 1634 Mr Peter Stirling 1635 Ms Ruth Gourley 1636 Ms Elizabeth Neilsen 1637 Mr Kenneth Leseberg 1638 Mr Philip Joyce 1639 Mr Isaac Smith 1640 Ms Nicole Carlill 1641 Mr Damien Hanly 1642 Kiaren Grae 1643 Mr Ashok Kumar 1644 Ms Louise Nellis 1645 Ms Madeleine Bailey 1646 Mr Brett Beacon 1647 Mr John Kripintiris 1648 Ryley Powell 1649 Mr Stephen Mackie

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1650 Ms Leona Hay 1651 Mr Jayke Luland 1652 Mr Ross Edwards 1653 Mr Joshua Sharkey 1654 Mr Mitchell Keetels 1655 Mr Timothy Cotton 1656 Mr Gabriel Oliveiro 1657 Mr Liam Allen 1658 Ms Tammy Warne 1659 Ms Leonie Milburn 1660 Mr Jackson Lindblom 1661 Mr Louis Pitt 1662 Mr Liam O'Sullivan 1663 Ms Emma Whittaker-Collins 1664 Jordan Faith 1665 Mr Callum Gallagher 1666 Ms Kellie Ryan 1667 Mr Dylan Despotakis 1668 Mr Callum Ward 1669 Mr Nicholas McElligott 1670 Daniel Portelli 1671 Mr Aiden Robinson 1672 Mr James Fricker 1673 Mr Campbell Harrop 1674 Mr Drew Wiseham 1675 Mr Mark Starmach 1676 Chris Turnham 1677 Mr Erik Boyle 1678 Mr Matthew Wise 1679 Mr Reuben Jesse 1680 Mr Jayden Hawkes 1681 Ms Linda Christian 1682 Ms Danielle Teychenne 1683 Ms Domenica Andreotti 1684 Mr Kaiden Hein 1685 Mr Michael Lean 1686 Mr Matthew Kennedy 1687 Ms Brigitte Bullen 1688 Ms Rosanne Desteno 1689 Mr Zac Gerghty 1690 Ms Julie Nicholson 1691 Mr Abdul Masum 1692 Mr Eric McFayden

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1693 Mr Angus Thompson 1694 Mr Joe Lewis 1695 Mr Elliott Heath 1696 Ms Cynthia Sciberrax 1697 Mr Peter Zervas 1698 Ms Melanie Cameron 1699 Ms Giulia Frattaroli 1700 Mr Matthew Hargrave 1701 Mr Greg Blackman 1702 Mr Callum B. Powell 1703 Ms Catherine Zanavra 1704 Ms Louise Lye 1705 Ms Kath Chown 1706 Mr Dion Peters 1707 Mr Ross Whitehead 1708 Mr Peter Drozdov 1709 Mr Nicholas Newbury 1710 Ms Cherry Rea 1711 Gihad Ali 1712 Mr James Lamdy 1713 Ms Grace Hinchey 1714 Mr Michael Lee 1715 Mr Josh Heffernan 1716 Ms Helen Solanke 1717 Ms Anne Horley 1718 Mr Mark Vorherr 1719 Ms Karyn Powell 1720 Ashwin Sharma 1721 Mr Michael Saunders 1722 Mr Brendan Swan 1723 Eiji Corten 1724 Ms Cheryl Vagg 1725 Mr Andrew Parker 1726 Mr Ellijah Hoerisch 1727 Mr Isaac Claydon 1728 Mr Liam Smith 1729 Mr Stephen Kime 1730 Mr Levi Hills 1731 Hardianto Nugroho 1732 Ms Pia Salinas 1733 Mr Peter McCarthy 1734 HS Chari Jolly 1735 Mr David Packwood

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1736 Ms Lauren Jenneke 1737 Mr Daniel Gregory 1738 Mr Callum Harvey 1739 Tian Lane 1740 Mr Daniel Odd 1741 Mr Adam Norris 1742 Ms Tammy Brown 1743 Mr Jake Wesson 1744 Alex Towner 1745 Mr David Gray 1746 Jamie Millard 1747 Mr Ben Duffield 1748 Ms Stephanie Hobbs 1749 Jiantao Xu 1750 Ms Lynda Blackstock 1751 Ms Nicola Huber-Smith 1752 Ms Teresa Nguyen 1753 Ms Judith Shelley 1754 Ms Betty Lee 1755 Mr Trey McDermott 1756 Ms Ingrid Harnetty 1757 Mr Allan Tuckwood 1758 Mr Peter Oggelsby Jr 1759 Mr Joshua Hargrave 1760 Ms Jorjia Terrett 1761 Brodie King 1762 Mr Wyatt Teakle 1763 Ms Annette Mason 1764 Mr Benjamin Lowe 1765 Ms Jose Machado 1766 Mr Benjamin Howard 1767 Ms Julie Edwards 1768 Ms Lauren Brown 1769 Mr Ryan Calkin 1770 Mr Rajeev Chandra 1771 Mr Alexander Nicholls 1772 Mr Michael Ward 1773 Mr Matthew Regan 1774 Mr Joshua Clift 1775 Mr Ned Loades 1776 Mr Rowan Miller-Garland 1777 Ms Kate McKenzie 1778 Odin Brierley

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1779 Ms Julia Feld 1780 Mr Jim Vergis 1781 Mr Michael Betts 1782 Mr Nathan Cocker 1783 Sidney Young 1784 Mr Frederick Cheng 1785 Mr Eugene White 1786 Mr Neil Golding 1787 Ms Fran Butt 1788 Jordan O'Connell 1789 Ms Carole Rotter 1790 Ms Tannith Noye 1791 Ms James May 1792 Mr Ryan Kirby 1793 Mr Joel Gundry 1794 Mr Thomas Wyres 1795 Mr Max Ramm 1796 Ms Danielle Hayman 1797 Mr Mustafa Ali 1798 Ms Patricia Barber 1799 Mr Brock Whitton 1800 Sam Kemp 1801 Mr Rhys Godwin 1802 Mr Luke Marinelli 1803 Mr Colin Sargent 1804 Mr Jake Edwards 1805 Mr Benjamin Russell 1806 Mr Geoff Howard 1807 Ms Lu Ponton 1808 Mr Stephen Wake 1809 Mr Marcus Decker 1810 Mr Daid Wakerley 1811 Mr Alexander McPake 1812 Mr Samuel Swain 1813 Ms Gemma Lee 1814 Mr Remy De Salis 1815 Mr Andrew Duan 1816 Ayman Moussa 1817 Mr Logan Davis 1818 Mr Douglas Anderson 1819 Mr Dion Hatchman 1820 Mr Saxon Barrett 1821 Laurence Harrison

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1822 Jamie Burke 1823 Antoine Saleh 1824 Jason Hall 1825 Quinzhou Zhou 1826 Nick Bennett 1827 Alex Spalding 1828 Ella Baird 1829 Renato Vozzo 1830 Jared Johnston 1831 Josh Torrisi 1832 Sukhjowan Gosal 1833 James Gherashe 1834 Thomas Casey 1835 Madeleine Paterno 1836 Nathan Mordaunt 1837 Christina Ward 1838 Timothy Heywood 1839 Tanishq Fate 1840 Alex De Lucia 1841 Stephen Lloyd 1842 Ryan Amaudruz 1843 Thomas Ireland 1844 Aiden Inglis 1845 Danny Munday 1846 Jesse White 1847 Ryan Lock 1848 Eilis O'Sullivan 1849 Lisa Maxwell 1850 Bailey Hulse 1851 Lewis McLure 1852 Christy Allan 1853 Preston Hawkes 1854 William Abbott 1855 Gaby Hebblethwaite 1856 Julie Mcnall 1857 Jason Mak 1858 Liam Sharples 1859 Hemraj Poudel 1860 Dean Zdjelar 1861 Mr John Taylor 1862 Mr Christian Staats 1863 Mr Christopher Tait 1864 Mr James Reid

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1865 Mr Carl Moore 1866 Mr Lachlan Hill 1867 Alex Fritz 1868 Mr Tim McBurney 1869 Ms Julia Featherstone 1870 Mr Tony Francis 1871 Tayler Britton 1872 Ms Tara Villy 1873 Mr Ned Baddeley 1874 Ms Gia Saldanha 1875 Mr Alfred McPherson 1876 Anbarasi Rajendran 1877 Isuru Walliwala Gamage 1878 Kai Fallon 1879 Mr Keith Hart 1880 Mr Timothy Fahey 1881 Aidan Richmond 1882 Nigel Clarke 1883 Callum Davies 1884 Andrew Close 1885 Greg Tagliabue 1886 Richard Williams 1887 Lucy Dunning 1888 Oliver Zani 1889 Dawood Massoud 1890 Khang Dinh 1891 Sam Graziotti 1892 Julie Lumley 1893 Bradley Cannan-Cole 1894 Joel Paxton 1895 Sean Freeburn 1896 Thomas Dooley 1897 Taylor Ivanoff 1898 Josh Chivers 1899 Timothy Warnock 1900 Travis Hobbs 1901 Jenny Peters 1902 Jack Boswell 1903 Damien Shaw 1904 Liam Schutz 1905 Samuel Bridge 1906 Toby Wardell 1907 Sandy Jenkins

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1908 Robert Harper 1909 Adam Dirani 1910 Semir Delic 1911 Jake Rollins 1912 Zane Robnik 1913 Benjamin Hyatt 1914 George Vasek 1915 Daniel Adams 1916 Byron Watkins 1917 Thomas Munro 1918 John Murphy 1919 Alex Poxon 1920 Kim Gyngell 1921 Barry Whelan 1922 David Barlow 1923 Alicia Wright 1924 Jessica Robinson 1925 Robin Van Gunst 1926 Timothy Hutton 1927 Benjamin Collock 1928 Byron Barillas 1929 Sebastian Hackett 1930 Lucas Wright 1931 Amin Paknia 1932 Terry Nguyen-Khuong 1933 Ryan Harvey 1934 Andrew Duncan 1935 Andrew Klimpton 1936 Alex Cameron 1937 Tom Pascoe 1938 Kate Johnston 1939 Oliver Stewart 1940 Tony Kwan 1941 Nathaniel Dann 1942 Tony Baker 1943 Matthew Webber 1944 Samara Lock 1945 David Brotherson 1946 Lincoln Morley 1947 Celeste Edwards 1948 Lorena Pais Soto 1949 Sam Burrow 1950 David Bradford

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1951 Thomas Rome 1952 Jarrod Karpala 1953 David Ross-Clarke 1954 Gary Sarela 1955 Benjamin Fitzpatrick 1956 Liam Rochford 1957 Dale Chynoweth 1958 Hani Kisso 1959 James Tieppo 1960 Louis Josh 1961 Aaron Dickson 1962 Bradley Salmon 1963 Michelle Lowe 1964 Julie Deng 1965 Christopher Brown 1966 Thomas Maloney 1967 Catherine Barker 1968 Rosalind Gooley 1969 Michael Munsie 1970 Ly Harn 1971 Ben Schoer 1972 Neil Saldanha 1973 Anne Richmond 1974 Anthony Hawkins 1975 Hayley Roberts 1976 Carolyn Stevens 1977 Ethan Blackmore 1978 Nikki Goldstein 1979 Mathew Lucas 1980 Daniela Andersen 1981 Steve Baker 1982 Minh Pham 1983 Jesse Kokanovic 1984 Peter Kallas 1985 Dennis Anthony 1986 Dimitri Adoniou 1987 Callan Weild 1988 Jordan Constantinidis 1989 Adam Pond 1990 Yaseen Sukkarieh 1991 Maureen Bird 1992 Sue Theron 1993 Liam O'Brien

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1994 Tristan Larner 1995 Alan Byron 1996 Kyle Warford 1997 Baden Seckold 1998 Saoirse Ewart 1999 Darrell Pitt 2000 Helen Hughes 2001 Lucah Conlan 2002 Ezekiel Livesey 2003 Christopher Maber 2004 Oscar Mathieson 2005 R Callinan 2006 Cain Andrews 2007 Erryn Nundle 2008 Tom Petridis 2009 David Cundy 2010 Luke Davies 2011 Laurie Morgan 2012 Sam Hailey 2013 Gabriel de Gand 2014 Thomas McLean 2015 Dylan Donovan 2016 Deborah Dunkley 2017 Amos Whitewolf Webb 2018 Colin Rdae 2019 Esta Kocsis 2020 Julian Sicrea 2021 Michael Mills 2022 Ray Keenan 2023 Jason Gebicki 2024 Denys Oliveira 2025 Matthew Roch 2026 Lawrence Abdelmalek 2027 Omar Morsy 2028 Name Withheld 2029 Isaac Everett 2030 Jordan Genovese 2031 Jesse Pappas 2032 Liam O'Rourke 2033 Adrian De Don 2034 Liam Thompson 2035 Grace Liu 2036 Fionn Turnbull-Hutchison

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2037 Ben Wyer 2038 Liam Duggan 2039 William Lawrie 2040 Nathan Poulos 2041 Campbell Waldron-Smith 2042 Georgina Levitki 2043 Kane Ninkie 2044 Emma Jennings 2045 Scott Williams 2046 Tamina Muir 2047 Jake Jones 2048 Elizabeth Bartley 2049 Hayley Heath 2050 Ben Jackson 2051 Jonathan Goletsos 2052 Jeremy Lloyd 2053 Aimee Carpenter 2054 Joshua Coote 2055 Zachary Portelli 2056 Tyren Ruddy 2057 Georgia Brown 2058 Malcolm Campbell 2059 Nicholas Trajcevski 2060 Jacob Hubbert 2061 Nirai McRae 2062 Mehroz Jeevaji 2063 Ankur Sharma 2064 Sabrina Jean-Louis 2065 Trent Jackson 2066 Jared Ah Shay 2067 Andrew Gibbons 2068 Andrea Thrift 2069 Jasper Bardsley 2070 Mitchell Winch 2071 Mark Laguna 2072 Michael Biec 2073 Kris Spencer 2074 Cameron Reid 2075 Nicholas Cerone 2076 Joel Vergunst 2077 Laurence Williams 2078 Neville Unvalla 2079 Dylan Connell

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2080 Joseph Burton 2081 Howard Lee 2082 David Broughton 2083 Amy Jonnes 2084 Jinn Chia 2085 Michael Campbell 2086 Gordon Curtis 2087 Brandon Wilks 2088 Shane Williams 2089 Rodd Owen 2090 Steven Selff 2091 Daniel Renehan 2092 Tyler Green 2093 John Kennedy 2094 Dan Slater 2095 Rohit Selladurai 2096 Lisa Trkulja 2097 Dennis Nixon 2098 Nicholas Wood 2099 Matt Knox 2100 Marco Zirov 2101 Erin Upson 2102 Caitlin Patey-Dennis 2103 Jake Dowling 2104 Adriaan Janse Van Rensburg 2105 Steve Royle 2106 Erica Cheung 2107 Katherine O'Malley 2108 Brody Taylor 2109 Adam McKenzie 2110 Tyrie Aspinall 2111 Matthew Sandeman 2112 Steven Davey 2113 Linda Salomane 2114 Haydn Wright 2115 Meg Johnson 2116 David Vallence 2117 Edgard Abd 2118 Nicholas Finis 2119 Matthew Zammit 2120 Isaac Chapley 2121 Harry Baulderstone 2122 John Cook

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2123 Matthew Cox 2124 Shehan Gunawardana 2125 Ben Harper 2126 Brian Harvey 2127 Rachael Maher 2128 Isaac Everett 2129 Zachary Poppenbeek 2130 Jay Dunn 2131 Marcus Seabrook 2132 Kevan Ange 2133 Koren Bryan 2134 Matthew Compagnino 2135 Raurke George 2136 Chad Mackie 2137 Matthew Lycett 2138 Name Withheld 2139 Alexander Zecevic 2140 Stephen Dougherty 2141 Yasin Cengiz 2142 Hudson Gerwing 2143 Peter Nash 2144 Thomas Hall 2145 Liz Hope 2146 Michael Fitzpatrick 2147 Joshua Moon 2148 Karen Ancell 2149 Cameron Britto 2150 Jack Lucas 2151 Chris Morgan 2152 Dilys Konrath 2153 Johannis Van Leeuwen 2154 Jodie Novello 2155 Callum Reynolds 2156 James Rolland 2157 William Edgar 2158 Matt Ellis 2159 Roberta Hays 2160 Regan Kelly 2161 Charles Fonceca 2162 Brenda Arber 2163 Justin Yu 2164 Jennifer McCormack 2165 Austin Yong

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2166 Beau Young 2167 Sean O'Dowd 2168 Robert Payne 2169 Benjamin Crellin 2170 Tristan Turner 2171 James Lu 2172 Daniel Lodder 2173 Daniel Santic 2174 Kevin Luong 2175 Zaki Yawary 2176 Steven Munro 2177 Sam McLennan 2178 Aaron Stevens-McCallum 2179 Andrew Scott 2180 Jared Gath 2181 Stephen Selwood 2182 Ali Soliman 2183 Rainer Seeger 2184 David Saidey 2185 Dylan Shaw 2186 Jonathon Scanes 2187 Rebecca Hocking 2188 Joseph Li-Sculli 2189 Garry McDonald 2190 Jack Grimes 2191 Douglas Horton 2192 John Middendorf 2193 Brenden Plummer 2194 Joanna Hole 2195 Barry Thomas 2196 Vincent Jarvis 2197 Bilee Oliver 2198 Kyle Mosey 2199 Justin Torpy 2200 Andrew Pearce 2201 Ian Gribbin 2202 Adam Stotesbury 2203 Walid Rahmani 2204 Alasdair Black 2205 Sharon McIntyre 2206 Lynda Williams 2207 Bianca Ingram 2208 Jen Fair

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2209 Daniel Schembri 2210 Mukul Desai 2211 Bulkan Evcimen 2212 Shane Sweeney 2213 Evangeline Crowther Gibson 2214 Susan-Jane Croce 2215 Kathleen Mallott 2216 Kriston Braund 2217 Matthew Jiang 2218 Ivan Simunovic 2219 Shaun Stevens 2220 Jason McCabe 2221 Claire Harvey 2222 Katnryn Redden 2223 Kathleen Retter 2224 Cindy DiMauro 2225 Evan Newbery 2226 Linda Brak 2227 Angelo Panncci 2228 Emily Hartshorn 2229 Daniel Elton 2230 Sef Norwozi 2231 Lydia Tu-Parker 2232 Olivia Fleming 2233 Lisa Fitzgerald 2234 Jesse Hogan 2235 Sebastian Beaubois 2236 Jacky Murtagh 2237 Andrew Pitt 2238 Christopher Baguley 2239 Connor Buchanan 2240 Jessica Halliday 2241 Dan Lynch 2242 Trung Hoang 2243 Nancy Hall 2244 Lincoln Cousin 2245 Martin Dempsey 2246 Jimmy Anderson 2247 Paul Johnson 2248 Sasha Millhouse 2249 Bruce Coulter 2250 Matilde Fernandez 2251 Jasmine Brooker

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2252 Ruth Wolfson 2253 Gavin Brotherson 2254 Steve Veale 2255 Dalila Huzejrovic 2256 Nahla Huzejrovic 2257 Rob Morris 2258 Alexander Hungerford 2259 Andrew Stewart 2260 Saif Islam 2261 Alexander Smith 2262 William Millward 2263 Vincenzo Zurzolo 2264 Karyn Roe 2265 James Morgan 2266 Sally Matheson 2267 Julie Stewart 2268 Zellah Eastwood 2269 Joshua Astbury 2270 Alexander Ally 2271 Aldo Comazzetto 2272 Mary Hullin 2273 Jamie Tankard 2274 Jack Peereboom 2275 Isabella Zurzolo 2276 Jesse Newell 2277 Kelly Heffer 2278 Mitchell Thomas-Reilly 2279 Maree Somerville 2280 Preet Dhaliwal 2281 Stanislav Shkel 2282 Paul Schnackenburg 2283 Lily Everett 2284 Marlena Jackson 2285 Stephanie Hobbs 2286 Boston Royal 2287 Annabel Russ 2288 Jeremy White 2289 Bethan Konrath 2290 Annabelle Park 2291 Bradley O'Donnell 2292 Birpal Singh 2293 Ellen Pritchard 2294 Christian Brodie

217

2295 Oscar O'Donoghue 2296 Adria Cush 2297 Casey Pfluger 2298 Francis Flannery 2299 Gareth Wiecko 2300 Linda Christian 2301 Samara Galloway 2302 Felicia Zurzolo 2303 Jethro Sallmann 2304 Michelle Kevill 2305 John de Haan 2306 Nick Balic 2307 Evan Pierre-Humbert 2308 Riley Holt 2309 Clifford Ronald Orvad 2310 Liam Pridmkre 2311 Andrew Collins 2312 Chloe Smart 2313 John Carter 2314 Callan Gregory 2315 Jeremy Somerville 2316 Nathaniel Eggleston 2317 Peter Checketts 2318 Nikola Andonovski 2319 Elliot Harris 2320 Jake Hatton 2321 Callan Suzuki 2322 Sergey Cocksey 2323 Katie Albrecht 2324 Darren Raskovic 2325 Alec Sheaves 2326 Aaron Smibert 2327 Mitchell Buggy 2328 Thomas Mangan 2329 Jesse Newman 2330 Idris Kohistani 2331 Nicole Dal Sanro 2332 Kirra Sodhi 2333 Goldy Sodhi 2334 Elizabeth Horvath 2335 Benjamin Hillyar 2336 Therese O'Halloran 2337 Jessica Owen

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2338 Praba Ganeshan 2339 Sohan Judge 2340 Nadine Sunners 2341 Mark Toma 2342 Fergus Finlayson 2343 Lyndon Gordon 2344 Ruben Bock 2345 Helen Armstrong 2346 Toby Marquette 2347 Geoff Brown 2348 Sam Berrill 2349 Rohan Kalanje 2350 Mark Lewis 2351 Jonathon Gourvelos 2352 Kim Friedman 2353 Helen Fawns 2354 Thomas Ryder 2355 Yuefeng Zhang 2356 Daniel Hall 2357 Jane Beebe 2358 Jade Zutt 2359 Ethan Axford 2360 Oliver Cornally 2361 Zac Gribble 2362 Carmine Arena 2363 Daniel Pearce 2364 John Gehlert 2365 Anthony Adams 2366 John Hill 2367 Renee Allpress 2368 Rick Janssens 2369 John Beynon 2370 Tara Hornberger 2371 Patricia Osborn 2372 Taryn McDonald 2373 Candace Wu 2374 Michael Cope 2375 Daniel Pehlivan 2376 Tristan Feng 2377 Hardeep Gill 2378 Murray Torney 2379 Michael Emmett 2380 Kurt Druzynski

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2381 Jordan Fischer 2382 Alex Webling 2383 Julia LeMonde 2384 Steven Wirthensohn 2385 Andrew Armstrong 2386 Kyle Barney 2387 Hunter Clarke 2388 Briony O'Connor 2389 Suzanne Langker 2390 Cheryl Sayers 2391 Andrew Cogger 2392 Vasilis Deliyiannis 2393 Anthony Vowels 2394 Malakai Taumohaapai 2395 Patrick Westcott 2396 Tina Llewellyn 2397 Konrad Michalski 2398 Catherine Krestyn 2399 Jennifer McCann 2400 Bronwyn Sealey 2401 Damon Nixon 2402 Benjamin Bagnall 2403 Fiona Nicholls 2404 Jesse Blale 2405 Peter Huish 2406 Roberto Perez-Franco 2407 Jes Leggott 2408 Zac Murphy 2409 Jarum Hatch 2410 Edward Cowan de bondt 2411 Kane Holden 2412 Kane Hart 2413 Joshua Batty 2414 Christopher Saunders 2415 Gail Geoghegan 2416 Steve Dower 2417 Jackson Clarke 2418 Brigitte Kaimeier 2419 Harry Anderson 2420 Joe Iupone 2421 Matthew Payne 2422 Barry Palmer 2423 Jim Gilmore

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2424 Jeffrey Craig Boehme 2425 Glenn Pirrie 2426 Leigh Pillay 2427 Brody Brookes 2428 Ashish Mishra 2429 Jemima Wakefield 2430 Kajo Merkert 2431 Stanley Chen 2432 Andrea Kriwonosow 2433 Dylan Cresswell 2434 Martin Power 2435 Paul Mitry 2436 Terri Hulbert 2437 Caroline McNaught 2438 Patrick Brennan 2439 Robert Cartwright 2440 Matt Riley 2441 Jacqueline Swifte 2442 Lauchlan Frowd 2443 Emilia Moran 2444 Tyra Osterberg 2445 Chris Morgan 2446 Dante Rogers 2447 Brandon Lewis-Luong 2448 Jeannine Karanikolopoulos 2449 Joseph Cassidy 2450 Monique Clarke 2451 Will Beville 2452 Terence Taylor 2453 Rohan Gardiner 2454 Jorhn Bowe 2455 Scarlett O'Connor 2456 Anthony Haslam 2457 Naomi Throup 2458 Joe Abel 2459 Nicolette Boaz 2460 Simon Borrack 2461 Dorothy Goullet 2462 Lachlan Cant 2463 Aimee Zhang 2464 Jack Croyden 2465 Krissi Flynn 2466 Maureen Fawcett

221

2467 Alexandra Griffiths 2468 Jackson Dawes-Noble 2469 Bettina Dozzi 2470 Graeme Ackroyd 2471 Haydon Hunt 2472 Anne McAlary 2473 Jason Griggs 2474 Claudia Jakubowski 2475 Timothy Rosemond 2476 Noah McNeill 2477 Fiona Rendall 2478 Josh Walsh 2479 Brendan Heidke 2480 Peter Williams 2481 James Donlan 2482 Stuart Doherty 2483 Graham Moss 2484 Daniel Bracegirdle 2485 Jordan Spencer 2486 Bradley Penfold 2487 Simon Wilkinson 2488 Jonathon Wade 2489 Sarah Koteska 2490 Anna Ong 2491 Sean Press 2492 Jared Sullivan 2493 Charles Cammilleri 2494 Lynda Williams 2495 Bronwyn Lewis 2496 Tania Galati 2497 Nicholas Koulbanis 2498 Clinton Duncan 2499 Ishlan Roy 2500 Jean Pridmore 2501 Mr Brendon Agpasa 2502 Confidential 2503 Confidential 2504 Confidential 2505 Shiva Reddy 2506 Biago Losordo 2507 Mitchell Perham 2508 Simon Fiveash 2509 Tineke Cannon

222

2510 Shi Kui Gao 2511 Christopher Moore 2512 Susan Fletcher 2513 Jason Smith 2514 Simeon Lukich 2515 Adrian Pritchard 2516 Oscar Castellas 2517 Daniel Smith 2518 Kristopher Syme 2519 Kelly Dent 2520 Axel Ross-Hall 2521 Ty Phillips 2522 Brian Grumont 2523 Kyle McKenzie 2524 Edwin Power 2525 Davod Skakic 2526 Jack Reichelt 2527 Benjamin Dent 2528 Jack Gillespie 2529 David Lu 2530 Kelly Hart 2531 Dominic Barbagallo 2532 Jessie Van Kessel 2533 Regan Crook 2534 Peter Hens 2535 Andrew Semple 2536 Vulpine Hovgaard 2537 Joseph Konop 2538 Seamus Lennon 2539 Oliver Crump 2540 Clark Frendon 2541 Mohan Pade 2542 Samuel Tribolet 2543 Tim Norris 2544 Name Withheld 2545 Laresa Kosloff 2546 Connor Russell 2547 Mi-Chael Rhyon 2548 Alexander Isaac 2549 Martin Stipanov 2550 Peter Wilson 2551 Ryan Dawes 2552 Manar Barakat

223

2553 Lane Orr 2554 Zac Greensill 2555 Michael Perry 2556 Abigail Ardon 2557 Michael Sinden 2558 Jayden Carlson 2559 Eliza Saville 2560 Troy Guilfoyle 2561 Ben Cooper 2562 Daniel Stang 2563 Josh Law 2564 Robert Finkeldey 2565 Patrick Plenge 2566 Margaret Miller 2567 James Brennan 2568 Eli Lincoln 2569 Brad Homewood 2570 Michael Sweeney 2571 Todd Guley 2572 Cameron Goodchild 2573 Addison Saunders 2574 Andrew Hart 2575 Peter Hernandez 2576 Jarrod Swiney 2577 Aidan Potts 2578 Jacob Castle 2579 James Warburton 2580 Sean Andison 2581 David Lloyd 2582 Max Missingham 2583 Emilie-Oraylia Cuinn 2584 Stephen Keightley 2585 Dillon Shepherdson 2586 James Wiebrecht 2587 Aaron Messina 2588 Andy Lau 2589 James Williams 2590 Andrew Curnock 2591 Harrison Sheaffe 2592 Michael Worthington 2593 Tara Bendeich 2594 Daniel Elfes 2595 Andre Medina

224

2596 Connor Kaye 2597 Sonny Mercer 2598 Nicolas Gomez 2599 Raahil Pratap 2600 Michael Holmes 2601 Adam Barnett 2602 Leticia Musgrave 2603 Darren Muller 2604 Greg Cox 2605 Justin Betella 2606 Fionan Dunne 2607 John Elcatsha 2608 Nikolas Franz 2609 Rochelle Manalili 2610 Tristan Boykett 2611 Darian Crawford 2612 Georgia Willesee 2613 Nathan Carey 2614 Joel Clark 2615 Jack Harris 2616 Dee Hadley 2617 Lydia Cellucci 2618 K Bryant 2619 Aiden Cristiano 2620 Alex Gilders 2621 Karlee Yodgee 2622 Gabrielle Pascoe 2623 Ella Doyle 2624 Bethany Williamson 2625 Jake Tonkin 2626 Anthony Tyerman 2627 Courtney Abood 2628 Indah Johannes 2629 Leila Merrington 2630 Catie Allendorf 2631 Melina Bunting 2632 Oliver Raftery 2633 Nicholas Romano 2634 Daniel Cooper 2635 Scott Harley 2636 Claudia Carter 2637 Jesse Jones 2638 Michelle Green

225

2639 Nathan Martsoukos 2640 Adam Medica 2641 William Crooke 2642 Brent Lennon 2643 Edwin Kane 2644 Anna Cordova 2645 Sara Sutherland 2646 Martin Butler 2647 Solomon Miller 2648 Steven Phan 2649 Andrea Apostolidis 2650 Darryn Clarence 2651 Daniel Moore 2652 Tram Lam 2653 Sam Scott 2654 Bruce Meiklejohn 2655 Douglas Gilbert 2656 Benjamin King 2657 Gabriel Smith 2658 Oskar Jaggers 2659 Christian Don 2660 Mackenzie Francis 2661 Victoria Beal 2662 Brandon Wruck 2663 Kelly Waldron 2664 Corey Millar 2665 Ashton Hawkins 2666 Nicole Lyons 2667 Liam Hotham 2668 Monica Hovington 2669 Roisin Garton 2670 Mark Nuske 2671 Leah Daniel 2672 Lauren Winter 2673 Harry Josif 2674 Nusha Wheeldon 2675 Geoffrey Pearce 2676 Holly Van’t Sand 2677 Yiep Bulkoch 2678 Isaac Marousopoulos 2679 Helya Jjavaherdashti 2680 Zach Campbell 2681 Hugo Alley

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2682 Louise Sun 2683 Mark Norman 2684 Andrew Richmond 2685 Emily Murray 2686 Jasmine Wolf 2687 Luke Jeffery 2688 McKayla Vamarasi 2689 Ruby Jones 2690 Jaein Kim 2691 Meghan Mcsweeny 2692 Amanda McGregor 2693 Emma Elze 2694 Chan Y-Lan Nguyen 2695 Marwa Awwad 2696 Eame Durkan 2697 Catia Guarino 2698 Judie Wang 2699 Michael Kalikas 2700 Samuel Brown 2701 Kelly Maddocks 2702 Sophie Norris 2703 Dominic Carter 2704 Benjamin Rohde 2705 Cassandra Madill 2706 Hongfei Yang 2707 Tom Waterman 2708 Simone Davison 2709 Anais Graham 2710 Elizabeth Harris 2711 Jasmyne Hiamoe 2712 Peter Variakojis 2713 Lauren Dadswell 2714 Matthew Sweet 2715 Liam Fernando-Canavan 2716 Lubna Ahmad 2717 Eleanor White 2718 Ellen Daniela Ortiz Kaiser 2719 Mark Sheard 2720 Krisanthi Soteriou 2721 Angela Blackie 2722 Robert Elkerton 2723 Benny Chong 2724 Madisyn Wishart-Verrall

227

2725 Nick Stanley 2726 Jennifer Weinstein 2727 Mikhail Othman 2728 Nadia Othman 2729 Daniel Thompson 2730 Kaa tahni Mokohar 2731 Chloe Thomas 2732 Ronella Slewa 2733 April Reeves 2734 Cameron Bunney 2735 William Paxton 2736 Archibald Timmins 2737 Lynette Bremen 2738 Claire Albrecht 2739 Chr Jones 2740 Dean Fitzpatrick 2741 Joshua Cribb 2742 Taliesin Seaborn 2743 Callum Watson 2744 Nicholas Sluggett 2745 Thomas Lanz 2746 Isabella Henriques 2747 Adam Gibb 2748 Shahid Mohamed Islam 2749 Damien Donnelly 2750 Broderick Sneesby 2751 Houssam Minkara 2752 Christian Janstrom 2753 Adrian Couper 2754 Matthew Wickert 2755 Justin Percival 2756 Simon Benbow 2757 Victor Justin 2758 Abdul Salam 2759 Adrian Piels 2760 Allen Ford 2761 Hugh Schultz 2762 Marissa Whitcomb 2763 Daniel Harris 2764 Gordon Foster 2765 Danielle Mazza 2766 Emma Greenwood 2767 Jesse Lennon

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2768 Elena Santos 2769 Lujing Liu 2770 Joseph White 2771 Kyle Pierson 2772 Cassandra Alford 2773 Shirley Wang 2774 Michael Paredes 2775 Cameron Daly 2776 Riley Stanton 2777 Tom Parker 2778 Molly O'Donoghue 2779 Shakaina Gage 2780 Helen Azeez 2781 Eric Bach 2782 Sakina Amani 2783 David Nelson 2784 Aleksandra Zaskalkina 2785 Darryl Larkin 2786 David Parrington 2787 Georgina Taylor 2788 Amber Nesbitt 2789 Dennise Thomas 2790 Jessica Aramini 2791 Sabrina Harper 2792 Benny Zable 2793 Jennifer Gray 2794 John Cover 2795 Keely Smith 2796 Rhys Adams 2797 Daniel McIlvride 2798 Junnaid Sheikh 2799 Dominic O'Farrell 2800 Li Da Xu 2801 Joshua Corthorne 2802 Tricia Ramsay 2803 Gabrielle Egan 2804 Tara Davie 2805 Yuan Shang 2806 Katie Smith 2807 Jamie Brodrick 2808 James O'Brien 2809 Adam Butler 2810 Paul Edmonds

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2811 Jessica Zubek 2812 Alexander Maybury 2813 Nick Collins 2814 Alan Taylor 2815 Diane Spencer 2816 Maureen Sipek 2817 Jesse Taylor 2818 Robert Whitehill 2819 Ruth Gilovitz 2820 David Stagg 2821 Joshua Tainsh 2822 Denice Long 2823 Matthew Scarfone 2824 Julie Long 2825 Anujah Parameswaram 2826 John Park 2827 Stuart Elkins 2828 Tahlia Hinks 2829 Ryan Heath 2830 Rebekah Caperon 2831 Yenni Hagman-Chafei 2832 Sue Drake-Brockman 2833 Martin Cross 2834 Tracey Hamilton 2835 Jamie Capurso 2836 Sebastian Dvortche 2837 Steven Ansell 2838 Frank Hildebrand 2839 Michael Thompson 2840 Nigel Hearn 2841 Jarod Lisinski 2842 Gail Schroeder 2843 Reece Cherry 2844 Robert Watts 2845 Bridget Sung 2846 Christopher Toft 2847 Nancie Baker 2848 Bradley Cunningham 2849 Kathryn Wilkins 2850 Les Yule 2851 Anthony Petrou 2852 Madeleine Bridgman 2853 Adam Borrack

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2854 Fletcher Clark 2855 Willa Cartwright 2856 Jay Bieshaar 2857 Moya Smith 2858 Murray Lowis 2859 Vitaly Leschen 2860 Andrew Reynolds 2861 Jesse Stephens 2862 Mehran Faridi 2863 Kevin Seabourne 2864 Gary Brazenor 2865 Bernard Martyn 2866 Ben Jarmyn 2867 Kalynda Schuliga 2868 Cody Norling 2869 Paul Buchecker 2870 Hamish Kirkpatrick 2871 David Ho 2872 Andrew Portelli 2873 James McAlister 2874 Florence Stewart 2875 Gene Zou 2876 Andrew Maher 2877 Jeff Gordon 2878 Samuel Seemanpillai 2879 Luke Osborne 2880 Nicole Kiezyk 2881 Christene Cole 2882 Zac Mellington 2883 Jasmine Rantall 2884 Isabella Meredith 2885 Keely Light 2886 Anny Davies 2887 Kara Keenan 2888 Denise Schmiedeberg 2889 Jacinta Robinson 2890 Brandon Ngo 2891 Kaylee Maclean 2892 Lee Kennedy 2893 Eeman Shahzad 2894 Elizabeth Christensen 2895 Maree McCallum 2896 Sujan Pradhan

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2897 Russell Mayo 2898 Jack Page 2899 David Griffiths 2900 Shu Chen 2901 Stephen O'Sullivan 2902 Katelyn Hill 2903 Timothy Maunsell 2904 Louis Puddy 2905 Nicholas Waters 2906 Susan Elliott 2907 Hamid Panahi 2908 Mitchell Langdon 2909 Archer Skinner 2910 Matilda Wright 2911 Nick Woods 2912 Tegan Moss 2913 William Mcshane-Baker 2914 Alistair Chitty 2915 Robert Martinez 2916 Ellie Bowe 2917 Dale Simington 2918 Cameron Hemming 2919 Karen Smith 2920 Erin Davison 2921 Ben Padfield 2922 Nicholas Chaplin 2923 Nele Van Itterbeeck 2924 Sue Back 2925 Kerrie Doyle 2926 Bryson Natt 2927 Ben Wardi 2928 Jackson Byrnes 2929 Jay Larder 2930 Rachel Stewart 2931 Rey Leon 2932 Bradley Kettlety-Clay 2933 Harrison Mobs 2934 Shane Paterson 2935 Jayden Blaxland 2936 Bronya Thomas 2937 Matthew Gaston 2938 Jake Edwards 2939 Jenny Agapito

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2940 Robert Gray 2941 Denise Rowe 2942 Freddie Klein 2943 Charlie Hastings 2944 Steven Monev 2945 Travis Maurer-Doyle 2946 Janelle Locke 2947 Tyler Haynes 2948 Lachlan Palmer 2949 Harry Martin 2950 Dieter Wittmann 2951 Shannon Whitty 2952 Shannon Ryan-Jones 2953 Steve Miller 2954 Cole Harris 2955 James Jones 2956 Khan Hooi 2957 Marcus McMahon 2958 Corinne Davis 2959 James Martin 2960 Finley Gabriel 2961 Ewan Millett 2962 Rhett Little 2963 John Simpson 2964 Bradman Walker 2965 Rachel Harney 2966 Aaron Tansey 2967 S Blair 2968 Jeremy Blackwood 2969 Daniel McBurnie 2970 Hannah Kelly 2971 Chloe Hendricks 2972 Joshua Sagar 2973 Donald McAllister 2974 Max Sabbatini 2975 Joss Nicol 2976 Jasmeen Dhaliwal 2977 Blaise McLean 2978 John Schmidt 2979 Benjamin Parker 2980 Harrison Madew 2981 Scott McAlister 2982 Holly Halteh

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2983 Rene Aalbers 2984 Vikas Raheja 2985 Jace Ross 2986 James Bruce 2987 Arne Krost 2988 Nick Grossman 2989 Philip Tripet 2990 David Vella 2991 Luke Penniall 2992 Wendy Pearce 2993 Devon Rushton 2994 Regina Ryan 2995 Dean Salamouras 2996 Malcolm Collier 2997 Scott Ancell 2998 Tate Smirnakos 2999 Daniel Antoniak 3000 Susan Hobeck 3001 Gertrude Pihelgas 3002 Colin Rixon 3003 Sue Newell 3004 Anna MacDonald 3005 Jennifer Langridge 3006 Mike Tan 3007 Cameron Brackenreg 3008 Michael Newington 3009 Debbie Northway 3010 Bernhard Hendrata 3011 Janette Bruiner 3012 Gena Kenny 3013 Payam Golestani 3014 Sabina Sestigiani 3015 Blake Deegan 3016 Aaron Fogarty 3017 Matthew Slater 3018 Sam Mitchell 3019 Graham Johnson 3020 Michael Barba 3021 Douglas Shiells 3022 Amber Forbes 3023 Kari Mudie 3024 Steven Awad 3025 Simon Romeo

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3026 Dayne Hodge 3027 Navneet Sharma 3028 Dillon Duncan 3029 Natasha O'Connor 3030 Ursula Roulis 3031 Claire Kelly 3032 Matt Jordan 3033 Marilyn Davis 3034 Janine Zar 3035 Jane Landy 3036 Harley Simity 3037 Karen Plummer 3038 Alexander Grujevski 3039 Elaine Zhong 3040 Guy Fleming 3041 James Casey 3042 Tristan Carbines 3043 Tristan Inglis 3044 Nerrida Barton 3045 Josh Drayton 3046 Corinna Belsar 3047 Jessica Thwaites 3048 Matt Bickerstaff 3049 Chris Bokody 3050 Mark Allen 3051 Edward Fu 3052 Jeremy Coggin 3053 Trent Cockerell 3054 Anne Kelly 3055 Owen Kinsey 3056 Alan Love 3057 Finn Wesley 3058 Bob Montgomery 3059 Janelle Bray 3060 Veronica Hope 3061 Eric Stumpf 3062 Yvonne Harris 3063 Annette Arrowsmith 3064 Ketura Sutton-Yeomans 3065 Taylor Crawford 3066 Esther Lin 3067 Duncan Howdin 3068 Rosalie Golding

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3069 Penny Campton 3070 Mitchell Fishburn 3071 Zachary McLindon 3072 Russell Vitale 3073 Seth Mischewski 3074 Ryder Westland 3075 Deepak Bista 3076 Kate Hewitt 3077 Evan Sanders 3078 Heather Cameron 3079 Sean Wood 3080 Jack Clifton 3081 Habibullah Karimi 3082 Kelsy Matheson 3083 Stephanie Kakoschke 3084 Beau Krestensen 3085 Jake Watson 3086 Chris Antolak 3087 Luke Boxshall 3088 Lisa Downing 3089 Kelly McKenna 3090 Daniel Bailey 3091 Maraya Fameil 3092 Levente Laczko 3093 Thomas Laurence 3094 Matt McAllen 3095 Josephine Maniscalco 3096 Andrea Pozza 3097 Nathan Garnett 3098 Luanne Swart 3099 Jarryd Ward 3100 Anthony Waters 3101 Pauline Ford 3102 Sam Gilfillan 3103 Kate Smith 3104 Sam Di Domenico 3105 Hugo Webster 3106 Isabel Cannon 3107 Marcus Fernando 3108 Ellenor Pereira 3109 Mischa Temple 3110 Ian Hill 3111 Nicolas Garcia-Bellido Rodriguez

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3112 Ben Bigham 3113 Cullen Day 3114 Luke Jones-Sexton 3115 Isla Cornish Brown 3116 Kai Wen Tian 3117 Laura Dennis-Smart 3118 Karen Sutherland 3119 Helen Angwin 3120 Marie Wiebrecht 3121 Teresa Dunlop 3122 Mike Watt 3123 Brett Ferguson 3124 Mario Canciello 3125 Matt Winning 3126 Justine Eddy 3127 Joshua Holmes 3128 Letita Riley 3129 Tegan Bryde 3130 Nick Petropouleas 3131 Paul Dawber 3132 Cian Mcculloch 3133 Dave Dower 3134 Jay Gledhill 3135 Hayden Fox 3136 Elaine Fletcher 3137 Harry Nadir 3138 Carol Booth 3139 Alida Cowan 3140 Ben Singh 3141 Dannielle Gadd 3142 Alex Fordyce 3143 Darcy Simondson 3144 Joanne King 3145 Andrew Sinclair 3146 Matthew Davis 3147 Samantha Quinlan 3148 Cameron Geraghty 3149 David Moore 3150 Glenn Pitt 3151 Christopher Neto 3152 Ranga Abeyweera 3153 Courtney Peel 3154 Eric McKenzie

237

3155 Cameron Stansell 3156 Tamsen Moreno 3157 Dianne Gray 3158 Gabriel Gil 3159 Joshua Gilbee 3160 Murtaza Nizamani 3161 Dylan Herriman 3162 Helen Rees 3163 Benjamin Crouch 3164 Morris Barbero 3165 Daryl Nelson 3166 Radhika Rao 3167 Jocelyn Fisher 3168 Matthew Ford 3169 Michael Fearn 3170 Luke Lyon 3171 Michael Irwin 3172 Jason Wain 3173 Caroline Cohen 3174 Callum Jones 3175 Murray Thomas 3176 Christopher Colusso 3177 Tishen Naidoo 3178 Jason Armstrong 3179 Anthony Hancock 3180 Fraser Hansen 3181 Clinton Shepherd 3182 Dylan Janse van Rensburg 3183 Simon O'Dowd 3184 Dianne Jackson 3185 Hunter Janicki 3186 Samuel Peterson 3187 Judith Heethuis 3188 Rachel Hodgens 3189 Alana Smyth 3190 Mitchell White 3191 Samuel Wills 3192 Tasweef Nasti 3193 Ryan Wallace 3194 Alicia Sadler 3195 Timothy Brunton 3196 Zsolt Szabo 3197 Andreas Neophytou

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3198 Adam Hogan 3199 Liam Ash 3200 Roderick Keech 3201 James Aston 3202 Neil Fraser 3203 Harrison Bendall 3204 Andrew Brannon 3205 Finn Pearson 3206 Jessica Whiteing 3207 Jackson Bourke 3208 Danny Wade 3209 Thomas Maker 3210 Madeleine Price 3211 Michael Dovigi 3212 Matthew Haycroft 3213 Hunter Johnston 3214 Sean Hyslop 3215 Ivan Cho 3216 John Stevens 3217 Brae Grimes 3218 Vann Jackson 3219 Thomas Grounsell 3220 Michael Cousins 3221 Harun Genc 3222 Eleonore Lee 3223 Bradey Newman 3224 Jayson Talam 3225 Matthew Tyrrell 3226 Joanne Robins 3227 Jack Meissner 3228 Byron Banzhaf 3229 Christopher Wright 3230 Morgan Osborne 3231 Mia Ranger 3232 Jason Dizon 3233 Kevin Philip 3234 Avril Francis 3235 John Duffy 3236 Trent Hill 3237 Stephen Beeby 3238 Michelle Boxell 3239 Connor Barkley 3240 James Thornton

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3241 Benjamin Ross 3242 Thomas Gray 3243 An Nguyen 3244 Holly Braico 3245 Jean-Jacques Sunier 3246 Emily Ocean 3247 Nick Holliday 3248 Yue Chung 3249 Shane Marshall 3250 Edward Williams 3251 Hayden Perfect 3252 Theodore Nettleton 3253 Alex Hopper 3254 John Chetham 3255 Heath Thompson 3256 Joshua Hwang 3257 Ersin Yilmaz 3258 Elizabeth Allen 3259 Joel Small 3260 Catherine Zanevra 3261 Kale Morris 3262 Amir Hajilou 3263 Adam Ross 3264 Chloe Coelho 3265 Linden Bromwich 3266 Sam Henderson 3267 Emily Googan 3268 Thomas Overend 3269 Ibrahim Faraj 3270 Sam Tarver 3271 Kerian McManus 3272 Kevin Pratt 3273 Damien Riley 3274 Valmai McDonald 3275 Matthew Collins 3276 Paul van Eeden 3277 Edward Blackwood 3278 Kohbyn Ellacott 3279 Alan Googan 3280 Evan Coumbe 3281 Benjamin McKeever Ford 3282 Nicolas Rio 3283 Gavin Ramm

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3284 Jaden Costa 3285 Brandon Reynolds 3286 Maksim Lisau 3287 Daniel Church 3288 Emma Douglas 3289 Aiden Morley 3290 Oscar Christensen 3291 Chase Lowe 3292 Lilyann Partridge 3293 David Grosvenor 3294 Les Baldwin 3295 David Broe 3296 Jacob Booty 3297 Kirsten Randall 3298 Scott Butler 3299 Shannon White 3300 Grace Lewis 3301 Kieran Bridges 3302 Xavier Sauvage 3303 Riley Dent 3304 Scott Lyons 3305 Simon Coles 3306 Iszac Lenne 3307 Noah Bretnall 3308 Huda Olsson 3309 Geordie Ricks 3310 Claire Hutton 3311 Roxanne Karlsen 3312 Hamish Munro 3313 Ryan Ross 3314 Paige Mews 3315 Alexander Cook 3316 Andrew Thomas 3317 Thomas McPherson 3318 Thomas Dritsas 3319 Brittany Carey 3320 Simon Watson 3321 Daniel Jarin 3322 Frank Poprawa 3323 Alexander Schwartz 3324 Raymond Lau 3325 Isaac Davie 3326 Jodie Ryan

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3327 Boston Chadwick-Holland 3328 Alex Mathison 3329 Jadzia Clifford-Pugh 3330 Stephen Kelly 3331 Sarantos Makris 3332 Katja Williams 3333 Alexander Flavel 3334 Brodie Norfolk 3335 Jacob Wilks 3336 Daniel Cullen 3337 Jayde Martin 3338 Darrell Chiu 3339 Matthew Leonard 3340 Michael Kerr 3341 Cameron Brown 3342 Alexandra Baker 3343 Tilahun Desalegn 3344 William Hunt 3345 Shane Murdoch 3346 Tyler Brennan 3347 Zachary Moore 3348 Christopher Smith 3349 Tegan Bain 3350 Hayley Mewett 3351 Jacob Cathie 3352 Jake Pedley 3353 Burnett Kann 3354 Emily Abbott 3355 Jan Manns 3356 Caitlin Halmarick 3357 Sophie Furman 3358 Jacob Cooling 3359 Shania Richardson 3360 Marina Squires 3361 Bethany Smith 3362 James Russell 3363 Hayley Webster 3364 Olivia Hurley 3365 Lili Iammarrone 3366 John Birtles 3367 Mary Carr 3368 Emily Flynn 3369 Hans Dadson

242

3370 Kayla Hudson 3371 Harley Ellis 3372 Mathyos Esho 3373 Dimity Jessup 3374 Diliza Aparicio 3375 Lindsay Shelton 3376 Jade Stevens 3377 Jonathan Young 3378 Annabel Cameron 3379 Tayla Wilson-Bingley 3380 Anthony Batchelor 3381 Ruby Gowers 3382 Nicholas Clark 3383 Curtis White 3384 Dalia Obaid 3385 Shaw Schultejohann 3386 Rowan Whitaker 3387 Callum Pullyblank 3388 Michael Thomas 3389 Connor Ward-Kenway 3390 John Le 3391 Alisha Kamin 3392 Riley Forbes 3393 Alan Britten 3394 Jace Bulger 3395 Jaydn Talbot 3396 Alex Langley 3397 William Robson 3398 Hubert Brett-Hall 3399 Smati Senille 3400 Liam Hayman 3401 Luke Hinsley 3402 Simon Rozental 3403 Mitchell Rabbitt 3404 Patrick McFadden 3405 Russell Craig 3406 Garry Glanz 3407 Mai Trakulsri 3408 Nikki Donlon 3409 Aislinn Fischer 3410 Gary Stipanov 3411 Matthew Fatnowna 3412 Vesna Elfes

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3413 Liam O'Neill 3414 Aleigha Bargutti 3415 Ysabella Schneider 3416 Benjamin Smith 3417 Jordan Muir 3418 David Tran 3419 Sean McQuillan 3420 Joseph Barale 3421 Matthew Stillone 3422 Caleb de Vries 3423 Mary-Rose Jarin 3424 Koray Hasanoglu 3425 Jack Anderson 3426 Margaret Munday 3427 Luke White 3428 Aaron Lake 3429 Stephanie Khochaba 3430 Shane Davies 3431 Ash Vella 3432 Sheila Peekins 3433 Christian Saliba 3434 Rodney Smith 3435 Declan Goggan 3436 Lincoln Halton 3437 Thomas Kelly 3438 Steven Sytsma 3439 William Willing 3440 Adam Broad 3441 Abraham Tatarka 3442 Katelyn Wilson 3443 Robert Scott 3444 Jade Wakemam 3445 Brianna Gillen 3446 David Smith 3447 Taleb Assaad 3448 Olivia Jones 3449 Leila Davilacauchi 3450 Tim Laverack 3451 Jessica Faulkner 3452 Jack Evstigneev 3453 Jake Willis 3454 Noa Planten 3455 Kym Ireland

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3456 Sandra Willis 3457 William Hazell 3458 Gianni Valenti 3459 Belinda Taylor 3460 Olivia Lukac 3461 Natalie Tew 3462 John Andrews 3463 Sam Warren 3464 Tiana Jones 3465 Tim Singh 3466 Jesse Leeuweik 3467 Chloe Carney 3468 Claire Bennett 3469 Emma Mckenzie 3470 Wade Warner 3471 Tala van Mierlo 3472 Kirk Winner 3473 Shanaye Kennedy 3474 Kassandra Adams 3475 Jean Whiley 3476 Michael Lance 3477 Nikola Subjak 3478 Erin Bayas 3479 Finnegan Laird 3480 Kassia Holeong 3481 Tim Singh 3482 Clara Droogleever 3483 Tahnee Bentley 3484 Izak Baldacchino 3485 Violet Sparks 3486 Victoria Fiddes 3487 Blake Frantz 3488 Indigo Shilling 3489 Kate Simpson 3490 Rosemary Bergin 3491 Matt Smith 3492 Hannah Barnett 3493 Tegan Lumley 3494 Jake Mastersson 3495 Ryan Loos 3496 Mahshad Maleki 3497 Timothy McCoy 3498 Jack Ratcliffe

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3499 Sean Braithwaite 3500 Isabella Di Stefano 3501 Megan Byrnes 3502 Kieran Wagstaff 3503 Quintessa Denniz 3504 Louis Fung 3505 Kate Piscopo 3506 Lachlan Roach 3507 Mollie Wilkins 3508 Steve Head 3509 Matthew Meiklejohn 3510 Alexander Green 3511 Ysabelle Obrero 3512 Ryan Joyce 3513 Emma Privitelli 3514 Cashmere Hawksworth 3515 Matthew Jones 3516 Samuel McMahon 3517 Eva Earle 3518 Megan Alman 3519 Emily Corkhill 3520 Vanessa Herring 3521 Jason Reynolds 3522 Hannah Morley 3523 Geordie Apostolidis 3524 Susan Apostolidis 3525 Jeff Mills 3526 Cameron McDougall 3527 Dora Manatokas 3528 Adam Nicholls 3529 Jonathan Hall 3530 Gregor Kodre 3531 Vinny Grantham-Smith 3532 Mohit Kumar 3533 Allain Woodsford 3534 Isaac Dursun 3535 Ben Baltzer 3536 Cooper Anderson 3537 Samantha Abreu 3538 Joseph Carr-Moore 3539 Jacob Taylor 3540 Ryan Gordon 3541 Benjamin McGarry

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3542 Hannah Miller 3543 Tom Schuster 3544 Howard Hansen 3545 Dean Taylor 3546 Tasman Aspinall 3547 Simon Underschultz 3548 Luke Gordon 3549 Maren Scorgie 3550 Jeremy Segal 3551 Majok Manyiel 3552 Liam Goodfellow 3553 Dale Everdell 3554 Mathew Bailey 3555 Oliver Reading 3556 Gavin Johnston 3557 Katelyn Jenkins 3558 Wolter Bron 3559 Phil O'Connor 3560 George Goodison 3561 Harrison Adamidis 3562 Pouya Aflatoun 3563 Lauren Stegman 3564 Harry Dhaliwal 3565 Joseph Russo 3566 Fahija Ansari 3567 Joe Thompson 3568 Liam Vongmany 3569 Rob Johnston 3570 Eric Rodriguez 3571 Rudd Brysha 3572 Alex Mitchell 3573 Elizabeth Henderson 3574 James Klose 3575 Kristy Akers 3576 Liam Watts 3577 Blake Ludlow 3578 Breeanna Thorn 3579 Duncan Berce 3580 Matthew Burton 3581 Rebekah Keam 3582 Catlin Smith 3583 Timothy Ko 3584 Savannah McDonald

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3585 Kimberley Vu 3586 Benjamin Sreedharan 3587 Blake Williams 3588 Sarah Street 3589 Sophie Robinson 3590 Nicholas Hatzakos 3591 Marie Chatwin 3592 Nerys Harris 3593 Iain Murton 3594 Jamie Fitzsimons 3595 Thomas Doyle 3596 Ramadan Besim 3597 Sean Glasson 3598 Baxter Graham 3599 Ashleigh Campbell 3600 Sally Akers 3601 Daniel Fischer 3602 Ann Ticehurst 3603 Shannen Findlay 3604 Thomas Lamb 3605 Ruth Birch 3606 Luke Warby 3607 Jarrad Murphy 3608 Angus Thomson 3609 Dale Waters 3610 Nethuni Sumanaweera 3611 Zainab Mohamad 3612 Nathan Horan 3613 Andrew Rickards 3614 Tori-Anderson Kohu 3615 Lachlan Brown 3616 Jaxon Healy 3617 Sophie Harris 3618 Kim Dang 3619 Shaid Ronlan 3620 Melinda Blackie 3621 Chris Farran 3622 Christine Vella 3623 Austin Stranger 3624 Karina Frazer 3625 Jaclyn Batey 3626 Freya Ashley 3627 Suki Jiang

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3628 Mahesh Shresta 3629 Timothy Tadj 3630 Stevie-Ray Gage 3631 Drew Innocend 3632 Francis Pham 3633 Jessica Boner 3634 Kaitlin Jones 3635 Abbey O'Donoghue 3636 Jarred Schiller 3637 Kim Murray 3638 Heidi Osborne 3639 Marion Cassell 3640 Kylah Nguyen 3641 Jodi Long 3642 Jorge Mejia 3643 Makayla Witty 3644 Chris Jones 3645 Irene de Haan 3646 Riley Linneman 3647 Selena Beasley 3648 Haami Woods 3649 Alexander Salman 3650 Jack Hewitt 3651 Stuart Voss 3652 Trevor May 3653 Jessica Neubeck 3654 Melanie Wardell 3655 Braden Spokes 3656 Fiona Conolly 3657 Name Withheld 3658 Louisa John-Krol 3659 Professor Simon Rice OAM 3660 Scott Fenton 3661 Faye Dilati 3662 Conlan Linneman 3663 Luke Watts 3664 Samantha Check 3665 Matthew Kelly 3666 Mitchell Pianto 3667 Tanah Jeffrey 3668 Alyssa Clissold 3669 Sarah Bolton 3670 Nick Casserly

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3671 Adam Herd 3672 Joel Jacquet 3673 Shiarn McDonald 3674 Shello Johnson 3675 Thuy Tien Nguyen 3676 Lee Avey 3677 Miles Llewellyn 3678 Ella Schultz 3679 Mitchell Stone 3680 Rennie Chayko 3681 Izaak Bush 3682 Monica Rahman 3683 Prashast Gupta 3684 Jasmine Reid 3685 Hayden Roberts 3686 Christopher Hajjar 3687 Tasman Hartley 3688 Clancy O’Neill 3689 Christopher Janetzki 3690 Finlay Attridge 3691 Oskah Dunnin 3692 Hugh Smith 3693 Jeremie Kull 3694 Isobelle Sullivan 3695 Caroline Beer 3696 Paul Stone 3697 Emily Shi 3698 David Thompson 3699 Jacob Backx 3700 Rhys Kessey 3701 Damian Wilesmith 3702 William Watts 3703 Tahlia Hall 3704 Thomas Bartl 3705 Mariusz Skoneczko 3706 Paul Desney 3707 Harry Choi 3708 Rohan Cutting 3709 Bridget Clarke 3710 Liam Oliver 3711 Charlotte Metcalf 3712 Tarikul Alam 3713 Diana Espinoza

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3714 Courtney Murphy 3715 David Jafari 3716 Jayme Reberger 3717 Lucy Lu 3718 Gemma Hardie 3719 Mitchell McHugh 3720 Amber Lim 3721 Tomas Poulier 3722 Matthew Bringolf 3723 Muhsina Ahmad 3724 Samuel Norman 3725 Madison Mikletic 3726 Joshua Copley-Vickers 3727 Tim Claridge 3728 Robert Winter 3729 Elizabeth Grosshans 3730 David Lane 3731 Gary Robinson 3732 Nicholas Jackiewicz 3733 Peter Cook 3734 Youseph Dib 3735 Lucas Borg 3736 Onon Amgalan 3737 Thomas Beswick-Wright 3738 Charlotte McLean 3739 Justin Miller 3740 Allegra Masri 3741 Darcy Border 3742 Tharin Wijedasa 3743 Ava Cooper 3744 Tom Ross 3745 Andrew Mackenzie-Ross 3746 Alexander Hansen 3747 Kade Spark 3748 William Rees 3749 Hannah Daulby 3750 Jethro Tulip 3751 Quintessa Denniz 3752 Zachary Scorset 3753 Samara Rees 3754 Annabelle Ward 3755 Ivah Lynch 3756 Korra Koperu

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3757 David Morcombe 3758 Sebastian Alker 3759 Alexander Parker 3760 Lillian Farry 3761 Eisha Fareed 3762 Vincent Rummer 3763 Rachelle Sapountzakis 3764 Caitlyn Wannenburg 3765 Ellen Warren 3766 Grace Harding-Smith 3767 Annabelle Alam 3768 Daniel Talevski 3769 Bianca Smith 3770 Isabella Varrica 3771 Harry Hayes 3772 Chelsea Tucker 3773 Ulufale Fatu 3774 Zane Smith 3775 Kevin H 3776 Imogen Paul 3777 Ella Peruzzi 3778 Hannah Nugent 3779 Jessica Manczal 3780 Rod Teale 3781 Larry Vu 3782 Tim Reeves 3783 Amelia Bland 3784 Charlie Seach 3785 Leyla Jablonka 3786 Dainika Morgan 3787 Jia Lin Huang 3788 Tom van Gessel 3789 Guiseppe Santo 3790 Tom Padden 3791 Diazein Eckert-Fellegvari 3792 Angus Currie 3793 Mia Besorio 3794 Christopher Collins 3795 Hayden Farrow 3796 Maximus Smith 3797 Zoe Herbert 3798 Nikita Starcevich 3799 Kok Lee

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3800 Benjamin Caudwell 3801 Hayden Oakley 3802 Eman Taleb 3803 Mitchell Sutherland 3804 Timothy Falloon 3805 Eleanor Clarke 3806 Anthony Lai 3807 Rachel Santos 3808 Karina Gan 3809 Cristian Rains 3810 Claudia Kinnane 3811 Jingnan Guo 3812 Sarah Alkuheli 3813 Tyrone Topping 3814 Tegan Linacre 3815 Morgan Carroll-Irvine 3816 Luke Newcombe 3817 Courtney Morse 3818 Carly Cornell 3819 Nathan Ralston-Bryce 3820 Maja Hoepfner-Muir 3821 Matthew Storey 3822 Matthew Jordan 3823 Amber Simpson 3824 Jessica Collins 3825 Paul French 3826 Ali Norri 3827 Jada White 3828 Iris Crennan 3829 Lisa McKenna 3830 Robert Bruce 3831 Biranavan Srikumar 3832 Hanh Tran 3833 Marianne Clifford 3834 Jason Mitropoulos 3835 Max Bradley 3836 Ellen Towers 3837 Emmaline Malani 3838 Madison Douglas 3839 Olivia Schumer-Caldwell 3840 Harrison Dowling 3841 Tyson Laws 3842 Victoria Robinson

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3843 Ryan Parkes 3844 Teas Lanham 3845 Jenna Matthews 3846 Sarah Bladen 3847 Kashish Sharma 3848 Jamie Harbourd 3849 Huda Hassan 3850 Adam Nelson 3851 Scott Comber 3852 Candace Ferrington 3853 Vicky Liao 3854 Charles Deicke 3855 Peter James 3856 Jacob Ryan 3857 Mitchell Tillott 3858 Adam Hoddinott 3859 Davina Paratene 3860 Katriona Lee 3861 Andrew Papadopoulos 3862 Ronan Lobo 3863 Josiah McMeekin 3864 Gordon Huang 3865 Lewis de Zoete 3866 Mia Lane 3867 Emma Borron 3868 Nicholas Lennon 3869 Alannah Perry 3870 Shannon Maxwell 3871 Jasmine Kidd 3872 Glen Powell 3873 Indiana Doyle 3874 Robert Coleman 3875 Charlotte Connolly 3876 Mitchell Copley 3877 Berice Jackway 3878 Jessica Moreno 3879 Thomas Nash 3880 Oli Gellert 3881 Laurence Phillips 3882 Mariko Andrewartha 3883 Gavin Kensitt 3884 Nicholas Ledger 3885 Zachary Hurst

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3886 Isabella Othman 3887 Julie Luke 3888 Darcy Wright 3889 Charlene Eggins 3890 Poppy Hopkins 3891 Isla Simeoni 3892 Karen Sullivan 3893 Harry Patrick 3894 William Pengelly 3895 Tia Lacoste 3896 Benjamin Paz 3897 Thomas Switakowski 3898 Audrie Hasnat 3899 Aaron Dorling 3900 Casey Poland 3901 Tom Weise 3902 Fernanda Alves 3903 Geoffrey Skinner 3904 Cheryl Lombardo 3905 Sam Shooter 3906 Mark Brown 3907 Patrick Armstrong 3908 Reese Wortel 3909 Gabriel Mojica 3910 David Schrader 3911 William Solomon 3912 Joshua Lorenz 3913 David Massey 3914 Jing Shang 3915 Nathaniel Barry 3916 Emma Magnani-Rimmer 3917 Jacob Guinan 3918 Darci Hugh-Clink 3919 Marianne Alexiou 3920 Troy Cownie 3921 Edward Felton 3922 William Chester 3923 Fredrick Horomidis 3924 Alexander Gerontzos 3925 Vernon Spain 3926 Nicholas Rutherford 3927 Daniel Dooley 3928 Glenda Woledge

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3929 Melissa Scott 3930 Dean Arnold 3931 Bruce Andersen 3932 Jenni Fisher 3933 Linda Phillips 3934 Adam Price 3935 Ben Jeffery 3936 Michael Lossi 3937 William Flynn 3938 Julian Rose 3939 Blake Dean 3940 Stephen Faigenbaum 3941 Kathryn Marrotte 3942 Ilango Surendran 3943 Emma McCombe Baker 3944 Dennis Southon 3945 Leonie Holmesby 3946 Alex Vale 3947 Molly Wintzloff 3948 Amy Beckett 3949 Robert Medland 3950 Andrei Buters 3951 Alan Maurice 3952 Peter Quinlan 3953 Rhys Parton 3954 Nahin Juma Edmonds 3955 Kieran Cribb 3956 Chiaki Tsutcuki 3957 Jack Zezula 3958 Helen Felmingham 3959 Kevin Moses 3960 Fridy Santoso 3961 Simon Huggins 3962 Jimmy Petridis 3963 John Reczniarek 3964 Nikki Bezel 3965 Henry Pawlaczyk 3966 Melinda Crozier 3967 Xavier Kelly 3968 Matilda Sutherland 3969 Michael Jin 3970 David Sellar 3971 Travis Batta

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3972 Daniel Sassen 3973 Liam Craft 3974 Khye Watkinson 3975 Brett Perryman 3976 Aaron Johnstone 3977 Damian Bugeja 3978 Buster Truman 3979 David Hyde 3980 Jack Brumley 3981 David Weekes 3982 David Nicholson 3983 Michael Henriques 3984 Jack Osborn 3985 Bruce Carney 3986 Pamela K 3987 James Macpherson 3988 Paul Pipertzis 3989 Christopher Fernandez 3990 Amin Rigi 3991 Hayden Roberts 3992 Maddison McElhinney 3993 Steven Rickert 3994 Oleksii Vedernikov 3995 Isabella Waters 3996 Suphi Sari 3997 Roozbeh Morsali 3998 Jacob Matthews 3999 Ryan Cetinski 4000 Linda Beasley 4001 Scott Nicholson 4002 Maddison Flannigan-Cox 4003 Joshua Hare 4004 Faeka El Sayed 4005 Nathan Laracy 4006 Olivia Daffy 4007 Tom Azari 4008 Dan Hayes 4009 William Gordon 4010 Megan Jones 4011 Stacey Magnik 4012 Marcia Penman 4013 Michael Niemira-Dowjat 4014 David Spence

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4015 Damien McKay 4016 Robert Johnston 4017 Dominique Evans 4018 Andrew Mercado 4019 Brenden Keuper 4020 Jesse Owen 4021 Dzeneta Ameti 4022 Daniel McNeil 4023 David Agius 4024 Casey Thompson 4025 Sammy Sumer 4026 Charles Eggins 4027 Michael Mears 4028 Stewart Barry 4029 Ben Nichelsen 4030 Les Yule 4031 Nathan Bradley 4032 Nicholas Champion 4033 Rolf Gerig 4034 Rory Graham 4035 Denver Huynh 4036 Rhiannon Elton 4037 Grace Heron 4038 Ashley Kennard 4039 Phu Thanh Chau 4040 Joanna Kelly 4041 Alex Gatward 4042 Jay Naik 4043 Joseph Chan 4044 Steven Wakefield 4045 Jac Tichbon 4046 Dan O'Brien 4047 Fadi Barsoum 4048 Mel Wink 4049 Craig Kelly 4050 Jack Gilson 4051 Zubaida Alrubai 4052 Elizabeth McDonald 4053 Bellal Hassanein 4054 Mark Hurley 4055 Dylan Walsh 4056 Ivana Janousek 4057 Cheryl Ford

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4058 James Titchmarsh 4059 Troy Smith 4060 Rhonda Gestos 4061 Michael Springer 4062 David Gorman 4063 Ethan Miller 4064 Samuel Bennett 4065 Philip Salama-West 4066 Barry Bryett 4067 Christopher Poleson 4068 Amy La 4069 Jamie Weston 4070 Daniel Mclean 4071 Jesse Randell 4072 James Graham 4073 Oscar Meconi-Harrold 4074 Geoffrey Tosio 4075 Jordan Dicello 4076 Rodney Stobart 4077 Reza Grosshans 4078 Justin Dent 4079 Alex Nishanian 4080 Brody White 4081 Barbara Santos 4082 Zack Eastwell 4083 Brendan John 4084 Brooke Sonter 4085 Jonathan Dane 4086 Harry Van den berg 4087 Letecia Keogh 4088 Gaylene Intveld 4089 Matthew Botta 4090 Daniel Chapple 4091 Guthrie Powning 4092 David Walker 4093 Peter Stephens 4094 Finbar Kelly 4095 Joshua Devitt 4096 Amber Layburn 4097 Michael Packman 4098 Nathan Worthington 4099 Martin Bale 4100 Sam White

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4101 Daniel Hanger 4102 Courtney Jacklin 4103 Teresa Pham 4104 Alex Zappa 4105 Josh Martin 4106 Neil Mistry 4107 Matthew Williams 4108 Benjamin Smith 4109 Frank Tan 4110 Camila Handabak 4111 Daniele Curcio 4112 Michelle Tseung 4113 Ana Ristic 4114 Luke Gommers 4115 Irene Lin 4116 Rhys Stevens 4117 Joseph Badaan 4118 Jed Pedersen 4119 Mark Doyle 4120 Deborah Bullock 4121 Camila Perez 4122 Jasmin Savannah 4123 Bella Casado 4124 Sophie Van west 4125 Shanelle Perera 4126 Rahipere Whatarau 4127 Aimee Donovan 4128 Liam Harrigan 4129 Aneesha Ram 4130 Dineke Cranage 4131 Liam Dwyer 4132 Ashlee Jacobson 4133 Jordanah Cowell 4134 Haniya Cheema 4135 Ryan Dickson 4136 Thomas Slattery 4137 Bridget Long 4138 Anne Dinh 4139 Diyana Mead 4140 Laura Bailey 4141 Gabrielle Thurlow 4142 Louis Stanton 4143 Amy Alex

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4144 Isabelle Newton 4145 James Simpson 4146 Liam Campbell 4147 Robert Smith 4148 Deni Karayilan 4149 Anne Humphries 4150 Marney Dutton 4151 Breanne Nardella 4152 Cameron Crossman 4153 Renee Hall 4154 Karen Barrett 4155 Margaux Ellis 4156 Kester Felton 4157 Hailey Lindfield 4158 Eden Fagerstrom 4159 Emma Carthew 4160 Ryan Maddox 4161 Monica Cooze 4162 Fintan McCrave 4163 Jenny McCormack 4164 Kirra Haim 4165 Stephanie Hood 4166 Brooke Macnab 4167 Olivia Ngo 4168 Jai Cooper 4169 Juliette Gard 4170 Alexandar Mcmahon-puce 4171 Peter Johnston 4172 Mal Haywood 4173 Leziel Flores 4174 Madelyne Leite 4175 Con Karavias 4176 Kealeigh Steinhardt 4177 Matthew Edwards 4178 Jessica Prietto 4179 Adrienne Brickwood 4180 Peter Raymond 4181 Neve Maher 4182 Josh Nielsen 4183 James Kerr 4184 Rohan Singh 4185 Andy Ai 4186 Jarrod Ruggiero

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4187 Ronda Gawley 4188 Mary Iamandi 4189 Jessica Ben-Porat 4190 Ryan Voitiskis 4191 Stephen Evans 4192 Pam Rogowski 4193 Amalie Graham 4194 Alysse Murray 4195 Ken Gransbury 4196 James Edwards 4197 Max Quimbar 4198 Vivienne Butt 4199 Conor Wall 4200 Danielle Brain-Tischmann 4201 Michael Adeney 4202 Chloe Davis 4203 M Burke 4204 Sarah McCollim 4205 Jesse Steineck 4206 Geoffrey Wrigley 4207 Nicholas Rasmussen 4208 Joshua McInnes 4209 Alastair Loxton 4210 Philip Jucker 4211 John Thomas 4212 Qiong Wang 4213 Nicolas Coffi Dit Fleize 4214 Andrew Williams 4215 Corey Anslow 4216 Surya Rao 4217 Edward Seiffert 4218 Timothy Edgar 4219 Jesse Conrad 4220 Leon Tadebois 4221 Julia Wilkinson 4222 Shadley Allie 4223 Daniel Zerman 4224 Carol Shingler 4225 Carolina Sepulveda 4226 Jarred Paola 4227 Simon Kneebone 4228 Alicia Heywood 4229 Terence Hiron

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4230 David Brady 4231 Celeste Evans 4232 Yexin Liu 4233 Nathaniel Dadd 4234 Guy Fleming 4235 Richard Sest 4236 Tainan Masch Marchiori 4237 Kari Didi 4238 Adam Gernon 4239 Jed Goodluck 4240 Gursharanjit Kaur 4241 Kane Ludwigsen 4242 Sarah Gulson 4243 Jacob Whyte 4244 Christopher Toon 4245 Darcy Crosby 4246 Finn Galwey 4247 Daniel Fraser 4248 Rachel Hammond 4249 Erik Rodriguez 4250 Boyd Seidel 4251 Brett Martin 4252 Graham Latter 4253 Justin Heath 4254 Eddy Staitis 4255 Rowan Dodds 4256 Nathan Chappell 4257 Stephen Kelbie 4258 Ryan Blake 4259 Md Ashaduzzaman 4260 Deb Cansdell 4261 Rebecca Nicholson 4262 Vincenza Sorbello 4263 Dylan Parkinson 4264 Richard Barton 4265 Christopher Martin 4266 Stuart La Rocca Mitchell 4267 John Doubleday 4268 Rhylie Pereira 4269 Helen Janneson 4270 Sue Tang 4271 Samantha Miles 4272 Jonathan Ersser

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4273 Peter Arthofer 4274 Galen Armfield 4275 Jamie Evans 4276 Lucas Singh 4277 Mario Miletic 4278 Martin Furniss 4279 Stephen Roberts 4280 Ernest Kordt 4281 Erin Rice 4282 Evan Thornton 4283 Karen Jackson 4284 Aaron Maxwell 4285 Sheila Yee 4286 Nathan Stevens 4287 Evan Dodd 4288 Aaron Sharp 4289 Richard Kemps 4290 Marc Smee 4291 Captyn Dowell 4292 Ben Huth 4293 Adam Carrall 4294 Miriam Cochran 4295 Denise McGloin 4296 Michael Amoroso 4297 Michael Gelabert 4298 Connor Dwyer 4299 Nicholas Kondov 4300 Barry Parsons 4301 Terence Janssen 4302 Pierce Clark 4303 James Randall 4304 Charles Ling 4305 Nicholas Maloney 4306 Alex Knipping 4307 Ian Wood 4308 Phil Browne 4309 Elle Chaloner 4310 Natasha Marginis 4311 Vicki Payne 4312 Donald Harris 4313 Egan Harrington 4314 Shauni Mann 4315 Anne Tinline

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4316 Conor Harrington 4317 Gary Adams 4318 Bryn Shanahan 4319 Cameron Warner 4320 Michael Lee 4321 Samuel Derwent 4322 Jacob Halliday 4323 Marcus Ford 4324 Josh Canzler 4325 Andrew Meredith 4326 Haider Ghani 4327 Melissa Curtis 4328 Arthur Yarwood 4329 Benjamin Forster 4330 Jonathan Lambert 4331 Brodie Smith 4332 Aza Hudson 4333 Kris Hodge 4334 Hannah Stark 4335 Jesse Wood-Richards 4336 David Moore 4337 Marilla North 4338 Richard Hatherly 4339 Greg Wodetzki 4340 Alexander Buckmaster 4341 Stephen Lipshus 4342 David Morrison 4343 Declan Coleman 4344 Ron Barnes 4345 Colleen Goodfellow 4346 Steven Anderson 4347 Joel Coleman 4348 Hannah Pledger-Firth 4349 Ruth Metcalf 4350 Joshua Thillagaratnam 4351 Braden Hunter 4352 Timothy Hansen 4353 Jennie Stuart 4354 Frank Cinquegrana 4355 Simon Long 4356 Jordan Cooper 4357 Daniel Eather 4358 Matthew Oliver

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4359 Ashley Wilson 4360 Alastair Stewart 4361 Jesse Butt 4362 Gregory Cutlack 4363 Jason Burraston 4364 Karin Foxwell 4365 Kaleb Johns 4366 Max Schlink 4367 Jack Le 4368 Adam McGuiness 4369 Jace Patrick 4370 Katherine Smith 4371 Kristian Zapsalis 4372 Loretta Miller 4373 Shahzan Syed 4374 Patrick Mulhall 4375 Cynthia Hills 4376 John Turner 4377 Alex Polson 4378 Patrick Trihey 4379 Ezat Kazimi 4380 Avery Wright 4381 Julian Ford 4382 Joshua Horvat 4383 Rahn Stavar 4384 William Smith-Stubbs 4385 Shane Eastwood 4386 Gabriella Mesiti 4387 Christopher Foster 4388 Stephen Carr 4389 Mitch Hulst 4390 Feifei Zhou 4391 Gaylene Webb 4392 Jackson Blair 4393 Hashan Seneviratne 4394 Jesse Dent 4395 Jared McWhae 4396 Jung Woo Kim 4397 Francis Raven 4398 Michelle Curry 4399 Rose Hynson 4400 Daniel Wilken 4401 Felix Pound

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4402 Jordon Smith 4403 Cheryl Wyllie 4404 Katherine Stevenson 4405 Corey Farrow 4406 Owen Ellero 4407 Samuel Nabie 4408 Ryan Jenkins 4409 Tim McVee 4410 Zack Austin 4411 Ian Brooke 4412 Stephanie Maldonado 4413 Mya Spudic 4414 Stephanie Lloyd-Jones 4415 Thomas Lindsay 4416 Joshua Kay 4417 Lorraine Kivinen 4418 Jarrod Archer 4419 Karen Warner 4420 Jonathan Coles 4421 Louise David 4422 Jason Sargeson 4423 Erin Lamont 4424 Bilal Tarawneh 4425 Jeremy Zonneveld 4426 Alison Kieffer 4427 Nicholas Spencer 4428 Scott Hill 4429 Lachlan Cook 4430 John Forrest 4431 Remi Lequevre-Akker 4432 Tim O'Neill 4433 Jan Thoms 4434 Trevor Kreis 4435 Diane Proberts 4436 Tamara Gomez 4437 Elliott Fell-Gordon 4438 Dr Tara Djokic 4439 Allan Shelley 4440 Kieron McIlvin 4441 Scott Armstrong 4442 Al Abadi 4443 Madonna Paul 4444 Katherin Birch

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4445 Roland van Amstel 4446 Julie Thirkettle 4447 Arion Dudley 4448 Nick Buckingham-Jones 4449 Evan Edrich 4450 Thomas McSkimming 4451 Ella Dodds-Mah 4452 Nicholas Petersen 4453 Tony Corman 4454 Cecilia Arsenovic 4455 Joe Roskell 4456 Leanne Gorman 4457 Laura O'Brien 4458 Danielle Barnham 4459 Ryan James 4460 Michael Miller 4461 John Mahoney 4462 Ashley Weissensee 4463 Nicholas Datzberger 4464 Winston Mclaren 4465 Beau Poulter 4466 Jacob Strange 4467 Karly Stephens 4468 Don Raffaele 4469 Lora Lyndem 4470 Alydia Stekhoven 4471 Jarrod Martin 4472 Benjamin Leslie 4473 Brock McCafferty 4474 Gary Parremore 4475 Jack Phillips 4476 Irwin Coelho 4477 Jim Hatch 4478 Sophie Sardi 4479 Robyn Dyhr 4480 Matilda Murphy 4481 Daniel Antulov 4482 Heath Ross 4483 Christopher Spillane 4484 Kate Stanley 4485 Leila Massoudi 4486 Brady Gisbourne 4487 Vikash Chand

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4488 Kate Bowman 4489 Edna Brown 4490 Albert Truong 4491 Tadhg Hamill Salmon 4492 James Curness 4493 Eleanor Bates 4494 Eloise Cicero 4495 Joel Duncan 4496 Edward Mark Vero 4497 Stefan Ferreira 4498 Marcus Breen 4499 Susan Bramberger 4500 Dennis Mills 4501 Max Kosef 4502 Daniel Alizzi 4503 Andrew Causby 4504 Rosemary Dore 4505 Marcia Christensen 4506 Alexander Exarhakos 4507 Denise Tomaras 4508 Belinda Maiden 4509 Sienna Shoemark Vu 4510 Khushi Mali 4511 Nicholas Paton 4512 Darcy Cottrill 4513 Harrison West 4514 Sue Brooks 4515 Ben Post 4516 Mitchell Monty 4517 Michael Mountain 4518 Cameron Eccles 4519 Helena Creighton 4520 Alastair Sheard 4521 Kim Lamont 4522 Zane Gillott 4523 Mitchell Bartholomaeus 4524 John Mathew 4525 Virginia Ashman 4526 Brandon Franklin 4527 Anthony Wakefield 4528 Steve Gawin 4529 Dean Whitley 4530 Ingrid Ehnhuus

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4531 Croyden Aldrick 4532 William Wood 4533 Angus Haigh 4534 Ethan Meaney 4535 Brett Dignan 4536 Lamiya Bata 4537 William Jones 4538 Damien Bates 4539 Cameron Heyde 4540 Peter Davey 4541 Jack Moeser 4542 John Nielson 4543 Stephen Brodzinski 4544 Jean-Luke Darcy 4545 Alan Shenfield 4546 Thomas David 4547 Jasmine Gillam 4548 Shane Stoeckel 4549 Aaron Pearson 4550 Jake Innes 4551 Brendan Lee 4552 Rachel Falduto 4553 Tom Drygalls 4554 Samuel Golding 4555 Tamar Treweeke 4556 Neil Churches 4557 Annierose Pound 4558 Deborah Hughes 4559 Dorothy Parsonage 4560 Christopher Long 4561 Luke Perry 4562 Katie Murdoch 4563 Daniel Rohling 4564 Finbar Morrissey 4565 Carol Phayer 4566 Vivian Bakiris 4567 Kathryn Collins 4568 Harrison Popple 4569 Chay Willis 4570 Kevin Williams 4571 Bishal Sapkota 4572 Angus McGee 4573 Tsambikos "Sam" Ioannidis

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4574 Patricia Jones 4575 Eric Parsonage 4576 Andy Downer 4577 Liam Hedley 4578 Alperen Erdogan 4579 Verity Pascarl 4580 Rosemarie Ellis 4581 Dalryn Van Cuylenberg 4582 Kevin Zhang 4583 Matt Whitbourne 4584 Daniel Bligh 4585 Stewart Mayne 4586 Nickolas Tsentidis 4587 Jodi Russell 4588 Mitchell Thompson 4589 Kieran Pascoe 4590 Sally Fairbairn 4591 Vianney Hill 4592 Kerri Moss 4593 Susan Dighton 4594 Bob Semple 4595 Freddy Sooalo 4596 Rodsi Suha 4597 Ailish Dwyer 4598 Kirstin Stewart 4599 William Cody 4600 Eliana Stabolidis 4601 Lynn Chen 4602 Mackenzie Maclaine-Cross 4603 Zoe Sandlin 4604 Jamison Edwards 4605 Jeremy Stops 4606 Kallem Sua 4607 Jane Devilliers 4608 Kim Batey 4609 Zali McPherson 4610 Timothy Southam 4611 Michele Crocker 4612 Patrick Moffat 4613 Gregory Baillie 4614 Sheree Fletcher 4615 Gordon French 4616 Lauren Greene

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4617 Veronica Horn 4618 Jinan Sabbagh 4619 Chris Dunshea 4620 Victoria Bailey 4621 Alan Ali-Zwart 4622 Maya Agnew 4623 Harrison Buhse 4624 Ana Lara Lopez 4625 Joseph Heaphey 4626 Stephen Shim 4627 Glen Kong 4628 Anne Palnok 4629 Shannon McCrae 4630 Daryl Thompson 4631 Bella Ryder 4632 Terry Bonanno 4633 James Kosenko 4634 Margaret Kennedy 4635 Liam Millar 4636 Yuhong Mao 4637 Skelly Cullen 4638 Nathan Newman 4639 Brianna Exton 4640 Dylan Levey 4641 Yvette Dupavillon 4642 Bronwyn Cobcroft 4643 Ying Li 4644 Murray Walker 4645 Alison Rogers 4646 Jace Pearson 4647 Thomas Webster 4648 Jasper Almond-Smith 4649 David Hancock 4650 Matthew Williams 4651 Alex Whitney 4652 Patrick Mooney 4653 James Thompson 4654 Lachlan Hooker 4655 Finnian Pettitt 4656 Ross Heyen 4657 Jamie Pelham 4658 Louis Alderson 4659 Adam Mills

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4660 Steven Letran 4661 Taylor Lee 4662 Harrison Maher 4663 Kate Gill 4664 Peter Crawt 4665 Terry Kettle Toy-Clay 4666 Charlie Orlowski 4667 Nicholas Chippendale 4668 Daniel Bushell 4669 Sharryn Garrick 4670 Hayden Chidgey 4671 Dylan Mazza 4672 Julie Banks 4673 Nathan O'Halloran 4674 Harry Whitehead 4675 Chantelle Waugh 4676 Gareth Morgan 4677 Sophia Mackson 4678 Paul Forrester 4679 Dave McCarthie 4680 Thomas Campbell 4681 Tracey Donkin 4682 Cory Ritchie 4683 Tanvir Khan 4684 Jack Bolton 4685 Ollie Molnar 4686 Nikitta Redman 4687 Nicolas Contreras Jerez 4688 Stevie McDonald 4689 Nicholas Handley 4690 Connor McCrae 4691 Justin Buchanan 4692 Blaise Saunders 4693 Mark McColl 4694 Rhys Fulwood 4695 Jayden Myers 4696 Michael Sargeant 4697 Adam Gunkel 4698 Flynn Pitstock 4699 Pru Cotton 4700 Wendy Small 4701 Ryan Colbert 4702 Cindy Tran

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4703 Chris Page 4704 Terry Zahra 4705 Quinn Sheehan 4706 Adam Finlay 4707 Alexander Vinnik 4708 Cara Dooley 4709 Jamie Heald 4710 Andrew Wood 4711 Maximus Petschack 4712 Thomas Sherrington 4713 Kiarra Mraz 4714 Dylan Burns 4715 Stewart Luckman 4716 Amar Singh 4717 Chantel Stanbury 4718 Matthew Cutting 4719 David Williams 4720 Lucas Krause 4721 Marcella Banares 4722 John Oddo 4723 Louise Hickey 4724 Shannon Lysien 4725 Liz Lawrie 4726 Joshua Legdin 4727 Jethro Waldron 4728 Lewis Davies 4729 Stephanie Silva 4730 John Simpson 4731 Caitlin Kenna 4732 Christopher Kavazos 4733 Thomas Chapman 4734 Nicole Reddan 4735 Aliyah Baiti 4736 Stelios Charnas 4737 Lach Noack 4738 Emma Halloran 4739 Ashley Bawden 4740 Joshua Juhas 4741 David Lindsay 4742 Jack Cooksom 4743 Brendan Irwin 4744 Sheila Naden 4745 Cindy Tylor

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4746 Samarappuli Perera 4747 Priscilla Keating 4748 Wayne Rankin 4749 Oliver Skiller 4750 Vera Tzambazis 4751 Aidan Nosenzo 4752 Steven Harding 4753 Daniel Harris 4754 Andrew Vandyke 4755 Lindsay Farquhar 4756 Maxwell Hoare 4757 Patrick Cooke 4758 Jordan Webb 4759 Ryan White 4760 Peter Jewell 4761 Benedikt Heyb 4762 Kim Robinson 4763 Jac Mathews 4764 Wayne Kinner 4765 Thomas Lowe 4766 Sandra Kenyon 4767 Matt Casey 4768 Jacob Mole 4769 Carolyn Wheeler 4770 Amy Stanton 4771 Adele Giulieri 4772 George Connolly 4773 Jared Hill 4774 Julian Kort-Pieters 4775 Helen Breathnach 4776 Rania Neisi 4777 Finn MacLennan 4778 Andie Wilkinson 4779 Joshua McKerley 4780 Harry O'Connell 4781 Kathryn Kelley 4782 Kysen Lutter 4783 Kelsey Nicol 4784 Clare Richards 4785 Hammed Malik 4786 Karina Araya-Clark 4787 Guy Metcalfe 4788 John Martin

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4789 Thomas Spunar 4790 Albert Cheshire 4791 Lee Thompson 4792 Ashvin Parameswaran 4793 George Mercier 4794 Camille Smith 4795 Eldar Cirkic 4796 Nathan Borck 4797 Kristama Kasmawan 4798 Elanor Franklin 4799 Kelly Malkin 4800 Mandy Anderson 4801 Michael Kelly 4802 Meredith Wilks 4803 Nasser Nassir 4804 Christy Thompson 4805 Sameer Kazi 4806 James Brigden 4807 Mackenzie Persse 4808 Daniel Lim 4809 Leo Dozzi 4810 Dario Scalabrini 4811 Matthew Broadbent 4812 Jack Grinceri 4813 Mustapha Ezzeddine 4814 Karen Williamson 4815 Hayden Bowden 4816 Jose Meza 4817 Justin Keane 4818 Nicholas Howie 4819 Liam Huxley 4820 Bethany Lee 4821 Mui Gip 4822 Con Kazoglou 4823 Archie Fraser 4824 Isaac Berkuta 4825 Lucie Puzenat 4826 Pamela Francis 4827 Prasad Wimalasiri 4828 Isabella Gorey 4829 David Rutter 4830 Zoey Bradburne 4831 Justin Maughan

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4832 Carmelo Tablan 4833 Cameron Kirk 4834 Grant Urquhart 4835 Ann Robyn Smith 4836 Judith Loney 4837 Jamie Hannaford 4838 Robin Fletcher 4839 Beverley Flynn 4840 Fergus Ewan 4841 Gary Greenup 4842 Haydn Urquhart 4843 Mr Garry Reed 4844 Mr Adam Labadi 4845 Ms Tanya Taverner 4846 Mr Syed Uzair Ahmed 4847 Mr Ben Ngo 4848 Mr Richard Weatherhead 4849 Mr Mick Alford 4850 Mr Glen Barnes 4851 Mr Cam Simpson 4852 Mr Mark Pilkington 4853 Ms Samantha Clifton 4854 Ms Katherine Williams 4855 Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission 4856 Gretel Connolly 4857 Ahmed Ferkh 4858 Ms Amanda Soper 4859 Mr Beau Close 4860 Ms Claire Lymn 4861 Ms Denise McKay 4862 Mr Dylan Betts 4863 Eleazar Neufeld 4864 Franz Kaimeier 4865 Jack Boswell 4866 Jenna McCloy 4867 Patrick Martin 4868 Mr Michael Eiberg 4869 Mr Nick Blewett 4870 Mr Patrick Bridge 4871 Mr Paul Hannah 4872 Rory Dowling 4873 Name Withheld 4874 Sharyn Bhalla

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4875 Pamela Baker 4876 S Morris 4877 Mr Graeme Whittaker 4878 Mr Brett Mason 4879 Pauline Bleach 4880 Mr Paul Mealing 4881 Ms Katherine Allardice 4882 James Quinn 4883 Lynette Cross 4884 Sandra Englart 4885 Pauline Murphy 4886 John Hughes 4887 Megan Lu 4888 David Biber 4889 Aasiya Evans 4890 Rod Chatfield 4891 Eric Van Der Burgt 4892 David Crosswell, Telaman Consultancies 4893 Kevin Gowen 4894 Jennifer Gowen 4895 noelle nowell 4896 Ange Kenos 4897 Bayley Johnston 4898 Amelia Siebring 4899 Ricardo Venero 4900 Benjiv Sandhu 4901 Sonia Henshaw Peter Henshaw 4902 Benjamin Niven 4903 Scott Sharpe 4904 Rob Davey 4905 Jay Gesch 4906 Peter Chaly 4907 Karen Chance 4908 Mark Hanley 4909 Adam Braun 4910 Stephen Rollerstone 4911 Cheryl Cooper 4912 Judy Dal'Bo 4913 Jay Still 4914 Fernando Longo 4915 Leanne McKnoulty 4916 Alyson Brody 4917 Edita Baera

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4918 Ron Glover 4919 Ralph Hall 4920 Morgan Frawley 4921 Carolyn Anodin 4922 Deanne Hall 4923 Leonie Halliday 4924 Kristie Parmakellis 4925 Hywell Tom Liston 4926 Anthea Whitlam 4927 Aaron Stephens 4928 Sean Douglas 4929 Eleanor Booth 4930 Sue Arnold 4931 Jacqueline Lang 4932 James Mckernan 4933 Jon Stuart 4934 Ann Piper 4935 Joey Lee 4936 Grant Spratt 4937 Michele Spratt 4938 Paul Smallwood 4939 Bernard Silvey 4940 Kate Kennedy 4941 Kenneth Thorpe 4942 Monty Hannaford 4943 Stephen James Houston 4944 Steven Chater 4945 Rebecca Lyster 4946 Gregory Burns 4947 Helen Harvey Tim Harvey 4948 Helen Byrne 4949 Lyn Eleftheriou 4950 Cian Dwyer 4951 Clare Neill 4952 Lynda Williams 4953 Tom Dempster 4954 Christopher Pont 4955 Beverly Taylor 4956 Rev Anneli Sinkko 4957 Dave Humphrey 4958 Jennifer Del Prete 4959 Julie Lord 4960 Julian Kissling

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4961 Prudence O'Dea 4962 Sandra Smith 4963 Stephen Barnes 4964 Jennifer Gregory 4965 Christine Johnston 4966 Raelyn Marshall 4967 Jim Gow 4968 Grace Ching 4969 Kellie Agland 4970 Rio Marten 4971 Maryanne Walker 4972 Judith Hodges 4973 Jenna Nancarrow 4974 Lori Allen-Short 4975 Debra Brown 4976 Byron Mulvogue 4977 Shane Mauger 4978 Jade Barrett 4979 Shelley Kenigsberg 4980 Melvyn Green Patricia Green 4981 Khalie Anthony 4982 Orla Cummins 4983 Colleen Starkey 4984 Andrew Le Roy 4985 Mahin Abedin 4986 Maro Bianchino 4987 Deborah Haygarth 4988 Svetlana Sosnina 4989 Dianne Murphy 4990 Ian Bell 4991 Mary Lucas 4992 Deborah Kenny Gary Kenny 4993 Katherine Stevenson 4994 Shannon Le Roux 4995 Dr Brian Turner 4996 Sylvia Patcas 4997 Joyce Vrantsis 4998 Melissa Crisara 4999 Ian Webster 5000 Joy Brotton 5001 Heather Macauley 5002 Pamela Rowlinson 5003 D Clifton

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5004 Frank Fardell 5005 Dale Morgan 5006 Greg Burgess 5007 Ebony Fitzgerald 5008 Astrid Kranzbuhler 5009 Seija Smith 5010 Marilyn Rushby 5011 Anne-Marie Abell 5012 Timothy Dumbrell 5013 Deane Coxall 5014 Lindsay Rattray 5015 Rosemary Sankey 5016 Michael Flannery 5017 Andrew Maszczak 5018 Myles Ikin 5019 Glenn Carr 5020 Carol Webster 5021 Janine Burdeu 5022 Joseph Matthews 5023 Ross Hogenhout 5024 David Horsfall 5025 Geoff Purcell 5026 Kelly Conway 5027 John Mora 5028 Dennis Robinson 5029 Brett Holland 5030 Christine Brogden 5031 Marion Davies 5032 Anselm van Rood 5033 Fred Verschuren 5034 Kathryn June 5035 Margaret Harris 5036 Rob Hay 5037 Sophie Lewis Dando 5038 Travis Oxley 5039 Thomas O'Riley 5040 Daniel Wallis 5041 Luke Parkinson 5042 Thomas Harmathy 5043 Shahroz Baig 5044 Dale Cosatto 5045 Nat Tunbridge 5046 Chris Cantor

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5047 Nicholas Domazet 5048 Che Calci 5049 Kannon Hutchinson 5051 Chris White 5052 Daniel Bassett 5053 Kath Russell 5054 Matthew Cullen 5055 Tarna Eupene 5056 Nik Summers 5057 Edwars Hughes 5058 Name Withheld 5059 Name Withheld 5060 Name Withheld 5061 Name Withheld 5062 Name Withheld 5063 Name Withheld 5064 Confidential 5065 Confidential 5066 Confidential 5067 Confidential 5068 Confidential

Additional Information 1 Memorandum of Advice from The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, received 15 March 2021 2 Australian Communications and Media Authority - Correction of evidence

given at a public hearing, Canberra, 6 September 2021 (received 17 September 2021).

Answer to Question on Notice 1 News Corp Australia - Answers to questions taken on notice, public hearing, Canberra, 19 February 2021 (received 12 March 2021) 2 News Corp Australia - Answers to questions taken on notice, public hearing,

Canberra, 19 February 2021 (received 12 March 2021) - Attachment 1 3 Ms Anna Rogers - Answers to questions taken on notice, public hearing, Canberra, 12 March 2021 (received 18 March 2021) 4 The Hon Kevin Rudd AC - Answer to question taken on notice, public hearing,

Canberra, 19 February 2021 (received 24 March 2021) 5 Australian Associated Press - Answer to question on notice, public hearing, Canberra, 19 February 2021 (received 19 March 2021) 6 Ms Anna Rogers - Answers to questions taken on notice, public hearing,

Canberra, 12 March 2021 (received 15 April 2021)

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7 Ms Anna Rogers - Answers to questions taken on notice, public hearing, Canberra, 12 March 2021 (received 15 April 2021) Attachment 1 8 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications - Answers to questions taken on notice, public hearing,

Canberra, 6 September 2021 (received 20 September 2021). 9 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications - Answers to questions taken on notice, public hearing,

Canberra, 6 September 2021 (received 20 September 2021). 10 Google - Answers to questions on notice, public hearing, Canberra, 6 September 2021 (received 22 September 2021) 11 Australian News Channel - Answers to questions taken on notice from Senator

Hanson-Young, 23 September 2021 (received 7 October 2021) 12 Australian Press Council - Answers to questions taken on notice, public hearing, Canberra, 22 October 2021 (Received 5 November 2021) 13 Public Interest Journalism Initiative - Answers to questions taken on notice,

public hearing, 22 October 2021 (Received 5 November 2021) 14 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications - Answers to written questions taken on notice from Senator

Hanson-Young, 25 October 2021 (received 8 November 2021) 15 Australian Press Council - Answers to written questions taken on notice from Senator Hanson-Young, 19 November 2021 (received 26 November 2021)

Tabled Documents 1 Documents tabled by Senator Carr (public hearing, Canberra 19 February 2021) 2 Ms Anna Rogers - News Corp Australia workplace documents (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021)

3 United Firefighters Union Victoria - Support your CFA with a free bumper sticker, Herald Sun,June 20, 2016 (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021) 4 United Firefighters Union Victoria - List of participating newsagents (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021) 5 United Firefighters Union Victoria - Chronology of events between United

Firefighters Union Victorian Branch and Australian Press Council (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021) 6 United Firefighters Union Victoria - Outline of complaint 1 to Australian Press Council (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021) 7 United Firefighters Union Victoria - Outline of complaint 2 to Australian Press

Council (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021) 8 United Firefighters Union Victoria - Outline of complaint 3 to Australian Press Council (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021) 9 United Firefighters Union Victoria - Outline of complaint 4 to Australian Press

Council (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021) 10 United Firefighters Union Victoria - Outline of complaint 5 to Australian Press Council (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021)

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11 United Firefighters Union Victoria - Avenues for recourse: Defamation, the Press Council and the Finkelstein Report recommendation for a new statutory Body (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021)

12 United Firefighters Union Victoria - Final Report, Independent Inquiry into the Media and Media Regulation, The Hon R Finkelstein QC (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021)

13 United Firefighters Union Victoria - “Liberty: Privacy, the Media and the Press Council When Does Press Self-Regulation Work?”, The Hon Ray Finkelstein, Rodney Tiffen, Melbourne University Law Review, Vol 38, 943. (public hearing, Canberra 12 March 2021)

14 Letter from the Hon Kevin Rudd to Ms Nerida O’Loughlin PSM, Chair, Australian Communications and Media Authority, tabled by Senator Carr 6 September 2021

15 Letter from Ms Nerida O’Loughlin PSM, Chair, Australian Communications and Media Authority, to the Hon Kevin Rudd, tabled by Senator Carr 6 September 2021

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Appendix 3

Public hearing and witnesses

Friday, 19 February 2021 Main Committee Room Parliament House Canberra

The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity

News Corp Australia  Mr Michael Miller, Executive Chairman  Mr Campbell Reid, Group Executive, Corporate, Policy and Government

Nine  Mr Hugh Marks, Chief Executive Officer  Ms Rachel Launders, General Counsel and Company Secretary

Australian Associated Press Limited  Ms Jonty Low, Chair  Ms Emma Cowdroy, Chief Executive Officer  Mr Andrew Drummond, Editor

Friday, 12 March 2021 Main Committee Room Parliament House Canberra

Mr Tony Koch, Private capacity (via videoconference)

Ms Anna Rogers, Private capacity

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission  Mr Rod Sims, Chair  Mr Tom Leuner, Executive General Manager, Mergers, Exemptions and Digital Division (via videoconference)  Ms Morag Bond, General Manager, Digital Platforms Branch (via

videoconference)

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (by videoconference)  Mr Paul Murphy, Chief Executive  Mr Marcus Strom, Federal President (Media)

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 Ms Karen Percy, Federal Vice-President (Media)  Mr Matthew Chesher, Director, Legal and Policy

United Firefighters Union Victorian Branch  Mr Peter Marshall, National and Victorian Branch Secretary

Guardian Australia  Ms Lenore Taylor, Editor  Mr Dan Stinton, Managing Director

Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne  Dr Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow

Mr Anthony Klan, Private capacity

Monday, 12 April 2021 Main Committee Room Parliament House Canberra

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, Private capacity (via videoconference)

Dr Michael E Mann (No submission), Private capacity (via videoconference)

Facebook (via videoconference)  Mr Simon Milner, Vice President of Policy for APAC (Asia-Pacific region)  Ms Mia Garlick, Director of Policy, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands

WIN TV  Mr Andrew Lancaster, Chief Executive Officer

Prime Media Group  Mr Ian Audsley, Chief Executive Officer

Imparja  Mr Alistair Feehan, Chief Executive Officer (via videoconference)

Mr Bruce Guthrie, Private capacity

Mr Peter Fray, Private capacity

Mr Andrew Jaspan, Private capacity

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Monday, 6 September 2021 Via Videoconference

Google Australia  Ms Lucinda Longcroft, Director of Public Policy, Google Australia and New Zealand  Ms Samantha Yorke, Senior Manager, Government Affairs & Public Policy,

Google Australia & New Zealand

Sky News Australia  Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer

The Hon Kevin Rudd AC, Private capacity

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications  Mr Richard Windeyer, Deputy Secretary, Communications & Media  Ms Pauline Sullivan, First Assistant Secretary, Online Safety, Media & Platforms Division  Mr Mike Makin, Assistant Secretary, News & Media Industry Branch  Mr Jason Potkins, Acting Assistant Secretary, Content & Copyright Branch

Australian Communications and Media Authority  Ms Nerida O'Loughlin, Chair  Ms Crenia Chapman, Deputy Chair and Chief Executive Officer  Ms Cathy Rainsford, General Manager, Content & Consumer Division

United Firefighters Union Victorian Branch  Mr Peter Marshall, Secretary

Friday, 22 October 2021 Via Videoconference

News Corp Australia  Mr Robert Thomson, Global Head

Australian Press Council  Ms Yvette Lamont, Chief Executive Officer  Mr Neville Stevens, Chair

Media Innovation and the Civic Future of Australia’s Country Press Project, Deakin University  Professor Matthew Ricketson, Professor of Communication  Dr Kristy Hess, Associate Professor

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Public Interest Journalism Initiative  Professor Allan Fels, Chair  Ms Anna Draffin, Chief Executive Officer

Country Press Australia  Mr Bruce Ellen, President  Mr Paul Thomas, Board Member