Saturday, October 17, 2020

Skewing the view - call for inquiry into mass media in Australia

This is highly relevant to those with an interest in Australian creativity and the creative sector. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, having courted the Murdoch media for many years in politics - as every politician ends up having to do - is now free from owing Murdoch anything and has launched a petition for a Royal Commission into the media in Australia.

I don't know if signing petitions is of much use, but given the way the Murdoch stranglehold on our mass media has skewed our democracy and a future for Australia based on creativity and diversity, I'm prepared to give it a go. It beats scrawling 'who writes this rubbish?' on copies of their papers in coffee shops.
My acknowledgement from Parliament House noted how many people have signed in just a week: 'You have successfully signed petition reference number EN1938 and there are 300,880 signatures on this petition.'
Why not take a short break from worrying about the future of creativity and the creative sector in Australia and for the sake of our democracy, have a go, sign and then share early and often?

© Stephen Cassidy 2020

Monday, October 5, 2020

The short answer #2: Broken broadband unbalances the books

Back in 2013, when the first of the latest string of Coalition Governments we have had was elected, there seemed to be a strong view within the Coalition that broadband was a luxury, mainly useful for entertainment. Yet those of us familiar with the work of Australian post-production companies, doing the finishing work on major US films during the day while the US industry slept, and sending it by broadband overnight for work to resume in the Northern hemisphere the next day, knew it was a key part of Australia’s productive infrastructure. Then the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed it. Now the Government has acknowledged that there are major deficiencies with the National Broadband Network but is it too late to save it and make it the national asset we need and deserve?

I don’t normally write about technical issues. However high quality broadband is so crucial to the future of the creative sector that commenting about it is unavoidable. After spending ten years belittling the Labor Government plan for almost universal high speed broadband, the Coalition Government has finally accepted that what it has produced is a second-rate mess.


Distinctive National Broadband Boxes have sprung up across the nation - but the news is not as welcoming as the message on this one.

Now, seven years after the Coalition Government was first elected, it is pushing ahead with plans to spend $4.5 billion to fix up the compromise its own cuts have created. The Minister now responsible, Paul Fletcher, used to work for Optus, so on top of the advice from his department, he must have a pretty good historical idea of the problems. It’s a good sign that he has finally made this announcement, despite the limitations of Government commitment. There’s also the question of who would want to go into the next election with this disappointing issue on your hands?