$250m fallout for government handout

That $250m Rebate has fast become the story that won't go away, as media scrutinise it from every angle.

That $250m Rebate has fast become the story that won’t go away.

Media are scrutinising at it from every angle: putting Conroy under the gun, pushing the arguments by Pay TV, attacking Tony Abbott, and even getting quotes from the PM in support of some popular TV shows.

Following on from claims Conroy skiied with Kerry Stokes in Colorado, The Age has noted he enjoyed the following freebies:

-Tickets to the Melbourne Cup last year as a guest of the Seven Network.

-Tickets to watch his AFL team, Collingwood, take on Essendon and Carlton in separate matches last year as a guest of the Nine Network.

-Tickets to last year’s Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne as a guest of the TEN Network.

Conroy was also hosted by sports bodies including the AFL and Football Federation Australia, while he also received an autographed and framed Chelsea soccer jersey last May from Foxtel.

The Sydney Morning Herald says two weekends ago, Conroy played a round of golf with a ‘well-known Australian business executive’ who represented Foxtel.

It goes on to cite Pay TV’s disappointment with the decision not to grant a fourth commercial television licence, the new ABC3 station for children, and the soon to be launched 24-hour news channel by the ABC. It is also awaiting the outcome of the anti-siphoning list and the tender of the Australia TV network to the Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Tony Abbott, who called the rebate little more than a bribe for favourable coverage in an election year was himself criticised by David Gyngell, David Leckie and even veteran reporter Laurie Oakes.

“My message to Tony Abbott is this: when Kerry Packer owned the Nine Network he knew he couldn’t tell me what to say so the bunch of private equity investors who own it now have no chance,” said Oakes.

A sheepish Abbott appears to have suddenly backtracked from further remarks, having potentially placing himself in the line of unfavourable coverage in an election year.

Kevin Rudd yesterday said the money would keep free TV on the air. “I don’t want Auntie Nellie’s TV reception to be interrupted, so it takes practical and frankly expensive measures to make that work,” hesaid.

“I think Australians want to see Australian content maintained. They want to see the continuation of programs like Underbelly, programs like MasterChef, programs like Packed to the Rafters.”

And Sunrise on Fridays?

Source: The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, , Herald Sun

16 Responses

  1. Quote:

    “What are the current local content requirements?
    Australian commercial free-to-air television licensees – the Seven, Nine and Ten networks – are required to broadcast an annual minimum quota of 55% Australian programming between 6 am and midnight. That equates to around 10 hours a day. There are additional specific minimum annual sub-quotas for first-run Australian adult drama, documentary and children’s programs. Networks must broadcast 20 hours of first release documentary, 130 hours of first release children’s programs and 130 hours of preschool programs, including repeats. Between 80 and 258 hours of first release drama must be broadcast between 5pm and 11pm, depending on the type of drama program”
    end quote
    If we consider the morning shows and stupid brainwashing advertising as Australian content the three TV bosses feel save because they fulfill the condition for the $ 250 mil.

  2. @s

    I think John Out West was referring to the organisation featured on 4 Corners, not the ABC as an organisation. That episode of 4 Corners featured a story about the lack of funding provided for the carers of disabled family members, and a boarding school for disabled children in NSW that faces closure next year as Anglicare are no longer able to provide vital funding. This is where money should be going.

    And for anyone who says the free to air networks are suffering, I work in advertising and the market is as strong as it has been in years, despite audience declines. It is virtually impossible to even buy a spot on any network for the next 6 weeks – they are sold out! Does this sound like an industry that needs a hand out?

  3. Conroy must go! He is not a representative of the Australian people. He is a representative of people who can help Stephen Conroy. He has taken self interest too far. A better Australia is one without Stephen Conroy in Government.

  4. What a surprise that the network CEO’s and reporters are saying everything is sweet and giving the Libs a hard time all of a sudden.

    Can’t imagine what has suddenly caused this behaviour.

  5. Yeah the ABC needs a hand…

    The ABC is financed mostly by the Federal Government primarily through triennial funding arrangements. In 200506, the total Government funding for the ABC will be $863 million. For the three years to 2009, Government funding to the ABC will total nearly $2.5 billion.

  6. I agree with John out West and was ashamed that our government gives greedy media moguls a $250M+ tax break while we do not look after the most vulnerable people in the community – not to mention their desperate carers. Shame on both Rudd and Conroy for this.

  7. Conroy and the Government have no clue,giving these profit making companies a $250M backhander.Conroy should watch last Mondays 4 corners episode and see a organization and individuals that truly need a hand,no wonder the public think their all crooks……

  8. In other media this morning we see how the Defence Dept has to make huge savings for budget purposes yet CONroy can give away $250m this year and another huge slice next year and KRudd backs him up.

    Why wasn’t such an important decision made in last year’s budget if it is so critical?

    All thier spin can’t hide fact that this stinks. It would be interesting to know what the involvemnt of Wayne Goss, KRudd’s former boss when premier of QLD, was.

  9. Unsurprisingly, Rudd has defended Conroy saying that he didn’t see anything inappropriate about the gift. Obviously because it was his idea in the first place.

    Oh sure, just giving networks $250m with no strings attached is ‘appropriate’….

  10. “I don’t want Auntie Nellie’s TV reception to be interrupted, so it takes practical and frankly expensive measures to make that work.”

    So the government (i.e. taxpayers) is paying $250m so his Aunty Nellie (if that is her real name) gets TV reception. Fair shake of the sauce bottle, Kevin!

  11. Great tactical move by KRudd and Con(man)roy…give a huge big wad of cash to the main TV players players then when the Opposition questions it you’ll have the TV stations defending you to the hilt.

    Is there no end to where this crowd will go to control the spin?

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