Here is the complete transcript from the Hansard transcript of proceedings for the IPA’s appearance before the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee inquiry into the News Media Reform Package 2013. The IPA’s Chris Berg and Simon Breheny appeared to give evidence before the inquiry on 19 March 2013.
BERG, Mr Chris, Director, Policy, Institute of Public Affairs
BREHENY, Mr Simon, Director, Legal Rights Project, Institute of Public Affairs
CHAIR: I welcome representatives from the Institute of Public Affairs. Thank you for talking to us today. Do you wish to make a brief opening statement before we go to questions?
Mr Breheny: Yes, please. The news media reform package 2013 is nothing less than an attack on freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Australia. It is absurd to claim that the government could institute a regulator to regulate media self-regulators like the Australian Press Council and pretend that doing so would not constitute substantial new government oversight of the free press. This is a fundamental conceptual error with very disturbing consequences and, in our view, government oversight of the press is unacceptable in a liberal democracy. The government has no business deciding what constitutes fairness or balance in a media whose job it is to hold them to account. That ought to be a bedrock principle accepted by all sides of political debate. Continue Reading →