The media love to talk about themselves and were breathless on Labor’s proposed media reforms. But audiences gave a big shrug, more interested in a new Pope.
Religion and sport aside, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s proposed media regulation reforms was the most discussed issue in the media this week, with media moguls crying blue murder — both on front pages and amid a day of frantic discussion in Canberra yesterday — while readers generally gave the topic a quick “nothing to see here” and got on with life.
And while independent MPs Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Craig Thomson initially opposed the bills and opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull argued the government was merely seeking revenge against News Limited, two bills have been passed, including the reduction of television licencing fees and an increase in local content requirements, while the public interest media advocate will likely be expanded to a panel of experts.
But building to a crescendo is the leadership. Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Minister for Housing and Homelessness Mark Butler denied Fairfax reports questioning their support for PM Julia Gillard, as reports emerged that Kevin Rudd backers were sounding out MPs for a potential leadership tilt this Friday. Speculation turned also to former leader Simon Crean as a possible leadership option in a bid to keep K-Rudd out of the job. So should Tim start boxing up all the hair product in the Lodge bathroom? If changes are afoot it will be this week or a bust, folks.
Meanwhile, new NT Chief Minister Adam Giles has already made an impact, reducing power price hikes and finding extra resources for policing in Alice Springs. Australia’s first indigenous state/territory leader took over from Terry Mills, who was ousted from the leadership by the CLP while overseas.
Crikey Political Index: March 13-20
Conroy’s proposed media law reforms were a hot topic on talkback radio. The medium itself was cast by some publishing moguls as being of a different ilk to print — entertainment with news an added extra, according to Greg Hywood — and talkback callers certainly added colour to the debate.
Talkback top five
Treasurer Wayne Swan’s tweet (“thanks boss”) following the PM’s congratulations on his 20 years’ service to Parliament allowed him to rate in the Twittersphere. He also made it back to the mainstream Top 20 after being in absentia last week.
Social media top five
It’s official: Pope Francis was inaugurated at the Vatican overnight.