The Australia Network:
Sue Goodrick writes: Re. “Waste-of-space Oz Network bewitches another political generation” (Tuesday, item 2). Just a comment about Bernard Keane’s article on the Australia Network.
I have been living in south-east Asia for six years now. I have no idea how governments (or anyone “that matters”) views the Australia Network, but have witnessed (in Thailand and Malaysia at least) how popular it is with TV watchers. People actually pay extra to get it from their satellite TV providers. I’m convinced it adds to the affection with which Australians are viewed here, the popularity of Australian movies, the desire by locals to send their kids to Australian schools/universities (rather than US, NZ or British ones).
The Australia Network provides a window on “Australian life”, English language training and better quality news and drama than is generally available here. Australia comes across as intelligent, easy going, authoritative but not up itself.
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Humphrey Hollins, from Phnom Penh, writes: All this hoo-ha about the Australia Network and yet no one has told us what programming the Murdoch gang proposed. If we were allowed to know about the programming plans then we would be able to make an informed decision about the quality of the bid.
Would we have got back the Super 15 and ARL? Is the AFL to continue under the ABC regime? Why do we never get cricket coverage, ever? Is this not part of our culture? Would Murdoch have screened A Current Affair with its biased coverage of refugee policy and alienated half of Asia? Could someone please leak the important details of the failed bid.
John Kotsopoulos writes: I agree with Mike Oley (yesterday, comments) who was in support of Australia’s international television broadcasting service. I believe it plays a goodwill role in areas with limited or no local TV coverage as well as promoting a better understanding of Australian culture in places such as Indonesia. That can only be a good thing for the 770,000-plus Australians who visit there each year.
His reference to the sheep dog trials prompts me to ask whether any or all of them were found guilty and, if guilty, the nature of any punishments handed out.
H S Mackenzie writes: Re. “Media briefs: finding Struggle St … Albrechtsen on Thatcher … Leveson latest …” (yesterday, item 18). I agree with Guy Rundle that “All the marriage equality movement had to do was work hard, and do its research”. Take away any role of the state in maintaining historical religious attitudes and there is no logical reason to restrict marriage to a man and a woman.
But as your tip about Ean Higgins illustrates, marriage equality doesn’t end with giving same-s-x couples the same rights as opposite-s-x couples, as it is no more reasonable to restrict marriage to a union of two people than it is to restrict it to a union of a man and a woman. Although the idea of polygamy is raised by right-wing opponents of marriage equality as a scare (and possibly as an anti-Islamic dog whistle) there is no logical reason why the Marriage Act shouldn’t be amended to allow polygynous and polyandrous unions between consenting adults.
However such unions should not be restricted to “polyfidelists” or to polyamourous triads as Higgins apparently suggests. The phrase “to the exclusion of all others” has no place in a non-discriminatory definition of marriage. People who desire open marriages should also be able to marry in good conscience.
Let’s just do away with all the unnecessary discrimination in the Marriage Act and make marriage “…the union of consenting adults, voluntarily entered into for life.”