Statement on media reform: Australians deserve right of redress

Hydromet_IRIIF_visit_02_April_12_003.jpgOver the past 48 hours this House has been joined in a fierce debate over proposals for media reform. The member for Wentworth has been strident in his attacks on these proposed reforms, and his defence of the principles of freedom of speech has been a spectacle to behold. I share his passion for a free, robust and independent media. I also understand the value of a right of reply. On 9 August 2006 the member used parliament to set the record straight on what he claimed to be a misrepresentation by the media. He said in this place:

I was misrepresented in a number of media outlets, including AAP, the Telegraph, the Australian and the Financial Review. It was attributed to me that I had said that petrol was not an issue in my electorate or that people were not complaining about petrol in my electorate.

He then used parliament to set the record straight.

As a parliamentarian, he is able to use the Australian parliament to respond to any allegation of misrepresentation by the media. This is a great privilege. Very few Australians enjoy the same privilege. That is why having an effective system for handling complaints of misrepresentation by the media, such as the Press Council and ACMA, is critical. All Australians have the right to have their complaint of misrepresentation dealt with in a fair and reasonable way, not just parliamentarians. We do not have this at present—hence the media reforms before the parliament.