Metadata Retention Effects Press Freedom
Recently the Federal Parliament voted to give law enforcement and intelligence agencies access to an unprecedented amount of information on all Australians. The Coalition Government and Australian Labor Party passed the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015 requiring telecommunications service providers to store enormous amounts of personal data of every Australian for a minimum of two years under the mandatory data retention scheme.
This has created a mass surveillance regime that will target all Australians at a time when other countries have abandoned this approach, and Australians will likely pay for this increased surveillance through taxes and additional phone and Internet charges. This is despite overwhelming evidence that mandatory data retention schemes do not work to reduce serious crime and are a substantial assault on privacy.
The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015 lacks in-depth protection for journalists as well as their sources.
Metadata retention will have a chilling effect on free speech - Malcolm Turnbull, 2012
The question of "who is a journalist?" remains large as the legislation is vague and appears to apply only to professional journalists.
The warrant system leaves journalists and press freedom in the dark. "If you are going after sources then you are going after journalism" - MEAA CEO Paul Murphy
Under the new system journalists would not know whether an application has been made to access their retained data, or that this access has been granted, is still extremely concerning.
A journalist's status should not be determined by their pay, if you are not a paid/professional journalist and believe you deserve the same privacy protections and exemptions from data retention, send a message to the Parliament
Take Action at www.iamajournalist.com.au
Axing the Carbon Tax is Prim Minister Tony Abbott's biggest achievement for women
Prime Minister Tony Abbott being a loner on the far left
Prime Minister Tony Abbott also visited 'Canadia'
Prime Minister Tony Abbott winking & smirking during a distressed talkback caller question
Chinese president Xi Jinping is set to arrive in Australia later this year for the G20 summit in Brisbane where the China-Australia trade relationship will definitely be a hot agenda.
Let's hope Clive Palmer keeps his mouth shut or chooses whether he wants to be a mining magnate or an Australian politican before then
The Chinese embassy has responded by making a statement calling Clive Palmer's comments as "absurd", "irresponsible" and based on "prejudice". Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop also commented that it was not appropriate for Mr Palmer to use national television to broadcast his dispute with another company.
Despite an attempted explanation by Clive Palmer on his Twitter insisting that his comments were not directed at the Chinese people rather only the Chinese government, many in the community remain outraged at his remarks.
Mining magnate and leader of the Palmer United Party, Clive Palmer has been widely criticised for his comments on last night's Q and A program in which he labelled the Chinese as "bastards" and "mongrels". In another damaging blow to China-Australia relations, Senator Jacqui Lambie also from Palmer United Party stated that Australia should prepare for a coming 'threat of a Chinese Communist invasion'. Clive Palmer responding to questions regarding his legal dispute with a Chinese company over allegations that he misappropriated funds for his election campaign also claimed that the Chinese government "shoot their own people".
Following claims within the highly conservative Australian government that the work of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (commonly referred to as the ABC) dramatically fails to align with national interests, the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his government ministers have embarked on a sustained public attack on the network.
It is widely understood that the ABC has come under fire due to its systematic reports into government misconduct, particularly into alleged harm inflicted on asylum seekers as well as growing instances of spying and phone-hacking. As the ABC was one of the first organisations to report on both of these issues, Prime Minister Abbott has declared that it is single handedly
accountable for the erosion of Australia’s once favourable national image by actively denying support to the government’s current initiatives. He in fact commented that the ABC, as the national broadcaster, takes ‘everyone’s side but Australia’s which clearly demonstrates the government’s inability to understand the functions of media diversity.
Suggestions by the government that the Australia Network, a subsidiary channel of the ABC, may cease to exist in the near future reflect yet another attempt to curtail the organisation’s rapidly expanding influence. The Australia Network is broadcast in the Asia-Pacific region and in the Indian subcontinent. Its conception was lauded as a significant breakthrough for the diffusion of Australian soft power in the early 1990s, as the channel strives to promote a holistic image of Australian culture and encourage English language learning. Eliminating such an important
contribution to the world would therefore clearly be counterproductive.
On a surface level, budget cuts and the need for economic efficiency could be the primary reasons for any changes to the ABC and the Australia Network. However, the rationale behind these changes may reflect the government’s desire to strengthen its enduring ties with the hyper-conservative News Corporation, headed by Rupert Murdoch. Based on the overwhelming presence of headlines from News Corporation-run publications urging Australians to “Kick this Mob [the Labor Government] Out” in the lead-up to the 2013 elections, it would hardly be a surprise if Tony Abbott is simply trying to thank Rupert Murdoch for his support and assistance.
What is crucial to note is that the removal of the Australia Network would exponentially heighten the influence of Sky News, which just happens to belong to Murdoch’s media empire. Several of the empire’s representatives have expressed frustration at the ABC’s free to air digital broadcasts,
on the grounds that these have hindered their plans to expand in the Asia-Pacific region. Restrictions to the Australia Network would afford News Corporation an unprecedented opportunity to freely allow its expansion goals to be realised and to elevate Murdoch’s sphere of influence in the media industry.
Some many suggest that the ABC is reminiscent of an outdated model of public media broadcasting. However, a free media landscape that upholds diversity is essential to any modern society. The government, in spite of its political, economic or commercial motivations, must maintain adequate provisions to the ABC as part of an understanding of the importance of media diversity and the significance of this Australian cultural icon.
Both politicians and journalists have a common responsibility to the the people to ensure that there is an accurate conveyance of information and more critically, all sides must be subject to scrutiny and held to account. In short, Tony Abbott, please don’t attack the ABC because they don’t pander to your conservative friends.
Picture Source: http://images.smh.com.au/2013/12/03/4976897/VD-abbott-_ABC.jpg
Local community campaign calling on the government to restore train services and to increase service frequencies.
Full story: www.localnewsplus.com.au/story.php?ID=58043
Restore Inner West Line Founder & Campaigner Hi my name is Roydon Ng (Roy) and as a local resident of the area for over two decades, I share the sentiment with many frustrated commuters at the shortening of the Inner West Line (terminating at Homebush).
The new timetables introduced on October 20, 2013 highly disadvantages communities between Homebush and Liverpool as train services to/from the City via Regents Park have been cut to non-existent levels (3 per weekday). Also the added interchanges at Lidcombe and Birrong stations are also another inconvenience and difficult for many commuters along the Bankstown/Inner West Line.
I am working together with other local residents, our representatives in parliament including Barbara Perry (MP for Auburn) and the community in calling for more train services in the area which can be achieved through the state government agreeing to Restore the Inner West Line between Homebush and Liverpool via Regents Park.
This campaign and community action group is only possible through the support of many residents and fellow commuters and I thank everyone for their contribution and involvement.
If you would like to contact for me about this campaign or to work together, please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I also post updates and information on Facebook:
Sign the Restore Inner West Line petition online:
Restore Inner West Line: Founded in late September and launched on 19 October 2013 by Roydon Ng
Here is the official transcript of the question that I asked and her response:
QUESTION 11: Hi, my name is Roydon Ng. I'm an ex-student of this school.
PRIME MINISTER: Good.
QUESTION: In fact, my picture is right behind you. It's the one near - yes.
PRIME MINISTER: You haven't aged at all.
QUESTION: I'm from last year's class.
PRIME MINISTER: You know, one day you're going come back to this school and you will have aged from that photo. I can tell you that for sure, because I get to go back to my high school a bit.
QUESTION: Yes. I'm a Christian, and I highly value the Christian community that this school and the Christian faith has provided me. Prime Minister, you profess no religious affiliation, so I would like to ask you what do you base your decisions on and what's the ethical basis in the way you make such decisions?
PRIME MINISTER: Okay. That's a really good question, and I think you and I could have a profound and deep discussion about that. Unfortunately, the format of Community Cabinet isn't going to enable us to spend the many hours these questions deserve.
But just a snapshot about me. I mean, we're a migrant family, we're Welsh migrants. We're Baptist. I grew up in the Baptist religion, and we were regular churchgoers. I was a regular youth group attender, and all the rest of it. I used to very much enjoy my Bible studies, and I used to win prizes for catechism and things like that.
When I look back on it now, I think it was particularly important for my family and my mother because when you migrate, I think, through the church, whatever religion you are, that's one of the ways that people find connections and a sense of belonging and new friends when you've moved country, and I think that was true for us all those years ago, and I am sure it's true for people migrating today. We've actually had some of those conversations in the lead-up to Community Cabinet.
So I think, having spent all of that time in, Christian teaching, I do take those values with me. I think that there are Christian values which are really universal values about how you treat people. They're the values that are replicated across the great religions of our world, about how you treat people and how you aspire to be treated yourself.
So I take those values with me, and they still informed my decision making, even though I'm not an active person of faith. But thank you for your question.
I also got to meet with Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy before the start of the Community Cabinet meeting to talk about media censorship laws and the National Broadband Network's competitiveness and pricing.
On a journey of discovery