The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Malcolm Turnbull says LNP will immediately junk "public interest" media tests

Alongside my column in The Australian today (a first re-print for Business Spectator, I think), Malcolm Turnbull is reported as follows:

LABOR reforms to curb the media could be junked within 18 months as the federal Coalition vows to repeal the changes, labelling them a political ploy to restrict free speech.

Coalition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull attacked the government's "public interest test" for media owners as an attempt to ensure positive news coverage by heading off Gina Rinehart's interest in Fairfax Media.

"It is a concept that is so general and so elusive it is incapable of ever being applied other than in a manner which most people will regard as being entirely political," Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Turnbull restated his view that if Mrs Rinehart used her stake in Fairfax Media to promote her own views then the influence of the publications would decline. "But that's their problem. It's not something for parliament to legislate."

Mr Turnbull said the Coalition would oppose the public interest test and any Labor plan to implement a media council to oversee news coverage along the lines proposed by former federal judge Ray Finkelstein.

"If the government in this unwarranted and highly political way increases the regulation of the media, and managed to get that through this parliament, then we would seek to undo it and restore things to the status quo if we get elected," Mr Turnbull told The Australian.