Foreign investment rules and the public interest

On Insiders, guest Karen Middleton, of taxpayer funded and essentially unregulated SBS, made the astonishing claim that the operation of the  proposed Public Interest Media Avocate was akin to the FIRB and its use of a public interest test.

In fact, if she had bothered to do her homework, she would have realised that her assertion is complete tosh.

Under the law, there is a presumption that foreign investment is good and that proposals are only rejected if it is NOT in the public interest.  In other words, the onus is on the Treasurer to show why a particular transaction involving a foreign investor should not occur. The investor is not required to demonstrate that the investment is IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

Now there are arguments about the pros and cons of these rules – they are probably there for political economy reasons and to make foreign investment more acceptable to the community – but there are no PARALLELS with the proposed regulation of the press.

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18 Responses to Foreign investment rules and the public interest

  1. Pedro

    It’s doubly tosh because:

    1 one stupid rule is not the justification for another;

    2 more importantly, the refusal of all foreign investment is not going to have a chilling impact on public debate and public oversight of the govt in this country.

    Conroy made the same stupid analogy about the ACCC IIR. He also mentioned ACMA, and I think now is the time to fight to get rid of any public interest tests tied up in broadcasting rights.

  2. Bruce

    The journos of SBS do lean to the left. Yes they do.

    But the difference is that the SBS must grovel to those rude vendors of public opinion the advertising companies…

    This keeps the SBS from going off into fairyland like the ABC.

    I would be very pleased and curious to watch the ABC be forced to obtain advertising funds to pay their salaries. Salutary, and very popcorn consuming, it would be.

  3. J.H.

    Good on you Judith. Well pointed out.

    I wonder about Karen Middleton sometimes. She engages her pen without ever thinking about what she is putting to paper…. She is either a useful idiot or a propagandist.

    …. and after watching her guffawing at Piers on Insiders the other morning as he tried to warn them of their behavior and lack of response to repressive media legislation, I’m starting to think it is the latter.

    …. as long as she is paid well and lives comfortably. She’ll write anything. Anything at all.

  4. Token

    Lucky for Karen she can say whatever she likes as SBS & the ABC are not regulated by the Press Council.

    She has the hubris that comes with the certainty that the laws to regulate the media and censor debate will effect her competitors working in commercial enterprises while she is free.

    Is it any wonder Karen & Barry are so bullish about regressive legislation to limits free speech?

  5. Econocrat

    Judith, just thinking whether the ABC and SBS could be subjected to a competitive neutrality complaint if they were exempted from public interest advocate etc?

  6. stackja

    What if the next government regulates SBS and ABC? They must toe the conservative line. Or lose funding. SBS would need all ads.

  7. Token

    …. and after watching her guffawing at Piers on Insiders the other morning as he tried to warn them of their behavior and lack of response to repressive media legislation, I’m starting to think it is the latter.

    Imagine the volume of the claims of mysogyny from the sista-hood if Piers had demeaned Karen with a personal insult while she was speaking, instead of addressing the issue being discussed?

  8. dianeh

    It doesnt matter if the workings of the two boards was identical, the issues are not. This is not about process but freedoms. There is no right for foreign owned entities to buy property in this country. To compare this ‘right’ to the right to freedom of speech/freedom of the press, takes a particular type of stupid.

    That attempt at moral equivalency by Middleton was a total failure. No one gives a shit about the processes within th legislation, we dont want the legislation full stop.

  9. papachango

    exactly what dianeh said. You can’t compare the ‘right’ to buy something with the right to freedom of expression.

    If the proposed media laws had the onus on the Public Interest Advocate to demonstrate why something wasn’t in the public interest, it still amounts to government control of the media and I’d still vehemently oppose it.

    Especially when the defrinition of ‘public interest’ is so vague and difficult if not impossible to define that they can effectively make up any case they like to knock back any opinion they don’t like.

  10. Leigh Lowe

    Where did Karen Middleton read that?
    By the look of her, they wrap the fish n’ chips in the Green-Socialist-Left weekly at her local.

  11. Leigh Lowe

    …. and after watching her guffawing at Piers on Insiders the other morning

    Guffawing?
    Was that what she was doing?
    It looked to me like she was waiting for the zoo-keeper to throw her a fish.

  12. Art Vandelay

    Judith, just thinking whether the ABC and SBS could be subjected to a competitive neutrality complaint if they were exempted from public interest advocate etc?

    Econocrat, it’s doubtful that the ABC is covered by competitive neutrality policy:

    http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/5403/report4.pdf

    (see page 2)

  13. Leigh Lowe

    Refer Gab’s link to the “PIMA Approved Cartoon” by Bill Leak in the Oz.
    It is a corker.
    If you aren’t an Oz subscriber get a hold of a hard copy.
    It is both (a) very funny and (b) “not in the public interest.”

  14. Judith Sloan

    dianeh. Completely agree.

  15. JamesK

    The good news is that so many of these leftists are stupid.

    Karen Midbrain is employed way way way beyond her pay-grade.

    She reminds me of the intellect that is Sen Hanswine-Dung

  16. Karen Middleton should follow the old adage,”comparisons are odious”, particularly when she is comparing apples and bullshit.
    How could an FIRB decision equate to the piece of garbage put forward by Conroy? It’s just dumb!

  17. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I think even she knew it was a dumb comparison. I seem to recall that she added some afterthought about how that may not be a comparable situation. She was actually backtracking in quite a few of her opinions wherever it was possible to listen between her hysterical outraged squarks at Piers.

    I have rarely seen such a display of intense emotional stupidity doing battle with its own auto-correct button with the latter coming out a decided second-best.

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