The Australia Network

On Q&A this week, Nick Cater was asked whether he had a conflict of interest in arguing for the shutdown of the $223 Australia Network because News Corporation wants to bid for the network.

This is ludicrous. As Greg Sheridan writes in the Australian, the entire network should be shutdown. Sheridan gives numerous cogent reasons for the network to be terminated. He is wrong in only one respect.

Give the Australia Network money back to DFAT and let everyone, journalists and diplomats alike, do their real jobs.

No. Simply return the savings to the taxpayer. As I have argued many times, DFAT has ample resources and needs substantial reform.

Peter van Onselen, by contrast, thinks that shutting down the network would be

throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

He claims the ‘soft diplomacy’ has some value, although I have seen no empirical evidence to support this contention. In fact there is no difficulty in obtaining Australian content overseas through the internet. It is an extraordinary statement that the taxpayer should spend close to 1/4 of a billion dollars over ten years on an untested proposition.

Given the parlous state of the Budget inherited by the Abbott Government, there are numerous more important uses for those resources. In my view it should be used to pay down Government debt. Australia’s best form of diplomacy – hard or soft – is to ensure a strong economy, free market, and individual liberty. Alongside a consistent and ethical government, there could be no better system of diplomacy.

Let’s show Australia’s virtues by what we do, rather than what we say.

About Samuel J

Samuel J has an economics background and is a part-time consultant
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28 Responses to The Australia Network

  1. Dan

    Quarter of a billion over ten years….

    It is disturbing to flick through the channels in an Asian country and come across Q&A. With blow yards banging on about gay marriage, glowball warming and Abbott being derided for wearing DT’s while volunteering down his local surf club.

  2. Abraham

    Let’s show Australia’s virtues by what we do, rather than what we say.

    Samuel J,

    Don’t you know seeming is far more important than doing for Leftists. It’s the ‘afterglow’ that matters.

  3. Rabz

    the entire network should be shutdown

    And every earthian ‘working’ in it fired.

    :)

  4. Token

    Peter van Onselen, by contrast, thinks…

    Sharman Stone rang in to say you lie, PvO regurgitates, he does not think.

  5. Rabz

    shutting down the network would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater

    Yet more ‘evidence’ of the unrelenting wrongology of the von Wrongsolen.

    This abomination (the network in this case, not PvW) could not be a worse advertisement for this country if it was stacked with and programmed by a bunch of lying, lobotomised, hysterical leftist dunderheads.

    Oh wait, it is.

  6. Token

    Yet more ‘evidence’ of the unrelenting wrongology of the von Wrongsolen.

    He does have a reputation to maintain. If M0nty & van Wrongsolen ever get together…whoo-wee shut of the microphones.

  7. Jim Rose

    Everybody works for someone. A standard yes minister tactic to discredit people by saying they worked for a big corporation or want to in the future.

    This is why popper argued that motives do not matter, critical discussion of the contenting arguments is what counts

  8. rebel with cause

    Australia’s best form of diplomacy – hard or soft – is to ensure a strong economy, free market, and individual liberty.

    Could not agree more.

  9. Leigh Lowe

    There has been more than one article in the Australian suggesting it be shut down or, at the very least, considered as an option.
    And that is where the Murdoch conspiracy theories fall over. As the Oz editorial pointed out yesterday, calling for a service to be shut down is a very strange way to lobby for the transfer of that service to yourself.
    On commercial grounds the conspiracy doesn’t hold water either. News Limited’s notional share of revenue would be $3m, with an EBIT of maybe $300k.
    Rupert could find that sort of money down the back of his couch.

  10. MACK1

    What’s completely unreported by journalists in their little world is that there is a constant stream of politicians, bureaucrats, business people, professionals and academics coming to Australia to see and learn about our successes in a broad range of fields. Just do things really well, tell people about it, and they’ll come and talk to you, and enhance your global reputation.

  11. boy on a bike

    Do any countries in the region run an overseas TV network in order to buff their image? I’ve never heard of Singapore, HK, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea or Japan having a channel that I can tune into in order to feel better about them.

  12. Baldrick

    From the Australia Network website:

    Our target audience are the Internationalists of the Asia-Pacific region: educated, worldly professionals seeking a fresh perspective on global and regional events. They yearn for unique experiences and use media sources to discover new ideas and new concepts.

    Who writes this crap?

  13. Riverina Matt

    On Q&A this week, Nick Cater was asked whether he had a conflict of interest in arguing for the shutdown of the $223 Australia Network because News Corporation wants to bid for the network.

    On that basis, every ABC employee has a similar conflict, no?

  14. rugbyskier

    Do any countries in the region run an overseas TV network in order to buff their image? I’ve never heard of Singapore, HK, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea or Japan having a channel that I can tune into in order to feel better about them.

    Foxtel Channel 656 is NHK World, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation’s overseas television service. Channel News Asia, which is not available on Foxtel, is the regional television service of Media Corp, the commercial TV and radio company owned by the Singapore Government.

  15. Infidel Tiger

    I’ve seen drunken slobs in Bintang singlets molesting prostitutes overseas. None have made me cringe more than turning on the Australia Network.

  16. H B Bear

    The whole idea of “soft diplomacy” is a throwback to the Cold War, “reds under the beds” era anyway.

    The idea that broadcasting Bananas in Pajamas and whatever the Australia Network recycles into the region has any real impact is laughable. If the Australian government was serious about achieving this outcome the money would be better spent on the expansion of the updated Colombo Plan already announced.

  17. Token

    None have made me cringe more than turning on the Australia Network.

    Are you telling me you are not proud of a channel that streams repeats of SHY favourite reality program chock full of lefty stereotypes including of the leaders of our muslim neighbours?

  18. boy on a bike

    Foxtel Channel 656 is NHK World, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation’s overseas television service. Channel News Asia, which is not available on Foxtel, is the regional television service of Media Corp, the commercial TV and radio company owned by the Singapore Government.

    Never heard of any of them. Does anyone watch them?

  19. Mon

    Baldrick – Who writes this crap.
    People who are trying to justify their position. A viable business would make them redundant.

  20. rugbyskier

    I watch NHK World from time to time. It has had some interesting stories about communities in the Tohoku region recovering from the 2011 tsunami. It’s a much higher quality service than what I’ve seen of Australia Network when I’ve been travelling in Asia.

  21. gabrianga

    Riverina Matt I would suggest that van Onselen put an end to that story today in the Australian.

    He also proved that Q&A host Jones is a psychopathic liar who uses our National Broadcaster to
    mis/dis-inform those who watch this program .

    The domestic Haw Haw?

  22. The only time I ever watch Australia Network is for the AFL, and since they only show 4 games per week I am forced to pay $120 a year for a subscription to the AFL’s o/seas streaming service anyway. So the Australia network provides little value for me as an expat.

  23. Toiling Mass

    I used to watch the NHK channel. It has a lot of news where politics comes up. From what I have seen there is no political bias – they merely report what one person or another said. The rest of the time seems to be programs that showcase Japanese culture, interesting places and people.

    I am pretty sure that a Japanese person would be pleased with what their channel told the world about them.

    Besides, you don’t have to turn everything off and pretend you aren’t at home when the NHK man comes calling.

  24. Oh come on

    The expression ‘to throw the baby out with the bathwater’ is a favourite of leftists, who deploy it when leftist institutions, programmes or policies become so beyond the pale that they face an existential threat. Don’t scrap it, we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    What exactly is the baby? They generally don’t get around to explaining that.

  25. Ingrid

    Alright…now…lets all get onto Turnbull and kick his arse. He is one of the problems!

  26. Jeremy

    Clear, to the point and absolutely correct.
    This is the antithesis of an ABC report.
    I am sorry, you have no future in politics – certainly not on the left.

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