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«COMMERCIAL RADIO INQUIRY Report of the Australian Broadcasting Authority Hearing into Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Limited February 2000 Sydney ISBN 0 642 ...»

-- [ Page 26 ] --

Colonial State Bank made the following submission in relation to this broadcast:

There is little doubt that the broadcast of 3 December 1998 utilised as a starting point the press release from CSB dated 2 December 1998. There is nothing wrong with that process. Press releases are issued regularly by large organisations on matters not only concerning their own affairs, but concerning their industry generally. There is no evidence that this press release was not distributed generally. Even if the press release had only been directed to Alan Jones, there is no evidence that Alan Jones gave it any prominence because of the commercial relationship that he had with CSB. It is quite plain that the matter is intrinsically newsworthy.

The first complaint made about this broadcast is that it fails to disclose that Alan Jones had a commercial relationship with CSB. The first thing that can be said is that such a relationship was obvious from the activities which Mr Jones was performing for CSB in the public arena pursuant to the two Agreements. CSB’s relationship with Alan Jones was clearly known in the market place at the relevant time. It was expressly discussed, for example, in an article in the Good Weekend published on 14 November 1998.675 Further, when CSB was questioned about Alan Jones it revealed its relationship with him and the existence of the Agreements.676 These specific occasions of disclosure are of course in addition to the obvious effects of the television commercials and the public appearances mentioned above. The only matter omitted from the public disclosure of the relationship was the amount of Alan Jones’ remuneration. This was and is no more than common courtesy and is standard and proper practice.677 There is no CSB.0001.0043 CSB.0001.0043 Exhibit 32.

See for example Exhibits 30 to 31 inclusive.

See Transcript, Mr Bold, p. 257.

warrant for suggesting that the broadcast was misleading because it failed not only to disclose the existence of the relationship, but also the amount of the remuneration.

Even if the commercial relationship between Jones and CSB were not obvious, why does the lack of mention of it render the material ‘misleading’? Not one part of the material broadcast is said to be untrue or in any respect exaggerated. None of it is said to be unworthy, by reason of lack of intrinsic interest, of broadcast. Alan Jones is not said to have said anything which was not his personal view. It cannot seriously be suggested that if a listener was told, by way of a register of interest or otherwise, that Alan Jones had a commercial relationship with CSB, that that listener would in some way devalue the matters of fact which were the subject of the broadcast. It is obvious from even a cursory review of the transcript of the broadcast that it concerned a matter of public interest and recited the involvement of commercial entities other than CSB - in particular, ANZ, Westpac and St George. Presumably Counsel Assisting do not suggest that it was incumbent upon Alan Jones to mention that he had a relationship with CSB, but not with ANZ, Westpac or St George.

It will be recalled that the concern of clause 2.2(d) of the Code is that ‘viewpoints are not misrepresented, and material is not presented in a misleading manner by giving wrong or improper emphasis’. No viewpoint was misrepresented in this broadcast. No wrong or improper emphasis occurred. The complaint should be dismissed. 678 2UE’s Submission to the Hearing In addition to the general submissions made by 2UE, 2UE also made the following

submission in relation to this broadcast:

The broadcast is a simple report of the existence of certain courses. It has not been suggested that the information is inaccurate or misleading in any way. The identity of the supplier of the information is revealed so that listeners know by whom they are being persuaded.

The broadcast refers to competitors of CSB without differentiation.679 The Panel’s Findings The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It purports to concern matters focussing on social and economic issues of relevance to the community.

The existence of Mr Jones’ commercial relationship with Colonial State Bank was not disclosed in the broadcast. The Panel finds the available fact of Mr Jones’ commercial relationship with Colonial State Bank was withheld by Mr Jones.

The Panel is of the view that listeners should not be required to consider matter which is external to the broadcast.

The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:

♦ it is an important issue to Colonial State Bank evident from the publication of a press release from which they desired positive media attention;680 and Submissions made by Colonial State Bank, paragraph 24.2.

Submission made by 2UE – Alan Jones Broadcasts – Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, A1 ♦ the broadcast is more favourable to Colonial State Bank than to the other banks mentioned. The franchisee of the local branch is specifically mentioned and Mr Jones also attributes the responsibility for provision of information to the franchisee.

The Panel finds that, in the presentation of a current affairs program, Mr Jones presented material in a misleading manner by withholding a relevant available fact, namely the existence of a commercial relationship between himself and Colonial State Bank.





The Panel finds 2UE to be in breach of clause 2.2(d) of the Codes.

INTERVIEW OF PAUL TISSOT REGARDING COLONIAL

STATE BANK BRANCH AT COLES SUPERMARKET DEE WHY

Material Provided to Mr Jones On 9 June 1999, Colonial State Bank provided Mr Harry Miller with a page of ‘talking points’:681 I have been informed that Colonial State Bank will today open a Coles supermarket bank branch in Dee Why - the bank’s first in-store branch in NSW. (Interestingly, the new branch is in addition to the one that’s already located in this northern beaches suburb).

It’s good to see that the banks are introducing new and innovative ways to deliver financial services in highly accessible, convenient locations, like the supermarket.

Supermarket banking essentially means an in-store bank branch, which has its own private floor space, trained and uniformed staff and ATM, among other facilities. The Colonial Coles Dee Why branch is also open from 8am to 10pm.

And, they are keeping banking face-to-face. Not everybody wants to go electronic, some of us like to deal with a human being from time to time.

Add this to Colonial’s commitment to banking in the bush - and they just might be on the right track.682 Material Broadcast by Mr Jones On 16 June 1999, Mr Jones broadcast comments that much of the criticism levied at banks is warranted but he is pleased to be able to present a good bank story: Colonial State Bank is opening its first fully serviced bank branch in Coles supermarket, Dee Why.683 Mr Jones then conducts an interview with Mr Tissot. During the interview, Mr Tissot and

Mr Jones discuss the benefits of this new retail approach to banking:

The Panel notes the ‘script-like’ presentation of the news release. The press release is written in the first person. It states ‘Alan Crouch, Colonial State franchisee in Rockdale tells me …’ [Emphasis added] Transcript, Mr Bold, pp. 284-285.

CSB.0003.0475 Exhibit 86, p. 9; CSB.0003.0501 Mr Tissot: It’s one-stop shopping. It allows us to give face to face customer service in banking. Extended trading hours Monday to Saturday 8 to 10 pm - 8am to 10pm - and on Sundays 8am to 8pm … Mr Jones: And you’ll be offering the full range of services that people can get at regular branches.

Mr Tissot: Full range. Banking, insurance and investment. As I said face to face tellering but full private consultation around the other products … Mr Jones: So what about the geography of it. Do you have the same space as you would have in a normal bank branch?

Mr Tissot: We have around 30 square metres so it’s a little bit smaller than the average branch.

But still full service … Mr Jones: I must say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. You have initiated haven’t you a program to do this in the bush, not a similar program to this, but indeed where banks are closing you’re actually moving into commercial areas to provide the banking service. I see other banks moving in that direction as well. Is that up and running with you in western New South Wales? … Mr Jones: So bank branches in supermarkets. I mean do we think that’s the thing of the future.

See the hours are fantastic aren’t they. I mean – you’re saying at Dee Why it’s 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday.

Mr Tissot: That’s right. I think this is very much part of the future. Full face to face customer service —

–  –  –

Mr Jones states that it is ‘a damn good idea … Well done.’684 Colonial State Bank’s Submission to the Hearing

Colonial State Bank made the following submission in relation to this broadcast:

This broadcast is apparently relied upon to support both types of complaint - that is that the broadcast did not incorporate a reference to the commercial relationship between CSB and Alan Jones and that it constituted an advertisement. Neither complaint can be supported.

The broadcast on 16 June 1999 involved an interview with Mr Paul Tissot. The evidence of Mr Bold shows that the interview was in response to a genuine news item reported in the business pages of the Daily Telegraph on 12 June 1999.685 In his Statement at paragraph 60, Alan Jones states that it was the newspaper clippings which prompted him to note the story and to contact CSB for information.

It is absolutely clear that the interview refers to matters which could only have been sourced from the article in the Daily Telegraph and which were not supplied in any way by CSB.

Plainly, the Daily Telegraph found the story newsworthy without the assistance of any Exhibit 86, p. 9; CSB.0003.0501 See Exhibit 34.

financial support from the CSB. Why is Alan Jones to be placed in any different category to the Daily Telegraph? The commercial relationship between CSB and Alan Jones was no more relevant to the broadcast than it was to the Daily Telegraph article - the content of each was essentially the same. Again, no viewpoint was misrepresented. No material was presented in a misleading manner by giving wrong or improper emphasis. The complaint should be dismissed.

For the same reasons, the complaint concerning advertisements should also be dismissed. The broadcast did not constitute an advertisement. It was news. The Daily Telegraph article confirms that. This complaint should also be dismissed.686 The Panel’s Findings The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It purports to concern matters focussing on social and economic issues of relevance to the community.

The existence of Mr Jones’ agreement with Colonial State Bank was not disclosed in the broadcast. The Panel finds the available fact of Mr Jones’ commercial relationship with Colonial State Bank was withheld during the interview by both Mr Jones and by Mr Tissot.

The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:

♦ the issue was important to Colonial State Bank. Mr Tissot consented to be interviewed on Mr Jones’ program regarding the opening; and ♦ the broadcast was favourable to Colonial State Bank. Mr Jones praised Colonial State Bank, ‘where banks are closing you’re actually moving into commercial areas to provide the banking service’.

The Panel notes the submission of Colonial State Bank and Mr Jones that this matter was an item of legitimate news.687 However, even though the subject matter of this broadcast was also reported in an article in The Daily Telegraph, the Panel notes that the interview between Mr Jones and Mr Tissot was favourable to the interests of Colonial State Bank. Furthermore, the Panel is of the view that Mr Jones used the talking points provided to him as a basis for

interview questions of Mr Tissot. For instance, the ‘talking points’ provided:

Supermarket banking essentially means an in-store bank branch, which has its own private floor space, trained and uniformed staff and ATM, among other facilities.688 Mr Jones initiates discussion on these matters by asking the following questions: ‘And you’ll be offering the full range of services that people can get at regular branches,’ and ‘So what about the geography of it. Do you have the same space as you would have in a normal bank branch?’ The Panel finds that, in the presentation of a current affairs program, Mr Jones presented material in a misleading manner by withholding a relevant available fact, namely the existence of a commercial relationship between himself and Colonial State Bank.

The Panel finds 2UE to be in breach of clause 2.2(d) of the Codes.

Submissions made by Colonial State Bank, paragraph 24.5.

Submissions made by Colonial State Bank, paragraph 24.5.

CSB.0003.0475 Walsh Bay Finance Pty Limited The Panel notes its finding that Mr Jones was aware of the existence of his commercial relationship with Walsh Bay Finance (please see page 45).

MR JONES DISCUSSES AN ARTICLE BY PIERS AKERMAN

FROM THE TELEGRAPH

Material provided or available to Mr Jones On 29 May 1998, a document entitled ‘Media Fact Sheet – Walsh Bay Key Issues’ was sent

to Mr Harry Miller for Mr Jones. It states:

Walsh Bay is located on Sydney Harbour between The Rocks and Darling Harbour. Since the mid 1980’s, several schemes have been put forward for Walsh Bay, but none have ever got off the ground.

Walsh Bay has been largely unused and unmaintained for almost 30 years and is now in an appalling state. Fire, rot, decay and extensive termite infestation have ravaged the wharves.

Expert’s reports reveal that up to 80% of timbers are severely damaged in many areas. The size, shape, age and appalling condition of the wharves make it impossible to use them in their current form as functional spaces which are economically viable. Unlike the Woolloomooloo finger wharf which has a steel superstructure, the Walsh Bay wharves are built of timber.



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