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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 29 ] --

MR CARR: That’s right. It’s going to be an unrivalled venue, open to the public for the first time, with all those retail opportunities built into the old restored wharf and Shore Shed structure.

MR JONES: And 82% - I think the figure is, is it not – of the significant heritage buildings and the wharves and the Shore Sheds and Bond Stores have been retained?

MR CARR: That’s right, 82% retained, Shore Sheds, wharves, Bond Stores, retained for access to the people. The tick-off from the Heritage Council of New South Wales, but in addition to that we get a new theatre venue, a 1,000 seat drama theatre, the biggest drama theatre… MR JONES: In Australia, in the southern hemisphere MR CARR: …in the… So, in the last two year, with the Capitol Theatre becoming available, with the Star City Theatre – that’s at the casino – we’ve answered that problem of lack of venues in Sydney. We’re bringing the venues forward, but this is a beauty for the Sydney Theatre Company, and it solves a huge problem that they’ve had. It’s bigger than their current theatre.

MR JONES: And the undamaged and salvaged timbers are going to be remilled and reused around the site. So it’s a fantastic development, isn’t it? Eight hectares of land, and of course, private sector involvement, two big companies, of course, Transfield and Mirvac, with very significant reputations, too.

MR CARR: Yes, their investment is worth over $650 million, so that’s a huge chunk of investment surging through the State’s economy. And of course, one gain for us is that the tax payers have got to manage the recurrent maintenance costs of these huge structures at the present time. The liability for that is lifted to the private sector. So, it is a great example of adaptive reuse. The Queen Victoria Building is another example, I think unique in the world, of adaptive reuse… MR JONES: Yes, and it’s costing the tax payer a fortune to maintain that there now. With its redevelopment of course, that maintenance cost will be removed.

Premier there’s a couple of other things I want to canvass with you. Can we just take a break and I’ll come back to you.

–  –  –

The Panel’s Findings The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It is an interview with the Premier of NSW, discussing matters focussing on political, social and economic issues of relevance to the community.

The existence of Mr Jones’ agreement with Walsh Bay Finance was not disclosed in the broadcast. The Panel finds the available fact of Mr Jones’ commercial relationship with Walsh Bay Finance was withheld during broadcast.

The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:

♦ the broadcast was favourable to Walsh Bay Finance. During the interview, Mr Jones makes numerous and frequent remarks praising the proposed development at Walsh Bay.

For instance, Mr Jones says, ‘Brilliant!’, ‘That’s Brilliant!’ and ‘Absolutely Beautiful’ in response to the Premier’s descriptions of the proposal;696 and ♦ Mr Jones relied upon the ‘Media Fact Sheet – Walsh Bay Key Issues’ provided by

Walsh Bay Finance on 29 May 1998. For instance, the media fact sheet provides:

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.697 ♦ Mr Jones broadcast the following statement:

It’s been largely unused and unmaintained for about 30 years. It’s an eyesore. It’s in an appalling state. Fire, rot, decay, extensive termite infestation have just ravaged the wharves.

Up to 80% of the timbers are severely damaged in many areas.698 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 Walsh Bay Finance.

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

–  –  –

RALLIES AGAINST THE WALSH BAY DEVELOPMENT

Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 24 August 1998 Mr Jones broadcast the following:

And about 900 people have rallied in Sydney against the proposed Walsh Bay redevelopment.

God strike me pink. What do they want them to do? What do they want the wharves to do, collapse? They’re rotting. Absolute eyesore. It’s just amazing.

The State Government. It’s an outstanding proposal Walsh Bay and Bob Carr’s shown some guts to give the thing the go ahead. Let’s get on with it now. There’ll be plenty of protestors.

It’s not an East Circular Quay, I can assure you.

And remember, when I warned you the mess that East Circular Quay would be. I can tell you that the Walsh Bay proposal – and I’ve done a lot of reading on the whole thing – I believe is going to be an absolute first class redevelopment of what is currently, an eyesore.699 The Panel’s Findings The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It purports to concern matters focussing on political, social and economic issues of relevance to the community.





The existence of Mr Jones’ agreement with Walsh Bay Finance was not disclosed in the broadcast. The Panel finds the available fact of Mr Jones’ commercial relationship with Walsh Bay Finance was withheld during broadcast.

The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:

♦ Mr Jones defended the proposed redevelopment and Walsh Bay Finance, saying ‘What do they want the wharves to do, collapse? They’re rotting’;700 ♦ Mr Jones defended the actions of the NSW State Government, saying ‘Bob Carr’s shown some guts to give the thing the go ahead’;701 and ♦ the broadcast was favourable to Walsh Bay Finance. Mr Jones praised the proposed development at Walsh Bay saying, ‘It’s an outstanding proposal’.702 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 Walsh Bay Finance.

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

–  –  –

Qantas Airways Limited The Panel notes its finding that Mr Jones was aware of the existence of his commercial relationship with Qantas (please see page 45).

PROPOSED SHAME CAMPAIGN

Material Broadcast by Mr Jones On 17 July 1997, Mr Jones criticised the remarks made by Mr John Moore, Marketing Manager of SOCOG that a shame campaign was going to be adopted against Qantas and other non-sponsors of the Olympics.703

Mr Jones states:

Ansett and Westpac are to be congratulated as major sponsors of the Olympic Games, but saying that are not going to get caught up in all this talk about ambush marketing.

This is this business I referred to yesterday about Qantas, who were the subject of absolutely stupid remarks by that bloke, John Moore, who is supposed to be the marketing manager of SOCOG. Wherever I went yesterday, people told me that this bloke was an absolute cretin and that he had tickets on himself.

Thankfully, he seems now to have been taken out of the equation, having argued publicly and stupidly yesterday that a shame campaign was going to be adopted against Qantas, and other non-sponsors of the Olympics.

All Qantas were doing, as I said yesterday, was employing a stack of Olympic and nonOlympic athletes to promote their product, and they have done it for years, and done it outstandingly. In fact few Australian companies have employed as many people as Qantas has in the field of sport, and in many instances, this has kept some of those athletes out of the soup kitchens.

I mean we don’t live in Romania, thankfully. Companies are free to not be major sponsors of the Olympics and still get on with their business, and this is what Ansett and Westpac were suggesting yesterday, even though they are major sponsors.

Geoff Lynch, the Public Affairs spokesman for Ansett, the official Olympic sponsor, said his company was not losing any sleep over it. Perhaps, Mr Lynch should be the marketing manager for SOCOG.

However, there is some justification for criticism of the National Australia Bank, whose branch offices in some parts of Sydney were decorated with the Olympic Games insignia. Now, that’s not on. If they are not an Olympic major sponsor, it is a bit rich that they have got Olympic rings and torches adorning their branches.

But, that is quite a separate issue from Qantas employing Olympic and non-Olympic athletes.

In fact, I would hope that there would be many people who would employ Olympic and nonOlympic athletes, and they do a terrific job as ambassadors for Australia, and they often do it not for much money.

–  –  –

This would never have reached this stupid position if this bloke, John Moore, some marketing dunce and SOCOG, hadn’t behaved as if SOCOG was an off-shoot of some Neanderthal Romanian government inspired toe-the-line, or we’ll shoot you program.

Australia can well do without that bully boy stuff.704 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:

One of the factors which may limit the scope and nature of the alleged assumption of disinterestedness (assuming it to exist) is the extent to which the announcer may have become associated in the public mind with the third party because of the announcer’s participation in a campaign of live read advertising. Mr Jones performed a significant number of live read advertisements for QANTAS over a period of years.705 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 Panel finds the available fact of Mr Jones’ commercial agreement with Qantas was withheld. The existence of Mr Jones’ agreement with Qantas was not disclosed in the broadcast.

The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:

♦ Mr Jones is defending Qantas’ actions in relation to its lack of sponsorship of the Olympics. For instance, Mr Jones says ‘I mean we don’t live in Romania, thankfully.

Companies are free to not be major sponsors of the Olympics and still get on with their business’;706 and ♦ the broadcast was favourable to Qantas. Mr Jones praised the relationship Qantas has, and has had for a long time with Australian athletes. Mr Jones says that ‘they have done it for years and done it outstandingly’.707 The Panel notes 2UE’s submission that an extensive live read campaign for Qantas read by Mr Jones may have caused him to become associated with Qantas in the minds of listeners.

However, clause 3.1(a) provides that advertisements must not be presented as news programs or other programs. To the extent that the presentation of any live read advertisement is capable of causing confusion in listeners’ minds with the editorial comment of Mr Jones, the Panel would be concerned that those live read advertisements may have breached clause 3.1(a).

The Panel therefore does not accept the submission of 2UE in this regard.

QAN.0008.0027 Submission made by 2UE – Alan Jones Broadcasts – Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, C1 QAN.0008.0027 QAN.0008.0027 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 Qantas.

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

SACKED APPRENTICES

Material available to Mr Jones A news release entitled ‘Qantas to Appeal Against Unfair Dismissal Finding’ was issued 17 November 1997.708 The news release covered Qantas’ position on the Industrial Relations Commission decision and the Executive General Manager Aircraft Operations Mr Doug Gillies comments.

Mr Gillies is quoted in the press release as saying:

In an environment with high youth unemployment, companies in future will be more reluctant to offer apprenticeship training if they are obliged to employ graduates at the end of their indentures … It is common practice to separate the offer of training from future permanent employment throughout Australian industry … This decision has the potential to dissuade employers from taking on future apprentices.709 Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 18 November 1997, Mr Jones broadcast the following:

Qantas has been ordered by the Industrial Relations Commission to reinstate three sacked apprentices in what’s been described as a landmark ruling which challenges the relationship between employers and indentured trainees.

Now, Qantas, I think, have a very strong point here. Mr Doug Gillies, the Executive General Manager of Aircraft Operations for Qantas has made a very valid point when he said companies would now be more reluctant to offer apprenticeship training if they were obliged to employ graduates at the end of indentures.

Now, Mr Ian Ross, was the man who heard this, a good man Ian Ross, but he’s Vice President of the Industrial Relations Commission but, also a former heavy weight within the ACTU.

Now, I’m not too sure Mr Ross should have been hearing this matter, but anyway he found that the three apprentices, members of the 53 strong graduating pool culled by Qantas in May, Mr Ross found that they’d been unfairly dismissed and ordered that they be offered trade positions within the group.

Of course, Qantas has been attacked by union chiefs for declaring that their apprentices were surplus to their requirements. Mr Ross argued that Qantas had not fairly applied the selection criteria for choosing which apprentices were made redundant.



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