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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 31 ] --
Material prepared by Mr Jones Mr Jones prepared a script, entitled ‘Qantas Attendants Sacked’, dated 23 February 1999,

which read:

Six Qantas flight attendants accused of carrying personal alcohol in their luggage have been sacked by the airline.

–  –  –

They were stood down in December last year after their luggage was searched by Qantas security and US Customs officers in LA.

A subsequent investigation led to their sacking on February 15 for the removal of company property.

–  –  –

These are Qantas flight attendants, and they are just stashing away into their gear the grog that wasn’t used on the flight.

That is theft, and it’s in breach of everything that Qantas stands for in the behaviour of its flight attendants.

Now the Flight Attendant’s Association is seeking a hearing through the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

–  –  –

Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 23 February 1999 Mr Jones broadcast the following:

Six Qantas flight attendants accused of carrying personal alcohol in their luggage have been sacked by the airline, and that’s correct. They were stood down December, remember? After their luggage was searched by Qantas security and US customs officers in LA. A subsequent investigation led to their sacking on February 15, for the removal of company property.

These are Qantas flight attendants and they were just stashing away, in their gear, the grog that wasn’t used on the flights. That’s theft. And it’s in breach of everything that Qantas stands for in the behaviour of its flight attendants.

Now, the Flight Attendants Association is seeking a hearing through the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Don’t waste your time. These people are 100% in the wrong and Qantas 100% correct for taking the stand they’ve taken.728 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.729 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’ commercial agreement with Qantas was not disclosed in the broadcast.

The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:

♦ Mr Jones is defending Qantas and the course of action taken by the company. Mr Jones challenges the decision of the Flight Attendants Association to seek to have the matter heard in the Industrial Relations Commission. Mr Jones says ‘Don’t waste your time.

These people are 100% in the wrong and Qantas 100% correct for taking the stand they’ve taken’;730 and ♦ the broadcast was favourable to Qantas.

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.

Exhibit 86, p. 33.

Submission made by 2UE – Alan Jones Broadcasts – Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, C12 Exhibit 86, p. 33.

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.

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.

‘OPEN SKIES’ AVIATION POLICY, 24 FEBRUARY 1999 Material prepared by Mr Jones

Mr Jones prepared a script entitled ‘Open Skies’, dated 24 February 1999, which reads:

I see that key airline industry unions have warned they’ll fight any moves by the Federal Government to open Australian domestic aviation to competition from foreign airlines.

–  –  –

Airline unions covering pilots, flight attendants and white collar airlines staff met in Melbourne yesterday.

A statement issued by the heads of the three unions said up to half of the 45,000 jobs in the Australian airlines industry could be lost if the Government adopted the Productivity Commission recommendations about open skies.

Well, like a lot of things out of the Productivity Commission, it’s absolutely ludicrous.





It’s a policy that’s not applied anywhere else.

–  –  –

The issue at stake here is that international airlines come into this country, and in each week they most probably carry between capital cities about 12,000 empty seats.

The argument by the Productivity Commission is they should be able to offer those seats at any price at all, and at variable hours, and in that way virtually wipe out Ansett and Qantas and the jobs.

It is an absolute nonsense argument, and the union are right to oppose the Productivity Commission.731

–  –  –

Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 24 February 1999 Mr Jones broadcast the following:

Airlines unions are right. They have warned they will fight any moves by the government to open Australia’s domestic market to competition from overseas airlines. Unions say up to half of the 45,000 jobs in the industry could be at risk. This is this open skies thing. I think I have explained that to you.

You see what happens is that all these international flights, whether they are Singapore, Malaysian Airlines, United Airlines or whatever, fly into Australia and pick up international passengers at Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. But on the way to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, they say in any one week those international carriers have about 12,000 empty seats.

Presumably, some dunce in the Productivity Commission, who is most probably never employed anyone in his life, and certainly, never run a company, is arguing, well, those 12,000 seats should be available for Australia’s domestic passengers. So, you know what would happen? They would say – ‘We will pick you up at 4 o’clock in the morning, or 5 o’clock in the morning, and we will take you to Melbourne for $70.’ So, just imagine taking 12,000 customers away from Qantas and Ansett and pretending that they would still be viable. No other country does it. America won’t let Qantas fly American passengers from LA to New York. Well, if America don’t want to do it, why are we?

Someone in Canberra in the government should tell the Productivity Commission to put their report where it belongs, in the bin.732 Mr Jones’ Submission to the Hearing In addition to the general submissions made by Mr Jones, Mr Jones also made the following

submission in relation to this broadcast:

The broadcast does not differentiate between Qantas and Ansett.733 2UE’s Submission to the Hearing In addition to the general submissions made by 2UE, 2UE also made the following

submissions 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.

The broadcast refers to QANTAS’ competitor without differentiation.734 Exhibit 86, p. 36.

Submission made by Mr Alan Jones, paragraph 186.

Submission made by 2UE – Alan Jones Broadcasts – Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, C14.

The Panel’s Findings The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It purports to concern matters focussing on political 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’ commercial agreement with Qantas was not disclosed in the broadcast.

The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:

♦ the issue was of concern to Qantas. Mr Shirley gave evidence that he spoke with Mr Jones about the issue and sent him a note ‘outlining the main points’;735 and ♦ the broadcast was favourable to Qantas: although the issue was not differentiated between Qantas and Ansett, Mr Shirley gave evidence that he was pleased with the outcome of his representations to Mr Jones regarding the issue.736 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.

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.

‘OPEN SKIES’ AVIATION POLICY, 12 MARCH 1999 Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 12 March 1999 Mr Jones broadcast the following:

The Sydney Morning Herald says time now for open skies, although the two airline policy officially ended in 1990, in many ways, the duopoly in the Australian aviation market lives on.

This, the paper says, is strikingly evident in the concerted opposition mounted by Qantas and Ansett to the proposals to increase competition in the Australian market through open skies.

We need to define what you mean by that for a start.

The Herald recalls the Productivity Commission in a draft report last year called for Australia to negotiate open skies agreements with like-minded nations. The Herald says the Commission’s proposals offer new opportunities for Qantas and Ansett, not just the challenge of fresh competition.

Transcript, Mr Shirley, p. 381.

Transcript, Mr Shirley, pp. 381-382.

Well, this is rubbish, I have got to tell you. You wonder why people write this stuff. What they mean by this, is as I have told you, every week there are international aircrafts coming into Australia. By the time they land here, there are in aggregate about 12,000 empty seats on those international planes. Now, is someone seriously suggesting that they should be able to pick up domestic passengers? They would be able to sort of offer them at discounted rates and wipe out Qantas and Ansett. That means 12,000 seats that Qantas and Ansett wouldn’t have.

Does America do that? No way in the world. Qantas can take me to Los Angeles, but when I get to Los Angeles, I can’t fly Qantas, no way in the world. Qantas goes on to New York, I am not. It goes on with empty seats, because America say, the domestic aviation industry will be protected for domestic aviation carriers.737 Mr Jones’ Submission to the Hearing In addition to the general submissions made by Mr Jones, Mr Jones also made the following

submission in relation to this broadcast:

The broadcast does not differentiate between Qantas and Ansett.738 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.739 The Panel’s Findings The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It purports to concern matters focussing on political 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’ commercial agreement with Qantas was not disclosed in the broadcast.

The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:

♦ the issue was of concern to Qantas. Mr Shirley gave evidence that he spoke with Mr Jones about the issue and sent him a note ‘outlining the main points’;740 and Exhibit 86, p. 40.

Submission made by Mr Alan Jones, paragraph 188.

Submission made by 2UE – Alan Jones Broadcasts – Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, C15.

Transcript, Mr Shirley, p. 381.

♦ the broadcast was favourable to Qantas: although the issue was not differentiated between Qantas and Ansett, Mr Shirley gave evidence that he was pleased with the outcome of his representations to Mr Jones regarding the issue.741 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.



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