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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 33 ] --

Now, $80 to American Airlines is better than what they get now which is nothing because those seats are empty as they’ve got rid of the passengers in Brisbane but you take those 80 seats every day out of those people who have flown by Qantas and Ansett to Melbourne and Qantas and Ansett have to go on the rocks. They can’t survive that unless Qantas are allowed to cart domestic passengers from Los Angeles to New York when they drop us off and then they go on to New York.

And until and when that happens, Qantas and Ansett are entitled to protest and the Australian Government needs to wake up to itself.754 Transcript, Mr Shirley, p. 381.

Transcript, Mr Shirley, pp. 381-382.

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.

The broadcast does not differentiate between QANTAS and its competitor.

There is no evidence that Qantas caused it to be broadcast.755 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’;756 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.757 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 notes 2UE’s submission that there is no evidence that Qantas caused the material to be broadcast by Mr Jones. The Panel does not accept this submission. Whether Qantas caused the material to be broadcast is irrelevant in this context.

Exhibit 86, p. 59.

Submission made by 2UE – Alan Jones Broadcasts – Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, C24 Transcript, Mr Shirley, p. 381.

Transcript, Mr Shirley, pp. 381-382.

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.

REASONS AGAINST PROCEEDING WITH THE BADGERYS

CREEK AIRPORT PROPOSAL

Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 15 June 1999, Mr Jones broadcast the following:

Just in relation to that caller who asked me about Badgerys Creek; I mean some of the things that just make it impossible to build an airport at Badgerys Creek in spite of all the huffing and puffing.

You could talk about air pollution, water pollution and transport and so on; there are no road or rail links; no supporting infrastructure there. A return taxi trip from the CBD would cost in the vicinity of $120. A rail link to build would cost anything up to $400 million. None of that’s there.

I mean, the former Labor Government extended the runway from the original 1800 metres to 2,900 metres but even that will only allow jets to land but not take off. It’s 600 metres too short. So, if you wanted to fly non-stop to Los Angeles you’d have to fly from Mascot.

And no major airlines, Qantas, Ansett, any of them, have expressed an interest in using Badgerys Creek and Government wouldn’t be able to force them to do so. And that’s why Ansett and Qantas are spending a fortune out at Kingsford Smith Airport.

And weather studies from the late 1980s show winter fogs, common in the area, last year pilots said fogs could close the airport for long periods and they’re also concerned about turbulence coming off the Blue Mountains during westerly winds.

I mean, in 1990 they estimated the cost at $3.5 billion. Adding infrastructure, then, would be $5.5 billion, that was ten years ago. Someone’s kidding, aren’t they? Badgerys Creek. So, they can talk about it but they won’t go further than that.758 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:

There is no differentiation between Qantas and Ansett.759 Exhibit 86, p. 61.

Submission made by Mr Alan Jones, paragraph 198.

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.760 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 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 Jones is aware that Qantas has not ‘expressed an interest in using Badgerys Creek’;761 and ♦ the broadcast was favourable to Qantas: although the issue was not differentiated between Qantas and Ansett, Qantas still benefits if the second airport at Sydney was not built.

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.

Submission made by 2UE – Alan Jones Broadcasts – Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, C25 Exhibit 86, p. 61.

INTERVIEW REGARDING THE BADGERYS CREEK AIRPORT

PROPOSAL, 1 JULY 1999 Material Broadcast by Mr Jones On 1 July 1999, Mr Jones conducted an interview with Mr Geoffrey Dixon, Deputy CEO of Qantas, Mr Kerry Bartlett, Federal Member for Macquarie and Mr Allan Ezzy, Chairman of Western Sydney Alliance. The interview concerned the proposal for a second airport at Badgerys Creek.

During the interview, Mr Jones provides a brief history of the second Sydney airport issue.

He comments that the final Environmental Impact Statement does not address all the environmental issues, based on submissions received from the public on the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

In discussion with Mr Dixon of Qantas it is established that Qantas is happy at Kingsford Smith and does not want to move to Badgerys Creek although Qantas does support a second airport somewhere in the Sydney basin.

The Hon. Mr Bartlett MP states the infrastructure problems are not dealt with in the study in enough detail. Increasing Kingsford Smith’s capacity is seen as the first step.

During the interview, the following was broadcast:

MR JONES: Nothing quite inflames public opinion anywhere as much as the prospect of having an airport in your backyard. Sydney are currently enveloped in such a debate with this long running saga about Badgerys Creek. A bit of history might help. Badgerys Creek was chosen as the site for Sydney’s major airport way back in 1986, 1700 acres were acquired subsequently by the Commonwealth.

Why a second Sydney airport? Well, they keep talking about current trends under which Kingsford Smith Airport – and I wish they would call Sydney Airport by its right name, Kingsford Smith, after all, isn’t Sir Charles Kingsford Smith worth remembering. It is not Sydney Airport as it appears in the Environmental Impact Statement. Kingsford Smith Airport they say will reach capacity in the year 2006, 2007, when demand is forecast to be 31 million passengers per year.

Currently 21.3 million aircraft passengers fly in and out of Sydney. Now, the notion of a second Sydney Airport dismisses Bankstown as incapable of handling major jet services, but it could handle small volumes of regional traffic. A very high speed train system to link major urban centres on the east coast of the country is not considered capable of replacing the need for additional airport facilities. Along the way, all potentially feasible alternative sites like Bringelly, Goulburn, Holsworthy, Londonderry, Somersby, Warnervale and Wilton have been chosen for evaluation. Badgerys Creek in that process was considered to be the best of the closest sites and Wilton, the best of the mid-distance sites.

Then in February, 1986, the then Commonwealth Government announced that Badgerys Creek had been elected as the site of the second Sydney Airport because it was closer to the market it was intended to serve. It would involve a lower development cost and would have less effect on the natural environment. That was 1986.

The notion of building an airport off the coast of Botany Bay, an offshore airport, is addressed in this report, but they say it won’t overcome the need for a second airport. The notion of a major airport built by the private sector on Kooragang Island at Newcastle and the private sector is certainly keen on this and so is Premier Carr, that is dismissed, because of its distance from Sydney.

Two points need to be made. This is not a recommendation for an airport to be built at Badgerys Creek. This is the final Environmental Impact Statement, though I have to say it doesn’t address all environmental issues, based on submissions received from the public on the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement on Badgerys Creek was released for a 14 week public exhibition period in December 1997. It was supported by 15 technical papers, which were also made available to the community and other stakeholders.

But all up, in all of this process, 15,650 submissions were received and fewer than one per cent of the authors of the submissions supported an airport at Badgerys Creek. Now, there are three options here none of which merits detailed analysis. The EIS doesn’t rank the options. It doesn’t make recommendations. All it is designed to do is to assist the decision-makers.

Well, some of the people involved in this process I have on the line. Kerry Bartlett, who is the Federal Member for the seat of Macquarie in the area. Geoff Dixon, who is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Qantas and Allan Ezzy, who is the Chairman of the Western Sydney Alliance. All of these people know an awful lot about the whole proposal. I will go to Kerry Bartlett the local member first. Kerry Bartlett, good morning. This is not a decision-making document, is it?

MR BARTLETT: No, it is not. It is simply outlines the possible impact of the construction and airport. It doesn’t give a recommendation one way or another.

MR JONES: It does say that we are currently handling 21.3 million aircraft passengers and by the year 2006, 2007, there will be 31 million passengers. Can Kingsford Smith do that job?

MR BARTLETT: Well, the limit at 2006 is based on a ‘do nothing’ option. If you manage Kingsford Smith more effectively, that time period can be expanded far beyond that.

MR JONES: Well, just stop there. Geoff Dixon is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Qantas. Geoffrey, good morning. Are we using Kingsford Smith to capacity? You have just spent $250 million on a brilliant new facility there.

MR DIXON: Well, they are certainly using it very, very well. I think there is a lot of argument whether it is used to full capacity. I suppose our position on this is that the airport should be allowed to develop to its maximum operating capacity.

MR JONES: But why build an airport at Badgerys Creek if Qantas aren’t going to go there?

You are presumably happy where you are. Why would you spend— MR DIXON: Happy where we are, that’s right. But we do believe there needs to be a second airport somewhere in the Sydney Basin, because everything you see leads to the point that we will need a second airport if Sydney is to remain as the pre-eminent destination within Australia.



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