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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 62 ] --

Here’s a good story. Rockdale Council are getting behind educating the elderly in the use of electronic banking and organise some of the banks, the ones which are staying in the area, to hold an Education Day today at the Town Hall, Rockdale Town Hall, from 10 until 2. Alan Crouch, the Colonial State Bank franchisee at Rockdale tells me that he and his team along with ANZ, Westpac and St George will be there to meet with the public.

It will be a chance if you are not up to speed on electronic banking to have a chat, away from the pressure of the bank, to speak with the bank staff and to learn about the new way that CSB.0001.0043 money is dispensed. So there you are. Town Hall, Rockdale Town Hall today, Thursday from 10 until 2. You can find out about electronic banking.

Alan Crouch and his team from Colonial State Bank will be there. How do I know that? They told me. It’s at Rockdale Town Hall. Anyone can go along from 10 until 2. Learn all about electronic banking and how it can be used to your benefit and you can ask whatever questions as you like. 10 until 2 today at the Rockdale Town Hall.1079 Colonial State Bank’s Submission to the Hearing It is also asserted that this broadcast was evidence of the broadcast of an advertisement for CSB presented as a news programme or other programme. This cannot be supported. A review of the transcript of the broadcast does not reveal anything in the nature of an advertisement - if it does, it is presumably an advertisement for CSB, ANZ, Westpac and St George. Properly understood, the broadcast is no more than an accurate recitation of an event of importance in the community, which recitation involved the mention, incidentally, of CSB as well as competitors of CSB. Alan Jones did not tell his listeners not to talk to the competitors of CSB who would be at the meeting. Alan Jones was being accurate when he introduced the broadcast with the words ‘here is a good story’. It was precisely that, it was not an advertisement. A final point to notice about the broadcast when considering this complaint is that Alan Jones expressly noted that his information came from CSB - ‘How do I know that?

They told me...’. The complaint should be dismissed.1080 Mr Jones’ Submission to the Hearing

Mr Jones made the following submission:

The references to the Bank as the source of the information in the broadcast make it clear that the broadcast was a public announcement designed by the Bank to attract attention. There is nothing in the content that suggests that it is news or other program.1081 2UE’s Submission to the Hearing

In addition to 2UE’s general submissions, 2UE has made the following submission:

The broadcast is a straightforward endorsement of a particular service. It would be received by the audience as advertising.1082 The Panel’s Findings

The Panel finds that this matter is an advertisement because:

♦ it is calculated or designed to promote the education day and electronic banking services.

Mr Jones indicates that the education day is ‘a chance if you are not up to speed on electronic banking to have a chat, away from the pressure of the bank, to speak with the CSB.0001.0043 Submission made by Colonial State Bank, paragraph 24.2.

Submission made by Mr Alan Jones, paragraph 225.

Submission made by 2UE – Alan Jones Broadcasts – Breach of Clause 3.1(a) of Code of Practice 3, A1 bank staff and to learn about the new way that money is dispensed.’ The mention of competitors of Colonial State Bank does not mean that it does not promote Colonial State Bank. 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 franchisee1083; and ♦ valuable consideration was provided to Mr Jones by Colonial State Bank.

The Panel finds that this advertisement has been presented as an ‘other program’ for the

following reasons:

♦ it has the characteristics and content of a current affairs program;

♦ it purports to concern matters relating to economic and social issues of relevance to the community, namely electronic commerce; and ♦ Mr Jones introduced the broadcast as ‘other program’ matter. Mr Jones stated, ‘Here’s a good story’.1084 Therefore, the Panel does not accept 2UE’s submission that the broadcast would be received by the audience as advertising.

The Panel finds that 2UE breached clause 3.1(a) 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’:1085 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.1086 CSB.0001.0043 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.

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.1087 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:

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 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 stated that it is ‘a damn good idea … Well done.’1088 Mr Jones’ Submission to the Hearing

Mr Jones made the following submission:

The item contains an interview with a bank officer. The subject matter, namely the opening of a new bank branch, makes it clear that the broadcast was designed to attract public attention or to bring in custom. The broadcast does not contain any expression of opinion. The only CSB.0003.0475 Exhibit 86 p 9; CSB.0003.0501 Exhibit 86, p. 9; CSB.0003.0501 possible reason for the participation of the bank employee in the interview could have been to attract public attention to the new branch. In those circumstances there is no room for confusion.1089 The Panel’s Findings

The Panel finds that this matter is an advertisement because:

♦ it is calculated or designed to promote the Colonial State Bank services. Mr Jones broadcasts information regarding the new services offered, for example, ‘Extended trading hours Monday to Saturday 8 to 10 pm - 8am to 10pm - and on Sundays 8am to 8pm’1090 and ‘…Banking, insurance and investment. As I said face to face tellering but full private consultation around the other products’.1091 Mr Jones praises the new service, ‘see the hours are fantastic aren’t they’ and ‘a damn good idea … Well done.’1092; and ♦ valuable consideration was provided to Mr Jones by Colonial State Bank.

The Panel finds that this advertisement has been presented as an ‘other program’ for the

following reasons:

♦ it has the characteristics and content of a current affairs program;

♦ it purports to concern matters relating to economic and social issues of relevance to the community, namely banking; and ♦ it was presented as an interview.

The Panel does not accept 2UE’s submission that ‘the only possible reason for the participation of the bank employee in the interview could have been to attract public attention to the new branch’.1093 While the interviewee’s position is declared, Mr Jones’ interest is not.

The Panel finds that 2UE breached clause 3.1(a) of the Codes.

Optus Administration Pty Limited INTERVIEW WITH MR COUSINS, 14 MARCH 1996 Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 14 March 1996, Mr Jones conducted the following interview with Mr Cousins:

MR JONES: Yesterday Optus Vision announced that they would be sponsoring Rugby League until the next century, until the year 2000 and there is a perception out there that all of this is Submission made by Mr Alan Jones, paragraph 226.

Exhibit 86, p. 9; CSB.0003.0501 Exhibit 86, p. 9; CSB.0003.0501 Exhibit 86, p. 9; CSB.0003.0501 Submission made by Mr Alan Jones, paragraph 226.

very difficult to understand, because somehow News Ltd are so big and Telstra are so big and who is this little Optus Vision? So I thought we’d have a word with the Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Cousins, from Optus Vision because the perception is quite different from the reality. Optus Vision, little Optus Vision, how little are they?

GEOFF COUSINS: Not too little. If you add up the market capitalisation of the shareholders in Optus and Optus Vision, it comes to about double that of News Ltd and Telstra added together, so I think we can say we’re going to bring a bit of force and stability to the Rugby League.

MR JONES: It’s not just, though, pay TV that fundamentally you’re into, is it? You are a telephony business.

MR COUSINS: What we are doing, Alan, as we roll out our cable network, is we are building the second telephone network in Australia. We’re going to bring cheaper local phone calls.

Wherever that cable goes, you are going to get cheaper local phone calls for the first time in the history of this country.

MR JONES: Just as we got reductions in STD charges.

MR COUSINS: Absolutely. STD charges are very important to a lot of people but the local telephone network is a lifeline service for many people; for old people in the community, for lots of small businesses, and to say, for the first time you going to get real competition there instead of those prices going up and up and up every year, we’re actually going to reduce the cost of the local phone call.

MR JONES: Isn’t that the most powerful argument against any suggestion that anyone would impose a cost based on time for local calls? I mean, the competitor wouldn’t allow it, surely.

MR COUSINS: We are not going to have timed local calls for residential customers. I can state that categorically, and all this talk about if Telstra is privatised, will time calls, instead of just having a 25 cent call, or a lower price in our case, will that change and you’ll have to pay by the minute, I can give you categoric assurance that when the Optus local telephone network comes on, we will not have timed local calls for residential customers.

MR JONES: What about all this business before the courts about laying overhead cables?

How did that all come about?

MR COUSINS: We paid the Federal Government $800 million for a licence to build this second telephone network. They asked us to build it, we’re building it in accordance with a federal law and any suggestion that we are doing anything improper is quite wrong. We were asked to build the network and we built it under a federal law. Some of the local councils don’t like that because they like the idea that if you’ve got to put a fence in your backyard you go and draw a little plan and get their approval.

MR JONES: Yes, they want to be involved in everything, but I mean, you’d go berserk trying to establish a telecommunications empire and getting the permission and consent of every local council around the country, wouldn’t you?

MR COUSINS: You simply couldn’t do it. You would never have had the first telephone network and that, of course, is why the Federal Government – and this was supported by both political parties.

MR JONES: This was the Keating Government.

MR COUSINS: Yes, the Keating Government did it but supported by the Liberal Party at the time – why they wrote into this Act exemptions for people building this national – MR JONES: In other words, get on with it. It’s so important to battling Australians. So, in other words, if there is a slowdown in the installation of the overhead cables, there is going to be an equivalent slowdown in people’s access to cheaper local calls.

MR COUSINS: Exactly so. And indeed, even slowing things down puts our business at risk, to a degree, so we don’t want that and I don’t believe most Australians want it.



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