Visiting the annual newspaper industry conference currently being held on the Gold Coast, Rudd delivered a wide-ranging speech, which outlined the achievements of his nine-month-old government as well as several programmes that have yet to be implemented.
“[The advent of new media and their use] is having a profound impact on your profession, just like it’s having a profound impact on my profession,” he said.
The PM gave as an example his own family, in which he is the only member to read a newspaper every day, claiming to enjoy the act of reading the paper itself. His wife, Therese, and their three children now access their news requirements online every day and do not read newspapers. This, he said, was probably typical of many families, of PANPA delegates themselves, and of many families around the country.
Symptomatic of this shift was the closure of The Bulletin after 128 years of publication, as well as the axing of Channel Nine TV programme Sunday, which had aired for well over 20 years.
These changes in news demand to one of 24-hour coverage and access, “represent a whole new set of challenges for government”, he said. It also meant many new challenges for news providers.
Rudd also pointed to his government’s proposed changes to Freedom of Information laws, in which ministers would no longer have the right to withhold documents simply to avoid political embarrassment. He also said laws shielding journalists from legal action would be strengthened to protect them from political or commercial interference.
But the thrust of the PM’s keynote address was that the key to Australia’s future prosperity lay in education, for both children very early in their lives and adults looking for new career skills. His much-publicised ‘education revolution’ was necessary for the economy to prosper, “for a stronger Australia and a fairer Australia.”
Comment below to have your say on this story.
If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at [email protected]
Sign up to the Sprinter newsletter