Thursday, November 25, 2010

On the QT: And now the end is… near

This was meant to be the last sitting day of the Parliament.  It won’t be, due to debate about procedure and debate – or as Lyndal Curtis nicely put it on Twitter:

Both Chambers of Fed Parliament now talking about what they'll talk about. #thisyearwillneverend

Annabel Crabb also described the process beautifully:

This is all a bit how's your father. Senate doing a suspension of standing orders to debate a motion that has not actually been disclosed

Here’s what was going on in the Senate this morning:

Motion to suspend standing orders to enable Senator Ludwig to move a motion to give precedence to a motion to vary the hours of meeting and routine of business for today.

Commenced 9:31 AM
Agreed to Senate divided: Ayes 34; Noes 32

Motion - that the motion to vary the hours of meeting and routine of business may be moved immediately and have precedence over all other business today until determined

Senator Ludwig moved that the question be put - agreed to (Senate divided: Ayes 34; Noes 32)
Commenced 10:14 AM
Agreed to Senate divided: Ayes 34; Noes 32

Motion to vary the hours of meeting and routine of business

Points of order were raised and the President responded
Commenced 10:27 AM

Motion to suspend standing orders to enable Senator Brandis to take note of the President's response

Senator Ludwig moved that the question be put - agreed to (Senate divided: Ayes 34; Noes 32)
Commenced 10:35 AM
Negatived Senate divided: Ayes 32; Noes 34

Motion to vary the hours of meeting and routine of business

Senator Ludwig moved that the question be put - agreed to (Senate divided: Ayes 34; Noes 32)
Commenced 10:54 AM
Agreed to Senate divided: Ayes 37; Noes 35

Motion to suspend standing orders to allow Senator Brandis to move a motion to amend the variation to the hours of meeting and routine of business

Senator Ludwig moved that the question be put - agreed to (Senate divided: Ayes 37; Noes 35)
Commenced 11:27 AM
Negatived Senate divided: Ayes 35; Noes 37

Motion to suspend standing orders to enable Senator Macdonald to move a motion to amend the variation to the hours of meeting and routine of business was ruled by the President as out of order
Commenced 11:48 AM

Senator Macdonald moved to suspend standing orders to take note of the ruling
Senator Evans moved that the question be put - agreed to (Senate divided: Ayes 36; Noes 34)
Commenced 11:50 AM
Negatived Senate divided: Ayes 34; Noes 36

S0 it was 12:14 before the Senate actually got round to discussing any actual business

All this is because the Opposition does not want to vote on the “No. 1–Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010”. This is the Bill to split Telstra – something that the Liberal Party is actually in favour of. The Liberal Party are hoping to filibuster long enough to delay the vote on the Bill till next year – thus allowing them to say the Government doesn't deliver on promises.

As I write the bill is in committee going through a raft or amendments. They’ll be back tomorrow and the House will be back on Monday to (hopefully) vote on the Bill.

It is the type of bullshit that makes people look at the Parliament and think, why do we elect these arse hats?

Unfortunately due to a variety of  reasons (mostly to do with being a Dad!) I haven’t been able to catch much of Question Time today. It doesn’t matter because today some policy actually got announced (once again by Senator Conroy). This was to do with the anti-siphoning list for sport on TV.

Rather amazingly he has come up with a list that the Free TV broadcasters, Pay TV operators and the AFL and NRL are pretty much happy with.

Free TV are happy because they are allowed to now show sport like AFL games and Australian Open tennis on their multi-channels. Pay TV are happy because it looks like they’ll get 4 AFL games and possibly 5 NRL games a week. The AFL and NRL are happy because they don’t need to just sell to the Free-to-Air stations, and thus can get a nice big broadcasting deal.

The new list is actually two lists – Tier A which is all the culturally vital events – Melbourne Cup, Test Matches in Australia, AFL and NRL Grand Finals (but not the NRL State of Origin). One Day Matches are still on this list which marks it as a tad out of date, but no matter, Twenty-20 matches are, but only those involving Australia in Australia, so if a decent Twenty-20 champions league takes off in Australia that won’t be on this list.

These events are “required be shown first on a free-to-air broadcaster’s main channel (with concessions to allow coverage of overlapping events, or where an event overlaps with the news).”

The events on this list must also be shown live: “they will mandate live coverage of all marquee listed events and permit only minimal delays in coverage of regionally significant events”.

The second list – Tier B has events like the Olympics, Wimbledon, normal AFL and NRL games etc. These events are those which “free-to-air broadcasters may premier on a free-to-air multi-channel”.

The events on this list must be shown within 4 hours – so yes, non-Rugby League states might still get the State of Origin at Midnight.

This policy doesn’t mean we will now see all the tennis from the Australian Open, nor does it mean the end of coverage being cut to go to the news. Yes they might show them on their multi-channel, but they’ll only do that if what they would have been showing on their multi-channel (Go! GEM, 7TWO etc) would not rate as well as (for eg) the tennis. All stations care about is ratings. The rest is just background noise. So I don’t trust that this will suddenly lead to us seeing a lot more sport live. After all Channel 7 during the Beijing Olympics got Matt White to lie to viewers about the fact that they were not showing Steve Hooker winning the Gold Medal in the Pole Vault live – and that had nothing to do with the anti-siphoning list – it was just because they are crap broadcasters who treat viewers of sport with contempt (as they did again this year for the Bathurst 1000).

But let’s be a little bit optimistic. At least Conroy has come up with a list that makes some degree of sense – unlike the old one that had events like the French Open tennis on it.

I leave the Parliament year with some long viewing (about 30 minutes) but it is well worth it. It is Lindsay Tanner interviewing George Megalogenis on the impact of polls and the 24 hours media cycle on politics. It is great viewing.

9 comments:

NucMed said...

What is Crabb on about? Or doesn't she understand the euphemistic meaning of "how's your father"?

Just to spell it out, it means sex.

Now, replace "It's all a bit how's your father" with "Sex".

How does that work?

OK, the inappropriate and bastardised use of euphemisms aside, how is it that the conservative clowns in the Senate are allowed to get away with subverting the "will" of the "people" by doing nothing but utilising spoiling tactics to delay the vote (and a vote for something of such national import)?

I cannot understand how they feel that doing this covers them with anything other than ordure, although, I suppose some of the population may well be just treat this as BAU (Business As Usual).

Has the populace abandoned all their critical faculties to the mindless commercial and partisan kant and drivel spouted through the Murdoch controlled media?

I despair, I truly do .....

codeka said...

@NucMed: Annabel was just REALLY enjoying all the filibuster...

I honestly think Question Time doesn't get enough exposure to most people. If QT was more widely watched, these kinds of things would simply not happen.

NucMed said...

@codeka Hell, that's another dictat I will need to put in place when I become king of the world, all will watch QT, along with my primary dictat, conscription of all school-leavers to work for twelve months in a major inner-city hospital casualty department.

That should sort them out ...

jreidy said...

The NBN bill has just passed the senate (Fri 26/11) at around 1pm.
The vote was 30 to 28 - so I guess there was some pairing.
I hope all of the coalition senators who were delaying the vote were present and didn't skip off early.

Greg Jericho said...

NucMed I took it as Annabel writing in a very nice way: "This is all a bit f**ked"

Greg Jericho said...

jreidy - I do know Sarah Hansen-Young was one of the pairs.

NucMed said...

@Greg Jericho: I suppose that is one interpretation (at a stretch), although I took it to mean, and I have heard the euphemism used for this before by a number of other people, "all a bit average" or "a bit of a mess".

When explained to them the original (and correct) usage, they've been horrified and said, "oh no, that's not what I meant at all".

Sadly the use of language has degenerated (it doesn't help when those in the public eye use "back-flip" when what they actually mean is "about face") and, one would think, the likes of Annabel Crabb, being, I assume (possibly incorrectly), a properly educated person, able to use the language to communicate her ideas and thoughts unambiguously. Correct usage of the vernacular, most definitely falls into that remit.

But, hey, great first step for the passing of the bill to finally dismember the Telstra octopus and hopefully allow some movement towards the NBN becoming a fait accompli to the benefit of all.

rashid1891 said...

Free TV are happy because they are allowed to now show sport like AFL games and Australian Open tennis on their multi-channels. Pay TV are happy because it looks like they’ll get 4 AFL games and possibly 5 NRL games a week. The AFL and NRL are happy because they don’t need to just sell to the Free-to-Air stations, and thus can get a nice big broadcasting deal.

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