Australia Network Debate

1. Changes for Australia Network, By Sid Maher, The Australian

A DECISION on the tender for the federal government’s Australia Network has been put back six months and responsibility for the decision stripped from Kevin Rudd’s Foreign Affairs Department and handed to cabinet.

In a joint release, Julia Gillard, Mr Rudd and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said last night the tender process had been amended for the Australian Network, the foreign television service which broadcasts into 45 Asian and Pacific markets.

They said the ABC’s current contract, which was due to expire on August 8, would be extended until February …

The government cited “changed international circumstances” and said tenders would have to address meeting Australia’s interests in key emerging markets and the political transformation in the Middle East and North Africa.



2.  Australian sports and business communities in South East Asia concerned about cessation of telecasts

Kevin Rudd’s  Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade determined that the price of its next 10-years subsidy to the operators of the Australia Network, commencing this year, would be the substantial reduction of sports broadcasting.

The Australian communities in Asia have written letters on this issue to Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Affairs Minister Rudd.  I attach two recent letters expanding upon these issues:

(i) Australian Business Asia, the umbrella group for the Australian bilateral chambers in 16 Asian countries (email: [email protected],

(ii) Jakarta Bintangs FC, the main Australian football club in Indonesia, which also manages the junior development program for AFL Indonesia (email:[email protected]. web:


3. Action still needed

According to AusNet’s CEO, Bruce Dover,  “DFAT has indicated in the associated tender documents that in any case in the future, sports programming on the channel should be limited, as ‘much of the Sports [football] historically shown appeal more to the expatriate community rather than the target audience.’ Consequently, sports programming – be it NRL, rugby or AFL – will be significantly restricted on the channel after August 2011.”

Objections should be emailed to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard at;  Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy at[email protected]; Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, at [email protected]; and probably your local Australian Ambassador.


Geoffrey Gold, CEO Asia

Sports Dynamics Asia |


The following are letters of concern submitted in response to the proposed changes.



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