Tuesday 17th of September 2019

Institute of Public Affairs

I seem to surprise myself with what I find. I heard about the IPA's campaign against NGOs. I visited their website and am absolutley surprised at what I saw. Living in a small country town, I was under the impression that rednecks and hard core conservatives hated the environment and academics (going to the "People and Associates" section I was surprised at the alleged academic credentials possessed by some members of the IPA!).

Furthermore I am stunned by what the IPA preaches (It accuses the environmental, women's and labour movements of moral preaching!). I am astonished at the stupidity of the Director of the IPA's environment unit, Dr Jennifer Marohasy. This would have to be an extremist minority view of climate change (The fact that we are living in one of the worst droughts on record ought to be enough evidence itself!) I would shudder to think what the rest of what would have to be described as Howard's elite have to say.

Interestingly enough Marohasy has launched the following Blog: www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog. Pay it a visit if you want to work on the know your enemy principle and if you feel like it let her know what you think about the IPA!

IPA: Australia's 13 biggest mistakes

This evening IPAs Chris Berg did a segment on ABC Radio National's Perspective program, talking about a recent publication Australia's 13 biggest mistakes. In the Perspective piece he only touched on a few of the 13, but the one which caught my interest the most was about Government regulation of broadcast media, and how bad it is. Now is probably a good time to point out that IPA is "Australias Leading Free Market Think Tank".

The particular quote of interest is "If a service like YouTube required government-managed airwaves to operate, rather than the free-for-all internet, there is no chance it would have been given a license to operate in Australia."

This annoys me because it is such an out of context misrepresentation of the situation. I'll prefix this by saying, I believe that by-and-large internet content should not be regulated, at least not in the traditional sense.

The Internet differs from broadcast mediums, because it is technically not a broadcast medium. A broadcast medium can only transmit one piece of content per "channel" (without interference), and there are limited numbers of "channels". Broadcast also suggests a passive interaction with the medium, which the internet certainly is not. If you don't like the content you are receiving on the internet, you can change website. Your not prescribed a schedule in the same way you are with broadcast mediums.

And finally, anyone (possibly with some technical assistance) can present material on the internet, and with a small investment can have a professional website. Where as with traditional broadcast mediums, entry costs, upkeep, quality, and reach are a far more expensive endeavour. Not everyone can buy in, and expect equal share of the market, which is to greater degree possible through the internet.

The long and short of it is, using the internet as an example of "free-market" broadcast model is, at best, misleading. If that is the best argument for deregulating the broadcast industry, then I think we'll keep our regulators.