Added by Nigel Shelbourne on August 17, 2011
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has not made up her mind whether or not she would support an enquiry into possible telephone line tapping in Australia by the media. However, Ms Gillard is ready to support reform when it comes to defamation law that would cover complaints against the media.
Speaking on the issue at a caucus meeting in Canberra on Monday afternoon Ms Gillard said that the scandal of the News of the World had appalled her but added that there was no evidence of phone tapping by the Australian media.
An international debate was triggered by the telephone hacking scandal over standards adopted by the media and the necessary need for people to seek redress from media establishments.
Ms Gillard was unable to comment on her stand regarding Greens Senator, Bob Brown’s strong suggestion for an enquiry into the scandal. The Prime Minister did say that there were legitimate issues with the Australian media and there is a need for healthy discussion on the subject.
Stephen Conroy, the Communications Minister and Senator Brown are scheduled to meet again this week to discuss the issue. However, the Prime Minister was not ready to commit to backing an enquiry when backbencher, John Murphy, urged her to do so yesterday.
When media persons asked her about the move by News Limited to conduct an audit of its journalistic operations Ms Gillard expressed he confidence in the move but added that the main concerns were how to improve Australians access to redress for defamation, especially for people who do not have the money to move the courts, and whether new regulations are required to deal with convergence of media and advancement in technology.
Ultimately the Prime Minister stated that cabinet had yet to decide whether or not to back an enquiry.