Thursday, 18 February 2021
Statements by Members
News Media and Digital Platforms
There is shock and dismay in my community about the sudden ban on accessing news via Facebook. Small local papers like the Blue Mountains Gazette, the Hawkesbury Gazette and the Hawkesbury Post really feel they're going to suffer. It is a total mess. It's not just news sites that are banned; it's also other information that's vital to my community, information about health and emergencies. It's understandable that there is anger towards Facebook for what they've done in pulling the rug out from under people, but the people who are truly responsible for this are the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts. They've spent all week cock-a-hoop about what great deals they were going to get done with Google and Facebook, and only three days ago the Treasurer was name-dropping about his phone calls with the heads of those organisations. He assured us on this side that the code was workable; they were his assurances. It certainly doesn't look that way now. The Treasurer didn't haven't a clue it was going to go pear-shaped, or so he says. He was so busy patting himself on the back, but he's no so cocky today. The reality is that the Treasurer and the minister for communications have created this situation. They are the ones who now need to do what never happens on the other side: they need to step up, find a solution and get this mess fixed.