by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Panpa Bulletin : May 2006
10 | PaNPa bULLETIN May 2006 itably lessen the adversarial na- ture. Clearly this is an assump- tion that would not be made by any one who has been subject to a Michelle Grattan interview or who has watched me pound- ing away in Parliament. "But despite examples of such 'unladylike' conduct, it has been assumed that women are more likely to co-operate, are more likely to be seekers of consensus and bringers of har- mony. It has always seemed to me this world view is as sexist as the world view that says women stay home and men work. "Women have every capacity to make adversarial institutions our own. And whether the pas- sion that drives us is a belief in Labor values or the pursuit of truth in a newspaper expose, women are as capable as men of pursuing that passion. "The difference that women make is not an outbreak of sug- ar and spice and all things nice. Women have different life expe- riences to men. They are con- fronted with different choices. The difference women in the parliament and in the press gal- lery make is simply that they are informed by being women, they can know and talk and write about those things which are and will always be uniquely part of a woman's life experience. "But in arguing that wom- en have unique perspectives to bring, we should not end up arguing that those unique perspectives define particular roles for women. We should ex- pect women to break all stere- otypes. For women to aspire to be Defence Minister as much as they as aspire to be Minister for Families and Community Serv- ices, to want to be in war zones reporting from the front line as much as editing the lifestyle section. Our changing world "My life-time, and yours, has seen a great deal of change for the better in women's opportu- nities. There is still more to do. But as we struggle onwards, the world in which we struggle is changing, rapidly and inexora- bly. "For those of us who love our newspapers, who can't think of a better start to the day than reading the newspapers -- and then chucking them across the room in disgust -- it is hard to imagine a world without news- papers. But some are inviting us to do so. "The editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger has colourfully said in respect of competition from the internet and par- ticularly Craig Newmark's free community internet advertis- ing board craigslist that 'New- mark has tanks on our lawn. His business model threatens to wipe out newspapers around the world. Serious journalism is an expensive business and by providing adverts without edito- rial Newmark had disaggregated journalism from advertising. However much we love news- papers, it's not entirely clear how they can go on doing the things they have traditionally done if the main planks of their economic existence are being gradually - or not so gradually - kicked away.' "Australian newspaper pro- prietors would understand the threat to which Rusbridger re- fers with the Online Advertising Expenditure Report showing a total of $620 million was spent on online advertising last year. This was a 60 per cent increase on the previous period, which was in turn 64 per cent ahead of 2003. "Clearly, in view of these trends Australian newspaper proprietors are embracing a fu- ture where content is the asset and content will be available from a number of platforms of which traditional newspapers may only be one and an increas- ingly boutique one. In fact a recent Roy Morgan poll shows that the web sites of the major newspaper publishers are the most popular sources for online news. "People may still look to their daily newspaper for informa- tion, but they read it in a differ- ent format. The new format also allows them to stay abreast of news developments during the day without leaving their desks. In this new multimedia environ- ment, news organisations have to compete harder than ever to maintain and increase their ex- isting audience share and this is an increasingly difficult task for traditional news providers. "It is important that we in pol- itics also understand this change and acknowledge that what was previously known as the 'daily news cycle' is now looking more like the 'hourly news cycle'. "When Australians go online for news their main sources are Fairfax or News Ltd., the two gi- ants of print media in Australia. In 2005, 1,198,000 Australians visited a Fairfax News website at least once every four weeks, just ahead of the 1,160,000 who vis- ited a News Ltd. news website, according to the Roy Morgan Internet Monitor. Next in line was ninemsn and the ABC with around 1 million visitors each. better co-operation "It is clear that the changing world of media technology is not just a problem for media barons. In Australia there is no single credentialed website for health and health information. "In May 1999 the Victorian Government created the Better Health Channel to provide the community with access to on- line health related information which is quality assured, reliable, up-to-date and locally relevant. All health fact sheets on the Bet- ter Health Channel are subject to a rigorous approval process which includes a content part- ner, staff from the Department of Human Services and a final overview of all fact sheets by Vic- toria's former Chief Health Of- ficer, Dr Graham Rouch. All fact sheets are reviewed annually, some more frequently. "Federally the Government has HealthInsite, which aims to improve the health of Austral- ians by providing easy access to quality information about hu- man health. In line with the Gov- ernment's strategy of delivering services via the Internet by 2001, HealthInsite was conceived to bridge the gap between the in- creasing potential for consum- ers to access health information via the Internet, and the absence of quality control of web infor- mation. "Content is provided through information partnerships es- tablished between HealthInsite and selected organisations pro- viding quality information on their websites. Organisations and websites whose content has been proposed for access through HealthInsite must go through the process for the As- sessment of Content for Health- Insite and be approved by a highly qualified Editorial Board. "Clearly, there is a need for Commonwealth/State co-op- eration in the provision of one quality site which contains health information and promo- tion upon which Australians can rely. Such a quality internet site, with which people became familiar, could be an important information vehicle in the case of a genuine health emergency like avian flu. "However, the provision of ac- curate information about con- temporary health debates could also be a feature of such a site. Not government propaganda, not one side of the debate, but accurate and reliable informa- tion. Conclusion "I am sure there is a PhD topic for someone on the media cover- age of the RU 486 debate and the effect of women journalists on the public debate. That is not my field of expertise! But as manag- er of Opposition Business in the House, counting heads on a vote certainly is in my field. And there is no doubt in my mind that the women in the House and the Senate made a difference. The result shows that while women clearly do not all think the same way, we also clearly do not think the same way as men. "Women in parliament, just like women in the press gallery, are neither better nor worse people than our male colleagues; we are neither better nor worse at our jobs. We do not have a single con- sciousness or a single agenda. We are not a Borg collective! But many of us have many things in common: experienc- es, choices, fears and hopes that our male colleagues may sympathise with but will nev- er share. "We deserve, and Austral- ia needs, to have our voices heard." australia needs womens’ voices