What the ABA says; What Govt doesn’t say

Not surprisingly, the ABA is investigating the source of the leaked draft report.

In a statement, it says the document never went before the ABA Board and does not represent its views:

“The Australian Broadcasting Authority has become aware that the ABC TV program, Media Watch, has obtained a copy of an internal working document, relating to the ABA’s investigation into Telstra’s sponsorship of the Alan Jones’ program on commercial radio service, 2GB Sydney.

The document is in the form of an initial draft report on the investigation. It was prepared by a relatively junior officer of the ABA and submitted to senior ABA staff in December 2003 for clearance to proceed to the ABA board. Senior management did not approve the paper and a substantially different draft was ultimately submitted to the ABA board, in February 2004.

The document obtained by Media Watch has not been before the ABA board and does not represent the views of the board or any of its members.

It contains confidential third party information that has not been provided to relevant parties for comment, as required by law. The ABA has asked Media Watch to respect the confidentiality of the document, which would appear to have been illegally or improperly supplied to the program.

The ABA’s views are canvassed fully in its report of the investigation, ‘Investigation relating to sponsorship of the Alan Jones’ program on Radio 2GB, pursuant to an agreement between Telstra Corporation and Macquarie Radio Network Pty Ltd,’ released in April 2004.

The ABA is investigating the circumstances behind the apparent leakage of an internal working document.”

Outgoing Communications’ Minister, Daryl Williams, has declined to comment on the matter: “Until I’ve been briefed, I don’t want to make any comment about it.

“It seems to be that it’s likely to be a matter that should be left with the ABA; it’s within their realm of responsibility and, on that basis, I suspect when I’m properly briefed, the Government won’t be saying anything.

“Any further investigation is up to the ABA. I think Professor Flint’s view is that the processes were proper and the matter is concluded.”