Thursday 30 September 2021

The JobKeeper Rorts Scandal

JobKeeper has been in the news for many months. Introduced hastily at the end of March 2020, this Australian Government scheme to keep workers tied to their employers during the Covid downturn saved an estimated 700,000 jobs. Initially much of the discussion about JobKeeper related to the enormous $89 billion cost to the taxpayer, debate about winding the scheme back and then ending it as well as concern about how the resulting deficit was going to be reduced.

More recently the focus has been on whether all those entities which accessed the scheme were actually entitled to do so. Billion-dollar businesses were eligible if they suffered a 50% or more revenue shortfall while smaller businesses were eligible if their revenue fell by 30% or more. Entities could access the scheme by either demonstrating the revenue drop or forecasting a drop. Eligible businesses were provided with $1500 per fortnight for each of their employees.

It has become increasingly obvious over recent months that many businesses did not lose the stipulated revenue and yet still obtained JobKeeper.

The rush to set up the scheme, which quickly followed the Government’s reaction to the alarming image of thousands of workers lining up outside Centrelink offices, led to the failure to include an important safety requirement. It should have been stipulated that if the projected revenue shortfall did not eventuate, the money obtained should be reimbursed to the government – just as welfare recipients are legally required to return to the government any overpayments they receive.

The extent of overpayment has developed into a scandal that unsurprisingly is being referred to as a major rorting of the scheme.

According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, over the first six months of the scheme, $13 billion went to those entities whose earnings actually rose.

Among the list of those who were ineligible but stayed on the governmental gravy train and benefitted from this taxpayer funding were some major companies and very wealthy individuals. A few examples are Specsavers, Luxottica (owner of OPSM and Sunglasses Hut), car dealer A P Eagers, retailers Harvey Norman, Best & Less and Cotton On, private schools Wesley College, The Kings School and Brisbane Grammar, Bond University and New York University’s Sydney campus and the Australian Club in Sydney.

Many of these ineligible entities were able to post enormous profits which enabled them to increase shareholder dividends and give large executive bonuses.

While there is general appreciation of the role JobKeeper played in restricting the job loss from Covid restrictions and lockdowns last year, there has been increasing public concern about brazen rorting of the scheme and the government’s failure to urge the return of benefits from those who were not entitled to receive them.

Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury Andrew Leigh has been raising the issue in parliament and the media for months. He said, “JobKeeper overpayment is the single biggest waste of money in Australian history, and the Morrison government won’t do a thing to make it right.”

Some entities have voluntarily returned the benefits or part of them.

The publicity that has been given to those who have shamelessly kept money to which they were not entitled has been having some effect. Harvey Norman’s Gerry Harvey, who refused for months to return any Jobkeeper money, finally announced in August that the company would return $6.02 million in JobKeeper funds to the ATO. However, this repayment is less than a third of the estimated $22 million the company and its franchisees claimed in total. According to Andrew Leigh, “Harvey Norman has given us the best advertisement for more transparency into the secretive, rorted jobkeeper scheme.”

According to Dean Paatsch, a director of corporate advisory group Ownership Matters, 88% of the $225 million that companies are returning is from publicly listed companies. Paatsch also has concerns about the lack of transparency with JobKeeper saying it was “extraordinarily generous and had zero transparency compared to the US, UK, New Zealand and other European countries. The interesting thing is that transparency does have an effect in stopping people claiming benefits that they don’t need.”

While Opposition and Crossbench MPs have been raising the issue of waste, lack of transparency and unethical behaviour by those who should not have received JobKeeper funds, the Government has been unmoved. Months ago the Prime Minister referred to questions about the rorting of JobKeeper and calls for the government to take action to have money returned as “the politics of envy” – an incredibly insensitive and arrogant remark given the size of the debt the nation now has – let alone the financial hardship that many people on low incomes have been suffering during the pandemic.

While the extent of rorting by ASX listed companies has been revealed because of their public reporting requirements, there has been no transparency in relation to private entities. Senator Rex Patrick and others have tried to obtain a list of JobKeeper beneficiaries with an annual turnover of $10 million or more. This has been blocked by the Government and the ATO Commissioner. Ownership Matters says publicly listed companies accounted for just 3% of the entire JobKeeper program, which means that private companies accounted for 97%. So the community is not being given the opportunity to see how much rorting was undertaken by these private entities. And, unlike Harvey Norman and other public companies, these unknown rorters can avoid being shamed into returning any funds to which they were not entitled.

While nothing was built into the scheme to actually compel rorters to return money to which they were not entitled, the ATO is taking action to recover some of the money paid to some entities. However, it is unlikely that taxpayers will ever learn the real extent of the rorting - given the lack of transparency about the majority of the scheme’s beneficiaries.

Some light could be shone on the murkier aspects of the JobKeeper scheme as the Auditor-General is investigating the ATO’s administration of the program following a request Andrew Leigh made in December last year. The A-G’s report is due to be tabled in December this year.

The national JobKeeper debt is far greater than it should have been and will create budgetary difficulties well into the future – particularly if governments try to repair the deficit quickly by cutting back on services like health, welfare and education. With inequality and poverty already major problems in Australian society, the fall-out from the JobKeeper rorts debacle has the potential to exacerbate these problems.

As the Morrison Government was responsible for the design and operation of JobKeeper, it is responsible for the massive waste of rorted taxpayer funds. No amount of spin from the Prime Minister or the Treasurer can excuse its incompetence. With the election approaching, we can look forward to plenty of distractions to encourage the community to lose interest in this and all the other rorts as well as the vaccine supply and quarantine failures.

What will be particularly interesting about the election campaign will be whether the Coalition, which has always claimed it has been a “gold standard” economic manager, will have the effrontery to push this tired line after the JobKeeper rorts debacle.

One thing we can be sure of is that the rorters, the JobKeeper Bludgers, will still be laughing all the way to the bank.


Northern Rivers, NSW

Guest Speak is a North Coast Voices segment allowing serious or satirical comment from NSW Northern Rivers residents. Email ncvguestpeak at gmail dot com  to submit comment for consideration.

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Perhaps Australian Liberal Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, along with NSW Nationals Deputy Premier & Minister for Regional New South Wales, John Barilaro, might like to ask those 6,903 Northern NSW residents with a serious disability how they feel about their relegation to second-class citizenship in the middle of a global pandemic?


The Guardian, 27 September 2021:

The disability royal commission says governments should not lift lockdowns until all people with disability have had the “opportunity to be fully vaccinated” – even if states and territories hit the 70% fully vaccinated threshold.

In a scathing draft report handed down on Monday morning, the royal commission found the federal department of health’s approach to vaccinating people with disabilities had been “seriously deficient”.

People with disability living in shared accommodation, or “group homes”, were included in phase 1a of the vaccine rollout but then quietly “deprioritised” in favour of aged care residents.

The commission is now concerned people with disabilities will remain unprotected as states such as New South Wales and Victoria look to ease restrictions when 70% of the adult population is fully vaccinated next month.

In our view, it would be grossly unfair, indeed unconscionable, if any people with disability who have not been given the opportunity to be fully vaccinated by the time the 70% threshold is reached are denied the freedoms available to people who have been fully vaccinated,” the report said.

The unfairness is magnified once it is accepted – as it must be – that increased freedoms for the fully vaccinated increase the risk of contracting Covid-19 for people who are not fully vaccinated.

It is one thing for people who choose not to be vaccinated to be denied these freedoms; it is quite another for people who have been denied the opportunity to be fully vaccinated also to be denied those freedoms.”

The report said the federal government should “use its best endeavours” to ensure no state or territory “significantly eases restrictions” when the 70% threshold is met unless all people with disability “have and appreciate that they have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated”.

The commission singled out national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) participants, people living in residential disability accommodation and people with intellectual disability as key groups. It said all active disability support workers should also be fully vaccinated before lockdowns are lifted…..

Among all NDIS participants, not just those in group homes, 39.9% had been fully vaccinated at 15 September……

As at 30 June 2021 in Northern NSW, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) had 6,903 active participants (ranging from children to older adults) with diagnosed disabilities which included; Acquired Brain Injury, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delay, Global Developmental Delay, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Sclerosis, as well as other Neurological, Physical, Sensory & Speech disabilities.

Perhaps Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP Scott Morrison and NSW Deputy Premier, Nationals MP & Minister for Regional New South Wales, John Barilaro, might like to ask those 6,903 Northern NSW residents how they feel about their relegation to second-class citizenship in the middle of a global pandemic?

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Have NSW Premier & Liberal MP Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier & Nationals MP for Monaro John Barilaro closed their ears to an earnest cross party plea to protect the residents of Ballina, Byron Bay, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Richmond and Tweed Valley local government areas from COVID-19 infected travellers from Greater Sydney?

The question posed in the heading to this post appears to be yes - apparently neither Liberal leader Gladys Berejiklian nor National leader John Barilaro have listened to our concerns.

On or about 25 October fully vaccinated people - who as statistics demonstrate are still capable of becoming infected and infectious - will be free to travel into regional New South Wales. While from 1 December 2021 it is likely that even unvaccinated people will apparently be able to travel around the state.

Because on 27 September 2021 the NSW Premier & Liberal MP for Willoughby Gladys Berejiklian announced a three stage plan to open up the state once average full vaccination reaches 70 to 80 per cent of the total state population of those 16 years of age and older aka the ‘adult’ population.

The plan's alleged aim is that; Only fully vaccinated people and those with medical exemptions will have access to the freedoms allowed under the Reopening NSW roadmap.

At 70 per cent; Stay-at-home orders for fully vaccinated people will be lifted. Fully vaccinated residents will be allowed to have up to five people in their homes and the reopening of hospitality venues with a booking cap of 20 people per booking, retail, hairdressing and gyms will be allowed to re-open with tight density limits. This is expected to occur on or after 11 October 2021.

At 80 per cent; Fully vaccinated residents will be able to freely travel to the regions, they will be able have up to 10 people visit their home, participate in community sport, and access hospitality venues (where drinking while standing up will be allowed indoors). All premises will operate at 1 person per 4sqm indoors, and 1 person per 2sqm outdoors and, the limit of fully vaccinated guests for weddings and funerals will be lifted. Customer caps for personal services such as hairdressers will also be removedThis is expected to occur on or after 25 October 2021.

From 1 December 2021; Further changes will be introduced including all venues moving to the 2sqm rule, masks will not be required indoors at offices, indoor pools and nightclubs can reopen, and unvaccinated people will have greater freedoms. [my yellow highlighting]

The main problems with this staged plan is that: (i) a state-wide full COVID-19 vaccination average does not reliably denote a safe level of personal or local community immunity from infection, hospitalisation and/or death from this virulent disease; and (ii) not every region or local government area in NSW is likely to have reached 70 or 80 per cent of their resident population fully vaccinated by 11 to 25 October 2021.

Percentage of residents aged 15 years and over fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in North East New South Wales, according to the Australian Government Dept. of Health

As at 19 September 2021:

Ballina – 49% of a LGA ‘adult’ population of 37,124 (full resident population is est. 45,217 in 2020)

Byron Bay – 34.9% of LGA ‘adult’ population of 29,052 (full resident population is est. 35,773 in 2020)

Clarence Valley – 41.5% of LGA ‘adult’ population of 42,953 (full resident population is est. 51,730 in 2020)

Kyogle – 41.2% of LGA ‘adult’ population of 7,285 (full resident population is est. 8,788 in 2020)

Lismore – 38.5% of LGA ‘adult’ population of 35,892 (full resident population is est. 43,667 in 2020)

Richmond Valley – 41.8% of LGA ‘adult’ population of 18,938 (full resident population is est. 23,490 in 2020)

Tweed – 45% of LGA ‘adult’ population of 80,493 (full resident population is est. 98,382 in 2020)


*2021 LGA ‘adult’ population figures was calculated by the Australian Government based on the sreet address recorded for persons enrolled in Medicare.

**2020 resident populations estimations can be found at:



All five NE NSW Nationals, Liberal, Labor & Greens MPs ask Premier Berejiklian and Deputy-Premier Barilaro to adjust COVID-19 public health order by restricting non-essential travel to the region until it too reaches the 70% fully vaccinated target

Counting dead, battered & violated women and girls in 2020 to September 2021


Counting Dead Women Australia 2021. We count every known death due to violence against women in Australia: 32 by September 26.”  [This count relies on publicly available information published by media outlets.]

In June 2021 the Australian Bureau of Statistics released Australian crime statistics for 2020

A total of 396 homicides and related offences occurred between between 1 January and 31 December 2020. 

  • 131 of those or an est. 33 per cent of all victims were females.

  • Most of these homicides & attempted homicides occurred in a residential setting, including the family home.

  • A total of 99 of those 396 homicides and related offences occurred in New South Wales.

  • 25 of those 99 or an est. 25.25 per cent of all NSW victims were females.

  • Most of the women and girls were either related to the perpetrator or otherwise knew them.

The number of police recorded victims of family and domestic violence related sexual assault increased by 13 per cent in 2020, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics media release.

Close to two in five victims of sexual assault recorded by police throughout 2020 were FDV-related and, almost three quarters of FDV-related sexual assault victim-survivors were aged under 19 years at the time the incident occurred (71 per cent) and the majority were female (86 per cent). 

In NSW 81 per cent or 9,120 victims of sexual assault in 2020 were female and, around two in five (38 per cent) sexual assault incidents were FDV-related (4,288 victims).

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR), June 2021 Update:

Additionally, in NSW in 2020 an est. 30,506 females were the victims of assault and, a higher proportion of females (54% or 16,430 victims) were assaulted by a family member compared with males (24% or 8,263 victims).


Monday 27 September 2021

Team Morrison and The Voter in 2021


The Shot, 21 September 2021:

Great Scott: the grand narrative of Scott Morrison

...On one end of the scale, we have the people who believe the entire charade of politics is made up and if it’s not made up then the “mainstreameeja” must all be in on it with them, sort of like fake moon landers but without the flags. On the other end are the people who let information flow over them like a long shower, obliviously taking it all in, the type who truly believe Scott Morrison once saved a lady from near death on a Sydney beach because 2GB said so…..

What Team Morrison want you to think over and above anything else, above the policy and the pressers and the talk of Oh-My-God nuclear submarines and the twitter chatter, what they want you to think when you think of Scott Morrison, when you talk to your friends in the supermarket checkout or swap the goss in your Facebook groups, when you go to vote, they want you to think that Scott Morrison is a strong leader, a hero of our times. They want you to feel it and know it deep to your bones.

They want you to think that Scott Morrison is our own powerful leader, the one that will lead Australia out of this mess, and they want that image embedded deep down into your subconscious, without any annoying detail to bother you or meddle with your own private photo album.

How they do that is by casting a vast, barely tangible net up into the sky, a grand narrative net, one that says: “Scott Morrison is strong. Scott Morrison is a hero. Scott Morrison will save you.”

The way they keep that imagery afloat is by pumping it full of air and reinforcing it all the time, constantly, every day of every week of every month in every way. Scott is strong. Scott is our hero. Scott will lead us all to safety.

Think of Scott Morrison holding up a plane in Kabul to save a woman and her baby. Or at least that’s what the Daily Telegraph told us. I’m going to ignore the dry retching noises coming from the audience, you ungrateful cynics. What’s that? It didn’t happen? Of course, it didn’t happen.

Sometimes, the truth has nothing to do with pumping the net up. Sometimes it does. As De Niro snaps in Wag The Dog,“What difference does it make if it’s true?” If you learn anything from our imaginary TED Talk, learn that reality, like detail, has no real place in the political grand narrative…...

The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 September 2021:

Scott Morrison’s momentous national security announcement last week should have been a turning point for him and the government. Instead, because he delayed making one tough call, leaving himself open to accusations of backstabbing and deception from a great friend and ally, he robbed himself of a much-needed reset.

A few days later he again squibbed what should have been a straightforward decision involving a senior colleague, on a matter which goes to the heart of transparency and probity.

The way Scott Morrison dealt with the French, and Christian Porter, says much about his management style.CREDIT:DIONNE GAIN

Both were about trust. Both provided insights into the most troubling aspects of Morrison’s character and management style. Both have left a very bad smell.

The first was the big-bang unveiling of the new Anglospheric alliance – upending decades of diplomatic endeavours in Asia – which included the planned acquisition of nuclear submarines from the US or the UK.

By waiting until the night before the announcement to advise President Emmanuel Macron (Morrison’s office refuses to answer when asked if they actually spoke) he was torpedoing the $90-billion contract with France for conventional submarines, he guaranteed they went nuclear.

The second sounded like a transmission from a parallel universe. Morrison presented Christian Porter’s resignation from Cabinet as industry minister after refusing to disclose names of anonymous donors as the action of a man upholding standards.

At the end of March, Morrison could have, should have, relegated Porter to the backbench until his personal problems were resolved, rather than try to maintain the fiction the issue was fixed by his removal as attorney-general.

The fiction was compounded after Porter released his updated register of interests, then said he could not name donors to a blind trust helping pay the costs of his defamation suit against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan over the airing of historic rape allegations, which Porter vehemently denied.

Desperate to get some clear air for his major strategic announcement, soon befouled by the French, Morrison had tried to buy time by asking his department head, Phil Gaetjens, to advise on the bleeding obvious – whether Porter had conformed with the ministerial code of conduct.

Then on Sunday afternoon, without waiting for Gaetjens, Morrison hastily called a press conference to announce Porter had upheld those standards by opting to resign from the ministry.

He could have, should have, said Porter’s actions did not conform to the high standards expected of a member of his government and sacked him. But he didn’t. He also said Porter had disclosed the amount he had received. He hadn’t.

Incredibly, when asked whether Porter should remain in Parliament while in receipt of the money (given the disclosure rules which apply to all parliamentarians, requiring them to fess up to everything including freebie footy tickets), Morrison protested that had nothing to do with him because he was no longer Porter’s boss.

Of course. He is only the Prime Minister, the leader of the government and the leader of the Liberal Party…..

The AustralianNewspoll, 19 September 2021:

Sunday 26 September 2021

25th Annual Les Peterkin Portrait Prize, awards & commendations in September 2021

Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah:

Winning entries in the 2021 Les Peterkin Portrait Prize.

The Les Peterkin Portrait Prize (LPPP) is a collaborative project of Tyalgum Public School and the Tweed Regional Gallery, coordinated by Marianne Galluzzo. The LPPP is generously sponsored by the Tyalgum P&C Association, Friends of Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc., School Arts Supplies, Derivan and Bunnings South Tweed.

(11-13 years)
M.B., Colours of Me
Uki Public School

(8-10 years)
A.T., Hoodie Boy
St. Anthony's Primary School, Kingscliff

(5-7 years)
M.B., This is Me
Murwillumbah East Public School

(one of 10 presented)
K.S., Inner Dreaming
Centaur Public School, Banora Point

To see all the entries which received an award or commendation go to: 

"Well done!" to every young artist who participated. 

Clarence Catchment Alliance: The Clarence River and the significance of its important habitats

Friday 24 September 2021

All five NE NSW Nationals, Liberal, Labor & Greens MPs ask Premier Berejiklian and Deputy-Premier Barilaro to adjust COVID-19 public health order by restricting non-essential travel to the region until it too reaches the 70% fully vaccinated target


23 September 2021



The five NSW MPs representing the Northern Rivers have joined forces to ask the NSW Government to protect the region from a predicted influx of city "70 percenters" when Sydney reaches the Government's double vaccination target before the regions.

The Nationals' Chris Gulaptis (Clarence), Geoff Provest (Tweed) and Ben Franklin MLC as well as Labor's Janelle Saffin (Lismore) and the Greens Tamara Smith (Ballina) have for the first time ever jointly written to Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her Deputy, Nationals Leader John Barilaro.

"We are really concerned that, without policy changes, our region will suddenly become deeply vulnerable to a major influx of newly freed Sydneysiders, while we are still short of the 70 per cent safety target," the MPs write.

"This apprehension is shared by locally based medical professionals we have consulted as well as the broader community.

"We cross party MPs recognise that we are all in this together.

We therefore ask you to adjust public health orders to prevent this happening, by restricting non-essential travel to the North Coast until it too has reached the milestone."

The MPs describe their request as a "good health policy" which would give city dwellers a chance to say thank you to the regions for their support during Sydney's darkest hours over the winter by redirecting some of their vaccine supply to HSC students.

As Australia is now less than 3 months away from entering Year Three of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic and is expecting the announcement of a federal general election in the first quarter of 2022 (if not earlier) here is a brief look at how & where the general public obtains its political, social & health information


All information comes to an individual from eight main sources: family & friendship groups or teachers; professionals personally consulted on specific issues; government advertising, television news & public affairs programs; radio news & commentary; print newspapers; digital news websites; social media platforms & Internet search engines. 

Every source relays this information through a filter - either of personal experience or level of understanding, commercial interests of proprietors, editorial guidelines or content space constraints, potential legal consequences, the interests of a lobby group and sometimes of political allegiances or government policy aims.

Increasingly in the straightened economic times of the last four years, mainstream media appeared to heavily rely on government & industry media releases (often accompanied by digital-ready posed images) as a 'no cost' news item, which is published verbatim without source attribution. While salient points uncovered during exchanges with journalists during interviews and press conferences don't always escape the red pencil of an editor.

The political climate has in recent years also become less tolerant of investigative journalism, with threats of legal action, police raids on journalists' work places or homes becoming an issue to be considered and their social media presence often being constantly monitored. A number of bloggers, vloggers, tweeters and even chatroom posters have also been subjected to similar treatment. All of which appears to be aimed at silencing unwelcome critique of or comment on governments of the day and their cabinet ministers or on specific industries. In my opinion a chilling effect now exists. 


So let's take a brief look at the Australian media landscape in 2021......

Australian Government, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Media Interests Snapshot, 26 July 2021: 

ABC News, 14 April 2021, excerpt:

What does Rupert Murdoch own?

Mr Murdoch's portfolio of Australian news media brands stretches from print, radio and pay television to online news, including:

  • Print and Online: roughly 100 physical and digital newspaper mastheads in Australia (at the start of 2021), along with the news website

  • Television: 24-hour news service Sky News Australia.

  • Radio: a minority shareholding in Here, There & Everywhere, formerly APN News & Media.

  • These investments fall under the banner of News Corp Australia, whose ultimate owner is the US-based News Corporation, of which Mr Murdoch is executive chairman.

  • The Murdoch Family Trust controls around 40 per cent of the parent company's voting shares (and a smaller proportion of the total shares on issue).

....On social media, however, Sky has an outsized audience. In the second half of 2020, its Facebook posts were shared more often than any of the 65 accounts analysed by Fact Check, while placed third, behind Daily Mail. On YouTube, its subscriber base far exceeds that of Channel 7 and Channel 9 and by March 2021 had surpassed ABC News, while its videos receive millions more views per month.

In May 2020 News Corp announced that 112 of its local and regional print newspapers would go digital or disappear entirely. Some of the est. 76 which went digital have since been reduced to a page on one of the main masthead's website. At the end of September 2021 it will stop distribution of its print news papers to regional Queensland and there are a growing number rural and regional areas across Australia which now have no local, state or national print newspapers available to the community at large.

The Australian Press Council has not published an annual report since 2018-19. In that financial year it received 758 in-scope and 183 out-of-scope complaints from 2,004 complainants, compared to the previous period’s 554 in-scope complaints and 158 out-of scope complaints from 959 complainants.

That 2018-19 total of 758 in-scope complaints was a sharp increase on the preceding four financial years.

According to that annual report an est. 621 of the 758 complaints considered by the Press Council to fall within its remit were partially or fully upheld and 18 underwent formal adjudication.

The Australian Press Council Inc. which is funded by the Australian media industry has no legislated ability to impose penalties for serious breaches of journalism or community standards on any of its 22 media organisation & independent journalist members.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 August 2021, excerpt:

New figures from industry group ThinkTV, audited by KPMG, report that industry-wide TV revenue – which includes metropolitan broadcasters, regional broadcasters and pay TV company Foxtel – grew 12 per cent in the 2021 financial year to $3.9 billion. 

Metropolitan television revenue, a key figure and the biggest earner for Seven, Nine and Ten, grew 11.5 per cent to $2.6 billion. The return to growth comes after revenue fell drastically across the television industry in the 2020 financial year as advertisers slashed spending in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while the 2021 industry figures represent a rebound, they are still below the levels achieved in 2019. 

Seven’s revenue figures were impacted by the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics. However, the network is betting that record-breaking ratings for that event will translate into higher viewership for programs such as The Voice (which it took from Nine last year) and Big Brother. It is also expected to generate a large amount of revenue in the new financial year from the most recent event, as well as the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Television advertising is still the biggest driver of revenue for Seven, which also operates a production business and the West Australian Newspapers publishing operation. The revenue share figures imply Seven made about $917 million from television advertising last year. Nine made about $1 billion while Network Ten pulled in approximately $671 million, boosted by growth in market share in the second half. 

Nine, which will report its financial results on August 25, makes most of its money from television advertising but also owns radio, publishing and real-estate assets, and subscription streaming service Stan. Its revenue was boosted in the last financial year by programs including Married at First Sight and Legomasters and key sporting events such as the State of Origin. Ten, known for programs such as Australian Survivor and The Bachelor, made all of its money last year from advertising. 

 Advertising on online services, such as 7Plus, 9Now, 10Play and Kayo Sports, increased substantially in the same period, up 63.4 per cent to $278.2 million, according to ThinkTV. The growth in revenue from digital services is considered critical by media investors and executives as audiences migrate to consuming video online. Seven, which runs 7Plus, is expected to announce it made about $93 million from its online streaming service last financial year, compared to about $118 million for Nine’s platform, 9Now. Network Ten’s online service, 10Play, made about $40 million, according to industry sources who spoke anonymously......

Seven said in June it expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to be between $250 million and $255 million for the full-year ending June 30. 

Australian Government, ACMANews in Australia: diversity and localism - News measurement framework, December 2020, excerpt:

News on social media is unlike other mediums. Designed to keep users engaged and on the platform, embedded algorithms on these sites rank and select news content for users based on their social circles, interests, likes and dislikes. While this arguably has positive benefits in exposing users to a greater number and variety of news sources, it also raises concerns that passive users of these platforms could become caught in socalled ‘filter bubbles’ or ’echo chambers’ of like-minded people with a similar set of viewpoints or opinions, despite having access to a wider range of news content.

Another concern about the consumption of news on digital platforms relates to the rise of ‘clickbait’ journalism and deluge of easily sharable sensationalised or ‘fake news’ stories. These are stories designed to elicit an emotional response and be accepted without critical examination. This has led to declining levels of trust in news content posted on digital platforms and higher levels of news avoidance. These behaviours highlight some of the contradictions and complexities of examining media diversity in the digital age and the need to better understand news consumption behaviours, including the influence of social media and news aggregators.

The majority of print newspapers, their associated websites and a good number of their journalist have a presence across the main social media platforms accessible in Australia.

APO: Analysis & Policy Observatory on the subject of University of Canberra News and Media Research Centre’s Digital news report: Australia 2021, 23 June 2021:

The global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for credible and fast news. In the early days, news consumption increased as the public tried to make sense of the rapidly evolving crisis. Despite the surge in demand, news organisations experienced a substantial hit to revenues, which led to the closure or suspension of many local newspapers across Australia. The pandemic has accelerated the industry’s decades-long struggle to replace falling advertising income.

The global data show there is no consistent pattern in COVID-19’s impact on news consumers. In Australia, 57% say their lives have been impacted by the pandemic, the lowest out of the 46 countries surveyed.

However, this year’s report reveals the rapid increase in news consumption by Australians at the start of the pandemic has not been maintained. The proportion of people paying for it has not increased, and interest in news has declined since 2020.

The report also finds that Australians have become more trusting of news in general but concern about misinformation remains high. However, many Australians lack adequate levels of media literacy to identify it and are unaware of the financial difficulty facing the news industry.

Key findings:

  • Trust in news increased globally over the past 12 months. In Australia, trust in news has risen (+5) to 43%, close to the global average (44%).

  • Australians’ interest in news dropped during the pandemic in line with other countries. Interest in the news has been consistently declining among Australian audiences.

  • General concern about false and misleading information online in Australia is high (64%), and much higher than the global average (56%).

  • Women, younger generations and those with low income are less likely to see themselves or their views as being fairly or sufficiently reflected in the news.

  • The majority of Australians (66%) are either unaware that commercial news organisations are less profitable than they were 10 years ago, or they don’t know about the current financial state of the news media.

Full report can be downloaded at:

This report is part of a long running international survey coordinated by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, an international research centre in the comparative study of journalism based at the University of Oxford. The Digital News Report delivers comparative data on media usage in 46 countries and across 6 continents.

The News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra is the Australian partner institute and author of the Digital News Report: Australia. This is the seventh annual Digital News Report: Australia.

Cite the report as: Park, S., Fisher, C., McGuinness, K., Lee, J.Y. & McCallum, K. (2021). Digital News Report: Australia 2021. Canberra: News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra.