The ACCC's Digital Platforms Report: What it Means for the Media?
Room 920, Level 9
Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street
On 26 July the ACCC’s Final Report in its Digital Platforms Inquiry was released by the government. At over 600 pages, the long-awaited report did not disappoint in length. But does it provide the much-sought after relief to a media sector that has been struggling with the fall-out from digital disruption for over a decade? Many attribute the pressures on traditional media, manifesting in budget cuts, job losses and the impoverishment of local, regional and investigative journalism, to the rise and power of the digital platforms. Additionally there has been growing unease about a range of trends associated with the pervasiveness of Google and Facebook, including the degradation of privacy and the proliferation of so-called ‘fake news’. For some, these concerns translate into a threat to our liberal democratic order to which a diversified and sustainable media industry is integral. The country’s competition and consumer watchdog was given the formidable task of tackling these issues from competition, consumer protection, privacy and public interest perspectives. It has produced 23 recommendations to government and while the initial response from our political leaders has indicated broad acceptance of the need for reform, we will need to wait until the end of the year for a more detailed response and a road map for action.
Jointly convened by Melbourne Law School’s Centre for Media and Communications Law and Competition Law & Economics Network, this seminar will report on the Inquiry’s key findings and recommendations as they relate to the media and explore their implications if accepted (or not) by Government. It will draw on the expertise and insights of a panel comprising senior representatives from academia, the media and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Pre-event drinks from 5:30pm (Common Room, Level 9), Seminar starts at 6:15pm (Room 920, Level 9) and Seminar finishes at 7:30pm.
Professor Caron Beaton-Wells, Director, Competition Law and Economics Network
Professor Caron Beaton-Wells
Director, Competition Law and Economics Network
Melbourne Law School
Caron BeatonWells is a Professor in competition law at the Melbourne Law School and Director of the University's Competition Law & Economics Network and coDirector of the Global Competition and Consumer Law Program. She is also a lay Member of the Australian Competition Tribunal. Her research and teaching in this field extends beyond the law to institutional, political and sociological dimensions of competition policy, and her recent research projects have focussed on competition and privacy in the context of digital platforms, competition and fairness in concentrated industries, challenges in cartel law and enforcement and the interface between competition and consumer law. A snapshot of her previous research projects can be found here. She is the host of the podcast show, Competition Lore, exploring the challenges of competition in a digital economy. Caron has been Associate Dean of the Law School’s undergraduate and masters programs and a member of the School’s executive management team. She is currently Program Director for the School’s first online masters program, in global competition and consumer law. This program harnesses the power of technology and draws on an international faculty associated with the Law School, to offer indepth rigorous and highly innovative masters level courses in competition and consumer law to students from around the world. Professor BeatonWells has taught a range of competition lawrelated subjects in Juris Doctor and masters programs. She is a regular speaker at competition law conferences and is often asked to comment in the media on competition law issues. She is also the Director of the University of Melbourne Competition Law & Economics Network and convenes the Network’s regular events, including the flagship Annual Baxt Public Lecture in Competition Law. Her engagement activity involves contributing to the public discourse in Australia and around the world on significant competition lawrelated issues and on bringing together and fostering constructive debate and shared learning amongst stakeholders. Caron is a member of several national and international editorial and advisory boards, has consulted to the OECD, ASEAN, SSNED and the New Zealand Government, is a nongovernmental advisor to the International Competition Network and the Law School's representative on UNCTAD's Research Partnership Platform. Formerly a solicitor at (now) King & Wood Mallesons, Caron is also a member of the Law Council of Australia's competition and consumer and small business committees.
Associate Professor Margaret Simons, Monash University
Associate Professor Margaret Simons
Margaret Simons is an awardwinning freelance journalist and the author of thirteen books and numerous articles and essays. With photojournalist Dave Tacon, she won the 2015 Walkley for Social Equity Journalism for her essay Fallen Angels, published in 'The Monthly'. This article also won the 2015 Quill Award for best feature. Simons produced a radio documentary for the ABC, also titled Fallen Angels, with journalist Heather Jarvis. For this work she was a finalist for a 2017 Amnesty International Media Award. Simons, Jarvis and Tacon are finalists for a United Nations Association of Australia Media Award for their work promoting the rights of children. Her 2016 essay 'Duterte’s Dirty War', published in 'The Monthly' won the 2016 Quill Award for feature writing. Simons cowrote the biography of former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser. She also wrote an unauthorised biography of mass media proprietor Kerry Stokes (chairman of the Seven Network). 'Penny Wong: Passion and Principle' will be her most recent book. The first published biography of the Australian politician will be released in October. 'Kerry Stokes: SelfMade Man' was published by Penguin in 2013 and was nominated for best nonfiction book at the 2014 Walkley Awards, and won the history prize in the WA Premier’s Literary Awards. 'Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs' won both the Book of the Year and the Douglas Stewart Prize for NonFiction at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2011. 'Six Square Metres' was launched in October 2015. Simons is also a novelist and a gardening writer. Her book 'Resurrection in a Bucket – The Rich and Fertile Story of Compost' was published by Allen & Unwin in May 2004, and for many years she wrote the popular Earthmother gardening column for 'The Australian'. As well as writing books Simons is a freelance investigative journalist and feature writer. Her longform journalism has been published in 'The Monthly', 'Inside Story' and 'The Age'. Simons has written extensively about the media for numerous publications. Simons was the retained media commentator for 'Crikey' from 2005 to 2014. She has also written a book on the Australian media called 'The Content Makers: Understanding the Future of the Australian Media', which was published by Penguin in September 2007. Simons wrote 'Journalism at the Crossroads', which was published in print by Scribe in 2012. Simons’ other work includes her prizewinning 2003 book 'The Meeting of the Waters', which examined the Hindmarsh Island bridge affair. This book won the NonFiction Book Award at the Queensland Premier’s Literary awards in 2003, and was shortlisted for a number of other awards. Simons also wrote 'Latham’s World: The New Politics of the Outsiders', an investigation into the then Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham, and was published as a Quarterly Essay in the lead up to the 2004 federal election. Simons is an Associate Professor in the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University. From 20122017 she was director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism and the coordinator of the innovative Master of Journalism degree at the University of Melbourne. Before joining the University of Melbourne, Simons was convenor of Journalism at Swinburne University of Technology. Simons holds a Doctorate in Creative Arts from the University of Technology Sydney. She lives in Melbourne.
Ms Clare Gill, Director of Regulatory Affairs
Ms Clare Gill
Director of Regulatory Affairs
Clare Gill is the Director of Regulatory Affairs for Nine Entertainment. In this role she is responsible for Nine’s engagement with government and regulators on matters of media policy and regulation. Prior to Nine, Clare was Head of Government and Corporate Affairs for Optus. She has also held senior public affairs roles at SunRice, Ericsson and NICTA. Clare started her career in Victorian politics before moving to the corporate world where she has spent the last 20 years, dealing with the promotion and regulation of advancements in technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Post Graduate Diploma in Commerce and a Post Graduate Diploma in Media and Communication.
Dr Karen Lee, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law
Dr Karen Lee
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law
University of Technology Sydney
Dr Karen Lee joined the UTS Faculty of Law in June 2019. She is a specialist in communications regulation. Her PhD, for which she received the UNSW Faculty of Law’s PhD Research Excellence Award, involved an indepth study of the development of three telecommunications consumer codes by working committees of the Communications Alliance – the peak selfregulatory body in the Australian telecommunications sector. Her book The Legitimacy and Responsiveness of Industry Rulemaking, which was based on her thesis, was published by Hart Publishing in September 2018. She has also published in the Federal Law Review, the Media and Arts Law Review and the Australian Journal of Competition and Consumer Law; and is a contributor to Australian Telecommunications Regulation, edited by Alasdair Grant and David Howarth, and Telecommunications Law and Regulation, edited by Professor Ian Walden. In 2018, she received a visiting scholar fellowship to the EUI from the Australian European University Institute Fellowship Association. With Dr Derek Wilding at UTS, she is working on a research project, funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, examining consumer and public engagement in industry rulemaking in a converged communications environment.