During a doorstop interview at Parliament House on 28 August 2003, Prime Minister John Howard said:
"Nations determine their culture, not other people."
Yet in discussions about the impending Free Trade Agreement with the US during the visit last month of George W Bush, the PM offered to limit Australia's freedom to set local content rules on future forms of delivering TV programs.
While he said Australia would not undo longstanding policies such as local content rules on existing media, he said he was prepared to be "fairly flexible" about new media forms.
What does this mean?
It means that as digital TV services take over, local content rules will be killed off , thus threatening local TV production.
As the chief executive of the Australia Council, Jennifer Bott, said :
"It could be that in the not-too-distant future, foreign digital productions could impact heavily on not only the livelihoods of Australian artists but also the cultural identity of the nation," she said. (SMH 24/10/03)
If you want to protect Australia's culture and our cultural industries from overseas domination - particularly by the US - add your name to this petition.