Media minister Stephen Conroy has enjoyed hospitality from the three major free TV networks at the same time he decided to give them millions of dollars of discounts on their licence fees, research published by the Sydney Morning Herald reveals.
The SMH has digitised the Federal register of interests. It reveals that over the last couple of years, Channel Ten provided Conroy with tickets for the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix; Nine provided him with an Ashes invite and Seven gave him two seats at the men’s final of the Australian Open tennis.
Conroy also received a gift basket from the Seven Network and SBS gave him tickets for the Fifa World Cup in South Africa.
The last two years have seen Conroy make a number of concessions to the free TV networks worth millions of dollars. He granted them a 33% rebate on their licence fees in 2010. The next year, he upped the discount to 50%. The discounts have been estimated as being worth between a third and half a billion dollars to the networks to date.
The original announcement saw Conroy claim that the generous decision was to “protect Australian content on commercial television” although no new quotas were attached to the discount.
Conroy – whose Parliamentary salary is more than $330,000 plus allowances – also enjoyed tickets to the AFL grand final, the NRL grand final; the UEFA Champions League final and the Melbourne Cup. And he has also enjoyed a number of upgrades and hospitality from the Dubai Royal family-owned airline Emirates. Hospitality also came from Telstra and Optus.
There is no suggestion that Conroy broke any parliamentary rules in accepting the hospitality.
The SMH’s data on Conroy:
(Mumbrella’s own register of gifts and hospitality can be viewed via this link.)