Media release: LGBTI Business Groups Call On Community To Remove Support From Telstra

LGBTI business organisations across Australia have slammed news that the organisation has bowed to pressure from the Catholic Church over the equal marriage debate.

The Gay and Lesbian Organisation of Business and Enterprise (GLOBE) in Melbourne, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA) and the Brisbane Gay and Lesbian Business Network (GLBN) represent LGBTI small and medium business owners and professionals working in some of Australia’s biggest companies.

They say Telstra’s removal of support for equal marriage goes against the equality message that the company has trumpeted to the LGBTI community, and does a disservice to its LGBTI employees and the community members who have supported the telecommunications company.

President of GLOBE, David Micallef says: “The messages to big business should be clear. If you do not support our community, then we do not support you.”

“I have been concerned by the hate filled discussion that this news from Telstra has generated and the negative impact it has already had on LGBTI people in the community. GLOBE will not accept any sponsorship or financial support from Telstra, and have already taken steps to cancel the organisation’s phone account.

“Supporting the LGBTI community is more than marching in Mardi Gras or having a stall at Midsumma and then jumping ship when things get hard – it shows an utter disrespect for the community and what it stands for.

President of the GLBN Brendan Heck says: “I believe this is a backward step from Telstra and it sends a message that it is out-of-touch with greater society values – and the ongoing positive progression to become more inclusive and accepting.”

“I’m also concerned about the message this sends to  its employees and the view of their basic human rights.  Has Telstrathought about the consequences this may have on its staff and how they will now feel about going to work?”

“Is Telstra’s actions are purely based on money and who it perceives as having the biggest contracts with it.  Has Teltsra effectively been bought by the Catholic Church?”

GLBN, GLOBE and the SGLBA all have Telstra employees who are active members of their networks and the organisations are concerned about the impact that this will have on their staff.

President of the SGLBA Mark Haines says: “Telstra says its workplace demonstrates the importance placed on diversity, and for standing against all forms of discrimination.

However, bowing to commercial threats from the Catholic Church and shying away from its once prominent public support for marriage equality, is an affront to such values and community standards.

It ignores the fact that the majority of the population, indeed the majority of Catholics, including many people in business, supports Marriage Equality.

Telstra needs to get the courage of its convictions. It does its many LGBTI and ally employees a disservice if it won’t stand up and be counted in the public arena where it makes all the difference.”

End of The Maltese Herald shows the lifespan of multicultural press

Yesterday I heard the news that The Maltese Herald, which has been the newspaper for the Maltese community for over 50 years, is printing its last publication.

While my initial reaction was of sadness that this newspaper will no longer be around, after further reflection I have come to the conclusion that the end of The Maltese Herald is potentially a good sign and a positive milestone for the Maltese community in Australia.

Unlike many other ‘mainstream’ newspapers that are cutting staff and closing their doors, The Maltese Herald is closing not because it is solely a print medium, but because it has potentially served its purpose in the community.

The newspaper was born out of the European migration into Australian throughout the 50s and 60s. Large numbers of Maltese people (including my parents) immigrated here during that period, mostly settling in Melbourne and Sydney. When The Maltese Herald printed its first publication in 1961 it was due to the intense need for the Maltese community to connect with each other, highlight community issues and remain in touch with news from back home.

Over the past 50 years the newspaper has highlighted community issues that are specific to the Maltese, relations between Australia and Malta, and followed the lives of the Maltese community as they became established in their new community.

Fifty years later, however, statistics are showing that the use of the Maltese language in the Australian community is in decline. Those still deeply connected with Malta use dedicated news programs on SBS or Maltese news sites to get their news back home, while for many who are Maltese-born or Australian with Maltese heritage, Australian news is now their news from home.
The community concerns or issues that they raise are the same as their neighbours from other backgrounds.

Ending the need to cater for the Maltese community as a separate entity is being seen in other parts of communication. You don’t find many translations of government materials into Maltese, as the majority of the Maltese speaking population either read English or have close relatives that do.

As the Maltese newspaper closes, however, many others are starting up. The past two years have seen a number of multicultural newspapers start to meet the needs of newer communities such as Somali, Thai and Korean.

The birth and retirement of multicultural newspapers is an interesting one to watch, as it gives a good indication of the levels of integration within the Australian community. It can also give you a strong insight into how these communities need to be communicated to.

Goodbye to The Maltese Herald and well done.

Community TV moves well ahead of commercial TV

What do the commercial TV stations do with their money?

TVS has just released its own iPhone app to allow viewers to stream their shows live on their phones. Excellent work, but why are our community stations leading the way?

Network Ten‘s iPhone app, I have to say, is crap. It has very little content, mainly news, and six of their worst shows. Seven are still a no-show on the iPhone, as is Nine.

As yet, no-one apart from iView, has an app that’s designed for the iPad.

Get it together.

…,” says David.

Media apps highlight shift to mobile media in 2011

The days of buying the weekly TV guide and planning your week to make sure that you are home for your prime-time television favourites has gone out the door.

The ‘what I want when I want’ culture that has been boosted by the online world has seen a shift in viewing patterns, just as it has shifted the patterns of news-watching from the daily paper to the instant online news. These days, consumers will watch something on TV, but will use their digital recorders to keep track of programs they like, if they miss this they will view it on the website, download it on iTunes or download a pirated version for free (we all know that people do it!).

New applications now coming onto the market are making another shift to viewing patterns and it is my prediction that the shift to mobile will be the one to watch for 2011.

Yesterday Channel 10 released its application for iPhone and iPod Touch, allowing viewers to watch episodes and news on-the-move. This follows the highly rated iView application by ABC television for mobiles and tablets.

I know that some pay-TV channels have been simulcasting on mobiles through paid subscriptions for a while, but the investment into these mediums by free to air channels highlights the seriousness by which the market is now taking this.

This will also be seen in the radio world. As Jessica Northey said in her post Seven Digital media Trends of 2011 : “Any radio station without a strategy for reaching mobile users in 2011 is woefully behind and missing a major opportunity to reach literal movers-and-shakers in the marketplace.

My question is, can the Australian telecommunications infrastructure handle this shift in the traditional media space. We all know the woefully inadequate state of broadband, especially outside of metropolitan areas. Mobile data is in no better shape. Consumers may be ready to move, but are we really ready to handle it?

……,” says David.

What are your thoughts?