Australian PM announces public affairs channel

Monday, December 8, 2008

Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd launched the Australian Subscription Public Affairs Network today. The channel, a production of Sky News and subscription television providers Foxtel and Austar is modeled on the United States' C-SPAN channel. Broadcasts will commence January 20, 2009.

A-SPAN will commence broadcasting January 20, 2009
Image: A-SPAN.

The initiative is solely funded by industry with no contribution from the government.

The network will be available on subscription television, the Internet and digital free-to-air television and will show sittings of Federal parliament as well as the United States Congress, New Zealand parliament, British House of Commons and state parliaments in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Live speeches at the National Press Club will also be covered.

A-SPAN has also entered into a deal to show Australian politics on the US C-SPAN network.

Prime Minister Rudd said that A-SPAN will give a "fly-on-the-wall" perspective of politics, in the same vein as C-SPAN in the US. He said A-SPAN is "a good thing for our democracy" and that "it's a superb initiative".

Mr Rudd conceded that the channel will be popular among fans of politics.

“Political junkies will of course love it, they'll now have one more way to drive their family and friends absolutely mad,” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd said he looked forward to introducing Australian English from the parliament of Australia to an international audience.