Conroy says support for media reforms still possible: Midday roundup

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said much-needed support from the key independents for the Labor government’s media reforms is still possible, despite Craig Thomson and Rob Oakeshott expressing opposition to the changes.

Conroy is pushing the Parliament to pass the package of changes by the end of next week.

“The vote is next week, and there will obviously be a lot of discussions going on between now and then,” Conroy told ABC Radio this morning.

He also says it was “too early to make pronouncements about whether or not people are voting for the bill,” dismissing complaints MPs don’t have enough time to consider the changes.

“We’ve had a public inquiry in the Finkelstein inquiry, we’ve had the Convergence Review that travelled around the country, took submissions, hours of public consultation,” he says.

RBA says interest rate outlook to remain unchanged despite employment figures

A Reserve Bank of Australia official has played down February’s surge in employment growth saying it won’t, on its own, change the interest rate outlook.

RBA assistant governor Christopher Kent said in a speech at the Australian Institute of Building at the University of Technology Sydney that the outlook does not turn around on the basis of one good month.

“You don’t put too much on one month’s number, the labour market is very important, it’s not the full story,” he said.

Yesterday the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported employment in February rose by 71,500 jobs, the largest monthly increase since July 2000.

Despite the rise in jobs, unemployment remained steady at 5.4%.

Shares rise on open

Australian shares have opened higher this morning, buoyed by strong trading from the banks and Wall Street’s record-breaking streak.

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 58.1 points just after midday, to 5090.3.

Commonwealth Bank shares rose by $0.98, National Australia Bank shares were up $0.38 and ANZ bank stocks increased by $0.26.

The Dow Jones closed 83.86 points higher last night at 14539.14.



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