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The Great Debate, and the Pirates of Television.

The debate for Australia’s next PM (24mb) >> To comment and see other videos visit

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Update: The ABC explains everything slightly more eloquently here.

The fight for the next Prime Minister of Australia is well underway, and this evening the current PM John Howard faced his rival Kevin Rudd in the first (and possibly only) debate of this election campaign.

The debate was telecast on the ABC, as well as commercial network Channel Nine and news channel Sky. And while the debate was largely an exchange of speeches between the two men, there was some drama behind the scenes. Basically the event was being recorded by the ABC (for the first time since 1993), under an agreement with the organisers of the event, the National Press Club. The ABC agreed to supply a clean feed of the debate to any broadcaster that wanted it, however when Channel Nine included the worm in its broadcasts against the wishes of National Press Club there feed was pulled, forcing Nine to “pirate” a feed from Sky News.

Unfortunately that technical back and fourth (further explained in the videos above) was about the most interesting thing about the evening, for a slightly more interesting, if only fictional election debate, check out The West Wing’s live debate from the shows final season after the jump..


From: Episode “The Debate” Source:

9 replies on “The Great Debate, and the Pirates of Television.”

It says something abotu Australian audiences, that half a million extra viewers watched NINE’s coverage over the ABC’s…despite the feed problems, and the fact it was only offered in 4:3. Sigh!

Andy: I think the key drawcard for Nine’s coverage was the fact that they had the worm, whereas the ABC didn’t.

Andy, as for the feed problems – it didn’t effect what the viewers saw at home. I was watching the debate on Channel 9, and there were no gaps at all. It seems the switch to Sky News’ footage was seamless, except for the crude graphics they used to cover up Sky News’ graphics.

Not stolen, there’s an agreement in place. Prime (I think) in New Zealand has a similar deal. The worm was a but too Rudd-slanted, I much preferred the way the ABC had it – just the leaders, no gimmicks or Ray.

Well, I don’t see why people would tune in for the worm. Why would anyone care what 100 ‘undecided’ voters think? Will it affect your vote?

Well, when the worm is used properly I imagine its quite interesting to see what other people think as well as yourself. Of course, for this worm, it was totally useless and Rudd-slanted. At one stage, at the very start of one of Rudd’s speech, he was going “umm” and “uhh” without saying any distinguishable words – and yet the worm shot up from the starting point (in the middle) to the top. Obviously the audience don’t care what’s being said, just who’s saying it.

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