Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the Opposition) (15:17): Yes, Speaker, I did indeed. Today is a tragedy for our democracy. AAP, Australian Associated Press, have played a valuable role in this building and in Old Parliament House since 1935. The newswire will close in June. To Paul Osborne, Katina Curtis, Dan McCulloch, Lucas Koch, Mick Tsikas, Colin Brinsden, Matt Coughlan, Rebecca Gredley, Finbar O’Mallon, Don Woolford, Marc Tewksbury and Eamonn Tiernan, we wish you well. We thank you for your contribution over such a long period of time in terms of holding us to account and informing the Australian people wherever they live. That’s the important thing about AAP, that, unlike the other bureaus, with respect, they got out everywhere. We were covered on radio and covered on other newspapers, including suburban, regional and rural newspapers. You will leave a massive void in terms of information coverage. Democracy should not be taken for granted. It relies upon the education and communication of what happens in this place and around economic, social and environmental issues to the Australian public. The Australian public will be less informed as a result of the decision today that I think is a great tragedy.
On a personal level, I thank you for everything that you’ve done and I wish you well. I hope that you stay involved in what is an honourable profession in the media. We on this side have had a bit of a run in recent times, saying journalism is not a crime. Well, that’s true, but it’s much more than that. It’s a vital component of our democracy.