Australian policy and legislation

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iVote to enable blind and vision impaired people to cast secret vote online


The NSW Electoral Commission will use an online and telephone system in the upcoming state election called iVote for people who are blind or vision impaired, are disabled and cannot vote at a polling place without assistance, or who will be out of NSW on polling day.

Passed in Parliament in November 2010, the iVote website has been designed to be accessible to people who are blind and vision impaired, allowing them to independently cast a secret vote. The accessibility features of the iVote website include ARIA landmarks, clearly labelled form elements, easy page navigation and meaningful links.

Voters are eligible to use iVote if:

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Caption levels on the new commercial digital channels


Media Access Australia recently conducted a survey of captioning on the commercial digital multichannels (7Mate, 7Two, GO!, Gem, Eleven and One HD), showing levels of total captioning, first run programs captioned and programs migrated to digital multichannels without captions.

Under the Government’s rules, these channels are exempt from the captioning requirements that cover the primary channels. The only programs which must be captioned on them are those which were previously screened on the same network’s primary channel with captions. The survey shows that, in general, the commercial multichannels are only captioning the bare minimum they are obliged to do.

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Government announces the Terms of Reference for the Convergence Review


The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) today released the Terms of Reference for the Convergence Review. The Convergence Review will examine Australia’s regulatory approach to convergent media, with the Terms of Reference setting the scope of the review.

Convergence refers to the “development of digital broadcasting, data compression and internet-based technologies, coupled with improved infrastructure capability, [which] means that content and services that were previously constrained to one delivery channel can now be delivered over many different platforms”. Examples of convergent media include online TV catch-up services and smartphones, which have phone and Internet capabilities.

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Latest podcast: CEO Alex Varley on the Government's Media Access Review


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