This paper will consider some of the wider contextual and policy questions arising out of four major public inquiries that took place in Australia over 2011–2012: the Convergence Review, the National Classification Scheme Review, the Independent Media Inquiry (Finkelstein Review) and the National Cultural Policy.

This paper considers whether we are now witnessing a ‘convergent media policy moment’ akin to the ‘cultural policy moment’ theorized by Australian cultural researchers in the early 1990s, and the limitations of various approaches to understanding policy – including critiques of neoliberalism – in understanding such shifts. It notes the rise of ‘soft law’ as a means of addressing the challenges of regulatory design in an era of rapid media change, with consideration of two cases: the approach to media influence taken in the Convergence Review, and the concept of ‘deeming’ developed in the National Classification Scheme Review.

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