The communications minister Mitch Fifield has slammed the federal Labor opposition as being “stuck in the past” for refusing to support the media reforms currently before the senate.
Speaking on Sky News today, Fifield singled out Labor’s opposition to the “two out of three” rule that says media companies cannot own a TV network, radio station and a newspaper in the one market.
Labor and the Greens have never supported the government’s package claiming it will consolidate media ownership and lead to a lack of diversity in Australian media.
“Labor are stuck in the past. The two out of three rule was designed for an era when there were just print radio and TV, before the internet existed,” Fifield told Sky. “Our media laws have got to reflect the world that we live in.”
The reform package has thus far one widespread support from media bosses and the industry generally.
To get the laws passed, the government will rely on the support of the cross-bench senators, namely from the Xenophon party and One Nation. However, both have wanted the original reforms watered down, while One Nation has called for a slew of changes to garner its support, including slashing the ABC’s annual budget.
“There’s no reason not to pursue the package as a whole. If we don’t get two-out of three, that will be a constraint on Australian media to configure themselves in the best way that supports their viability,” Fifield said.
“There would be disadvantages for a number of companies without the two-out-of-three rule.”