Gathering Of Media Heavyweights Fails To Sway Labor On Govt’s Media Reform Package

Gathering Of Media Heavyweights Fails To Sway Labor On Govt’s Media Reform Package

The gathering of a number of heavy-hitting media bosses in Canberra this week has failed to convince Opposition leader Bill Shorten to support the federal government’s media reform package.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Chief executives from Australia’s major commercial and subscription TV, newspaper and radio companies were called upon by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to unite in Canberra on Wednesday to try and convince Labor and the Senate to vote for the reforms, which include:

  • Applying a fee for the spectrum that broadcasters use at a level more reflective of the current media landscape.
  • Further restrictions on gambling advertising in live sporting events across all platforms.
  • Amending the anti-siphoning scheme and list.
  • Repealing the ‘two out of three’ and ‘75 per cent audience reach’ media ownership rules.
  • A broad ranging and comprehensive review of Australian and children’s content.
  • Funding to support the broadcasting of women’s and niche sports.

The Labor Party has been vocal in its view that the ‘two out of three’ rule – designed to prevent media companies from having a TV network, radio station and a newspaper in the same market – should not be dropped from the reform package, because it fears it will allow for too many mergers and shrink the number of media owners.

Labor spokeswoman told Michelle Rowland told SKY News the package wasn’t holistic, but rather a “grab-bag”.

“We have competition laws in Australia that were written during the 1970s, but we don’t say we should abolish competition laws,” she said.

Rowland added that the media companies are united on the reform package because there was something in it for them.

The Greens and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party also want the ‘two out of three rule’ to be kept in place. One Nation also wants the government to cut its funding for the ABC and SBS.