Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said he has “a lot of sympathy” for the argument that the 75% reach rule “is no longer relevant in today’s converged media world”.
Whether any changes to the rule will be presented to parliament depends on the outcome of a bipartisan parliamentary committee. With Turnbull’s backing, this element of Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy’s otherwise largely derided changes may well find support.
However Senator Conroy has made it clear that he won’t negotiate on the reforms and, as such, the 75% rule may not be passed separately to the other changes, including a new public interest test that any merger in the media sector would be subject to.
So while it may appear that the changes to the rule may not take place in this parliamentary sitting, the medium-term prospect of the rule being relaxed appear good. Particularly if there is a change of government.