Pauline Hanson has said her One Nation senators will give “conditional support” to the government’s media reform packages, however, it will come at a price for the ABC, an organisation Hanson apparently reviles.
Hanson – who claims the public broadcaster is biased against her and her party – had wanted $600 million stripped from the ABC’s annual budget.
Apparently, she’s now prepared to support the media reforms so long as the salaries of its executive team and top on-air presenters are made public and it shows more “fair and balanced” reporting.
Hanson has said she refuses to give any interviews to ABC journalists due to an alleged bias.
The government is continuing to negotiate with all political parties and the crossbench about the media laws, despite reaching a deal with One Nation. Interestingly, it was also set to do a deal with the Greens – who had opposed the media reforms – on the proviso that the ABC and SBS had their budgets increased. However, it appears the government will now side with One Nation.
Without support from the Greens, the government had to win over 10 of the 12 Senate crossbench senators for the bill to become law. The bloc of three Nick Xenophon Team senators had offered in principle support while Cory Bernardi, David Leyonhjelm and Derryn Hinch ahave also said they would support the package through the senate.
In a statement to media yesterday, Hanson said she had a “hot and cold” relationship with media but added she had genuine concerns for its future.
“One Nation has been at the forefront calling for more transparency of wages at the ABC,” Hanson said in the statement.
“We have received assurances from the Government that they will be asking the ABC to start providing details of the wages and conditions of all staff, whose wages and allowances are greater than $200,000, similar to what is being implement by the British Broadcasting Corporation [BBC].
“The government has also agreed to undertake a competitive neutrality inquiry into the ABC and to legislate a requirement for the ABC to be ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’.
“And most importantly the government has agreed to greatly enhance the ABC’s provision of services to rural and regional Australians.”
Hanson said an extra $12 million would be allocated to community radio stations to support the digital rollout of community radio and support the funding for industry capacity and skill development.
“I have always been a big supporter of community radio, we need to ensure that Australian communities, both regional and city have access to a diverse and independent voice. More often than not community radio is that voice, so it is vitally important that they are supported and well-funded,” Hanson said.
“While I’ve had a hot and cold relationship with what many call ‘fake news’ media, there’s nothing fake about my very real concern for the future of our Australian media.”
Yesterday, Ten’s CEO Paul Anderson – a strong backer of the media reforms – welcomed Hanson’s turnaround.
In a statement to News Corp media, Anderson said: “Ten Network welcomes One Nation’s announcement that it will support the reforms and, in particular, we welcome Senator Hanson’s real concern for the future of Australian media.
“In making this decision, One Nation has recognised that the media landscape has changed completely in recent years and that these reforms are vital if we are going to have a strong local media industry going forward.”