Thursday, 4 December 2008
Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Television Switch-over) Bill 2008
Consideration in Detail
Notwithstanding the levity of the last night in the parliament, this issue is very important to the people in my electorate. In this debate I could barely hear the previous speaker, and even less the member for Dunkley. I say to my colleagues tonight that this Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Television Switch-over) Bill 2008 is a very ill-considered, rushed through piece of legislation that every member of this House on both sides is going to burn on. Let me explain to you why I say that. If you turn off analog television for digital before you have the right mechanisms in place you are going to do two things. You are going to force an extraordinary expense on regional television stations which may cripple some of them. That is No. 1. And No. 2 is: pray tell how the 20 or 30 per cent of people in cities as well as in the country are going to get digital television when the analog is switched off. Where have we discussed in this debate how people are going to do it?
This is not confined to the country, my friends. There are black spots in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and the rest where people will not have television. The fact that the minister has some overriding power to consider will not do it. The British parliament has been through this, and what they have done is to create a method whereby people who cannot afford digital television can be provided by government with a set-top box so that they can convert, albeit in a very basic way, their analog television to digital.
I am surprised that we can treat a matter of such gravity and seriousness as the prime media outlet of this country, television, with such great levity. The chamber tonight—with the greatest respect to you, Mr Speaker—has degenerated into a circus. We should pull ourselves together and think seriously about this bill. We are opposing the bill not for some political purpose against the ALP but because it is not going to work.