House debates

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Bill 2017, Commercial Broadcasting (Tax) Bill 2017; Consideration in Detail

11:03 am

Photo of Michelle RowlandMichelle Rowland (Greenway, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications) Share this | | Hansard source

() (): by leave—I move:

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (table item 2, column headed "Provisions"), omit "Schedules 1 and 2", substitute "Schedule 1".

(2) Schedule 2, page 5 (line 1) to page 6 (line 14), omit the Schedule.

This is Groundhog Day! When I was eight months pregnant, we were here moving this exact same amendment to extract the two-out-of-three rule repeal from this. My daughter is now six months old. She is meeting all of her developmental milestones. Yet, this government in four years—a big, fat nothing has been achieved in this space. I will not take lectures from those opposite wanting to talk about Labor being stuck in the past with a 1980s mentality when we have those opposite building a 19th-century copper broadband network. We will not take lectures from those opposite.

Here we have a minister who is so lazy. He says all the facts are known. He completely ignores the ACMA's 'Broken concepts' and 'Enduring concepts' papers. He completely ignores the fact that we had, in the convergence review, the very specific recommendation that we have public interest safeguards inserted for media mergers into the general competition law. But, no, the government ignore all of that. Instead, they seek to ram this through. They say they are getting rid of diversity in order to save it. That is not only the most circular argument but an absolutely ridiculous argument. Labor will stand up for diversity in this parliament and in the other place.

11:05 am

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Minister for Urban Infrastructure) Share this | | Hansard source

This package of broadcasting legislation is about employment and jobs in the Australian media industry, and the Turnbull government is standing up for jobs, with a package which is unanimously supported across the media sector. What did the chief executive of Channel 10 have to say?

… it is blindingly obvious that these pre-internet era laws are now achieving the opposite of what they were intended to do. They are now working against a strong, viable and diverse media sector, and they must go.

I remind the House that the Ten Network is in administration. There are 1,400 jobs at risk. The Turnbull government is standing up for jobs. Labor have got their heads stuck in the sand. They ignore the fact that the media sector is exposed to global competition through the internet. They ignore the fact that the entire Australian media sector is asking simply to be able to compete on a level playing field with global media companies. They ignore the fact that these global companies can supply services to every Australian online without being constrained by the outdated restrictive requirements in the present Australian media legislation. That is why the Turnbull government is putting forward these amendments, including critically the abolition of the two-out-of-three rule.

This package is a holistic package. All elements of it must be supported. The Turnbull government is standing up for jobs in the media sector. It is standing up for the Australian media sector. It is supported by the entire Australian media sector. These amendments must be rejected.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the amendments be agreed to.