Senate debates

Tuesday, 27 March 2018


Communications Legislation Amendment (Online Content Services and Other Measures) Bill 2017; In Committee

1:25 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I will withdraw the word 'crap' and replace it with 'rubbish'. All these broadcasters care about is their bottom line. All they care about is getting cheap, rubbish shows from the United States and putting them on our televisions and then pumping whatever change they may have left over into reality television. And they say to Australian families, 'This is good family viewing.' Well, I tell you what, I don't think Married at First Sight is the best show for our kids to have to sit down to watch. I don't think that's particularly educational.

But this is the type of move and push that is going to happen. The big broadcasters are clamouring for it. All you need to do is read their submissions to the government's content review. They don't want these quotas in place, they don't want requirements, and for every inch you give them they will take a mile. They begged the government for free licence fees only a year ago. The government gave it to them but got nothing. This minister is not a very good negotiator, because he got absolutely nothing in return. He gave them free licence fees, and now they're saying, 'And now we don't want to have to have restrictions on the type of content that we show and broadcast.'

Australian artists, actors, producers, scriptwriters, sound engineers and camera crew are all important jobs, and it's an important industry. It helps tell an Australian story. It helps us reflect our communities back at ourselves and question what's going on in our part of the world and how we interact with the rest of the globe. But there's obviously an economic dividend for our country. These are people's jobs. These are people's livelihoods. But these big broadcasters don't give two hoots about that. All these big broadcasters care about is reducing the amount of money they have to spend here in Australia, and I put it to you that, unless we put a check and balance back in place and unless we allow the parliament to have some oversight, when parliament's over at the end of this week and we all go off on our Easter break, this minister is going to write and give directions that say that these quotas don't need to exist, because that is what these broadcasters want from him; that is what they are lobbying hard for.

If that is not the will of the minister, then be prepared to put parliamentary oversight back in place so that we can have a discussion and a debate about how much we should be investing in and protecting Australian jobs and Australian stories. All this amendment does is reinstate parliamentary oversight. The minister is able to do a lot of things on his own. He shouldn't be able to write away Australian-made stories and junk hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs that depend on making sure Australian stories, and kids' stories in particular, are told here in Australia by Australians.


No comments