Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 February 2021


Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021; In Committee

12:07 pm

Photo of Rex PatrickRex Patrick (SA, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

I ask that item No. (1) on sheet PG138 be put separately and I ask the chamber not to support this part of the government's amendments. Labor raised concerns about this amendment this morning. Whilst the argument used in relation to Senator Hanson-Young's amendment was that you didn't understand the consequences of her amendment, or you suggested there might be unintended consequences, if we were to remove this provision of the government's amendment, we would go back to where we were with the understanding we had yesterday. So Labor should be in a position to reject this amendment.

It's a small amendment to what is a very significant bill, a very large bill. I would liken it to the two wires on the service module of Apollo 13. They might seem like just small wires, but after launch of this legislation we're going to find that it doesn't accomplish the mission. We're going to find that the Treasurer will simply be able to not designate Facebook and Google in accordance with the act. That would leave all of the small players, all of the regional players, without the ability to bargain properly against these very large digital companies, these foreign companies. We would, in effect, still have the very thing that Mr Rod Sims of the ACCC was most concerned about, which is a huge imbalance in power between Facebook, Google and the small players. So I would urge the chamber, when this is put, to reject item No. (1) of these amendments because it effectively undermines the whole bill.


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