One year of Mitch Fifield's media reform inaction

One year ago today Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced that the Turnbull Government’s flawed media reform legislation would be introduced into Parliament.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

ONE YEAR OF MITCH FIFIELD’S MEDIA REFORM INACTION

One year ago today Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced that the Turnbull Government’s flawed media reform legislation would be introduced into Parliament.

Since then, and despite having the support of Labor to repeal the 75 per cent reach rule and bolster local content following a trigger event, the Minister has failed to make any progress.

The Minister blocked Labor’s amendment to permit the repeal of the 75 per cent reach rule and strengthening of local content obligations, which could have seen those changes pass both Houses of Parliament last year. Again in Senate Estimates yesterday, the Minister refused to back this sensible way forward.

Labor knows the 75 per cent reach rule is past its used-by date but, unlike the Minister, understands that any change to the two out of three rule needs to be considered in a broader context that takes account of Australia’s already highly-concentrated media landscape.                                                

Despite repeated calls from Labor and industry for holistic reform, all the Minister has managed to do is waste another year. In this time there could and should have been a comprehensive, evidence-based inquiry into the ownership and control rules, content rules and licence fees in the context of the contemporary digital media environment.

The media landscape continues to undergo dynamic change. We need both a comprehensive vision and the execution of sound principles-based policy to ensure our media laws support a both thriving democracy and a competitive media sector.

This Minister seems incapable of understanding this point.  

WEDNESDAY, 1 MARCH 2017