Ross Greenwood Money News
31 May 2017
E & OE
now in Parliament House Canberra 25 media bosses are attending a summit. Now this summit is a show of support to
lobby the Senate to pass the Federal Government’s media law reforms. And
they’re big. Now on the line right now
the Communications Minister Mitch Fifield who has been the architect of this
legislation to go through our Parliament.
And indeed has been the person who has effectively herded the cats. Carolled the chickens. Whatever you might want to call it. But I tell you media company bosses are very
dispirit and independent individuals.
And to actually get them all in the one room at the one time is some
achievement. He’s on the line now, many
thanks for your time Mitch.
to be with you Ross.
so they have all come together willingly, and together as a block. They are going to be having a summit. It is going to be hosted by David Koch from
the Seven Network. The Chief Operating
Officer of this network Macquarie Media, Adam Lang will be there. The Chief Executive of Fairfax. The Chief Executive of Seven West Media, Tim
Worner. And also Foxtel Chief Executive
Peter Tonagh. And the Executive Chair of
News Corporation Michael Miller. Now I
have got to say to you Mitch, normally they wouldn’t be seen in the same room
it’s a testament I think to the leaders of the Australian media sector that
they have looked beyond their own legitimate organisational interests, to the
broader health and wellbeing of the Australian media industry.
just explain, because in the past, when there has been this type of legislation
suggested. Many people sensibly said
that the media ownership rules in Australia were outdated. And this is a result of the emergence of
Facebook and Google as, even in Australia, the biggest media players in
town. But the fact of the matter is they
often have their own particular quirks as to why they would not come and
cooperate with their other competitors.
I am thinking about say, in the past it might have been Seven concerned
about other television stations getting an advantage. Or News Corporation not happy about some
aspect of it. This has happened in the
past. Now there seems to be some sort of
economic realsm about it.
a competitive and a commercial environment.
And you can understand, each organisation talking their own book. But I think what the industry has recognised
as a whole is that the challenges that they face are ones that they have in
common. And that the answer is to have a
comprehensive package, in which no one will get everything they want, but
everyone will get part of what they want.
And everyone will get something that helps to improve their viability.
the Labor Party is refusing to back one of the three reforms, also the Greens
as well. That is the two out of three
rule. Because it’s concerned it could
weaken media diversity. To explain to
people. In major media markets where,
say for example in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra wherever. You can only own two forms of media in that
region, you can’t own three. So two out
of three, you could have radio and television.
Radio and newspaper. Newspaper
and television. But you couldn’t own all
you think with that lack of backing from Labor and the Greens this has still
has the ability to get through the Senate?
what I have found with the current Senate crossbench is that they’re open to
good propositions. And we have achieved
a lot through the current Senate. So I
am continuing those discussions with the Senate crossbench.
look there is every reason why the two out of three rule should go. It made sense in an era before the Internet,
as a mechanism of ensuring that you didn’t have too much concentration of media
ownership, so that there was a maintenance of diversity. But we have this thing called the Internet
now. We also will continue to have
diversity protections in the form of maintaining the two to a market radio
rule. The one to a market TV rule. The
five-four voices rule. Where you have to have five independent voices in metro
areas. And four independent voices in
regional areas. We are still going to
have the ACCC running their ruler over things.
We are still going to have the ABC.
We are still going to have the SBS.
what the sector is telling me is that they want more options when it comes to
how they can configure themselves. So they are in the best position to know
what is best for their viability. We
want to give them options. We want to
make sure we continue to have good, strong Australian media voices.
so just explain to me Pauline Hanson and One Nation. Because Pauline Hanson has claimed that she
will only look to these bills, and also any other bills going before our
Parliament. If there is a significant
cut to the budget of the ABC. So she is
talking $600 million over the forward estimates. So over four years $150 million per
year. That is around fifteen percent of
the ABC’s budget. Is that something that will fly with the government?
the ABC’s funding was in the budget before last, for the triennium, the three
years. That’s in order to give that
organisation certainty. What we say is
that the range of legislative propositions that we have before the Senate we
think should be looked at on their merits.
And I am happy to confirm that One Nation, only moments ago, issued a
press release saying that they will be looking at legislation on its merits.
is a good thing. Ok now take me to
another aspect of this because you have still got the elephants in the room,
these days being Google and Facebook especially. You even have Amazon coming into the market,
which has its own media play as well.
There are pressures coming into our local media sector as a result of
the emergence of these new International technology players. There is no doubt about that. But do you believe if this were to pass
through our Senate and through our Houses of Parliament, and become law. Do you believe that these measures that you
are suggesting will genuinely make the media sector more competitive?
Absolutely. The package is about helping the viability of
Australian media. And I have put to me
from time to time, by colleagues in the Parliament that there are things that
we should do in terms of copyright, that there are things that we should do in
terms of tax law, that there are things that we should do in terms of content
requirements for some of the over the top providers. Colleagues can certainly put things to the
government to consider. But, there is
something we can do right now to support the viability of Australian media and
that is to support this package.
I have got to tell you. There have been
many Communications Ministers of the past, who have sought to do this, but who
have failed for one reason or another.
From either politics inside their own parties, or indeed, politics
between the individual media companies themselves. Mitch Fifield, our Communications Minister
has managed to get them all in the one room.
On the one page. To try and get
legislation through the Parliament. The
Senate is the key in all of this. And in
particular Pauline Hanson. So that is
where it sits right now at to Mitch Fifield we appreciate your time here on the
program this evening.
to be with you Ross.