Media reform bill passes in House of Representatives despite opposition from Labor

All members of the Australian Labor Party rejected the proposed media reforms presented in the House of Representatives today, however it received enough votes to progress to the Senate.

The proposed media reforms include licence fee relief for commercial television and radio broadcasters, restrictions on gambling advertising during live sporting events, and the abolishment of the two-out-of-three ownership and 75% reach rules.

Labor’s rejection of the media reforms bill comes one week after Ten announced it had gone into administration, with Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, calling on Shorten and Labor to “show they care about the Australian media industry“.

According to a release from Fifield’s office, the Australian Labor Party opposed the second and third readings ofthe bill.

Fifield said: “It is now clear that Bill Shorten, Michelle Rowland and the Australian Labor Party’s media reform policy is to do absolutely nothing and instead oppose everything the industry says it needs to compete and survive.

“The government’s reform package has the unanimous support of the entire Australian media industry.

“Who is in a better position to know what is best for the viability of Australian media organisations and the thousands of jobs it supports?

“Is it: a) Seven, Nine, Ten, Prime, WIN, Southern Cross Austereo, Fairfax, News Limited, Commercial Radio Australia, Free TV Australia and ASTRA? or b) The Labor Party?

“Despite Labor’s attempt to again block, frustrate and delay reform, the package passed the House of Representatives,” he said.

“But today the Labor Party revealed its true purpose is to wreck and oppose for political opportunism. And they don’t care how many businesses and jobs they put in jeopardy along the way.”

Mumbrella understands the Labor Party had proposed an amendment to the bill, which would maintain the two-out-of-three rule, while supporting other components of the proposal, however the government voted against the amendment.

Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland said Labor supports the majority of the items in the bill, with the exception of its proposal to repeal the two-out-of-three rule.

“Labor is committed to supporting the Australian media industry as well as the jobs and content it produces as the sector continues to adapt to the new media environment,” she explained.

“Labor’s position on the two-out-of-three rule has been crystal clear since November 2016 and is evidence-based.

“There is no gamesmanship in Labor standing up for the public interest, and our democracy, by limiting the ability of dominant media voices to consolidate even further in Australia’s already heavily concentrated media market,” she said.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.