The Turnbull government is confident of finally pushing through changes to media ownership regulation with both the Greens and One Nation at the negotiating table ahead of a debate on the bill this week.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield will meet with senators from the Greens and One Nation this week – the package is due to be debated in the Senate on Wednesday.
Both the Greens and One Nation are believed to be open to the changes but are negotiating with the government for their support.
Senator Fifield needs only one of the two minor parties to support his legislation. Sources said the government was confident it could reach a deal with at least one of the Greens or One Nation.
“Senate colleagues, apart from Labor, are involved in active discussions with the government on media reform,” Senator Fifield said.
“It is independent and minor party colleagues who are prepared to constructively engage while Labor posture and seek to frustrate.”
The Greens are are looking for safeguards to protect media diversity in Australia and are believed to be supportive of tax incentives for journalism. The sticking point for the Greens has been the removal of the “two out of three” rule, which prevents one entity from owning a television station, radio network and newspaper in one market, for fears it would allow for further consolidation by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
The party’s new communication spokeswoman, Sarah Hanson-Young, will re-open talks with Senator Fifield in an attempt to strike a deal. The Greens’ seven Senate votes would push the government’s media reform package over the line.
Senator Nick Xenophon and his team of crossbenchers are believed to be supportive of the government’s package. It’s believed Senator Xenophon has been pushing to bring media reform to a head and is interested in proposing extra measures, separate to the government’s package, to support media diversity in Australia.