Nick Xenophon will share responsibility with Pauline Hanson for “damaging” the ABC and SBS if he votes for the government’s media laws by the end of the week, Labor says.
The federal government is aiming to repeal the reach rule which prevents a person exercising control of commercial television broadcasting licences whose combined licence area exceed 75 per cent of Australia’s population.
It is also seeking to repeal the rule banning a person controlling more than two out of three platforms – TV, radio or newspaper – in any one commercial radio licence area.
AAP understands the South Australian senator has been promised funding for cadet journalists and independent media in order to strengthen diversity and boost employment in the media sector.
One source estimated the deal at $30 million.
However, Senator Xenophon, who was due to meet with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield before question time on Tuesday, said negotiations were still proceeding.
“Anything can happen,” he told AAP on Tuesday.
“There are a number of issues we are going through.”
The sticking point for the legislation’s passage has been the two-out-of-three media ownership measure, which Labor and the Greens oppose.
The government has already won the support of the four One Nation senators conditional on an investigation into the ABC and changes to be made to its charter.
Labor communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said Senator Xenophon was agreeing to wave through detrimental changes to Australia’s public broadcasters.
“On one hand he tries to say he won’t support damaging the ABC – but this is the deal on the table,” she said.
Senator Hanson has also said she will push for funding cuts to the ABC in the next federal budget.
NXT senator Stirling Griff told the Senate on Tuesday it was time for substantial reform to ownership laws.
“What we don’t want is for the current laws to assist in the slow death of Australia’s news media.
“If we don’t (act) we may eventually be left consuming little more than mindless clickbait and fake news with our morning Cornflakes.”