Good morning media junkies,
It’s all about the mejia today people, apart from flurries of citizenship debacles and blustery conditions expected in question time.
The media bill, which has been a long time in the works, is coming to a vote in the Senate. Last night, One Nation announced they had a deal with the government.
The starting point was this: the bill would abolish the 75% reach rule that prevents Nine Entertainment, Seven West Media and the Ten Network from owning their regional affiliates and the two-out-of-three rule preventing moguls from controlling a free-to-air TV station, newspapers and radio stations in the same market.
Labor is opposed to the bill.
Pauline Hanson was originally opposed to the media package, particularly the two-out-of-three rule.
But last night she said the government had given an assurance it would ask the ABC to provide “details of the wages and conditions of all staff whose wages and allowances are greater than $200,000, similar to what is being implement[ed] by the British Broadcasting Corporation”. The requirement extends to “on-air talent”.
The government has also agreed to undertake a competitive neutrality inquiry into the ABC and to legislate a requirement for the ABC to be ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’.
She told Andrew Bolt, a fierce critic of the ABC and employee of News Corp, she had raised some of his points with the government.
But the government also needs Nick Xenophon’s three votes in the Senate and Nick has nixed the ABC changes on the grounds that it would disadvantage the ABC in favour of commercial broadcasters.
Xenophon told Fran Kelly he could not see where the ABC changes come into the media package, given the ABC already had a charter to be neutral.
I support the charter, I cannot see the need for a fair and balance test … I don’t think the ramifications have been thought through.
He said he wants an inquiry into the effect of Facebook and Google on the media landscape, given their domination over advertising revenue, and tax breaks for hiring journalists at small publishing outfits. Xenophon said it would turbocharge media diversity in Australia and ameliorate media takeovers.
The upshot of the gap between the demands of One Nation and Nick Xenophon would mean the Coalition must again look to the Greens, who have cautiously entertained the abolition of the two-out-of-three rule in return for similar diversity measures to Xenophon.
The Greens will not entertain any limitations to the ABC and SBS and they want a commitment to local content. They are working with NXT on measures to protect journalists’ jobs while trying to ensure tax breaks are not exploited by larger publishers.
The government would pass the bill with the Greens and NXT so the Hanson deal might be all fluff and filler.
So stick with me, this my second-last day in blogland. Speak to me in the thread or on the Twits. I will post to my Facebook page as well. Penny Wong coming up next and her staffer, NZ Labor and citizenship shenanigans.