One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has announced “conditional support” for the Federal Government’s shake-up of media ownership and regulation.
- Reforms scrap the ‘reach rule’ preventing one TV broadcaster from reaching more than 75pc of the population
- One Nation supports changes in exchange for greater transparency of ABC staff wages
- One Nation and Government agree to spend an extra $12m on community radio
That support may end months of political deadlock with Labor and the Greens opposed to the changes, claiming they would only weaken media diversity.
Senator Hanson said her party would back the measures because the Coalition had agreed to investigate the ABC’s balance, its commitment to regional areas, and order the public broadcaster to be more transparent about its wages.
The Coalition wants to scrap measures such as the so-called “two out of three” rule, which prevents a company owning a TV station, newspaper and radio station in the one licence area.
It would also end the “reach rule”, which prevents a single TV station from reaching more than 75 per cent of the population.
In a statement, Senator Hanson said she had a “hot and cold relationship” with the media, but was genuinely concerned for the industry’s future.
“One Nation has been at the forefront calling for more transparency of wages at the ABC,” she said.
“We have received assurances from the Government that they will be asking the ABC to start providing details of the wages and conditions of all staff, whose wages and allowances are greater than $200,000, similar to what is being implement by the British Broadcasting Corporation [BBC].”
The BBC was forced to publish the names and salaries of its highest-earning actors and presenters, unleashing a national debate about fame, gender, race and the use of taxpayers’ money.
The executives of more than 20 media companies met in Canberra earlier this year urging the Government to change restrictions they described as “outdated” and “irrelevant”.
Senator Hanson said the Government had agreed to spend an extra $12 million on community radio initiatives.
“I have always been a big supporter of community radio, we need to ensure that Australian communities, both regional and city have access to a diverse and independent voice,” she said is a statement.
“More often than not community radio is that voice, so it is vitally important that they are supported and well-funded.”
The legislation is expected to come before Parliament this week.