News National Government’s bill to relax media ownership laws passes Senate

Government’s bill to relax media ownership laws passes Senate

Australian newspapers
The changes will allow media companies to own multiple platforms in one city. Photo: ABC
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The federal government’s bill to change media ownership and regulation has passed the Senate 31 votes to 27.

The government secured the support of the Nick Xenophon Team and One Nation to pass the bill.

It scraps restrictions such as the “two out of three” rule, which stops companies owning newspaper, radio and television stations in the same city.

The changes will also abolish the “reach rule”, which prevented a single TV broadcaster from reaching more than 75 per cent of the population.

There will also be a change to revenue-based licence fees, which will be replaced by a lower spectrum charge.

The government had to rely on support from the crossbench because Labor did not support elements of the legislation.

As part of its agreement with the Coalition, One Nation wants an investigation into the ABC.

Speaking on RN Drive, Labor’s Penny Wong accused Senator Xenophon of supporting an “attack” on the national broadcaster.

“Nick could’ve stopped an attack on the ABC with this legislation and he chose not to,” she said.

“I think a lot of South Australians who voted for Nick, who are supporters of the ABC will be very disappointed.”

‘Better future for Australian stories’

The media industry had been demanding the changes to reflect the changing media landscape.

In a statement, Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes said the changes would provide a “better future for local news and Australian stories”.

“These historic changes will give Australian media companies a real opportunity to compete with unregulated global players,” he said.

Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner said the changes would allow “broadcasters and publishers to meet the increasing pace of change that we are facing”.