At the risk of crying wolf, multiple reports suggest Media Reforms will pass through the Senate today after the government secured the support of Nick Xenophon’s NXT.
Having secured the support of One Nation already the govt has the numbers to pass the bills, despite opposition from Labor and the Greens.
The reforms have wide support from media organisations, but questions remain about scrapping the ‘two out of three’ rule, allowing a company to own a TV station, newspaper and radio station in a single market.
Nick Xenophon pushed for a fund for 200 journalist cadetships of as much as $40,000 each, and grants up to $1million for publishers with a turnover of between $300,000 – $30million.
“I and my colleagues welcome the Government’s commitment to implement a regional and small publishers jobs and innovation package worth $60.4 million over three years,” he said.
Treasurer Scott Morrison has also agreed to have the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission conduct an inquiry into Google, Facebook and other online giants.
But Xenophon will not vote in favour of any funding cuts to the ABC or SBS, which One Nation wants for its support. One Nation also wants ABC and SBS to disclose staff salaries of more than $200,000 in separate legislation, an inquiry into “competitive neutrality” and the ABC have the words “fair and balanced” inserted into its charter.
Labor and the Greens have attacked Senator Xenophon for dealing with the government and warned the reforms would lead to a reduction in the ABC’s budget.
Senator Derryn Hinch will also support the media package.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the reforms were for the entire media industry.
“This will ensure we have strong Australian media voices into the future,” he said.
Debate was adjourned last night but is expected to conclude today.