20 March 2013
Statement regarding media reform
Andrew has ruled out supporting the Government’s four remaining media reform bills.
“I’ve decided to rule out supporting the Government’s four remaining media reform bills.
“I said at the start that I would only support the reforms if they are warranted and well considered.
“But these reforms are rushed and poorly constructed. Frankly this is a shambles of the Government’s own making and no reasonable person could expect quality decisions to be made in these circumstances.
“Consequently these reforms fail to give more rights to members of the community subject to media mistreatment and fail to comprehensively enhance the Australian Press Council. Moreover they’re not accompanied by the essential supporting legislation, in particular a strong public interest disclosure bill, and don’t promise to effectively address the community’s concerns with the current media concentration.
“Whether or not a Public Interest Media Advocate or panel is established is unclear, as is the remit of the Advocate or panel.
“But it does seem to me that there’ll be an Advocate or panel charged with at least overseeing media mergers and acquisitions and that would be an unnecessary duplication of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Whether or not the Advocate or panel can be firewalled from political interference remains to be seen.
“This is a missed opportunity by the Government. What Australia needs is well considered reform addressing all of the problem areas. And then the Parliament needs to be given the time it needs for proper debate and committee scrutiny.”
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