Subjects: Media Reform failures of the Turnbull Government.


INTERVIEWER: The government says that Labor is holding up media reform by not passing the 2 out of 3 rule, what’s your take on the delay?

STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL SERVICES, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND TERRITORIES: The Government and particularly the Minister is either too lazy or too incompetent to pick up the phone and talk to the Opposition about media reform. Instead, he’s thrown in the towel saying there’ll be no reform this year. We know that we could get a bill through the Parliament next week. In fact it’s not too late to get a bill through the Parliament this week. We’re willing to meet the government two thirds of the way. We will agree with them on removing the 75 per cent “reach rule”. We will agree with them on improving local content rules and we’ll agree with them on reducing licence fees. But they haven’t made the case for removing the restrictions known as the 2 out of 3 rule. They haven’t made the case on that and we’re very concerned that that would lead to an overconcentration of media ownership in Australia.


INTERVIEWER: Why should the bill be split?


JONES: It should be split because it’s a pragmatic approach. It will ensure that you get some reforms through the Parliament this year and I think the people in regional Australia who want to see stories about their region would say that’s a great step forward and I think the media companies throughout the country would also say at least there is some progress.


INTERVIEWER: How important do you think it is that the reach rule is fast tracked?


JONES: We know that this is an important issue. When these restrictions were put in place in the 1980s and 1990s the media landscape looked very different. Now we have a whole range of new players, internet based players who have entered the market and it really doesn’t make sense to have in place the 75 per cent reach rule. We can get rid of that next week if the government agrees to split its bill. We can make some progress on that. This is really important for people in regional Australia. They want to see stories about their own region, local stories, not just stories broadcast out of Sydney or other capital cities. A pragmatic approach by the government would be to split the bill. Let’s get some reform done.