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The Morning Shift with Sam Maiden

E & OE

MAIDEN:

Our guest right now in the studio, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield. Fresh from last night’s event in relation to media reform.

Let’s just get stuck into some of the remarks that the Labor spokesperson Michelle Rowland has made this morning. Now she makes the point that, you know, why should we support this because media executives are simply supporting it because there is something in it for them.

FIFIELD:

I mean this is parallel universe stuff Sam. When Kieran asked Michelle Rowland, shouldn’t Labor support this package because it has the unanimous support of the Australia’s media industry, her response was, ‘well Australian media are only supporting the package because there is something in it for all of them’.

Is the suggestion really that we should develop a package that only benefits some players in the Australian media. I would have thought that when you’ve got the entire media industry on board with a proposition it’s worth seriously considering.

Let me just put a rhetorical proposition to you Sam. Who is in a better position to know what is in the interests of having strong Australian media voices? Is it Nine, Seven, Ten, Win, Prime, Southern Cross Austereo, News Limited, Fairfax, Foxtel, Astra, FreeTV and Commercial Radio Australia, or, is it the Australian Labor Party and Michelle Rowland?

MAIDEN:

To be fair though, some of the executives did make the point last night, including Foxtel’s Peter Tonagh that we’re not getting everything we want according to him, that he would have liked some more reforms in the anti-siphoning area. But he regards it as an opportunity because there is such unanimity between all of the executives. Do you think you could have done more in that area?

FIFIELD:

You’re right. This is a package in which no media organisation gets everything that they want. But every media organisation gets part of what they want. That’s why we have the entire media industry backing this package. And I’ve got to pay credit to the leaders of Australia’s media industry. That they have been able to look beyond their own legitimate organisational interests to the broader health and welfare of the Australian media.

MAIDEN:

One last question. Michelle Rowland also made the point that there is a lot of legislation that is old. She said that there is some legislation that we still have on the books that’s working fine that’s from the 1970’s. So why not leave it the way it is?

FIFIELD:

On that basis we’d never change any laws in the nation. Our media laws were developed in the late 1980’s when Kylie Minogue was still singing the locomotion. And look I’m as fond of the 80’s as anyone.

MAIDEN:

Fond of Kylie Minogue singing the locomotion?

FIFIELD:

It doesn’t take much for me to bust out a tune from the 80’s. But I don’t want to live in the 1980’s. And Labor seem to think that we can put the Australian media industry into formaldehyde to preserve it and that nothing need change. Well it’s a dynamic industry. These media laws are constraining Australia’s media from being able to compete. And the biggest threat to diversity in media, in Australia would be Australian media organisations going out of business. We don’t want that to happen. We want to give them a fighting chance.

MAIDEN:

Alright. Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, thanks a lot for your time today, thank you.

FIFIELD:

Thanks.

[ends]