Interview with Robbie Buck – ABC 702 – Wednesday, 24 February 2016


SUBJECT/S: Media reform

ROBBIE BUCK: Somebody else who is following these proposals very closely because he sits on the other side of the chamber is Jason Clare, he is the Shadow Minister for Communications, Jason Clare good morning.


BUCK: Can you take us through the detail that we know at this stage, not everything has been release obviously?

CLARE: I think Denis said there would be two major changes that the Government are proposing, I think that is right. One is changes to the “reach rule” – that’s relatively non-controversial. As Denis said at the moment Channel Nine, Seven and Ten can broadcast to seventy-five per cent of the country, this would change it to a hundred per cent of the country. There is a strong argument for that because at the moment they can stream the same service over the internet to a hundred per cent of the country –so that’s number one. The second is the proposed removal of the “two out of three rule” that’s much more controversial because it potentially means bigger media companies, so Channel Nine and Fairfax teaming up and Channel Ten and News Limited teaming up.

BUCK: What about the question of, and this is obviously what you are talking about, the question of diversity in the entire media market – is there a risk that we are heading towards more monopoly style news services with these changes in these laws if they go ahead?

CLARE: I think it is important in this debate to understand that there is a difference between diversity of content and diversity of ownership.
In the internet age there is lots more content people can get by going online but as Denis said most of the content that people read and watch is still owned by the same traditional media companies; the ABC, Fairfax, News Limited, Nine, Seven and Ten. If you think the public interest is served by having as much diversity as possible then you would want to keep these rules in place.

BUCK: The other question that you will be looking at very closely as well, that was mentioned just there is the anti-siphoning list. As we have heard there are some desires from certain media magnates to have these laws changed to have some of the events that are on free-to-air go to Pay TV. What is your attitude towards the discussion about the anti-siphoning, the sports laws?

CLARE: I think it would be a pretty brave government to take sport off free-to-air TV. Media reform generally is a mine field and Malcolm Turnbull has been tiptoeing around this now for two and a half years. I think if he was to tell the Australian people a couple of months before an election that he was going to take sport off TV there would be a lot of angry people.

BUCK: So as far as you’re concerned, you’re quite happy to see them stay where they are?

CLARE: It is the nature of Australia that big games like grand finals and test matches and one dayers – Australians rightfully expect that they can flick on their TV and they can watch those games without having to pay for it.

BUCK: We’ll see what happens with the rest of the laws. Thank you very much for your time this morning.

CLARE: Thanks Robbie.