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Tuesday, 27 June 2000
Page: 15763

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (9:49 PM) —It was not my intention to indicate that there was any compulsion in the sense that, if you choose to go it alone, you can. My understanding is that, if a broadcaster chooses to carry another broadcaster, it is required to provide an EPG for all broadcasters. But I am not clear whether that then means you have to carry datacasters as well—or if it is only that if you carry one datacaster that you have to carry all other datacasters? So that applies, presumably in reverse, to a datacaster: if a datacaster operates as a sole trader, it presents its own EPG; if it carries one broadcaster, it has to carry all other broadcasters; if it carries one other datacaster, it has to carry all other datacasters; if it carries one of each, it has to carry the lot. Is that the way you put it forward?

Senator Bourne —You carry one other.

Senator ALSTON —As I say, I think it imposes a degree of compulsion that I do not think is justified by the commercial realities. It may well make sense for some to combine with others, but does that mean you ought to be required to offer your competitors a programming guide? We do not think so.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Hogg)—The question is that the amendments moved by the Democrats be agreed to.

Question resolved in the negative.