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Wednesday, 25 June 2003
Page: 12446

Senator MACKAY (10:50 AM) —I wish to signal here the Labor Party's position with respect to this amendment. I agree with many of Senator Brown's sentiments. There is no doubt that the issue of local regional programming is a mess. There is no doubt that it is. We just do not believe it should be used as a bargaining tool with respect to this legislation. We genuinely believe that it should be dealt with separately, not used by the government to try and put in a fix with this legislation. It is quite capable of being dealt with separately. The government just does not have the will to do it.

Last night Senator McLucas highlighted the existing situation. But fixing it does not require a deal on this bill. It can be fixed independently of this bill. So, whilst I appreciate many things that Senator Brown said, we do not believe in this fairly shameless and transparent attempt to buy votes to get this bill through. We strongly believe this should be looked at and dealt with separately by the government. If the government were prepared to do that, we would wholeheartedly participate, and I am sure Senator Brown would as well. So for the sake of consistency, whilst we appreciate Senator Brown's sentiments, we will not be supporting his amendment.