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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 74


Senator BUTTON —At Question Time today Senator Siddons asked me a question about media takeovers and I said that I would try to provide a further answer. It is the Government's intention to introduce legislation to cover these matters in these sittings. The Minister for Communications (Mr Duffy) made that clear in his statement on 27 November last year. The market, through recent activity, has offered the firmest possible vote of confidence in the nature and intent of the Government's proposals. It is clear that the Minister's announcement has been closely scrutinised by all purchasers who are aware that the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal has the discretion to allow owners to exceed present ownership limits in view of the Government's expressed intention to change the law. The law has not been broken and the market is operating in the manner which the Government expected when it made these changes.

The media industry in Australia is intensely competitive and our cross-ownership rules will ensure that it remains that way, while not interfering with the freedom of the Press and while allowing owners within either television or newspapers to obtain the benefits of economies of scale. With the plethora of television, radio, magazine and newspaper owners now active in the market, no individual can dominate the media industry in Australia, either in terms of informing people or in terms of advertising.