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Wednesday, 31 August 1994
Page: 746

(Question No. 1573)


Senator Alston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications and the Arts, upon notice, on 22 July 1994:

  (1) Has the department sought legal advice as to whether Mr Kerry Packer can legally increase his stake in Fairfax beyond 15 per cent without being in breach of the current cross-media rules; if so, what is the advice received, and please provide a copy of this advice.

  (2) What is the department's current understanding of the circumstances in which, or criteria that must be met if, Mr Packer is able to increase his stake in Fairfax beyond 15 per cent without being in breach of the current cross-media rules.

  (3) What, if any, plans are there to amend the current cross-media rules.


Senator McMullan —The Minister for Communications and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) No such advice has been sought.

  (2) The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) provides that a person is not permitted to be in a position to exercise control of a commercial television broadcasting licence and a newspaper that is associated with the licence area of that licence or a commercial radio broadcasting licence and a newspaper that is associated with the licence area of the licence. The mechanisms that the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) is to use in deciding whether a person is in a position to exercise control of a licence, a company or a newspaper are set out in Schedule 1 to the BSA.

  (3) The Government has no plans to vary the cross-media rules.