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The Leader of the Australian Democrats (Senator Haines), pursuant to contingent notice, moved-That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Haines moving the following motion relating to the conduct of business of the Senate: That General Business, Notice of Motion No. 308 standing in the name of Senator Haines, be called on forthwith, viz:

(1) That the Select Committee on Television Equalisation inquire into and report upon:

(a) current levels of media ownership and control in Australia;

(b) the effects of current levels of ownership and control on:

(i) the diversity of information and opinion available to the public, and whether the supply of information and opinion is compromised, or potentially compromised, by wider commercial interests of media owners, and whether the supply is compromised, or potentially compromised by foreign ownership of Australian media,

(ii) programming, with particular reference to overseas content and the measures needed to maintain appropriate content reflecting local community and national interests,

(iii) levels of employment in the media industry, and

(iv) cost of advertising, particularly to casual and low volume users, e.g. small business;

(c) an acceptable level of concentration of media ownership and control in the light of matters ascertained in (b) above;

(d) the measures necessary to reduce current levels of concentration of media ownership and control if these are found to be above acceptable levels;

(e) the measures necessary to maintain media ownership and control at acceptable levels, and to prevent foreign ownership and control of Australian media;

(f) the measures necessary to encourage community-based and controlled media outlets designed to provide a wide variety of information and opinion, and assess to what extent Government support should be given to alternative community-based media;

(g) direct communication media (VAEIS, cable services and satellite distribution services) and determine what, if any, controls and licensing regulations are needed; and

(h) the legislative and other measures necessary to implement the Committee's recommendations.

(2) That the Committee commence its inquiry into the matters referred to it by this Resolution upon the completion of its inquiry in relation to the Broadcasting Amendment Bill 1986 and the Television Licence Fees Amendment Bill 1986.

(3) That the Committee report on the matters referred to it by this Resolution on or before the last sitting day prior to the winter adjournment.

Debate ensued.

Question put.

The Senate divided


Senators- Haines Harradine Macklin (Teller) Mason Powell Sanders Vallentine Vigor

NOES, 54

Senators- Alston Archer Aulich Baume, Michael Baume, Peter Black Bolkus Boswell Brownhill Carrick, Sir John Childs Coates Coleman Collard Colston Cook Cooney Crowley Devlin Elstob Evans Foreman Gietzelt Giles Guilfoyle, Dame Margaret Hamer Jessop Jones Kilgariff Knowles Lewis MacGibbon McIntosh McKiernan Messner Newman Parer Puplick Ray Reynolds Richardson Robertson Ryan Sheil (Teller) Short Tate Teague Townley Vanstone Walsh Walters Watson West Zakharov

And so it was negatived.