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Government secrecy over newsagencies attacked.

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Press Release



Shadow Assistant Treasurer

Member for Wills


Wednesday 7 th April 1999


Government secrecy over newsagencies attacked


Labor’s Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Mr Kelvin Thomson said today that the Howard Government should immedi ately release the recommendations from the ACCC on how newsagencies are going to be regulated.


“Mr Hockey’s Claytons press release tells us absolutely nothing. The ACCC report itself is being kept secret. The press release tells us nothing of its content or recommendations. Newsagencies contacted by my office don’t know what’s in it.


“This is just not good enough. The report, minus the information of a commercially sensitive nature, should be immediately released.


“The argument in favour of competition policy is that it serves the public interest. Labor is concerned to ensure that actions carried out in the name of competition policy do indeed serve the public interest.


“We certainly can’t be confident of this when discussions are being held behind closed doors concerning reports which have not been publicly released.


“The Government’s handling of the newsagents issue all along has been secretive and designed to enable it to dog-whistle - sending a message to newsagents that it’s on their side whilst telling the rest of the world that they are enthusiastic promoters of competition.


“Minister Hockey’s release says it is now in the hands of the publishers and ANF to finalise a proposed commercial framework - this does not provide much solace to family newsagencies. Is there any guarantee that the ANF can negotiate on their behalf or does this mean that they are now going to have to sign individual contracts with the big publishers?


“Of what value are Prime Minister Howard’s famous assurances to newsagencies in these circumstances?”


For Further Information:

Kelvin Thomson MP Phone: 9350 5777 Mobile: 0419 594 882 

Robert Larocca Phone: 9350 5777 Mobile: 0409 189 644