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Beazley confusion on fairfax process must be transparent minister to go before media inquiry



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MEDIA RELEASE WARWICK SMITH M.P. Shadow Minister for Communications ยท

September 1991

Beazley Confusion on Fairfax Process Must Be Transparent Minister to go before Media Inquiry?

The Minister for Communications has created immense confusion on legislative proposals that may affect the Fairfax assets sale process. This matter must be clarified.

Recent statements by Mr Beazley clearly conflict.

. On 7 August at a National Press Club Address, Mr Beazley said he would consider 'whether the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal needs a "trip-wire" inserted in the (Broadcasting) Act" ... which "would be a list of situations which could lead to possible breaches of ownership and control laws through the use of people or companies as associates.'

. On August 27, Mr Beazley said he would not push to give the ABT that power. The retiring chairman of the Trade Practices Commission on 29 August said that Mr Beazley's latest comments left him "with concern about whether the Government is providing the ABT with the necessary power to

evaluate all the bids".

. Today there is yet another report about a new view he is proposing to cabinet. ,

What exactly is Mr Beazley's view?

The assets are in the market place. The market process must prevail. But the rules of the game must be adhered to. The role of the Trade Practices Commission is vital. It must use its power to enhance competition.

The Select Committee on the Print Media meet tonight for the first time. How ironic to be doing so in a climate of total Government policy confusion. The Committee is as I said, "clearly a product of a political deal". (Hansard 22 August)

This committee was established by the Government to overview the Fairfax assets sale. It is therefore apparent that the first witness ought to be the Minister for Communications who should explain exactly what is his view, and those of the

Government. Would he accept an invitation to attend the Committee to enlighten us all?

I stated on the Channel 9 Sunday Program (21 July)" we want all this matter in the open and for everyone to be able to be satisfied what is being proposed".

The process of the legislative changes affecting the Fairfax asset sale must be transparent in every respect.

Contact: (06) 277 3332

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