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Pay TV Optus proposal vindicates Coalition on competition

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3 September 1992


Shadow Minister for Communications Manager of Opposition Business In the House of Representatives



Optus proposal vindicates Coalition on Competition

"The Optus proposal is a complete vindication of the pro-competitive stance of the Opposition and our support of an ABC role in Pay TV.

V S' : ,

Warwick Smith, 'Shadow Minister for Communications, said that the Optus proposal to go straight into digital compression technologies had once again turned the Pay TV debate on its head.

'We have always boon totally against exclusivity periods, particularly so in an area where technologies are advancing so rapidly. It seems that Optus has come to grips with the overwhelming unpopularity of exclusive rights.

During the debate on the Broadcasting Services Bill I said: "We have to ... see whether or not the structure that the Government is proposing for a new industry ... is reflective of the likely impact of technologies."

The Prime Minister boasted that he knew all about the technologies. This latest development throws egg on his face and that of the Democrats who were so easily seduced into advocating Government protection of a private monopoly for at least 5 years. .

The overall objectives of the Coalition's Communications policy (which I outlined at the AIC Television Industry Conference last Tuesday) of greater competition, diversity of ownership, consumer choice and protection, and allowing new technologies would appear to be met by Optus1 proposal

Specific matters in the proposal, which I had earlier raised in the Parliament by way of debate and amendment, include:

. concurrent licences . common customer receiving and decoding equipment . the unrestricted use of other delivery technologies . total Australian coverage (an amendment agreed to by the Government)

It would appear that the cards have been ripped from Keating's hand. He has nothing left to dealt Given this latest development and the TPC submission to the Pay TV inquiry the Government has now no choice but to change its proposal.

Contact: Vivienne Shield 003 31 4322 06 277 4511