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Commenting on substantial equity holding taken by John Fairfax and sons in Herald and weekly times group



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;t . Leader of the Opposition

-v 'STATEMENT BY BILL HAYDEN, M.P.

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* ' i * - ' t * 1-5 -t5* The substantial equity holding taken by John Fairfax

"' ;and Sons in the Herald and Weekly Times group is a further

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undesirable concentration of ownership affecting all three

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Even though some television interests of the Fairfax . .

Group will have to be sold off to comply with the Broadcasting and Television Act, the overall effect is to diminish the prospects for any growth of independent, diverse outlets in television, radio or print.

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There is a real need for this independence and diversity, as reactions last week showed during the attempted takeover of the Herald and Weekly Times by the News Ltd group. Some of those expressing it are how involved in the current changes.

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ftrCt? we saw positive government action to prevent further -V; ’ • v i · ' · , · . . . ■

‘'li'^fCQncentration of media ownership. And the first initiative

In the face of this increasing public concern, it is time

“ f: ’ ‘ it· - should be from the level of Federal Government.

·*-U ·' There should be a freeze on the issue of any further radio

and television licences to any company associated with

the questions raised existing media interests. if necessary, * * ■*' “ y ' such an action could be dealt with by interim legislation. —

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Section 50 of the Trade Practices Act should also be strengthened. Despite the unconscionable watering-down it has suffered at the hands of the present Government, this was

the only counter available in last week's situation where a monopolistic or market-dominating situation was in prospect.

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Section 50 should be restored at least to the level of effectiveness introduced by the Labor Government in 1974.

•^Parliament H ouse, Canberra, A C T . 2 6 0 0

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But the Government should go further and appoint a Royal

Commission with wide-ranging terms of reference to inquire into and report upon the ownership and control of the media in

Australia.

Only then can we expect to be fully informed about the implications of current and prospective trends, and the means

available to deal with them'.

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CANBERRA/SYDNEY 27 November 1979

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