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Monday, 24 August 2020
Page: 5348


Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (16:11): From 2006 to 2016, the number of journalists in Australia fell by nine per cent. Health reporting is down by 30 per cent, and science reporting is down by 42 per cent. In the past decade, more than 100 local or regional newspapers have closed, and the Liberals, in pursuit of their petty culture war, are cutting the ABC. Never has the Australian media been under more pressure and never have we needed quality journalism more. Investigatory journalism by Joanne McCarthy and Adele Ferguson helped spark two royal commissions. Nick McKenzie, Joel Tozer and Paul Sakkal have today revealed shocking wrongdoing in the Victorian Liberal Party. In this environment, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has proposed a scheme that asks Google to negotiate fair payment for Australian news content. In response, the trillion-dollar search engine launched a misleading scare campaign. Google claims that having to give news organisations advance notice of demotion would give others an unfair advantage. It wouldn't. It says that sharing data would lead to data breaches. In fact, Google won't be required to share any additional user data with media outlets unless it chooses to do so. Google makes hundreds of billions of dollars every year. It can afford to share a small slice of that with the news media that is fundamental to Australian democracy.