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Alston on the ropes.

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ALSTON ON THE ROPES Shadow Minister for Communications, Lindsay Tanner, today congratulated Coalition MPs who have stifled Senator Alston’s ill-considered changes to Australia’s media ownership laws.

“This is a serious embarrassment to Alston and the Howard Government. Both Senator Alston and Prime Minister John Howard have flagged changed media ownership laws as key priorities for the third-term Howard Government. Yet it appears these proposed changes have collapsed at the first hurdle.

“This is a Government bereft of any agenda and skidding from crisis-to-crisis. The Howard Government is on the ropes.

“Senator Alston has traipsed across the country consulting media barons about his proposed new laws, but it appears he forgot to consult his own Government’s members. This is further evidence of the contempt the Howard Government holds for our national institutions like the Parliament and the High Court.

“Australians keen to protect media diversity can have little faith in Senator Alston’s attempts to reform the cross-media ownership laws if he can’t even persuade his own backbenchers of its merits.

“Like some thinking members of the Coalition Party Room, Labor is committed to diversity in the Australian media and we will steadfastly oppose any changes to media laws which harm such diversity”, Mr Tanner said.

March 20, 2002

For further information contact Lindsay Tanner or Peter van Vliet on (02) 6277 4428 or 0408 188 055