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Labor sells out young Australians.



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Media Release

 

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD ALSTON

Minister for Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts

 

Labor sells out young Australians

 

‘Labor has betrayed Australian consumers with a music policy that would allow a small number of wealthy, foreign-owned multinational record companies to keep ripping off Australian consumers,’ the Federal Minister for the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said today.

 

‘Today’s announcement can best be described as Labor’s anti-cheaper CDs policy.

 

‘Australians pay too much for their CDs because these foreign record companies have a monopoly on imports, which allow them to keep prices too high.

 

‘But Labor couldn’t care less how much Australians pay for their favourite music. It thinks record profits for record companies are far more important - even if those profits head overseas.

 

‘Labor must also come clean to the public about any election funding promises it has secured from the multinational record companies in return for its betrayal of consumers.

 

‘Labor has clearly learnt absolutely nothing from its 1996 election defeat as it keeps putting the interests of its favoured elites ahead of the interests of ordinary hardworking Australians.

 

‘The Coalition Government, in contrast, has a sensible plan to lower CD prices by breaking the record companies' monopoly and allowing Australian retailers to directly import legitimately copyrighted CDs.

 

‘Our policy is strongly supported by consumer groups, retailers, young Australians, and many within the music industry. One of the nation’s largest retailers of CDs, Woolworths, has publicly stated that the Government’s policy would allow an immediate 25-30 per cent price fall.

 

‘Consumer groups say the Government’s plan would lead to savings of about $200 a year for music lovers, which would allow them to buy an extra eight to 10 CDs.

 

‘Earlier this month, the New Zealand Government announced that it would adopt our plan to remove parallel import restrictions on sound recordings, thereby delivering lower CD prices and a much wider array of CD choices for New Zealand music lovers.

 

‘Labor stubbornly refuses to heed this evidence. Instead, the ALP has fallen for the same old line from the multinational record companies that only if they’re allowed to keep ripping off Australian consumers will they invest in local artists.

 

‘But these are the same companies which welched on an investment deal with the previous Labor Government. These record companies signed a deal with the Government of Australia and then refused to honour it. They cannot be trusted.

 

‘Music lovers should also remember that many of the high profile artists so cynically co-opted to support Labor’s policy have lucrative record contracts with these same multinational record companies.

 

‘Anyone with an interest in contemporary music knows that the multinationals have done precious little to financially assist up-and-coming talent, who often have to finance their own recordings, manufacturing and distribution - even Labor’s policy acknowledges this fact. The multinationals only elbow their way in once an artist or group has made it.

 

"In stark contrast to Labor, the Coalition Government has demonstrated it has the political courage to take on the large multinational record companies in order to ensure that consumers - particularly young Australians - do not continue to pay exorbitant prices for CDs. The Coalition has already introduced programs to assist emerging young Australian artists, and to assist bands to tour overseas.

 

‘Labor says it would change the quota rules for radio broadcasts of Australian music. But it was Labor which scrapped the previous quota system.

 

‘In coming weeks, the Senate will debate the Government’s plan. It has the opportunity to put the interests of ordinary music lovers in front of the interests of a few self-interested multinationals.’

 

Media contact: Terry O’Connor, Minister’s office 0419 636 879

Website  www. richardalston. dca.gov.au

 

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24 May 1998

 

 

 

 

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