Network Ten’s announcement today that it will enter voluntary administration is a wake-up call to opponents of media reform. This is a difficult and stressful time for Ten’s staff and their families who are facing an uncertain future. That a major Australian media organisation is in such difficulty should be a matter of concern.
The Turnbull Government and industry leaders have been warning for some time that Australia’s media industry is under pressure and needs reform. While the Government has sought to progress important reforms such as the abolition of the two out of three rule since March 2016, Labor’s response has been to frustrate and delay their passage. They have displayed a callous disregard for the impact their actions are having on an industry that desperately needs reform. Labor’s gamesmanship has limited the options for organisations like Ten.
The Government’s Media Reform package has the historic and unprecedented support of the entire Australian media industry, yet Labor continues to ignore their pleas. But it is not too late. Today I call on Bill Shorten and Labor to abandon their politically motivated opposition and show they care about the Australian media industry and the men and women whose livelihoods depend on it.
The Government’s reforms are vital measures that will unshackle Australia’s media industry from redundant laws and allow it to respond to increasing international competition.
The reforms support Australian jobs, will strengthen local content obligations, and bring our media laws into the digital age.
Just last month, Network Ten CEO Paul Anderson warned that the media sector was under extreme competitive pressure from “foreign-owned tech media giants”. Mr Anderson has repeatedly pointed out that the current media rules, particularly the two out of three rule, are stifling growth and threatening jobs.
There is a lot of talk about media diversity, but the greatest threat to diversity in Australian media would be the failure of Australian media organisations.
The strength and viability of Australian media voices can only be enhanced by allowing the industry more options as to how it configures itself. Legislation to give effect to the Government’s comprehensive reform package will be introduced tomorrow. It is now time for the Parliament to come together, support the package as a whole and give Australian media organisations a fighting chance.