For the second time in a year the Government has introduced a Bill into the Senate to update Australia’s broadcasting laws but failed to bring it to a vote.
The Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield, who is also the Manager of Government Business in the Senate, failed to secure the passage of his own bills before Parliament rose for winter recess today.
Last night we witnessed the Government actively frustrate and delay the vote on the Broadcasting Reform Bill and related Tax Bill in the Senate. In the same way that he dragged Australia’s media executives to Canberra for the recent Media Summit, the industry’s so-named ‘Golden Boy’ hauled no less than eleven Coalition senators to the chamber to filibuster so that a vote on the bills would not be reached.
With Labor’s support the Government could have waved the majority of their measures through Parliament by now. Labor would have voted for these bills to be passed had the Government dropped its plan to repeal the 2 out of 3 rule.
Despite the Minister’s insistence that ‘Parliament must act on media reforms’, the Minister failed to get the job done and now debate will continue throughout the winter recess.
As a result of the Minister’s failure to act, industry faces ongoing uncertainty with reports that the crossbench have a range of substantive demands.
The Minister has only himself to blame for his inadequate attempts at media reform and his failure to prioritise the Communications Portfolio in the Senate.