Nick Xenophon has announced he is leaving the Australian Senate and Federal politics, just weeks after rubber stamping the Turnbull Government’s flawed media ownership changes.
Nick Xenophon sold out and signed up to a dirty backroom deal with the Turnbull Government and One Nation to repeal media diversity safeguards and attack the ABC - all for a pathetic innovation fund that will run out in only three years.
Nick Xenophon’s Legacy is a set of short-term measures that are yet to be fully explained, implemented or reviewed. His departure ensures he will not be accountable for the consequences of the damaging deal he signed up to.
Meanwhile, important questions about the Xenophon package remain:
- The one-off Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund will dispense $50 million of taxpayers’ funds over three years before it peters out. What then?
- What is the point of a fund that can't even be spent on employing journalists?
- How is some extra taxpayer-funded equipment and training going to save the Australian media industry?
- How many publishers have been excluded from the fund?
- Why have innovative publishers like The Guardian, Buzzfeed and The New Daily been cut out of the deal?
- What impact will the inability to access the fund have on niche publishers?
- Why are publishers affiliated with a superannuation fund excluded from accessing the fund?
- Why are taxpayers’ funds being used for cadetship programs at large commercial media organisations?
- Why expend taxpayers’ money on journalism cadetships and scholarships when there aren’t enough jobs for existing journalists?
- Where are all the new cadets going to work, given there will inevitably be job losses once media mergers take place to achieve the efficiencies and synergies of consolidation following the repeal of the 2 out of 3 rule?
Nick Xenophon did this rotten deal with Minister Fifield behind closed doors.
With Nick Xenophon soon to depart, the question remains: who will answer for this dodgy deal?
Considering it was Senator Xenophon - rather than the Minister - who fielded questions on key aspects of the deal when it was being debated in the Senate, it will be fascinating to see what, if any answers are now forthcoming.