26 July 2019

Joint with Shadow Treasurer, Jim Chalmers MP and Shadow Minister for Innovation, Technology and the Futre of Work, Clare O'Neil MP.

Labor welcomes the release of the Final Report of the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry and cautions the Morrison Government to tread carefully in its response.

The report highlights the need for a modern fit-for-purpose regulatory framework with Australian digital users and consumers, and Australian businesses at the centre.

Three years ago, Labor called for an inquiry of this nature to inform changes to Australia’s media laws but the Government dismissed and ultimately delayed it, saying “all the facts are known”. 

That the final report contains 23 recommendations which the Government will consult on prior to settling its response shows the wide-ranging and complex factors that demand attention.

Labor notes that the competition elements in play are significant and some of the key questions, such as whether new laws will be needed or existing laws utilised, have far-reaching implications. 

But let’s not forget why the Inquiry was commissioned in the first place: Public interest journalism. 

It’s not just police raids that make it hard for journalists to do their jobs, these days. 

Digital platforms have disrupted and transformed a range of industry sectors, including the business models that underpin public interest journalism, but they didn’t appear overnight.

For too long, Liberal Government policy inertia has perpetuated regulatory asymmetry, with major implications for Australian democracy, as well as our economy and society.

Labor has long called for holistic reform of the policy and regulatory framework for media in Australia, and we are pleased the Government has finally acknowledged this need.

Labor also wishes to see a thriving media industry and a thriving tech industry in Australia, and stresses the need for smart policy responses that balance the need to hold platforms accountable as well as foster innovation.

The Liberals have a record of failure when it comes to the digital economy, including through their mismanagement of the NBN. That’s why Labor will be closely scrutinising the Government’s response to this inquiry.

Labor will examine the findings and recommendations of this 18 month inquiry and consult closely with stakeholders.