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Media reforms to be put to Senate next week

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The Australian Government’s media reform bill is now expected to go before the Senate next week, while negotiations with crossbenchers continue.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Nick Xenophon Team hold key votes on the reform, with One Nation wanting to introduce curbs on the ABC and the SBS – a move that would be rejected by both Labor and the Greens.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield had hoped to put the legislation to the upper house this week.

Senator Fifield has all but ruled out the One Nation demands, but discussions with the party continue. Senator Xenophon wants a number of amendments to protect regional journalism, as well as reviews into the taxation of tech giants Google and Facebook.

Both One Nation and NXT oppose the repeal of the two-out-of-three rule, which remains the sticking point.

All major publishers and broadcasters support the government’s reform proposals, which would remove restrictions on cross-platform ownership and reach.

In May, Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood said the rejection of the media reforms would have a severe impact on the industry.

“To the opponents of this package of reforms I say – beware – the failure to act now is likely to have long-term and adverse consequences for Australian journalism and for this industry.”

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