I was pilloried by the Canberra Press Gallery when I said in 1995 that John Howard, then Opposition leader, had given a commitment to the late Kerry Packer that upon achieving office, he, Howard, would remove the cross media rules, which at the time were frustrating Publishing and Broadcasting Limited’s attempts to acquire control of John Fairfax Holdings.
In the decade since, nothing has changed, other than that, in that time, the Howard Government has mounted two serious forays to remove the cross media rules, attempts which were defeated by a majority of those opposite in the Senate. Now, with nominal control of the Senate, the government is backing up for a third go, only this time, it has the prima facie ability to succeed.
The changes announced by Senator Coonan are not, in any sense, a reform. Rather, they are the working out of that undertaking given by John Howard all those years ago.
Interesting article (thanks Baz).