How Andrew Robb voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should use regulation to increase the diversity of publishers and broadcasters in Australia's media industry by, for example, setting a threshold for the maximum market share of any one company.

Division Andrew Robb Supporters vote Division outcome

18th Oct 2006, 12:09 PM – Representatives Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2006 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority agreed to pass the bill (in parliamentary jargon, they agreed to read the bill for a third time). Since the bill has already been passed in the Senate, it will now become law.

Main idea of the bill

The bill will introduce new laws relating to cross media ownership and foreign media ownership. Specifically, it will permit cross-media mergers in radio licence areas where sufficient diversity of media groups remains following the merger and remove media-specific restrictions on foreign ownership and control.

The bill states that there is sufficient diversity of media groups if there are at least five separate media groups in mainland State capitals and at least four groups in other licence areas following any merger activity.

What are cross media ownership laws?

Under the current law, a person can't control two types of media (including TV, radio and newspaper media) within the same licence area. For example, one person can't control a commercial television broadcasting licence and a commercial radio broadcasting licence within a particular area. Nor can they control a commercial radio broadcasting licence and a newspaper associated with the area.

A person is considered to be in control of the particular type of media if they have interests in the company greater than 15%.

What are foreign media ownership laws?

There are currently several controls on foreign ownership of Australian media. For example, there are strict limits on the degree of total foreign interest in newspaper ownership as well as a set limit on the interest of any single foreign shareholder.

Background to the bill

Since it was elected in 1996, the Coalition Government has made its interest in amending Australia's media ownership laws clear. It has asked the advice of the Productivity Commission and previously introduced the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2002 and the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2002 (No 2), but neither were passed.

The Government restated its commitment to amend these media ownership laws during the 2004 election, in which it was re-elected.

Read more about the background to the bill in its bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

18th Oct 2006, 12:02 PM – Representatives Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2006 - Consideration in Detail - Remove new cross-media ownership laws from bill

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The majority disagreed that the new cross-media ownership laws should be removed from the bill. Labor MP Stephen Smith had suggested this in a motion because he believes that the new laws contained in the bill don't protect media diversity (read his whole speech and the related debate).

What does the bill do?

The bill will introduce new laws relating to cross media ownership. Specifically, it will permit cross-media mergers in radio licence areas where sufficient diversity of media groups remains following the merger.

The bill states that there is sufficient diversity of media groups if there are at least five separate media groups in mainland State capitals and at least four groups in other licence areas following any merger activity.

What are the current cross media ownership laws?

Under the current law, a person can't control two types of media (including TV, radio and newspaper media) within the same licence area. For example, one person can't control a commercial television broadcasting licence and a commercial radio broadcasting licence within a particular area. Nor can they control a commercial radio broadcasting licence and a newspaper associated with the area.

A person is considered to be in control of the particular type of media if they have interests in the company greater than 15%.

Background to the bill

Since it was elected in 1996, the Coalition Government has made its interest in amending Australia's media ownership laws clear. It has asked the advice of the Productivity Commission and previously introduced the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2002 and the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2002 (No 2), but neither were passed.

The Government restated its commitment to amend these media ownership laws during the 2004 election, in which it was re-elected.

Read more about the background to the bill in its bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

18th Oct 2006, 11:21 AM – Representatives Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2006 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority agreed with the bill's main idea (in parliamentary jargon, they agreed to read the bill for a second time). This means that the House can now discuss the bill in more detail.

Main idea of the bill

The bill will introduce new laws relating to cross media ownership and foreign media ownership. Specifically, it will permit cross-media mergers in radio licence areas where sufficient diversity of media groups remains following the merger and remove media-specific restrictions on foreign ownership and control.

The bill states that there is sufficient diversity of media groups if there are at least five separate media groups in mainland State capitals and at least four groups in other licence areas following any merger activity.

What are cross media ownership laws?

Under the current law, a person can't control two types of media (including TV, radio and newspaper media) within the same licence area. For example, one person can't control a commercial television broadcasting licence and a commercial radio broadcasting licence within a particular area. Nor can they control a commercial radio broadcasting licence and a newspaper associated with the area.

A person is considered to be in control of the particular type of media if they have interests in the company greater than 15%.

What are foreign media ownership laws?

There are currently several controls on foreign ownership of Australian media. For example, there are strict limits on the degree of total foreign interest in newspaper ownership as well as a set limit on the interest of any single foreign shareholder.

Background to the bill

Since it was elected in 1996, the Coalition Government has made its interest in amending Australia's media ownership laws clear. It has asked the advice of the Productivity Commission and previously introduced the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2002 and the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2002 (No 2), but neither were passed.

The Government restated its commitment to amend these media ownership laws during the 2004 election, in which it was re-elected.

Read more about the background to the bill in its bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

How "voted very strongly against" is worked out

The MP's votes count towards a weighted average where the most important votes get 50 points, less important votes get 10 points, and less important votes for which the MP was absent get 2 points. In important votes the MP gets awarded the full 50 points for voting the same as the policy, 0 points for voting against the policy, and 25 points for not voting. In less important votes, the MP gets 10 points for voting with the policy, 0 points for voting against, and 1 (out of 2) if absent.

Then, the number gets converted to a simple english language phrase based on the range of values it's within.

No of votes Points Out of
Most important votes (50 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 3 0 150
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 0 150

*Pressure of other work means MPs or Senators are not always available to vote – it does not always indicate they have abstained. Therefore, being absent on a less important vote makes a disproportionatly small difference.

Agreement score = MP's points / total points = 0 / 150 = 0.0%.

And then