The amendment changes the second motion text - which is normally "That these bills be now read a second time" - by adding:
", but reaffirms that the Senate is a friend of the ABC, notes that the agreement to support the bill involves a non-statutory review which threatens iView, SBS on Demand and online news content, and is of the opinion that the bill should not proceed if the review is to occur".
This change doesn't have any legal affect; that is, it won't force the Government to do what it asks for. However, it does have political influence in that it represents the will of the Senate.
What does it mean to read the bills "a second time"?
There are several stages that a bill must pass through before becoming law. When the Senate is asked to read a bill for the "second time", it means that they are being asked whether they agree with the main idea of the bill. If this vote is successful, they'll then go on to discuss it in greater detail.
What do the bills do?
The two bills are the:
- Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Bill 2017; and the
- Commercial Broadcasting (Tax) Bill 2017.
Most significantly, the bills were introduced to get rid of certain media ownership, control and diversity laws, like the ‘75% audience reach rule’, which stops commercial television broadcasting licensees from controlling licences if the combined licence area has a population over 75% of Australia' population. It would also get rid of the ‘2 out of 3 cross-media control rule’, which stops a company from having control over more than two out of three regulated media platforms in any one commercial radio licence area.
Read more in the bills digest.