Government closes in on media reform deal with Xenophon

File Senator Nick Xenophon            
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File Senator Nick Xenophon Show Grid

After months of horsetrading, the government appears close to finding a passage for its stalled media reforms package to pass through the Senate as it closes in on a deal with senate powerbroker Nick Xenophon.

Jacqui Lambie has said she won't support the bill after the government's deal with One Nation included measures targeting the ABC.

Most notably, overhauling "pre-internet" laws will remove the ban on an individual controlling more than two out of three media platforms in one licensed market - comprised of TV, radio and newspaper.

It will also repeal the reach rule which prevents a person exercising control of commercial television broadcasting licences whose combined licence area exceed 75 per cent of Australia's population.

The Nick Xenophon Team agreed to support the Government's package, in exchange for a 60-million-dollar new fund for independent and regional publishers, and young journalists.

'This has been the most hard, protracted and robust set of negotiations in 20 years of being parliament - state and federal, ' Senator Xenophon said. The agreement includes 30 scholarships to study journalism per year, inclusive of 50 cadetships with regional and small media companies, featuring salaries subsidies of up to $40,000 by the Australian government. "The media laws were crafted for an era which today is barely recognisable", he said.

Labor and the Greens are against the "two out of three" rule being scrapped, arguing it will lead to a higher concentration of media ownership.

'Senator Xenophon you are better than this dirty deal that has been done at the 11th hour, ' Labor Senator Sam Dastyari said.

One Nation won agreement to have the national broadcasters face an inquiry into "competitive neutrality" and have the words "fair and balanced" inserted into the ABC charter.

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