Pauline Hanson is demanding the ABC should give up its taxpayer-funded “slush fund” if it wants to bid against media rivals for programs.
As the Senate debated media ownership reform laws on Wednesday, the One Nation leader questioned why the ABC was using public money to compete in the commercial market.
“If we intend to have diverse media outlets in Australia then the ABC has to get out of trying to compete with the commercial market,” she told parliament.
“If the ABC chooses not to then I suggest foregoing taxpayer funding to become a commercial enterprise. See how well you do without your slush fund.”
The ABC and SBS will be forced to disclose staff salaries of more than $200,000 under a deal struck between the Turnbull government and One Nation on the media reforms.
The deal will also have the national broadcasters face an inquiry into “competitive neutrality” and the ABC have the words “fair and balanced” slotted into its charter.
But Senator Hanson has rejected claims the deal has any impact on ABC funding, insisting that was “never discussed” during her negotiations with the government.
“I intend to pursue the ABC funding with the relevant ministers at an appropriate time in the future,” she said.
A revised version of the media reforms is expected to clear the Senate after the government struck a deal with the Xenophon team.
Crossbencher Nick Xenophon says his deal, which includes a three-year government assistance fund for small and regional publishers, is all but done.
Labor opposes the legislation, which seeks to repeal the two-out-of-three rule, which bars a person owning newspapers and licences for TV and radio in a single market.