Labor endorses news media bargaining code

·2-min read

Labor has formally resolved to support the government's media bargaining code requiring tech giants to compensate Australian news rooms for the content they publish.

The federal caucus agreed to back the bargaining code at a meeting in Canberra on Tuesday.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg presented some minor changes to the coalition partyroom and will introduce amendments to parliament on Wednesday.

"These are technical in nature but they also clarify the position of the government and I think they provide comfort to the players that we have got a workable code," Mr Frydenberg told Sky News.

"It is our intent to legislate the code, to bring it into force, but at the same time to have these commercial deals in place to the satisfaction to both parties."

Mr Frydenberg has spoken to the bosses of Google and Facebook about the proposed code.

He says they are focused on the code but he believes they are trying to reach deals with Australian news companies.

Seven West Media is the latest news organisation to secure a deal providing content to Google Showcase, which launched in Australia earlier this month.

Deals had already been struck with smaller publishers including Australian Community Media, InDaily, Solstice and Private Media.

A Senate committee that scrutinises bills thinks an array of powers given to the Treasurer should instead be defined in the legislation.

For example, the draft bill left it up to Mr Frydenberg to decide which digital platforms were included instead of the legislation defining them.

The committee also wants to ensure the 12-month review of the laws is presented to parliament.

Google has also asked for a raft of changes to the bill, including only having its showcase feature included, instead of links and snippets.

The internet search giant wants the code's final offer arbitration model to be replaced with standard commercial arbitration based on comparable deals.

In regards to notifying publishers earlier about changes to its algorithm, Google says it should only have to if the changes are significant.