Local Media Quotas are limits on the content of Australian television stations stating that a certain amount of their airtime is Australian-made content. This debate will predominately focus on the effects that ending local media quotas will have on the quality of television programming and the effects on the Australian television industry.


At present, 55% of programming between 6 am and midnight must be Australian content on commercial stations. There are also restrictions on some of the content of pay-to-view (cable) channels, although these are much lower. In addition, a certain proportion of this 55% must be in primetime placement.


  • That we should end local media content quotas
  • (Reversal of Sides) That we should increase local media content quotas


On the topic 'That we should end local media quotas'. The sides are reversed on a topic increasing local media quotas.



1.1-Principle Argument-Popular Choice-After showing that the general public's viewing choices are responded to by television networks because they seek to increase their advertising revenue by increased ratings, argue that popular choice should dictate what is on television rather than arbitrary restrictions because:

  1. Right of stations and population to make their own decisions as to what to watch.
  2. Enjoyment of TV programs is an ultimately subjective measure-should be up to the general population.
  3. Claim that local media quotas are effectively subsidising the Australian television industry through Protectionist mechanisms-violation of free trade.

1.1-Principle Argument-Government's Right to intervene as:

  1. Basically, owns the airwaves-property rights allow it to do what it wants.
  2. Already done-hate speech and ratings laws.

1.2-Practical Argument-Improved Programming-Television programming will improve for a few reasons:

  1. Good Australian shows stay; if ratings are high, they are kept, e.g. Masterchef so popular changed the date of election debate. Only the daytime reruns of Blue Heelers are protected by quotas.
  2. Australian industry gets better as production companies are forced to work harder to compete and same amount of money being spent on fewer shows means depth of industry increases.
  3. Why overseas shows may be better:
(i) In general, stations can choose out of more shows-a greater pool of choice will let them pick the very best.
(ii) Greater budgets can be used in American shows because a wider market is aimed at.
(iii) There is typically a delay between shows aired overseas and then aired in Australia-this means that the ratings in America can be examined and the best shows chosen for our audiences.

1.2-Practical Argument-Detriment to Programming:

  1. More shows with shallow American culture and values, e.g. Mike & Molly
  2. Television stations buy shows from overseas in packages-more cost-effective just to use reruns.
  3. Product Development-won't gamble with developing Australian programs when too risky when could just use old American programs that are cheaper but less high in quality.

1.3-Practical Argument-Cultural Impacts:

  1. Influx of shows from other nations-multiculturalism due to being given representations of life in other nations.
  2. News and current affairs programs will stay-TV will still be essentially Australian.
  3. Australia and US are already quite culturally similar-won't take away our culture.

1.3-Practical Argument-Negative Cultural Impacts:

  1. Character of Australia is unique in the world-national identity and spirit, our own values and ideals.
  2. Government protection is necessary to keep this alive-influx of overseas shows mean our own culture is lost and 'Americanised'.
  3. Australian producers become too scared of Hollywood big-budget productions to make own shows.

2.1-Practical Argument-Effect on Industry-The Australian TV and film industries are forced to improve as:

  1. Open to competition-will have to work harder to compete without a leg-up.
  2. Possibility of investment from overseas companies.
  3. Can export overseas after deepening of industry (see 1.3) leads to tourism and positive economic effects, e.g. Kath & Kim was exported to the US.

2.1-Practical Argument-Industry Losses:

  1. Job losses as fewer Australian shows are aired.
  2. Production companies need certainty of airing to go ahead-reduced product development.

2.2-Practical Argument-View on Australia Overseas after exporting:

  1. Positive impression of Australia's national character from our TV shows-liked by other nations.
  2. Possibility of tourism after natural beauty of Australia is shown.

2.2-Principle Argument-Protectionism-Alright to deny products of other nations if help own economy-sovereignty means Australian government should look after its own population, not that of the rest of the world. Thus subsidisation is the best option for protecting our industries.


In this debate, a 3rd speaker will usually discuss:

  • The effect on TV programming
  • Whether the government has a right to intervene
  • The effects on Australia's economy