Network CEOs Tim Worner, Hugh Marks and Paul Anderson rubbed shoulders with politicians and stars at Parliament House last night to formally celebrate 60 Years of Australian TV.
In attendance were PM Malcolm Turnbull (once a former lawyer to Kerry Packer), Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, Foreign Affairs Minster Julie Bishop and Free TV Chairman Harold Mitchell.
The evening was hosted by Sandra Sully, Mel Doyle and Karl Stefanovic while guests included Ita Buttrose, Russel Howcroft and Ben Roberts-Smith.
Harold Mitchell announced a new campaign to celebrate free to air television and reiterated the need to reduce licence fees.
“We are launching this commercial to celebrate the economic and cultural contribution that free to air television has been making for 60 years, and the unique and special place that it continues to hold in the lives of all Australians,” he said.
“Sixty years after it started, commercial free to air television is still going strong, with 13 million Australians tuning in every day to be informed, entertained and inspired.”
“The licence fees paid by the commercial free to air networks are completely inconsistent with international best practice.
“They must be urgently addressed so that we can continue to innovate and invest in broadcasting great Australian content for free.
“Australian licence fees are about three and a half times greater than in the next highest market, which is Singapore, and more than 115 times greater than in the United States,” he said.
“Australia needs free to air television and on this milestone diamond anniversary, it is imperative we ensure that we can continue to provide the free service that Australians value so highly.”
A new Parliamentary Friends of Commercial Free to Air Television group, co-chaired by Melissa Price MP and Tim Watts MP, was also announced.