Friday, October 25, 2019 at 5:16:15 PM GMT+10:00
LISTEN: Andrew Stewart discusses Baker McKenzie's role to help clients understand how their products and services might be impacted by the proposed changes set out in the report.
Transcript of podcast:
There's two views on what's going to happen with this report.
There's one view which is I think a very understandable view that this is a complex set of recommendations that requires a lot of analysis to figure out well what is the best way to recast the regulatory structure in the media space and that would take a long time to do.
The difficulty is we're faced with a government which has demonstrated recently with the abhorrent violent legislation, it's willing to act really quickly so that is a really interesting mix of an incredibly complex situation that covers a whole bunch of sectors. We've got different regulations with copyright law, broadcast and telco. All those, and to try and get that mix of regulatory intervention right is incredibly difficult. You line that up with a government that's willing to act really quickly, that's a potent mix for a lot of change which might not make everyone happy. It certainly wouldn't.
So will it take a long time? Yeah it might but you can see the government grabbing a few of these things and putting them through really quickly like it did with that legislation.
I mean I think the thing that our clients need from us right now is trying to help them see what's coming.
Try and workshop some of the different alternative pathways that the government might follow that regulatory change might take and try and help them, at this stage at the very least, make contributions to the government's further enquiry so it's got the report, it's deciding now what it wants to do. So for us it's trying to help clients say okay well with this part of our business, how are we going to be affected if this is the change? If we're going to be affected that way, what should we be saying to government now about the direction that the amendments or the new structure should take and then once we start to get the government putting out exposure drafts of legislation, well then you get down to the nitty gritty and you've kind of almost got to do it again.
At the moment, we're still talking high level policy issues and until we see actual legislation well then it's … you're kind of crystal ball gazing but with experience behind you I guess. So that's what we're doing at the moment.
I think it's about working with our clients to understand, okay they know we have a pretty good sort of grasp of where they are right now and how their businesses operate in this current world. It's about working with them to understand the products and services they want to offer going forward, trying to navigate well these kind of products or these kind of services delivered through this pathway are going to be impacted in these ways or not as the case may be.
Trying to help them figure out well what is the most like, what is the greatest chance of change in those particular areas. Saying okay well we need to, we give them advice so they can shift their approach so they can try and future proof themselves a little bit from these changes. But it's a complex thing when you don't know exactly what the government is going to do.
The regulation of the digital environment is a hot topic around the world at the moment.
This is probably the first very significant report of such breadth and depth. It will be looked at by similar regulatory bodies around the world. The work that gets done in Australia tends to be taken notice of.
We're a small country but we sort of punch above our weight. So I think that this will be quite influential.
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