Bronwyn Bishop may inherit parliamentary broadcast powers

Newly appointed Speaker Bronwyn Bishop addresses the Parliament during the opening of the 44th parliament at Parliament House in Canberra.
Newly appointed Speaker Bronwyn Bishop addresses the Parliament during the opening of the 44th parliament at Parliament House in Canberra. AAP Image/Daniel Munoz

SPEAKER Bronwyn Bishop could soon get significant powers over the broadcast of parliament from Canberra, including the terms and conditions of access to parliamentary broadcasts.

The changes, proposed by Leader of the House Christopher Pyne this week, would change how access to parliamentary broadcasts is decided.

It would also overturn a range of rules governing television and radio broadcasting of parliament, some dating as far back as 1988.

Significantly, the changes include giving the Speaker significant powers over who can get access to the official broadcast of proceeding, including images and sound from the House, Federation Chamber and committee rooms.

Official documents showed access to the House Monitoring Service would be "provided to persons and organisations as determined by the Speaker, on terms and conditions determined by the Speaker".

Mrs Bishop would also have to report to parliament about the people and organisations "in receipt of the service and on any terms and conditions determined" by the Speaker.

But the changes come as Mrs Bishop's independence from the political process is under question in Canberra, after the Speaker this week participated in party room discussions.

Mrs Bishop had previously declared she believed it was her right as a member to attend party meetings, but that she would not participate in discussions of "tactics" within the closed-door meetings.

Despite the increased powers for the Speaker, a spokesman for Mr Pyne described the current rules as an "ineffective shield that simply invites ridicule".

He said the changes were "largely to address issues with consistency" between the standing orders of parliament and media guidelines.

Topics:  bronwyn bishop christopher pyne media parliament radio television

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