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Mitch Fifield refuses to explain Foxtel cufflinks gift days after media reform bill passes Senate

on .

Senator Mitch Fifield shows off a set of his cufflinks

A senior cabinet minister in charge of media is refusing to explain why he accepted a gift from Foxtel days after a major reform bill passed the Senate.

Pressure is growing on Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, who also granted $30 million to Foxtel earlier this year, to reveal why he received cufflinks from the company.

 

Shadow communications minister Michelle Rowland said the statement of ministerial standards said ministers should not accept a gift "if it could create an appearance that the minister has been improperly influenced in the performance of their official duties as minister".

 

"It's up to the Prime Minister and the minister to explain the circumstances surrounding this gift," she said.

 

A spokesperson for Senator Fifield told ABC News only that "the item was below disclosure threshold requirements but was nevertheless placed on the register for transparency".

 

The register of interests for the Victorian senator was updated on Friday afternoon with a single line disclosing the gift.

It stated the cufflinks were received on Tuesday, September 19. Media reforms relaxing ownership restrictions were passed by the Senate on Thursday, September 14.

 

That week, Senator Fifield described the passage through the Senate of the media reform bill as "a good day for jobs and a good day for Australian media".

 

The Government also announced earlier this year it was giving $30 million to Foxtel to broadcast more women's sport.

 

Ms Rowland previously argued against the grant, saying "there is not one bit of Government decision-making in this policy process which is based on sound policy".

 

However Senator Fifield has described the $30 million grant as a "good and appropriate measure".

 

"This is an organisation that has four dedicated sports channels, they've got a good track record when it comes to covering women's sports and niche sports," he told Insiders last month.

 

Ms Rowland also has close ties to industry stakeholders.

 

She has received Bledisloe Cup and Randwick Racecourse tickets from Tabcorp, Australian Open tickets from Optus, international cricket tickets from Channel 9 and Press Gallery Mid-Winter Ball tickets from Telstra.

 

She also receives a complementary Foxtel subscription for her electorate office.

 

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