“I think the first thing is a licensing provision that they have to abide by. If you’re going to have Australian political content … then you’ve got to have a presence in the gallery, and you’ve got to have capacity to put some logic into an opinion that you’re responsible for putting out there.
“You have to have some counter-balance for the absolute crap that you’re making money out of that’s on your site. We’re the cheapest actors of any soap opera in the world, us politicians – just ask Sky [News].”
Mr Joyce went on to say the government should impose a levy on any digital platform or news site which “collects money” from the economy but “does not provide a public service in the gallery”.
The levy would fund investigative journalism, he said, which will otherwise die off as newspaper revenues decline.
“There has to be some investment in journalism. Otherwise what we’re going to see is radio will survive because [it’s] hands free, TV will go to Married at First Sight and other things, and then Netflix will muscle them out, and [news]papers will go broke,” Mr Joyce said.
“Papers will become a charity case … The Guardian is a charity case, Murdoch [News Corp] is a charity case, to be frank.
“The vast majority of your advertising revenue is being ripped off you and sent to Google and sent to Facebook and sent to Twitter and sent to Reddit or whatever. As you slowly go broke, and you will, it [journalism] is going to be replaced with this very noxious peripheral echo chamber.”
Mr Joyce has been a strident critic of some parts of the media since his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion was exposed on the front page of News Corp’s Daily Telegraph using a papped photograph of a pregnant Campion.
That story was true, and won a Walkley Award for journalism. But Mr Joyce maintained there were many other untrue things written about him on the internet. “A classic one which is ridiculous is that I’m in the Albanian mafia,” he said. “It’s not true.”
Mr Joyce said he had previously wanted to sue for defamation over “rubbish” that had been written about him, but baulked at the legal costs.
“The only people who can take a case for defamation are very wealthy people. I’m living proof of that,” he said. “[In] your first meeting with a solicitor what you get is a $1500 bill. Then they say ‘put a couple of hundred thousand dollars in a trust account and we might start looking at it’.