Communications Minister Helen Coonan has said the government will deal with minor amendments to the proposed media laws – but won’t allow the package to be cherry picked.

How is she planning to guarantee that? By doing a bit of cherry picking of her own – talking to concerned Senators and Members one-on-one or in the smallest possible groups.

Crikey understands that the Minister didn’t get to bed until late last night after staying up in a bid to persuade Paul Neville and Barnaby Joyce that her amended media proposals won’t damage the interests of their constituents.

But Coonan may have plucked a very ripe cherry – Family First’s Steve Fielding. He’s indicated in his speech today that he will back the bills.

There’s a long list of Senators down to speak on the legislation, although Government sources told Crikey this morning that the guillotine may be moved – presumably when the numbers become clear.

Voices will be silenced. Not just in the Senate, but across the Australian media.

Both are bad for democracy.