Controversial Nationals Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce has again refused to rule out crossing the floor to vote against the government when legislation on media ownership comes before the Senate.

Under the changes, limits on foreign companies owning a share of the national media will be lifted and Australian firms will get the chance for the first time to own print, radio and TV interests in one city or regional area.

Senator Joyce’s vote is needed by the government if the changes are to become law.

On Saturday, he said he had yet to see the legislation but already had reservations about some parts of it.

“On any piece of legislation, especially a major piece of legislation, I reserve my right to be a senator for my state, a senator for my nation, and to implement the legislation as it is required,” Senator Joyce told reporters outside the Queensland Nationals state conference on Saturday.

“Part of that process must allow me, on issues if required, to cross the floor.

“I will never, ever rule that out because to do so would be to say that I’m defrauding the people of the reason I’m in Canberra.”

In October last year, Senator Joyce became the first government senator to cross the floor when he opposed an overhaul of competition law that would curb the powers of competition watchdog the ACCC over business mergers.

Deputy Prime Minister and federal Nationals Leader Mark Vaile - also in Brisbane for the Nationals state conference - said Senator Joyce’s stance came as no surprise.

“I think that Barnaby is taking a consistent position, as he has done, as far as legislation is concerned.

“As Barnaby normally does, he wants to see the legislation, and that’s fine.

“That’s part of the role of scrutiny of the Senate.”

The media ownership legislation comes before the Senate at its next sitting, which begins next month.

© 2006 AAP