Following Google's threat to pull its search engine from Australia over the federal government's media code, the Greens have proposed the government make its own version "like the ABC".
During the first day of Parliament for the year, Greens spokesperson for media Senator Sarah Hanson-Young called on the Morrison government to investigate the establishment of a publicly-owned search engine.
"Google's threat to shut down their search services if they don't get the laws they want shows that the corporate giant has far too much power - not just over the market but across the community," Senator Hanson-Young said.
"The government needs a plan for how Australians will continue to be able to access essential information online if Google Search were to be taken offline. We need an independent search engine that is run in the public interest not for the profit of a corporate giant."
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's draft news media bargaining code had already received support from all sides of the Parliament to force tech giants to negotiate payment for news stories posted on their platforms.
Last month Google Australia's managing director Mel Silva called the code unworkable and a financial risk.
The Greens said Google's threat showed Australia cannot be reliant on corporations to provide essential services such as access to information online.
"This is an opportunity for the government to investigate setting up a publicly-owned search engine that could be the gateway to the internet for Australians," Senator Hanson-Young said.
On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Microsoft's Bing search engine could fill the gap.
Australia should not seek to fill the gap of Google with another corporation to profit off the data of Australians, Senator Hanson-Young said on Tuesday.
"A publicly-owned search engine that is accountable to the public and not shareholders would be able to be set up with global best practice data privacy standards to ensure users own their own data and have control over what data is collected on them and how it is used.
"Like the ABC, a public search engine should be independent of the government of the day and be there to provide access to information for all Australians."