After Tony Abbott, in his first budget, broke his promise to not cut funding to the ABC, a new cross-party lobby group called Parliamentary Friends of the ABC was formed to advocate for a well-resourced and independent ABC.
It was reported at the time:
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull gave a passionate defence of the public broadcaster in a speech to the 50-plus attendees, who included Senate powerbroker Clive Palmer. Mr Scott and ABC Chairman James Spigelman also attended the event.
Western Australian Labor MP Melissa Parke and NSW Liberal MP Craig Laundy are the co-chairs of the group. Nationals MP Bruce Scott, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and independent Senator Nick Xenophon are the deputy co-chairs.
Since then, the ABC management has changed and, of the politicians mentioned, only Turnbull and Laundy survive, both seemingly having been bought off by promotions.
The “small ‘f’ friend” Turnbull, who once launched the Saturday Paper quipping “You are not some demented plutocrat pouring more and more money into a loss making venture that is just going to peddle your opinions” has long since disappeared.
From the minute the Coalition took control, the ABC has been under relentless attack – funding cuts leading to programming and staffing cuts, boycotts by politicians, endless reviews, accusations of bias and of being unpatriotic, attacks on individuals for perceived criticism of the government or “Australian values”, legislation threatening jail time for journalists.
We even had that meglomaniac Dutton, in a very Godfather-like way, saying the ABC was “dead” to him.
PHON are happy to trade their vote on entirely unrelated matters in order to decimate the ABC.
Pauline Hanson is filthy with them and out for revenge for two reasons. Whilst she was happy to appear everywhere taking the publicity, she certainly didn’t want any reporting on dodgy donations or internal party dissent, and she didn’t want to be made to look like a fool, though how you avoid that last one is beyond me.
Even David Leyonhjelm used his vote for the union-bashing ABCC to leverage for the ABC and SBS to remove themselves from the “goat’s cheese curtain” by holding community forums paid for from their own depleted budget.
The IPA, despite continually appearing on the ABC, have made many submissions to Senate committees calling for its dismantling, this one from regular ABC panel member Chris Berg in July last year:
Currently the government directly provides journalism through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This is not desirable, nor should such further direct state provision be seen as a desirable solution to the economic problems the committee seeks to address. The reason for this is that the ABC is neither as free or independent as it and its supporters proclaim
As with the marriage equality debate, conservatives seem to completely misread public sentiment where more than 80% of Australians trust the ABC, compared to average trust of 57% for commercial media, and 71% of Australian adults watch, read or listen to ABC content every week.
Perhaps the only way we can get the message through is to vote these bastards out and demand that Labor protect our national broadcaster.
Make your opinion known.
HANDS OFF OUR ABC!
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