Cuts and curtailment of operations of the ABC are on the table as Turnbull Government negotiations with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to pass controversial cross-media ownership laws.
The Australia Institute has today published a full-page advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald alerting Australians to the imminent threat to national broadcaster and calling on Coalition and crossbench Senators to rule out trading away ABC and SBS funding or independence.
“The ABC must not be used as a bargaining chip in media reform,” ABC Friends National President, Margaret Reynolds said.
“Politicians need to remember that the ABC is trusted by 86% of the community, a poll result they cannot match.”
“The ABC should not be used as a bargaining chip to progress a political agenda,” Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist said.
“One Nation accusations against the ABC have ranged from ‘cultural Marxism’ to ‘abandoning patriotism’. Revelations this week show that the ABC is part of closed-door negotiations between the Government and the crossbench.
“It would be concerning if the Turnbull Government was willing to put the independence and funding of a treasured national institution on the table in order to progress a deal on media reform.
“While some Senators are demanding ABC and SBS funding be reviewed, sections of commercial media industry are ramping up pressure to have the national broadcasters curtail their operations.
“This confluence of self-interested forces poses a credible threat to the independence and funding of our national broadcaster.
“Australia Institute research shows that in addition to being Australia’s most trusted news source, the public also demands that the broadcaster be independent from political tampering,” Oquist said.
No Politics at Aunty’s Table: Depoliticising the Governance of the ABC, The Institute’s report on the independent governance of the ABC suggests that if any political party were successful in changing the ABC charter for political advantage it would just entice others to do the same, leading to a toxic culture swinging from election to election.
Advertisement ran full-page in Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday 9 August, 2017: