Majority Want Increased Funding for ABC as Trust in Public Broadcaster Grows: Polling

An overwhelming 75% of Australians support increased funding for the ABC to reflect its emergency broadcaster role, as new research by The Australia Institute shows the ABC continues to grow as the most trusted news source in Australia and the proposition of privatising the ABC is opposed by 59%.

The Australia Institute surveyed nationally representative samples of Australians about the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 2019 and 2020.

Key findings:

  • The ABC and SBS remain significantly more trusted than the commercial media, and the ABC remains the most trusted news source in Australia.
    • Trust in the ABC has increased dramatically since the question was first asked in 2013 (from 41% to 58% in 2019).
  • An increasing share of Australians agree with the general proposition that the ABC’s funding should be increased (35%, vs 12% who think it should be reduced).
  • When additional funding is associated with the ABC’s emergency role, support rises dramatically to three in four Australians (75%), with 39% in strong support.

“The COVID-19 crisis and Australia’s black summer of bushfires have intensified the need for clear, relevant and factual reporting – which has seen the ABC rise even further as Australia’s most trusted news source,” said Ebony Bennett, deputy director of The Australia Institute.

“It beggars belief as to why the government would not increase funding for such an important service when so many Australian voters back the idea of having well-funded public broadcasting they can trust, particularly in times of emergency.

“Our research also showed that the Liberal Party’s federal council motion to privatise the ABC is opposed by three in five Australians, with more Coalition voters that oppose the motion than support it.”

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