Most Australians need no reminder of the value to our community of a strong, viable, properly funded and independent ABC.
The public broadcasters role in emergency information, exposing corruption (think Murray Darling Basin water theft), greed (think financial institutions) and injustices (The Aged Care Industry) is legendary and has forced Royal Commissions and changes to laws for the better.
Its role as a source of reliable and independent news is now even more vital since the takeover of Fairfax (publisher of The Age and SMH) by Channel 9.
But the ABC is under attack!
Like many thinking Australians I have been appalled at the treatment dished out to the ABC by the LNP government.
Remember this "promise" from Tony Abbott just before the 2013 election?
Since then the ABC has been under constant attack from both within the Government and externally-predominately from News Corp publications.
Consider the following actions-
- Massive budget cuts.
- Appointment (by the Coalition stacked ABC board-) in 2015 of Michelle Guthrie as the ABC's Managing Director. Ms Guthrie spent 13 years working for News Corp. a company with a long history of wanting to destroy the ABC (and the BBC).
- Constant attacks by Government ministers including by the minister responsible for protecting the ABC, Mitch Fifield, who is a member of the right wing think tank The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) who have a stated position of privatising the ABC.
- The vote by the Liberal Party's peak council to privatise the ABC last June.
- The board in chaos following the sacking of Michelle Guthrie.
But the Liberal National Party may not be finished yet!
The Coalition hired consulting firm, Korn Ferry (a company with strong links to the Liberal Party) to conduct the search for a new Managing Director to replace Justin Milne, who resigned last year amid allegations of political interference after the sacking of Michelle Guthrie.
The person in charge of the selection process is Robert Webster. Robert is an ex NSW Coalition Minister and is a party member and donor.
Are you getting the picture yet?
One person highly fancied to be the next Managing Director of the ABC is the former CEO of Fairfax- Greg Hywood.
This is the man who sacked hundreds of Fairfax employees severely compromising the quality of that organizations journalism.
He also assisted in setting up Fairfax for the Channel 9 takeover last year -an action that has cost more jobs and put their once highly respected mastheads editorial independence in jeopardy.
In behaviour similar to News Corps, he advocated for the ABC’s operations to be reduced to stop it competing with commercial broadcasters for audience.
Do you want politically appointed lackeys like this running the ABC? I certainly do not!
We need to
- Depoliticise nominations to the ABC board by ensuring a fair dinkum "all party" nominations committee .
- Stop the ability of the Minister to handpick members themselves.
- Restore the funding cut by 5 years of Coalition budgets.
As I said in the headline " Nation Wrecking Lies Ahead"- The Coalition Government can cause lots of damage to Australia before the election.
Diminishing the ABC and Australians right to access reliable, factual and independent news and information is a grave threat to our democracy and our nation.
Are you listening Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten?