Thursday 17th of October 2019

and do not forget to vote against scummo's troops, to save the ABC...

scummo guns against the abc

A Senate committee has declared political interference — or the prospect of it — is experienced "to varying degrees" throughout the ABC.

Key points:
  • Senators cite calls for ABC journalists to be sacked as evidence of political interference
  • Coalition senators on the committee reject the findings and insist it is not happening
  • The committee says "the ABC's status as a trusted institution" could be undermined if governments interfere


The Labor-dominated parliamentary committee has been examining allegations of political interference within the public broadcaster.

The allegations became public after managing director Michelle Guthrie was sensationally sacked, and accused then-chairman Justin Milne of trying to have two senior reporters fired because he believed the Federal Government did not like them.

The committee's report said the "unprecedented" events at the ABC raised questions about interference from the Government.

It referenced incidents involving ABC journalists Emma Alberici and Andrew Probyn, as well as the change of date for triple j's Hottest 100.

"The committee believes that political interference or the prospect of political interference, and all that that entails, is experienced to varying degrees throughout the ABC," the report said.

"While Australians have considerable trust in the ABC, this trust is not blind.

"Should Australian Governments continue to undermine and erode the independence and integrity of the corporation, the ABC's status as a trusted institution will be significantly diminished."


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defend it tooth and nail...

defend it

The Liberal Party’s peak council has voted almost 2:1 to privatise the ABC in a call that was swiftly rejected by cabinet ministers amid warnings it would be “total madness” to act on the call.

The overwhelming vote at the party’s annual council in Sydney gained vocal support from conservative think-tank Institute of Public Affairs, which said the company could be sold or given to Australians who already own it.

The vote came in a debate on Saturday where about 110 council delegates, representing Liberal branches from across the country, also voted for an efficiency review into SBS.


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Though the Scummo has said he would not destroy the ABC, he has done a good job towards this possible catstrophe. His Frydenberg budget has frozen proper funding for the ABC. Kick these bustards out! Note that "total madness" is inclusive with the Liberal (CONservative) party...


See also:

... and the rest...

and the rest


exposed as lies...

Why the Libs cannot be trusted with the ABC..


Posted on 10 May 2019

2 March 1996.  Journalist: The commitment to maintain (ABC) funding in real terms … does that stand?

Senator Alston (on behalf of incoming Prime Minister John Howard): Absolutely.

6 September 2013.  Incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott:

.. and no cuts to the ABC and SBS. 


These reassuring public commitments were soon exposed as lies.  

In the Howard government’s first budget,  Mr Howard’s 1996 public commitment to support the national broadcaster was dishonoured.  As you can see in the graph at P146 Vol II ABC annual report 2017-18,  even with heavily constrained operational base funding,  the ABC has been doing much more with much less since the mid-1980s, now including multi-channelling and online:

“Comparative Revenue from Government – the 2018–19 operational revenue from Government of $865 million represents a decrease in real funding  … of 29% since 1985–86”.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s lie was exposed in 2014 with the first Joe Hockey budget promulgating a substantial cut ($254m over four years) to ABC funding resulting in immediate board decisions to axe radio and TV and online programs  including Lateline and state based current affairs, close program production centres outside Sydney and retrench 1000 staff.  The ABC cut all operational costs and, as a consequence, is now, regrettably, Sydney-centric, with technical maintenance depleted leading to more frequent transmission faults.

Also in 2014  then Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop,  unilaterally terminated the ABC’s Australia Network contract at the persistent insistence of News Corp.  The result was Australia’s disengagement with our Asia Pacific neighbours and the retrenchment of the great PNG foreign correspondent Sean Dorney and 80 international broadcasters including almost all in situ correspondents.

In his budget of May 2018 then Treasurer Scott Morrison, advised by the  Communications Minister,  Senator Mitch Fifield, announced what was called an “indexation pause” which amounted to a further $83.7m cut to base funding from July 1 2019.  If this proceeds the ABC’s new chair, Ita Buttrose, ABC management and the ABC board will have to cut further into programming and retrench up to 400 staff.  While the 2019 budget has continued with tied funding ($40m) in what was called the Enhanced News Gathering Program, there has been no end to the current government’s hostility to the ABC.

Minister Fifield is still sitting on yet another “efficiency” review of the ABC and multicultural broadcaster SBS.  It is believed to have found $120m in recurrent “savings” but if “operationalised” would substantially curtail the output of both broadcasters.

On June 18 2018 the federal council of the Liberal Party meeting in Sydney voted overwhelmingly to carry a resolution calling for the privatisation of the ABC “with the exception of regional services”.

Although the current Prime Minister Scott Morrison and current Communications Minister Fifield have indicated that the parliamentary Liberal party room is not bound by this resolution, neither they nor any other prominent organisational official of the Liberal Party of Australia has sought to have the resolution rescinded.  That resolution remains on the party’s organisational minutes.

Last September the ABC board sacked its managing director Michelle Guthrie, claiming sub-optimal performance. What followed were leaks to the media of claims of political interference in which the then chairman Justin Milne was alleged to have demanded the removal of journalists who had displeased the ABC’s “shareholder”,  the then Turnbull government.  A subsequent Senate inquiry determined that any political interference was the result of unacceptable government-imposed funding pressure on what should be an independent ABC.  By majority,  senators recommended longer term funding and legislative amendments to ensure future board appointments were transparent, merit-based and at arms length from government.

Since the 2018 and 2019 budgets the Opposition leader Bill Shorten has indicated that if elected,  his government would not proceed with the “indexation pause” ($83.7m) and would secure some $10m – $15m for regional short wave broadcasting.

But even now with the prospect of Commonwealth revenues returning the budget to surplus, the ALP has yet to indicate it will restore all the funding lost from Tony Abbott’s now infamous “no cuts to the ABC” commitment of 2013.  And there has been no mention at this stage that Labor in government would assist the ABC with additional funding to help restore its Charter obligation for international broadcasting. With the vacuum created by Australia’s neglect of the Pacific,  China has moved in through its exponential use of Facebook and debt financing of many island infrastructure projects.   It will now be up to the Ita Buttrose ABC Board to put the strongest case it can for re-investment in the ABC for all its Charter objectives.  The independent ABC board has a duty to spell out its position to the next government.

The indicia of hostility towards the ABC comes from the current Liberal Party’s actions in government,  urged on by the influential think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs,  which is bankrolled by magnate Gina Rinehart and News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch, among other vested interests.  The IPA wants the ABC effectively destroyed through privatisation.  It argued last month on Sky News  that the internet has made the ABC redundant,  with consumers now having infinite global choice of news and current affairs and many more programs available to them on their digital devices, smart TVs or at the click of a mouse.

This ignores the fact that the ABC is a creature of an Act of the Parliament of Australia with a Charter to inform, educate and entertain and “to enhance a sense of national identity” – “you are, we are … we are Australian”.  With Radio National’s specialist programs, including science, education, health and religion, emergency broadcasting in natural disasters, audience engagement through six metropolitan and more than 50 local talk radio stations, weekly facilitation of the clash of ideas through conversation and news on radio,  online and TV current affairs, ABCMe, the only dedicated children’s channel, Classic FM for music lovers, Triple J for rockers *, ABC News Radio for mobile populations in their cars, vans, trucks  and tractors, the ABC has become a cornerstone of Australia’s democratic and cultural engagement.  Its (now minuscule) TV drama budget is still vital to show Australia’s story being shaped from our country’s time and place in history, in the region and the world.  Its satire and comedy is both therapeutic and a pressure relief valve in our often distressing times.  Its sport, documentary and arts coverage provides a cultural connection to build understanding, acceptance, tolerance, a decent, peaceful and conservative inclination within the accepted meanings of the word “conservative” *.  Its rural programs on radio, TV and online are a lifeline for regional and remote communities. Commercial media often has other fish to fry.   On each state and national election night Australians, by audience majority,  tune in to the ABC to see its psephologist Antony Green, himself a national institution, objectively declare the democratic will of the Australian people.  The IPA never acknowledges that what makes Australia’s ABC unique and distinctive from other content makers here and around the world is its legislated Charter.  The ABC treats its audiences as citizens in a democracy  … and not as consumers to be aggregated and delivered up to advertisers.  Its editorial policies require reporting without fear or favour,  to be ethically fair, impartial and to work to the accepted standard of objective journalism. The ABC is not “left wing”.  The ABC is not “right wing”.  Unlike its media rivals it takes no editorial position.  It is held to account by internal disciplines and external oversight by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.


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Protect your ABC: kick Scummo out.

protect the ABC...


See the friends of the ABC on facebook  — video of the meeting in Melbourne, with Di Natale, Shorten and former ABC journalists.


Poor Ita.

National treasure Ita Buttrose has taken the chairmanship of the ABC at a crucial time in its history.

If the Scott Morrison coalition government is re-elected on May 18 one of the Buttrose board’s first tasks will be to order the further downsizing of the broadcaster to accommodate an $83.7 million funding cut over three years from July 1.

This funding haircut was described as an “indexation pause” in Communications Minister Senator Mitch Fifield’s 2018 departmental budget papers.

Newly appointed ABC managing director David Anderson has contingency plans to put before the board, requiring cuts to ABC programs and output, and employee retrenchments expected to be in the hundreds.  


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what did we tell you?...

Police have raided the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC), in a second day of searches targeting journalists.

Officers arrived at the public broadcaster with search warrants naming two reporters and the news director. The ABC has protested over the raid.

The police action is related to articles about alleged misconduct by Australian forces in Afghanistan. 

On Tuesday police searched the home of a News Corp journalist, sparking alarm.

The leading journalists' union said the two raids represented a "disturbing pattern of assaults on Australian press freedom".

According to the ABC, Wednesday's search is about the 2017 investigative series known as The Afghan Files which "revealed allegations of unlawful killings and misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan".

The broadcaster said the series was "based off hundreds of pages of secret Defence documents leaked to the ABC". 

The Australian Federal Police said the warrant was in relation to "allegations of publishing classified material" and that it "relates to a referral received on 11 July 2017 from the Chief of the Defence Force and the then-Acting Secretary for Defence".

The Afghan Files were published by the ABC on 10 July 2017.

The police said Tuesday's and Wednesday's raids were not connected, adding: "Both however relate to separate allegations of publishing classified material, contrary to provisions of the Crimes Act 1914, which is an extremely serious matter that has the potential to undermine Australia's national security."

It defended its actions, saying they had "been independent and impartial at all times". 

ABC journalist John Lyons has been live-tweeting the raid since the police arrived on Wednesday morning. He said that police were going through 9,214 documents found on the ABC systems one-by-one, including "thousands of internal ABC emails".


Skip Twitter post by @TheLyonsDenABC 'stands by its journalists'

In a statement ABC Managing Director David Anderson said the police raid "raises legitimate concerns over freedom of the press". 


"The ABC stands by its journalists, will protect its sources and continue to report without fear or favour on national security and intelligence issues when there is a clear public interest," Mr Anderson said. 


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What did we tell you? Read from top. This would not happen in Russia!

politically choosing the members...

The government passed over some of Australia’s most eminent cultural figures in order to appoint a mining executive to the ABC board in 2017, despite the fact that she was not recommended by an independent selection process.

Documents released under freedom of information legislation show that in February 2017, the government rejected singer, writer and director Robyn Archer, former managing director of SBS Shaun Brown, and Sandra Levy, former chief executive of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

They were on a list of eight names recommended by an independent nomination panel after an extensive application and vetting process. The then communications minister, Mitch Fifield, instead appointed the chair of the Minerals Council of Australia, Vanessa Guthrie.

Guthrie had no media experience. At the time, the ABC was facing constant government criticism over its reporting on the coalmining industry and energy security.

Guthrie had also been through the application process but was not recommended for appointment. Fifield’s press release at the time said that while Guthrie had not been recommended, she “was identified by the government as having the requisite skills”.

However, until now, we have not known who was passed over in Guthrie’s favour.

They were:

• Robyn Archer – singer, writer, director and public advocate for the arts, as well as the former artistic director of the Adelaide and Melbourne international arts festivals.

• Shaun Brown – former managing director of SBS for four years from 2006. Before that, a reporter, presenter, producer and senior executive with Television New Zealand.

• Sandra Levy – former CEO of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, former head of drama at Zapruder’s Other Films, former director of development at Channel Nine and, before that, director of television at the ABC.

• Emile Sherman – Academy award-winning film producer, known for his work on the films The Kings Speech, Lion and Shame. Co-founder and managing director of See-Saw Films.

• Tim Reed – CEO of the business software company MYOB.

• John M Green – publisher, novelist, former executive director of an investment bank, business writer and commentator, member of the governing council of the National Library of Australia.


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