Monday 26th of October 2020

bananas in pyjamas will go naked or be owned by smoothies...

naked bananas

Two years ago: The divisive Liberal Party vote to privatise the ABC was backed by at least four of the party’s top federal officials, according to footage that also shows the idea gained support from at least one federal Liberal MP.

Liberal members applauded the result at the party’s federal council meeting on Saturday, with the video showing the majority was far greater than the 2:1 majority first estimated.

Fairfax Media has confirmed the final vote showed at least 39 council delegates voting in favour of the sale while 10 delegates voted against.

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This was a vote taken two years ago by the nasty CONservatives... and the core of this concept is still on the agenda of Scumdogson and his nasty conspirators. Yes, it is a conspiracy. But instead of selling the ABC outright which would (hopefully) create a massive public outcry, they do it bit by bit, brick by brick, program by program, hour by hour, by reducing its budget about $50 million every year — until the corporation becomes unviable... It's a wicked way to destroy a great original source of information and your PUBLIC broadcasting — to give a free rein to Uncle Rupe's ugly disinformation service... which you hate.

Why harp on this today? One can smell, in the presently bad raining and windy Sydney weather, that the CONservative loonies in Kanbra are working hard at spending your money on things we don't need — like "missiles", submarines and other warfare crap — to deter a possible enemy that would make mince meat of us anyway before we could say boo and aim a few more arrows to the heart of YOUR ABC. Yet no-one is going to be "our" enemy, except in a delusive marketing spiel from the PMshit that he picked up from the Poms and the Yanks, because they are racist.

As well, the ABC tends to necessarily expose these twisted mongrels' bad deed, such as Sports Rorts, and they don't like it. The ABC, a once vibrant organisation is being slowly turned into a ghost town — and I guess the right-wing leaning board would be happy as pigs in mud, while Ita, the Chairperson, seems not to understand that the game being played is a game of attrition with no rules... If there was such things as sins, THIS progressive demolition of the ABC WOULD BE THE BIGGEST SIN SCUMDOG (and his predecessors) would have to confess apart from being a Christian hypocrite. God is ashamed...




the old village idiot has been replace by a new village idiot...

Back then:

It’s ironic Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has difficulty communicating. But don’t worry, I’m here to help: cutting the ABC’s funding makes perfect sense – if you’re pre-empting your own inquiry into competitive neutrality and doing One Nation and media mates a favour.

Fresh from making an undocumented hash of explaining the taxpayers’ $30 million gift to the Murdoch Empire’s Foxtel, Senator Mitch Fifield is now at sea justifying the $84 million cut to the ABC’s budget.

“I am not going to pre-empt the outcome of the efficiency review,” he told ABC news – but that’s precisely what the funding cuts do.

And in the same interview he also gave a strong hint of what he thinks the competitive neutrality inquiry should find: “The ABC has greater funding certainty than any other media organisation in the nation.”

Holding the inquiry was a condition for securing Senator Pauline Hanson’s vote for the government’s media ownership changes, as well as a response to Murdoch’s anti-ABC campaign – a campaign in which News Corp has enlisted other commercial operators.

The “competitive neutrality principles” hold that a government-owned business should not have an advantage over commercial competitors simply by virtue of being government owned.

There’s already a vehicle for deciding such things – the Productivity Commission’s Australian Government Competitive Neutrality Complaints Office.

But the government will pay a former Productivity Commission economist, a former commercial television lobbyist and a former ABC director-cum-commercial television executive to weigh the issues.

Again, I’m here to help. While public submissions are invited and hearings will be held, we can save time and money by cutting to the inquiry’s inevitable conclusion: yes, minister, the operations of the ABC and SBS breach competitive neutrality principles and will increasingly do so.

And we are bloody lucky that’s the case. A principled government would accept that reality of media disruption and move on.

There are three dogs in the fight against the ABC’s Big Ted: the ideological pitbull of the Institute of Public Affairs and its fellow travellers, believing the government has no role in anything the private sector make money out of; the snarling mongrel of vindictiveness sooled on by One Nation and other politicians who hate the ABC’s reporting on them; and commercial media’s limping poodle of financial envy.

While ownership of the three dogs overlap, it’s the commercial poodle that provides the official excuse for the inquiry and could in turn become the excuse for sharper cuts to ABC funding and activities.

Australia’s commercial media is collectively on a highway to hell as commercial disruptors gobble up their revenue.

“It’s just a race to cut costs faster than revenue falls”, a board member of one major player admitted to me.

It’s a lame effort to try to blame the advertising-free ABC for stealing that revenue. The ABC does take eyeballs that might otherwise go to commercial outlets, but it’s not a shortage of readers that’s eating legacy newspaper companies’ lunch – it’s predominantly the miserable and falling price of online advertising, followed distantly by readers’ reluctance to pay for what they’re offered.

Ditto commercial television, under threat not by old Aunty and tiny SBS, but subscription streaming services.

As commercial media’s revenue shrinks, they have less to spend on quality Australian drama for broadcasting and quality journalism in any medium. Fewer journalists required to do more end up being able to properly cover less.

In this environment, the ABC’s secure funding is indeed a competitive advantage so it would be easy to reinstate and maintain “competitive neutrality” – just keep cutting the ABC’s funding so that its quality and capacity deteriorate as much as commercial media’s.

That’s not what the nation needs. As the commercial models wobble, stronger, not weaker, public broadcasters and online information providers are required.

The problems facing legacy commercial information providers create an argument for increasing ABC and SBS funding, not cutting it.

With our newspapers shrinking shadows of their former depth and breadth, public journalism is more important than ever.

If over-paid commercial TV executives overlook the occasional Handmaid’s Tale that goes to SBS, that’s their own fault. Don’t blame SBS for being there to pick up their scraps.

If Foxtel and Channel 7 can still find a quick $1.2 billion for a deal that will result in most Australians being unable to watch most cricket, they don’t deserve any government sympathy, let alone handouts.

Tell us the one about our $30 million given to Foxtel again, Mitch.


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Minister Mitch Fifield has been replaced by another dork, Paul Fletcher, Australian Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts with overall responsibility for broadcasting, the information and communications technology industry, the information economy, and telecommunications within Australia — now in charge of the slow destruction of YOUR ABC. Time to fight back. Yes this guy has also inherited the grand old crap called NBN designed to fail and he will make sure to add a few elastic bands to this system as well...


From the SMH:

Network of waste

Mike Quigley is spot-on when he says that ‘‘at some point, you’re going to have to go back to the original plan and build an FTTP (fibre-to-the-premise) network’’ (‘‘The long and winding rollout’’, July 13). The Coalition simply couldn’t – wouldn’t – accept FTTP because it was proposed by Labor; so they effectively emasculated the NBN with their nonsensical use of multiple technologies, based on their spurious cost predictions. From my 25-plus years of experience building communications networks, there’s no doubt that the cost of replacing the copper lead-ins with optical fibre will be much more costly than if they had been done at the same time as the street cable. In any case, it was utterly dumb to use copper as the last-mile connection – even the village idiot knew that was the lousiest part of the network and very poorly maintained.

David Gordon, Cranebrook

declining funding...

After the ABC announced the loss of 250 jobs in its five year plan, the state of its funding was once again thrust into the national debate.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher dismissed allegations of cuts to the budget of the national broadcaster in a press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

He said the ABC's funding is laid out in the budget papers, and is increasing every year.

"If you look at the numbers in the budget papers, the ABC's funding is rising. It's all laid out in the budget papers."

Is the ABC's funding rising every year? RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.

The verdict

Mr Fletcher's claim is misleading.

The budget papers show that nominal funding for the ABC's operational budget increases marginally within the current triennial funding cycle from 2019-20 to 2021-22.

However, when Mr Fletcher referred to what was "laid out in the budget papers" he neglected to mention that ABC funding is projected to decline in nominal terms in 2022-23, at the beginning of the next cycle.

More importantly, in making the claim, the minister has ignored the issue of real funding, which takes into account inflation.

This has been affected by the Government's indexation pause for the organisation, which freezes operational funding at 2018-19 levels regardless of rising costs.

The budget shows a year-on-year decline in real funding over the four years set out in the 2019-20 budget.

By 2022-23 Budget Paper No. 1 shows a 10.6 per cent decline in real operational funding, while the Portfolio Budget Statements show a 7.7 per cent decline.

In the context of the ABC's decision to axe 250 jobs, this reduces its ability to maintain the same level of service from year to year because of rising costs.

Context for the claim

Mr Fletcher made his claim in late June 2020 — the end of the 2019-20 financial year. The minister has given several media interviews on the subject, where he has made the same claim.

When asked by a journalist in the press conference whether he could guarantee there would be no further cuts to the ABC's budget, Mr Morrison backed Mr Fletcher's claim, saying: "There are no further cuts because there are no cuts."

In the same press conference, Mr Fletcher stressed the editorial and operational independence of the ABC in relation to the cut to 250 jobs:

"The ABC Board and management has statutory independence. They've got a budget of over a billion dollars a year. That's over a three year period, we're in the first year of a three year funding period. Funding is rising every year in that three year period. And it's for board and management to determine how they allocate their resources to best meet their charter. They released a five year strategic plan yesterday. Australians, I think, will rightly expect that that money is invested wisely and that there's a clear strategic plan as to how the money is expended. But these are decisions for ABC board and management."

In making his claim, Mr Fletcher mentioned the change in funding between the years 2019-20 and 2021-21, and the change between 2020-21 and 2021-22.

However, the minister did not address the change in funding levels from 2018-19 to 2019-20, which are also laid out in the budget papers, nor the change between 2021-22 and 2022-23.

The minister also tweeted a screenshot of the budget papers in response to a tweet from Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, which omitted the 2022-23 figures.

As Mr Fletcher referred to what was "laid out in the budget papers", Fact Check will use all years in the 2019-20 budget, which is the most recent budget handed down, to assess Mr Fletcher's claim.

Operation and transmission

Year-by-year funding for the ABC is set out in two places: in Budget Paper No. 1, titled Budget Strategy and Outlook; and in the portfolio budget statements for Communications and the Arts.

The two sets of numbers are not identical, but in both places the ABC's budget is broken down into two separate programs: general operational activities; and transmission and distribution.

According to the Parliamentary Library, general operational activities "includes base operational funding that is provided on a three-year rolling basis as well as additional operational funding that is granted outside the triennium, including payments that are sometimes described as being in addition to base funding".

Meanwhile, funding for transmission and distribution services recognises that the ABC does not own its own transmission network. Prior to 1999 the network was owned by the Government, but it was privatised that year.

The distinction between these two components is important when talking about cuts to the ABC budget.

The communications and the arts budget portfolio papers for 2019-20 specify that the general operations program is to "provide Australian and international audiences with innovative and high-quality radio, television and digital media services," while the transmission and distribution program is to "manage the broadcast and transmission of its radio and television services within Australia to maximise availability to audiences".

In response to a question in Senate Estimates in 2018, Mike Mrdak, the secretary of the then department of communications and the arts, referred to the "fixed contracts" involved with this program, in response to a question about ABC funding cuts.

Managing Director of the ABC David Anderson addressed the issue in a speech to the National Press Club on July 9:

"To break the budget down - roughly $185 million is spent annually on transmission and distribution. This includes long-term contracts for third parties that stretch out to 2035. This is the infrastructure the ABC needs to broadcast signals and digital content into Australian homes and businesses. This means reaching televisions, radios and, increasingly, phones, tablets and laptops. And without that infrastructure, no-one can access the content we produce."

Tom Crowley, an associate at the Grattan Institute, told Fact Check "the GOA budget seems to cover all the ABC's content, resourcing etc, whereas the transmission and distribution services funding just funds existing agreements with transmission service providers".

Mr Anderson described operational funding as "producing and acquiring all the content the ABC distributes".

However, as noted by the Parliamentary Library, since 2014, any funds left over in the transmission and distribution budget could be rolled back into the ABC's general operational budget, rather than returned to the federal budget.

There is little on the public record about how much of this funding the ABC has rolled into its operational budget since that change was made.

However, in an answer to a question on notice from Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young in early 2020 about transmission spending, the ABC said: "The ABC's annual transmission and distribution costs in the 2018-19 financial year were $182.4m,which includes digital content distribution and presentation and playout costs."

This compares with the "estimated actual" for that year, which was slightly lower at $180.8 million according to the 2019-20 communications and the arts portfolio budget statements.

Mr Fletcher spoke of the ABC's budget being "over a billion dollars a year".

That is the case if funding for the ABC's transmission and distribution services is added to its operational budget. 

But Mr Fletcher made his claim in the context of the ABC's announcement of job losses and program closures. The transmission and distribution budget funds fixed contracts with transmission and service providers, and has no impact on the changes announced in June.

Fact Check will analyse the ABC's budget with and without the transmission figures, but given the context of the claim, greater weight is given to the operational budget.

Indexation pause

According to the Department of Finance, indexation is "the process by which the forward cost estimates are updated to reflect the forecast economic conditions of the year in which costs are expected to occur".

In the 2018-19 budget, the Government announced a pause on indexation of funding for the ABC's general operational activities. The effect was to freeze the operational budget at 2018-19 levels for the next three years.

The communications and the arts portfolio budget statements for that yearcontain a measure which "reduces funding to the ABC by $14.623 million in 2019-20; $27.842 million in 2020-21; and $41.284 million in 2021-22".


The Grattan Institute's Mr Crowley told Fact Check the two sets of funding figures in the two budget papers make Mr Fletcher's claim slightly ambiguous in nominal terms, but leaving that aside, "we still think the most pertinent measure is the real measure, and real funding is declining whichever way you look at it," calling the claim "misleading".

David Hayward, the former dean of the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, told Fact Check that indexation, which the Government has paused for the ABC, is "critical" for government organisations like the ABC to ensure funding keeps pace with costs.

"The ABC's Enterprise Agreement alone commits it to wage increases of 2 per cent per annum in the three years to 2021. Since their inception in the 1980s, the triennial agreements included indexation as a core component to try to give the ABC certainty in its real funding (adjusted for cost increases) over three years," Emeritus Professor Hayward said in an email.

The production of drama is another example of a rising cost. Screen Australia notesthat the average cost per hour to produce Australian TV drama rose 7 per cent between 2017-18 and 2018-19 — well above the rate of consumer price inflation.

Emeritus Professor Hayward added that while it was accurate to say that nominal funding was increasing, "put in the context of the issue to which the comments were addressed — the ABC's need to shed 250 jobs and cut services — they are misleading in that the Government is not giving the ABC sufficient funding to keep these people employed and keep the services going in the way they would have been had indexation been maintained".

"Remember: the ongoing impact of the reduced funding from indexation is over $40m (the base has shrunk). That's why the ABC has shrunk its workforce."

In an interview with Sky News on July 3, Mr Fletcher did not address the impact of the cut to real funding on the ABC's operational budget, despite being asked several times.

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There will be a time when the ABC budget will not sustain the ABC as it should be (note: this time was a few years ago). This slow degradation of services mostly started under Tony Abbott, the little liar, is continuing. I stand firm by my cartoon at top.


it's about advertising revenue, not about the value of news...

All Australian news media entities, with the exception of the ABC and SBS, are to be given the power to force global tech giants Google and Facebook to pay for their use of local news content.

A draft Bill to amend the Competition and Consumer Act released on Friday by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher will be introduced to federal parliament after final stakeholder and public consultation at the end of August.

Under heavy legislated penalties of up to 10 percent of their Australian turnover, Google and Facebook will be required to negotiate commercial revenue-sharing arrangements with any or all media entities the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) declares to be eligible.

News media companies providing free online content such as Guardian Australia, The Conversation and The New Daily, or those with subscriber-only paywalls, such as News Corp or the Nine Entertainment mastheads, are empowered to bargain individually or collectively.

If commercial agreement cannot be reached after ‘good faith’ negotiations within three months, the draft bill provides for compulsory ‘arbitration’ by a mutually agreed arbitrator or ACMA-appointed  panel. With costs to be shared by the parties, the arbitrator will have the power to accept the remuneration proposal of the tech platform or the news media entity or collective of entities.

In determining which offer to accept the arbitrator will be required to take account of the “direct and indirect benefits of Australian news to digital platforms”, the costs incurred by local news media entities, “and whether an undue burden” would be imposed on the digital platform.

In justifying his coercive regulation of the tech giants, Treasurer Frydenberg said that in every $100 of advertising spend each year Google took $47, Facebook took $24, with only $29 to the other local media.

The arbitration on remuneration will be binding on the tech platforms. It remains to be seen if Australia’s big news media companies, News Corp, Nine Entertainment and Seven West take advantage of the legislation giving them collective bargaining power.

There is also the real prospect that Google and Facebook will challenge any legislation to test Australia’s competition and copyright laws, up to the High Court.

While Spain, France and other European countries have tried a so-called ‘Google tax’ to try to counter the tech giants’ disruption and dominance of their local advertising and media markets, Australia’s mandatory revenue sharing laws will be a world first.

Murdoch hypocrisy

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has been hypocritically advocating regulation for the tech giants for many years, despite of Mr Murdoch’s early failure with US tech platform MySpace, which was competitive and level-pegging with Facebook in user uptake at the time of its acquisition by News.

Facebook and Google now enjoy user ubiquity in Australia.

While the public broadcasters will benefit from non-discrimination and notice of algorithm changes which could affect their online rankings, the government’s draft bill specifically excludes the ABC and SBS from the code’s remuneration provisions.

Minister Fletcher said: “The reason for that is that they are funded principally by government and the policy emphasis of the work that’s being done here is in relation to the advertising-funded part of the media sector.

“The public policy interest is in having a vigorous commercial or advertising-funded media sector which, in turn, can fund and carry out important public interest journalism…

“[That’s the] important role that the government broadcasters carry out but, of course, with government funding.”

SBS takes advertising. The ABC Act prohibits the ABC from running ads.

So much for a level playing field.

While the draft bill excludes the ABC and SBS from any mandatory revenue-sharing it remains unclear if this exclusion was the considered view of Mr Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, who had been directed by the government to draw up the code.

The ACCC’s explanatory Q-and-A and other material posted with the draft bill and draft code is silent on the ACCC’s position in regard to including the public broadcasters.

The ABC had submitted that it was entitled to a share of the revenues, along with other free and subscriber content providers on the level-playing field and value-adding principles. This is contentious because, since the 2019 bushfires, the ABC is now an industry leader in online news with market share greater that News or Nine Entertainment news sites.

The New Daily understands that the ABC, already suffering from government defunding, will continue to press its case in the final consultation phase and may seek Senate crossbench support for an amendment to the government’s bill to guarantee its inclusion, along with SBS.

Any crossbench vote could be decisive if Centre Alliance and Senator Jacqui Lambie’s support is counted in favour of the public broadcasters.

Opposition communications spokesperson Michelle Rowland told The New Daily that Minister Fletcher and the government were ignoring the ABC’s submission that any revenue it could derive by being included in the mandatory code would be directed to enhancing the ABC’s regional and rural coverage and services.

Google and Facebook have rejected claims by the big media companies that up to one billion dollars a year in revenues could be up for grabs through the code. They argue that news content of itself is not the driving force in the user experience and that ‘snippets’, short descriptions of paywalled news content posted on Google and Facebook, help drive users to take up paid subscriptions with news media companies.

True or false, Google and Facebook now face their first legislated revenue-sharing regulations.

While they have been negotiating privately with some media companies, they now confront punitive sanctions if they do not pay up – one way or the other.



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Read from top.


The exercise by the Scumdog government is about advertising revenue, not about the real value (= gathering cost) of news... and this is where the major problem lies. As the present government is still working on destroying the ABC, slowly, quickly, any which way... to let Uncle Rupe have his long-held wish before he dies, may he live to 120...