15 October 2021

ABC – Where do you stand on the ABC?



The ABC is one of Australia’s most treasured institutions and of immense cultural and democratic importance to our nation.


The ABC is funded by taxpayers to ensure it is independent of both government and commercial interests. It’s imperative that the ABC do its job in holding power to account, including by scrutinising the action (and inaction!) of politicians and governments.


Labor is concerned at attempts by the Liberal National Government to undermine the ABC with successive budget cuts and attacks. This is a Government that hates scrutiny and avoids accountability, which is why they are obsessed with undermining the public broadcaster.


Since 2014, and in breach of an election promise not to, the Liberals have made deep cuts to ABC funding. Scott Morrison himself locked in the latest cuts of $83.7 million to the ABC, only to turn around and falsely tell Australians that “there are no cuts”.


In contrast, Labor understands and values the role of public broadcasting and is united when it comes to protecting the ABC. Labor’s National Platform states that Labor will “properly fund and support the independence of Australia’s national broadcasters” including by opposing the privatisation of the ABC.


That is the commitment of the Australian Labor Party and it is my personal commitment as well.


I do not and would never support privatisation of the ABC. I condemn the Liberal Party Federal Council for voting to do so.


I support the idea of a major review of transmission services to guarantee reliable public broadcasting services throughout Australia. The Liberal National Government sat idly by when, in 2020, the ABC TV signal was lost in Goulburn and the SBS TV signal was lost in Bermagui, leaving many Australians with dead air for weeks on end.  Furthermore, this Liberal National Government still hasn’t acted on recommendations to improve the resilience of broadcast transmission infrastructure to natural disasters such as bushfires.


I will support the development of a more sustainable funding model which enables the ABC to plan ahead to meet the demands of a changing media environment. The ABC needs stable and adequate funding to meet rising costs in an evolving media landscape, as well as to guard against political interference.


The need for the ABC, a trusted national platform, is greater now than ever.


Only a Labor Government will protect and strengthen the ABC. We’ve already committed to reversing the Government’s latest $83.7 million cut.