ABC Friends News

A CALL TO ARMS – Why this Country needs you to act

Ranald Macdonald’s address to the ABC Friends NSW & ACT Annual General Meeting – Sydney ‐ 26 September 2015

The latest figures show over 400 ABC staff already “removed” from the ABC, as we edge towards its 500 target. The recent change in Prime Ministership has NOT changed expectations at the ABC or at SBS. The situation continues to be dire. I will try and explain why.

It is terrific to see so many of you here to this Annual General Meeting of Friends of our ABC. It is a good word ‘friends’ because it means that in times of need – and let me emphasize that is NOW – by definition we are there for the ABC, to defend it against the naysayers, to support it in every way we can and if necessary to go to the barricades for it.

And, can I suggest, we may well need to go to the barricades to ensure our public broadcaster can do its job. If you read the papers, all is happiness and light with the new PM, who just happens to be the former Communications Minister who announced the $270 million cuts, played the heavy with both board and staff of the ABC – and was part of Cabinet which approved the capricious decision of Julie Bishop to terminate the DFAT contract with the Australia Network.

In the words of outstanding journalist and commentator Quentin Dempster, that decision “vandalized the ABC’s international reporting capacity” and has decimated Radio Australia.

Watch this video from Clarke and Dawe: