With the date for a Federal Election about to be announced, ABC Friends National is serving the following ‘log of claims’ on whosoever claims government.
1. The incoming government must immediately (as the ALP has already promised) reverse the $83.7m cuts to ABC funding incorporated in the Morrison 2018 budget.
2. The ABC is Australia’s pre-eminent international broadcaster and additional financial resources are needed urgently to allow the ABC to resume its Charter role as such, reporting from our Asian-Pacific neighbours, as well as providing an Australian voice back into the region.
3. Short wave transmission into the Northern Territory and beyond must be restored for the ABC’s use as soon as possible.
4. The ABC requires an enhanced overall budget to ensure its broadcast programming in news and current affairs, children’s television, Radio National, music, entertainment, the arts, religion, science, regional and rural services, and other activities can be provided to the highest of standards and with original Australian content.
5. ABC funding should be for rolling five-year terms with legislative guarantees for the first three years to allow for effective planning.
6. The process of appointments to the ABC Board must be reviewed. There must be a robust independent process for Board appointments. The process must be merit-based and Ministerial picks precluded. All directors must have a demonstrated commitment to public broadcasting.
“This is what Australia and the ABC need from the next Government,” said ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds today, “and ABC Friends in each State and Territory will be fighting to achieve it.”
“It is surprising how the current government forgets the cuts, the harassment, the $220 million taken by the government to stop the ABC providing Australia’s voice internationally and the defoliation of Radio Australia.”
“Yet the relevant Minister is meant to be the trustee for our independent and trusted broadcaster.”
“The ABC is having to do more with less – while the commercial media is lessening its children’s programming and rural coverage.”
“So, the ABC willingly shoulders an increasing burden with less funding and even less planned for the future, if the Coalition has its way.”
“The above Friends’ LOG of CLAIMS is lodged on behalf of all Australians.”
“ABC Friends National is fundraising through the “mycause” crowdfunding site so we can fight for a stronger, politically independent ABC during the election campaign with all weapons at our disposal: advertising; lobbying; street stalls; rallies; billboards and through social media,” Ms. Reynolds said.
“We are marshaling all of our resources nation-wide – with a particular emphasis on marginal seats – to make the future of your ABC an election issue.”