News Archive 2019

News Archive 2019

Displaying media stories related to the ABC.

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ABC reveals 2020-2022 content plan
Don Groves - IF - December 12, 2019

The ABC today released its 72-page 2020-2022 content plan, essentially a restatement of its core values and goals which also stresses the need to engage with new and younger audiences.

The broadcaster lists its priorities over the next three years as being relevant to all Australians; delivering distinctive, public benefit content that engages mass audiences, builds national conversations and creates meaningful change; increasing the diversity of content and the people making it; and to push boundaries and take risks.

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A happier xmas for press freedom?
Jonathan Holmes - ABC Alumni - December 11, 2019

On the face of it, 2019 was a grim year for freedom of the press in Australia. And yet, in its closing weeks, there are signs that, after two decades of ever-more draconian counter-terrorism laws; of an increasingly trigger-happy Federal police; of ever more punitive judgments in the defamation courts; and of ever more frequent resort to suppression orders by Victorian judges; some kind of corner may have been turned.

One catalyst, of course, was the AFP’s decision to raid the home of News Corp’s Annika Smethurst, and the ABC’s Ultimo HQ, on successive days in early June. We were told the police were in pursuit of Commonwealth officers who had leaked secret information to the media.

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ABC finalises Q&A investigation over 'radical views' complaints
Broede Carmody - SMH - December 11, 2019

The ABC has finalised its investigation into Q&A and indicated last month's controversial feminist episode won't be returning to digital platforms.

A summary of the ABC's editorial review, published on Wednesday, said management took appropriate steps in acknowledging the confronting aspects of the program and pulling it from ABC iView and Q&A's website. An ABC spokesman said "sufficient action" had been taken.

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ABC to grapple with budget freeze, 200 redundancies expected
Jennifer Duke - SMH - December 9, 2019

The ABC's board and management will meet this week to decide on a five-year strategy that could see 200 jobs axed as budget pressure hits the public broadcaster.

The $1 billion-a-year taxpayer-funded broadcaster's executives, including managing director David Anderson, and directors will meet on Monday to focus on the role of the ABC in a disrupted media landscape, with sources familiar with the planned discussions saying the likely changes could reduce the workforce back to Howard-era levels.

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Prime Minister Morrison must emulate Menzies - not Abbott - and support the ABC international service

Helen Grasswill - ABC Alumni

Walkley Foundation chair Kerry O’Brien spoke frankly about the risks facing Australian journalism: “Freedom is usually eroded gradually… Its loss is not necessarily felt  day by day, but we will certainly know when it’s gone.

This year, for a brief moment in the history of Australian journalism, every significant news organisation in this country put its competitive instincts and its differences to one side and united as one voice to stand against an unacceptable step down the road to authoritarianism.

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Kerry O’Brien’s address to the 2019 Walkley Awards
The Walkley Foundation - November 29, 2019

Walkley Foundation chair Kerry O’Brien spoke frankly about the risks facing Australian journalism: “Freedom is usually eroded gradually… Its loss is not necessarily felt  day by day, but we will certainly know when it’s gone.

This year, for a brief moment in the history of Australian journalism, every significant news organisation in this country put its competitive instincts and its differences to one side and united as one voice to stand against an unacceptable step down the road to authoritarianism. 

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Kerry O'Brien steals Walkleys show with attack on Australia's creeping authoritarianism
Guardian Staff - The Guardian - November 29, 2019

Kerry O’Brien threatened to upstage the actual winners at the Walkley Awards on Thursday night, with a blistering speech warning of creeping authoritarianism in Australia. The ABC veteran, who is also chair of the Walkley Foundation, used his address at the ceremony in Sydney to eviscerate the government’s record on press freedom.

“Authoritarianism unchecked can lead to fascism,” he said. “Fortunately in this country we’re a long way from that yet, but a study of history amply demonstrates how fascism begins.”

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Natural history on TV: how the ABC took Australian animals to the people
Gay Hawkins & Ben Dibley - The Conversation - November 20, 2019

Most of us will never see a platypus or a lyrebird in the wild, but it’s likely we’ve encountered them on television.

Our new research looks at the vital role early ABC television played in making Australian animals accessible to audiences.

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'It was driven by agenda': Owners and trainers back Racing NSW chairman in slamming ABC report
Chris Roots - SMH - November 14, 2019

Prominent horse owners and trainers have endorsed a stinging letter of complaint sent by Racing NSW chairman Russell Balding to ABC managing director David Anderson about the 7.30 program that sent the industry into crisis.

In a 21-page letter published on the Racing NSW website Mr Balding slammed the national broadcaster's report on horse welfare that aired on October 17, alleging numerous serious breaches of the ABC's statutory duties, editorial policies and code of practice.

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Ignore the howls of anguish, the ABC has made the right call
Alan Attwood - The Age - November 13, 2019

Australia talks; the ABC listens. Annabel Crabb keeps telling us so. And what the ABC is hearing now, especially from influential quarters, is outrage at its decision to save money by not providing live radio coverage of events at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Never mind that we live in a multimedia world, with information available on myriad platforms. Never mind that the ABC’s budget is being squeezed so hard that Virginia Trioli may yet have to visit op-shops for her boots made for walking. Or that the ABC will still have several correspondents on the spot. The Australian Olympic Committee is aghast that some people could miss out on made-for-radio events such as, hmm, sailing.

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ABC boss denies Olympics broadcast axing is 'political chess move'
Broede Carmody - SMH - November 12, 2019

ABC radio boss Judith Whelan says the broadcaster is standing by its decision to cease live-streaming the Olympics on Australian radio.

On Monday, the ABC confirmed it wouldn't purchase the non-commercial radio rights to the 2020 Tokyo Games. The public broadcaster has live-streamed the international event on Australian radio ever since the 1952 Olympics were held in Helsinki.

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Nine chairman Peter Costello urges Morrison government to act on press freedom
Jennifer Duke - SMH - November 12, 2019

Nine Entertainment Co chairman Peter Costello has warned that restrictions on journalists reporting news stories in the public interest risks undermining the viability of commercial media companies.

Speaking to shareholders at the diversified media company's annual general meeting on Tuesday, Mr Costello warned there could be a financial impact to the media sector over the long term if the government did not move to safeguard press freedoms.

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Smethurst's High Court challenge a 'high stakes' test for press freedom
Fergus Hunter - SMH - November 12, 2019

News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst's High Court challenge against secrecy laws looms as a significant and unprecedented test of the constitution's protections for democratic freedoms, according to constitutional law experts.

The first hearings in Smethurst's case will take place in Canberra on Tuesday and Wednesday, five months after the journalist's home was raided by police as part of a leak investigation. Smethurst's lawyers are challenging the criminal law used to justify the search warrant, arguing it is unconstitutional overreach.

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'You can't take a TV down a mine:' Why ABC matters at the Olympics
Phil Lutton - SMH - November 11, 2019

A grateful listener once called former ABC broadcaster Gerry Collins to thank him for his accurate and atmospheric calls of Olympic swimming, telling him: "You can't take a TV down a mine."

The point was, that wherever you could take a radio, you could tune in to the fortunes of Australia's athletes at the Olympics. And the assumption was that the national broadcaster would always be there when the medals were won, or perhaps lost, in dramatic and often unforgettable fashion.

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Jacqui Lambie calls for regulator to curb media power
Kirsten Lawson - Canberra Times - November 11, 2019

Jacqui Lambie has called for an independent media regulator to put the brakes on what she sees as media abuse of its power and invasions of privacy.

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Press freedom means nothing if media's business models wither: Communications Minister
Fergus Hunter - SMH - November 10, 2019

The Morrison government's Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, has tied the debate about media freedom to efforts to bolster the financial viability of journalism in the digital era, warning that "a free press can't do its job if it's not there".

Mr Fletcher's message on the need to protect the sustainability of public interest journalism, which has faced severe structural threats associated with the rise of the internet, comes as a parliamentary inquiry considers changes to the law to protect press freedom.

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'Let them be scared': Q&A panellist stands by comments after complaints
Broede Carmody - SMH - November 8, 2019

The ABC will investigate whether this week's episode of Q&A breached editorial standards, after receiving hundreds of complaints about the language and views presented during the 75-minute discussion.

But columnist and author Mona Eltahawy, one of the guests on the panel, says people upset with the program should direct their rage towards real instances of violence and not the "rhetorical" or "imaginary" scenarios she and others brought up during the show.

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ABC pulls Q&A’s 'confronting' feminist debate from iView amid investigation
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 8, 2019

Anyone who saw Monday night’s episode of Q&A would agree it was a wild ride. And we’re not just talking about the swearing, as prolific as it was.

To coincide with the feminist ideas festival Broadside, the all-female panel was dominated by Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy, whose comments were liberally sprinkled with “fuck the patriarchy” and who asked at one stage, “How many rapists must we kill until men stop raping us?”.

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ABC defies conservative critics with 'bold' TV line-up for 2020
Karl Quinn - SMH - November 7, 2019

The ABC's war with conservative commentators and politicians looks likely to continue with the national broadcaster unveiling on Thursday a 2020 TV programming slate almost guaranteed to fire up the national broadcaster's critics.

Indigenous issues, climate change and clerical abuse spearhead a line-up of original Australian content that Michael Carrington, ABC's director of entertainment and specialist programming, promised "will speak to and for all Australians, firing their imagination through bold content and creativity".

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Government cools talk of further relaxation of media ownership laws
Fergus Hunter and Jennifer Duke - SMH - November 6, 2019

The federal government will not pursue further relaxation of media ownership laws in the immediate future, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has signalled, telling restless companies he wants to see the effects of recent reforms play out before taking further action.

Before a gathering with industry representatives on Wednesday to discuss the future of local and regional media, Mr Fletcher also cautioned there were "significant questions" and practical issues associated with the competition and consumer watchdog's call for government grants to support local journalism.

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The walls came tumbling down: ABC iView goes global
Michael Idato - SMH - November 4, 2019

The global barriers to the ABC’s popular iView streaming app will tumble, with the national broadcaster announcing it will drop the geoblock and parts of its content being viewed from outside Australia. The move means the service will become a defacto ABC Australia “world service”, streaming the ABC News Channel internationally, as well as offering an on-demand library of content to which the ABC owns worldwide rights, including programs such as Q&AFour CornersInsidersMedia WatchForeign CorrespondentThe DrumAustralian StoryBTNCatalyst and Gardening Australia. The service, delivered via an Android and iOS app, “will open up a variety of outstanding Australian content to audiences around the world, as well as to the more than one million Australian expats who live, work or are travelling overseas,” the ABC’s chairwoman Ita Buttrose said.

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Right to Know: media freedom and Australian democracy are on the line
Rex Patrick - Canberra Times - November 4, 2019

Last week the front pages of Australia's major newspapers, including Australian Community Media mastheads The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Illawarra Mercury and many others, were blacked out in a protest against the culture of government secrecy that's stifling public debate and the public interest.

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Funding the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Tyson Wils - Parliament of Australia: Research Paper Series - November 4, 2019

  • This paper explores some of the debates about recent budget measures for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), including efficiency measures and how these have been alternatively described and understood.
  • One theme of this paper is that debates about funding the ABC from government appropriations can be traced back at least to the late 1940s when the Corporation was first directly funded from Consolidated Revenue. One aspect of this debate is whether dependence on government funding causes confusion about ABC’s independence from government, or even tension with the government of the day.
  • Another theme is that there has been ongoing discussion about the effectiveness of the ABC Charter as a mechanism for measuring how well the ABC uses its funds.

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Press freedom must be enshrined in a charter of rights
Tony Walker - SMH - November 3, 2019

Two weeks into a Right to Know campaign, in which the Australian media has put aside differences in an attempt to break down the walls of Jericho around arguably the most secretive democracy in the Western world, one conclusion is clear.

Meaningful progress towards a more open society in which the public’s right to know is respected will not eventuate until and unless the nation enacts a charter of rights that enshrines in statute basic freedoms that are taken for granted in comparable Western democracies.

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'We don't want any sensationalist headlines,' AFP allegedly told ABC
Michaela Whitbourn - SMH - October 28, 2019

An Australian Federal Police agent told the ABC it wanted to avoid "sensationalist headlines" such as "AFP raids ABC" before it seized a raft of documents from the broadcaster's Sydney headquarters, the Federal Court has heard.

The ABC is challenging the legal validity of the search warrant authorising the June 5 raid by the federal police on its offices in Ultimo and is seeking the return of documents seized at the time.

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Why every Australian journalist is at risk if they offend Washington
Greg Barns - SMH - October 25, 2019

Journalists and media owners have argued the case for press freedom before a federal parliamentary committee examining the issue. While they railed against the raids by the AFP on the ABC and a News Limited journalist, and bemoaned the fragility of legal protections for the media in Australia, the bigger picture is being missed by the Australian media on two fronts.

First, as the High Court again confirmed in a recent decision, Australia’s lack of a charter or bill of rights means there is little by way of constitutional protection against incursions on freedom of speech. And second, the precedent sought to be set by the United States against an Australian citizen, Julian Assange, places every Australian journalist at risk of extradition to that nation if they publish material of a sensitive nature which Washington does not want aired. These larger issues need resolution.

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Australia denies Cameroonian journalist visa for press freedom conference
Helen Davidson - The Guardian - October 24, 2019

A Berlin-based journalist who was due to speak at a press freedom conference in Brisbane has said she was denied a visa by the Australian government because they believed she might try to stay.

Mimi Mefo, an award-winning Cameroonian journalist who currently works for Deutsche Welle, was scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the Integrity 20 conference on Friday.

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Australian governments have long been hostile to media freedom. That’s unlikely to change any time soon
Denis Muller - The Conversation - October 23, 2019

The unprecedented blackout of front pages by Australia’s newspaper publishers this week is a highly significant event in Australian political and media history.

It represents the completion of a deep rupture in the relationship between government and media, which for many decades was marked by a preparedness on the part of the media to take notice of government advice where matters of national security were concerned.

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Australia needs a Media Freedom Act. Here’s how it could work
Rebecca Ananian-Welsh - The Conversation - October 22, 2019

Australians picked up their morning papers yesterday to find heavily blacked-out text instead of front-page headlines. This bold statement was instigated by the “Your Right to Know” campaign, an unlikely coalition of Australian media organisations fighting for press freedom and source protection.

A key reform advocated by a range of organisations and experts – including our research team at the University of Queensland – is the introduction of a Media Freedom Act. Unlike human rights or anti-discrimination legislation, there is no clear precedent for such an act.

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Paul Bongiorno: Australia is on a slippery slope to tyranny
Paul Bongiorno - The New Daily - October 21, 2019

Like the frog in the slowly heating pot, Australia’s major media organisations have belatedly realised they are in a most uncomfortable fix.

After mostly cheerleading the 75 or so increasingly more draconian national security laws introduced over the past 18 years, they now realise they have unwittingly encouraged an erosion of their freedom to report, inform and hold government to account.

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Media unites against government secrecy
Phillip Coorey & Max Mason - Australian Financial Review - October 21, 2019

Newspaper front pages across Australia were censored on Monday as a coalition of media rivals intensify the campaign to remove laws criminalising journalism and targeting whistleblowers.

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Here’s why you can’t see your news today
Cait Kelly - The New Daily - October 21, 2019

It’s not often the NT News misses a chance to show off their latest crocodile discovery.

But Monday’s front page may be exposing the biggest croc of them all.

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'A culture of secrecy': what is the Right to Know campaign about?
Fergus Hunter - SMH - October 21, 2019

All of Australia’s major media organisations have joined forces to call for reforms to protect public interest journalism in Australia. Australia’s Right to Know coalition includes Nine, News Corp, the ABC, SBS, The Guardian, and journalists’ union the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

The campaign, an unprecedented show of unity between competitors, is pushing for stronger protections for media freedom after years of perceived deterioration. The outlets are seeking to combat a growing culture of secrecy that restricts journalists’ ability to hold the powerful to account.

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Ita Buttrose pitches ABC as 'key soft power asset' and flags more foreign coverage
Megan Gorrey - SMH - October 19, 2019

ABC chair Ita Buttrose has flagged a renewed focus on international news coverage at the public broadcaster, emphasising its role as a "key soft power asset" in the Asia-Pacific.

Addressing a key tension with the Coalition government, Ms Buttrose again asked for more funding, arguing "with additional support the ABC could expand its ability to reach out and share Australian perspectives to the world and enable Australians to better understand their Pacific neighbours".

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The Coalition government is (again) trying to put the squeeze on the ABC
Fiona R. Martin & Michael Ward - The Conversation - October 18, 2019

One of the basic tenets of the ABC Act is independence from government. Yet once again, in contravention to that principle, the federal government is trying to push through major, unnecessary changes to the ABC’s governing laws.

The changes themselves might seem innocuous, even positive. They seek to ensure the ABC devotes more resources to covering regional Australia, and to mandate that its news reporting is “fair and balanced”.

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ABC to 'review' property portfolio amid funding pressure
Jennifer Duke - SMH - October 9, 2019

ABC managing director David Anderson has found millions of dollars in cost savings across the public broadcaster and is now looking to review the taxpayer-funded organisation's property holdings as he grapples with a funding freeze.

Mr Anderson has been reviewing ways to save $84 million over the next three years after an indexation pause was revealed by the Turnbull government in the 2018 federal budget, with $40 million a year in savings needed from the 2021 financial year.

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Political correctness has gone too far in Australia, says ABC chair Ita Buttrose
The New Daily - October 8, 2019

Australia has become too politically correct and we are far too sensitive now, according to ABC chair Ita Buttrose.

Australia also needs to bring back the larrikin spirit and display it proudly, she said.

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National security laws impeding journalism
Russell Marks - The Saturday Paper - October 5 - 11, 2019

Despite Christian Porter’s new ‘safeguard’ for journalists, experts warn that Australia’s national security laws continue to impede public-interest reporting, as whistleblowers are increasingly afraid to come forward.

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Time for an ABC 'TV tax'?
Eryk Bagshaw - SMH - September 30, 2019

In all the debate last year about allegations of political interference at the ABC, little attention was given to the structure that allows those claims to flourish.

The ABC is funded by through the federal budget. Its editors and executives are exposed to the fiscal whims of the government. It is protected editorially by a charter of independence but financial challenges can make their way onto the newsroom floor.

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ABC's Peter Lewis and SBS' Peeyush Gupta to retain board roles
Jennifer Duke - SMH - September 20, 2019

ABC director Peter Lewis and SBS director Peeyush Gupta will keep their roles for another five years after a federal government decision to reappoint the public broadcasters' board members.

Mr Lewis, a former Seven West Media chief financial officer and current chair of McGrath Limited, joined the ABC as a non-executive director in October 2014 and is one of the most experienced media executives on the board.

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ABC chair Ita Buttrose says AFP raids on media organisations damaged Australia's reputation
Jade Macmillan - ABC - September 10, 2019

ABC chair Ita Buttrose has warned the "privilege of democracy" has been taken for granted in Australia in light of police raids on media organisations.

Ms Buttrose also argued the press had been "temporarily blinded" by rhetoric on security and counter-terrorism and that the raids had damaged Australia's international reputation.

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Democracy overboard: Rupert Murdoch's long war on Australian politics
Kevin Rudd - The Guardian - September 7, 2019

Australia has become the complacent country. Complacent about its future economic competitiveness. Complacent about climate change. Complacent about how to navigate our future in the region given China’s rise, America’s response and a neighbourhood increasingly torn between the two. Complacent too about the gradual erosion of our democracy itself through a growing “pay for play” culture from financial donations to political parties, an increasing assault on the independence of the public service and the abuse of monopolistic media power.

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'Those who adapt survive': ABC chair Ita Buttrose issues warning
Michael Lallo - SMH - September 6, 2019

ABC chair Ita Buttrose says the public broadcaster cannot afford to be risk-averse in the face of budget cuts, rising costs and global competition.

In a speech at the ABC Friends' annual dinner on Friday, Buttrose described these challenges as "incredibly daunting and perhaps good reason to think about marching backwards … [but] I'm not for retreating."

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'Bipartisan approach' needed on press freedom: Ita Buttrose
Jennifer Duke - SMH - August 29, 2019

ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose says bipartisan support for press freedom is critical after police raids at the public broadcaster and media organisations must better explain to the public why they should support journalism.

Ms Buttrose told a press freedom summit in Sydney on Thursday morning that the public broadcaster had already lost stories from multiple whistleblowers since the AFP raided the ABC's Ultimo headquarters in June.

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There's a dangerous twist in the prosecution of the ABC whistleblower
Jonathan Holmes - SMH - August 27, 2019

We’ve heard a lot about press freedom, and the lack of it, in recent months. Last night Four Corners reminded us that our intelligence agencies, backed by the government, will pursue those who betray their secrets, no matter how noble their motives, with unremitting ferocity.

And in June, we realised that the federal police are pursuing journalists too. On successive days, the AFP raided the home of News Corp reporter Annika Smethurst, and the ABC’s headquarters in Sydney’s Ultimo.

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Cost cutting on the agenda at ABC board meeting
Jennifer Duke - SMH - August 21, 2019

The ABC did not have a proper basis for claiming Australian Federal Police failed to take into account the importance of protecting journalists' sources and other public interest factors before it sought a warrant to raid the broadcaster's Sydney headquarters, a Federal Court judge has said.

The national broadcaster is challenging the validity of the search warrant in the Federal Court and is seeking the return of documents seized by the AFP during the June 5 raid.

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ABC loses preliminary round in fight with AFP over raid
Michaela Whitbourn - SMH - August 20, 2019

The ABC did not have a proper basis for claiming Australian Federal Police failed to take into account the importance of protecting journalists' sources and other public interest factors before it sought a warrant to raid the broadcaster's Sydney headquarters, a Federal Court judge has said.

The national broadcaster is challenging the validity of the search warrant in the Federal Court and is seeking the return of documents seized by the AFP during the June 5 raid.

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Journalists with leaked documents treated like they have 'stolen goods', ABC boss says
Paige Cockburn - ABC - August 13, 2019

Journalists who publish stories based on leaked Government documents are being treated as though they have received "stolen goods", an inquiry into press freedom has heard.

ABC managing director David Anderson told a parliamentary inquiry the world's attention was on Australian media following the AFP's raid on the national broadcaster's headquarters in June.

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'A chilling effect': Media bosses challenge security agencies to prove damage
Jennifer Duke - SMH - August 13, 2019

Australia's biggest media organisations have challenged national security agencies to demonstrate when public interest journalism has damaged the country's safety, while arguing for a loosening of strict laws they believe threaten democracy.

Media companies and lobby groups pushed for a change in treatment of public interest journalism under national security rules and argued that responsible news outlets should be exempt from some penalties at a public hearing of a federal parliamentary inquiry into press freedom in Sydney on Tuesday.

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Government warned Nine network over explosive One Nation expose
Samantha Maiden - The New Daily - August 13, 2019

The Morrison government wrote a “chilling” letter to the CEO of Channel Nine to give him a dressing down for broadcasting footage of One Nation Senate candidate Steve Dickson cavorting in a strip club.

Nine chief executive Hugh Marks revealed the bizarre letter on Tuesday, during a hearing on press freedom, and said it was just another example of the chilling effect the government was having on journalism.

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Press freedom inquiry is an acid test for Andrew Hastie
Paul Bongiorno - The New Daily - August 12, 2019

The opening in Sydney on Tuesday of the government’s preferred way to inquire into the freedom of the press has become an acid test of its chairman’s credentials as a freedom warrior.

The Morrison government, stung by the severe backlash generated by Australian Federal Police raids in June on journalists, asked the parliamentary committee into intelligence and security to scrutinise the issues.

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Dutton directive gives journalists more breathing space, but not whistleblowers
Denis Muller - The Conversation - August 12, 2019

In light of the ministerial direction issued to the Australian Federal Police by the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on August 9, it would be a spectacular contradiction in policy if the Australian Federal Police’s current pursuit of journalists were to end in prosecutions.

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Government rejects ABC board reforms
Paul Osborne - The West Australian - August 9, 2019

The Morrison government has rejected the recommendations of an inquiry into allegations of political interference in the ABC.

In April, the Senate's communications committee tabled a report into claims of political interference in the national broadcaster, making six recommendations.

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Another government agency involved in ABC raid?
Kristian Porter - Public Media Alliance - August 9, 2019

As the parliamentary inquiry into the unprecedented raid on ABC continues, new documents reveal that another government agency was involved.

On 4 June 2019, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) Ultimo headquarters were raided by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in relation to the Afghan Files, a series of investigative reports from 2017 based on leaked documents detailing incidents where Australian soldiers in Afghanistan killed unarmed men and children.

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Dutton orders AFP to lift the bar for investigating journalists
Bevan Shields - SMH - August 9, 2019

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has effectively told the Australian Federal Police to avoid raiding or investigating journalists who have been leaked confidential information, in a rare intervention ahead of a major public inquiry into press freedom.

In a ministerial direction two months after high-profile raids on media outlets in Sydney and Canberra, Mr Dutton said he wanted the AFP to change its procedures to "take into account the importance of a free and open press in Australia's democratic society" before executing search warrants.

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Paul Fletcher says ABC and SBS enjoy 'stable and adequate' funding
Fergus Hunter - The Age - August 5, 2019

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher says the government is providing "stable and adequate" funding for the ABC and SBS, dismissing criticism of recent cuts and backing a recommendation from the competition watchdog that the national broadcasters need robust budgets.

In its landmark report on the rise of digital platforms, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission called for the broadcasters to have stable and adequate funding to recognise their role in addressing the "risk of under-provision of public interest journalism".

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ABC board: secret shortlist of candidates ignored in favour of mining executive
Margaret Simon - Guardian - August 3, 2019

Exclusive: documents show Coalition government passed over some of Australia’s most eminent cultural figures to appoint Vanessa Guthrie.

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.

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Media companies hit out at government's 'insufficient' efforts on press freedom
Fergus Hunter - SMH - August 2, 2019

Media companies have hit out at the government over "insufficient" action on press freedom, raising concerns there is a deliberate effort under way to stifle momentum for change following controversial police raids on journalists.

Following the police actions against ABC and News Corp employees and the subsequent furore, parliament's intelligence and security committee is considering whether there should be any changes to the law to protect press freedom in Australia.

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'Fundamentally undermine our effectiveness': AFP hits back at key demand from media chiefs
Bevan Shields - SMH - July 31, 2019

The Australian Federal Police is urging federal MPs to reject a key change proposed by major media companies to strengthen press freedom, in a rare public appeal to retain its powers to investigate and prosecute journalists.

Already under fire following recent raids on journalists in Sydney and Canberra, top AFP officials have warned that any attempt to water down their right to examine the behaviour of reporters would "fundamentally undermine" the effectiveness of search warrants and even help foreign enemies obtain valuable national security secrets.

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New ABC boss turns down pay rise amid budget squeeze
Fergus Hunter & Jennifer Duke - SMH - July 25, 2019

ABC managing director David Anderson has declined to accept a pay rise, saying it would be inappropriate given he only recently took on the role and the squeeze on the broadcaster's budget.

Mr Anderson turned down the 2 per cent pay rise awarded to him by the Remuneration Tribunal, an independent body that oversees the salaries of top bureaucrats and politicians.

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ABC still most trusted | Facebook improves
Roy Morgan - July 22, 2019

Australians trust the ABC and distrust Facebook the most, a landmark media survey reveals. 

Conducted in April by Roy Morgan, the MEDIA Net Trust Survey reveals that while Facebook – and Social Media generally – remains deeply distrusted in Australia, the ABC is still by far the nation’s most trusted media organisation.

Almost half of all Australians (44 percent) distrust social media, compared to only 7 percent who distrust the ABC. 

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Labor calls for explanation after AFP obtains ABC journalist's private Qantas travel records
Sarah Martin - The Guardian - July 8, 2019

Anthony Albanese concerned about reporters and whistleblowers being targeted inappropriately.

The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, has called on the government to explain why the Australian federal police was able to access a journalist’s private travel records from Qantas as the two parties square off over press freedom.

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Kerry O'Brien issues fiery call to action in Logies Hall of Fame speech
Karl Quinn - SMH - July 1, 2019

It started with a joke, but Kerry O'Brien's speech upon being inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame was a fiery call to action on multiple fronts.

"Can I just say how pleased I am not to be receiving this award posthumously," the veteran journalist said as he took to the stage and basked in the standing ovation from the audience at the Star Gold Coast.

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ABC seeks seat at table in trial of alleged Afghan Files whistleblower David McBride
Elizabeth Byrne - The Conversation - June 27, 2019

The ABC will seek access to the trial of accused whistleblower David McBride, according to Commonwealth lawyers, who say the national broadcaster has expressed an interest in influencing orders affecting the trial.

Mr McBride, 55, was greeted outside the ACT Supreme Court this morning by a group of protesters supporting his case, holding signs with statements like "protect whistleblowers, defend democracy".

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Media chiefs unite on press freedom, but will it result in any action?
Colleen Murrell - The Conversation - June 26, 2019

In a rare show of unity, the heads of Australia’s biggest news organisations - the ABC, Nine and News Corp - have called for stronger legal protections for press freedom in the wake of this month’s police raids on journalists.

Sharing a panel at the National Press Club in Canberra, the media chiefs outlined several key demands.

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Why the ABC is going to court over police raids
Craig McMurtrie - ABC - June 26, 2019

The police raid on the ABC was the first thing a group of visiting ASEAN journalists asked about when we met at Ultimo a few days ago.

The journalists — from Laos, Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia — wanted me to explain what had happened, and why.

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Explainer: what are the media companies’ challenges to the AFP raids about?
Rebecca Ananian-Welsh - The Conversation - June 26, 2019

In the first week of June, the AFP raided the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst and the ABC’s Sydney headquarters.

The raids concerned stories published over a year earlier, based on documents leaked from the Department of Defence. This week, the ABC and News Corp launched separate legal challenges to those raids. As David Anderson explained, the ABC is challenging the warrant “on several technical grounds that underline the fundamental importance of investigative journalism and protection of confidential sources”.

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AFP officers who raided ABC looking for evidence reporter committed criminal offences, documents show
Lorna Knowles - ABC - June 25, 2019

Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers who raided the ABC's head office were searching for evidence — including fingerprints — to prove that an ABC reporter had committed criminal offences, court documents have revealed.

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ABC raid: AFP leave Ultimo building with files after hours-long raid over Afghan Files stories
Lorna Knowles, Elise Worthington & Clare Blumer - ABC - June 6, 2019

Australian Federal Police officers have left the ABC's Sydney headquarters more than eight hours after a raid began over a series of 2017 stories known as the Afghan Files.

The stories, by ABC investigative journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, revealed allegations of unlawful killings and misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan and were based off hundreds of pages of secret Defence documents leaked to the ABC.

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ABC says it didn't reject Adani story because of company pressure
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 3, 2019

Radio story looking at economics of the Adani mine was killed off after call to news director, but ABC says it didn’t fit line-up.

The ABC says it did not broadcast a story about Adani for sound editorial reasons and not because the company spokeswoman telephoned its news director Gaven Morris.

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ABC Sydney crashes to 13-year ratings low
Michael Lallo - SMH - June 4, 2019

ABC Radio Sydney has crashed to a 13-year ratings low, recording its worst result since 2006.

In the latest audience survey, the station captured 7.3 per cent of the available audience – less than half the 14.8 per cent of rival talk station 2GB*.

ABC's breakfast share dropped from 10.3 per cent last survey to 8.9 per cent, mornings were down from 8.2  per cent to 6 per cent and drive dropped 1.6 percentage points to 8.8 per cent.

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News Corp to follow ABC in launching legal challenges over AFP raid warrants
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 24, 2019

The broadcaster is challenging the constitutional validity of the raid warrant, and demanding the return of seized files.

The ABC has asked the federal court to set aside the warrant that authorised the Australian federal police raid earlier this month and to demand the return of seized files.

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ABC is Logie bridesmaid no more
Paula Kalina - SMH - June 3, 2019

Record number of Logie nominations

No longer is the ABC a Logies bridesmaid, having scooped a record 44 nominations, including two for the coveted Gold Logie, in the most recent edition of the annual event. The haul surpasses 2017's unprecedented 41 nominations. Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis and Hardchat's Tom Gleeson are surprise nominees for the Gold Logie, alongside actors Eve Morey and Rodger Corser, Living Room presenter and radio personality Amanda Keller, Project co-presenter Waleed Aly and Sunrise weather man Sam Mac. The ABC is rarely a stranger in the news and current affairs categories, but this year several ABC dramas, among them Mystery Road, BBC co-pro The Cry and Rosehaven, are also well represented in both the popular and peer-voted outstanding awards. Winners will be announced on June 30 on Nine, broadcasting for the second year from the Logies' new home on the Gold Coast.

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Getting What You Pay For: Making Public Broadcasting Work
Alan Sunderland - Fourth Estate - May 31, 2019

In his first contribution to Fourth Estate, Alan has written on the value of public broadcasting and the challenges it faces around the world in maintaining both support and funding.

The public interest journalism carried out by public broadcasters has long been an important part of a strong and independent media, and with 40 years' experience in the area, Alan is clear on what he sees as the challenges ahead.

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There will be Blood: Sky spruiks Speers docos after defection to ABC
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 31, 2019

The big announcement on Monday, following the news that David Speers was joining the ABC, was that he would be fronting two political documentaries: Bad Blood: Toppling Turnbull andNew Blood: Morrison’s Miracle. 

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Who is Paul Fletcher, Australia’s new Minister for Communications and the Arts
Lars Brandle - Industry Observer - May 28, 2019

Paul Fletcher is the new Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, and in one swift move becomes the Australian music industry’s most powerful advocate.

The broadcast and music industries have been quick to welcome Fletcher, who takes the comms and arts portfolios just a week after Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party snatched victory at the federal election. 

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'We might be biased': More diverse views needed at ABC, says Buttrose
Nick Bonyhady - SMH - May 29, 2019

ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has said some staff at the broadcaster unconsciously let their biases show through, as she revealed she had no plans to cut jobs despite the almost $84 million budget reduction facing the organisation.

"Sometimes I think we might be biased. I think sometimes we could do with more diversity of views," Ms Buttrose told ABC Radio on Wednesday. "Sometimes I think, people without really knowing it, let a bias show through." 

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ABC wins Federal election coverage
PS News - May 23, 2019

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s  (ABC) coverage of the recent Federal Election attracted more television viewers and online visitors than any other network in the nation.

Director of News at the ABC, Gaven Morris said that across digital, television and radio, the ABC attracted one of the greatest total audiences for an event in its history. 

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From Murdoch man to ABC insider: an offer too good for David Speers to refuse
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 24, 2019

The departure of star political broadcaster David Speers from Sky News is a devastating blow for new chief executive Paul “Boris” Whittaker, who took over from former Sky chief Angelos Frangopoulos in October.

Guardian Australia revealed Speers had accepted a role at the ABC as the new host of Insiders following the retirement of Barrie Cassidy but it has not been formally announced because Sky has not yet released him from his contract. 

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Sky's David Speers set to take over as ABC Insiders host
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 23, 2019

Sky News political editor David Speers will be the new host of the ABC’s Sunday morning political program Insiders, Guardian Australia understands.

ABC sources have said Sky’s highest-paid presenter will make the jump to take over from Barrie Cassidy, who is retiring next month. 

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David Speers moves to the ABC's Insiders in a blow to Sky News
Nick Bonyhady - SMH - May 23, 2019

David Speers will depart Sky News to replace Barrie Cassidy as host of the ABC's political panel show Insiders in a blow to the Rupert Murdoch-owned cable network.

Speers, Sky's political editor, is respected across the political spectrum in contrast to several of Sky's "after dark" hosts who are perceived to lean heavily towards the conservative side of politics. 

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'Very grim': ABC staff brace for 'painful' job and programming cuts
Michael Lallo - SMH - May 21, 2019

ABC staff believe on-air disruption and "painful" job losses are inevitable after the Morrison government’s return to power on Saturday.

"It's very grim in here this morning," said one manager. "All the fat has already been trimmed [in previous budget reductions]. We can't see how this won't lead to job losses or programming changes." 

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ABC staff warned $14.6m budget cut will take effect after Coalition's re-election
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 20, 2019

ABC staff have been warned a $14.6m budget cut will be implemented in the next financial year after the re-election of the Coalition.

The new managing director, David Anderson, told staff on Monday morning that a “budget challenge” was looming after his lobbying efforts in Canberra to reverse the cut fell on deaf ears. 

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ABC wins the election ratings while Ten slumps to 3.6%
Tim Burrowes - Mumbrella - May 19, 2019

The public turned first to the ABC for last night's election coverage, while Ten's return to current affairs programming delivered an embarrassing low, Saturday's TV ratings reveal. 

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Rocked by Speers' defection, Sky News may delay his move to ABC
Michael Lallo - Canberra Times - May 25, 2019

Sky News has been "rocked" by the defection of political editor David Speers to ABC - and could try to delay his move to the public broadcaster.

Sources close to Speers expect the News Corp-owned channel to assert its contractual rights over their long-serving presenter. 

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Fletcher ‘deeply honoured’ to be appointed Minister for Communications, Cybersafety and the Arts
Paul Fletcher - Media Release - May 26, 2019

‘I am deeply honoured to be appointed as Minister for Communications, Cybersafety and the Arts’, Paul Fletcher, Member for Bradfield, said today.

‘I have worked extensively in the communications sector since the mid-nineties - as a policy adviser, as a senior executive at Optus for eight years, as a consultant serving the sector, and more recently as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications from 2013 to 2015.

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Morrison announces ministerial reshuffle, new Services Australia agency
George Nott - CIO - May 27, 2019

Paul Fletcher has been named Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new look ministry.

Fletcher replaces outgoing minister for communications and the arts Senator Mitch Fifield. Responsibility for ‘Cyber Safety’ is a new aspect of the role. 

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Industry welcomes Paul Fletcher as new comms minister
Paul Wallbank - Mumbrella - May 26, 2019

The nation’s media industry has overwhelmingly welcomed Paul Fletcher as the the new communications minister after incumbent Mitch Fifield was named as Australia’s next ambassador to the United Nations.

Fletcher served as director of corporate and regulatory affairs at Optus between 2000 and 2007 after four years as a staffer with Howard-era minister of communications, Richard Alston. In the new cabinet line up he will also be minister for the arts. 

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Labor will boost ABC budget by $40 mil, if elected
Radio Info - May 12, 2019

Speaking at a pre-election event yesterday in Melbourne, jointly organised by ABC Alumni and ABC Friends, ALP leader Bill Shorten said, “The Liberals have to learn, ‘Hands off the ABC’.”

He promised that, if elected, next Saturday, the ABC will receive a further $40 million in funding. This comes on top of the ALP’s promise to scrap the $84 million “Indexation pause” imposed by the Coalition government, due to come into effect on July 1. 

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Labor Promises ABC $40M - Shorten tells Liberals"Hands off the ABC"
ABC Alumni - May 11, 2019

The ABC will receive a further $40 million if Labor wins next Saturday’s election. This comes on top of the ALP promise to scrap the $84 million “indexation pause” imposed by the Coalition government, due to take effect on July 1. 

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Labor pledges extra $60m for ABC and SBS
Helen Davidson - The Guardian - May 11, 2019

The Labor party has pledged an extra $60m to the ABC and SBS should it win government next week, to boost the production of Australian content.

A week out from the election, the leaders of the two main parties were campaigning in Melbourne, where Scott Morrison also promised $75m in funding to help people return to work after caring for children or elderly parents. 

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Labor unveils $60 million funding boost for ABC and SBS
Fergus Hunter - SMH - May 11, 2019

Labor has committed an extra $60 million for the national broadcasters to support production of Australian television shows.

The pledged budget boost comes after a series of cuts made by the Coalition in recent years, with the ABC warning of redundancies and impacts on programming should an indexation freeze on its $1 billion annual base funding come into effect from July. 

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600,000 metro viewers watch final leaders’ debate on ABC
Brittney Rigby and Vivienne Kelly - Mumbrella - May 9, 2019

Exactly 600,000 metro viewers tuned into the final debate between current Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Prime Ministerial hopeful Bill Shorten which went to air on the ABC at 7:30pm last night, according to OzTAM’s preliminary overnight ratings.

This was ahead of Seven’s prime-time offering of House Rules, which collected 586,000 metro viewers, but behind Ten’s Masterchef, which had 664,000, and Nine’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation’s 628,000. 

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ABC defends free advertising to ‘disgraced’ Fraser Anning
Kathleen Donaghey - The New Daily - May 8, 2019

The ABC has defended its decision to give free advertising time to controversial Queensland politician Fraser Anning.

The extreme-right Conservative National Party leader, who has expressed anti-Muslim views and referenced Adolf Hitler’s ‘final solution’, will be allowed to air his material on ABC radio. 

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ABC managing director rejects accusations he is making funding an election issue
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 8, 2019

ABC managing director David Anderson has rejected criticism from a former chairman that he has made the broadcaster an election issue.

The veteran ABC executive, who was appointed last Friday for five years, has warned of looming cuts to services and staff if the Coalition’s $84m indexation freeze is implemented on 1 July. 

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Poor Ita Buttrose: The future of her ABC is now at stake in this election
Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - May 7, 2019

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. 

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ABC cuts 'inevitable' if Coalition returns to power, managing director warns
Jenny Moyes - SMH - May 6, 2019

The ABC is facing "inevitable" job cuts and programming disruption if the Morrison government is returned to power, the national broadcaster's new managing director has warned.

In his first interview in the new job, David Anderson told Radio National's Patricia Karvelas that planning for two possible budget scenarios was at the top of his to-do list, after establishing a new leadership team. 

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Privatising the ABC: The Liberals' secret agenda
John Jiggens - Independent Australia - May 4, 2019

The 2019 election campaign began, as Media Watch’s Paul Barry observed, with “lies, hysteria and untruths about Labor’s electric car policy”, which was dutifully echoed by the Coalition’s friends, News Corp and its coven of climate change deniers.

Nothing to see here, you might think. Surely, this was hyperbole as normal.

But is there a hidden motive behind the Murdoch media’s pro-Coalition frenzy? According to the Friends of the ABC, the secret agenda of News Corp and the Liberals is the post-election privatisation of the ABC. 

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News Corp: Democracy’s greatest threat
Richard Cooke - The Monthly - May 2019

The slim, match-fit form of The Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman, resplendent in a blue Tony Abbott T-shirt, and standing next to the former prime minister, was not supposed to be there. Not supposed to be in the photo, that is. It was Abbott who posted the picture to social media, accidentally revealing his mate on the hustings. A “campaigning columnist” didn’t used to mean someone literally handing out flyers, but that devolution, from advocate to participant, was not really surprising anymore. Could you call it a breach of journalistic ethics? “A lot of people are looking at this thinking, this surely crosses a line,” Mark Kenny said on the ABC’s Insiders. But it’s hard to breach journalistic ethics when neither journalism nor ethics are involved, so perhaps the wider media reaction – bemusement – was the right one. As usual, the presence of Akerman was treated as just another regrettable ideological excess of an otherwise normal news organisation.

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Who is running the ABC now?
George Dunford - ArtsHub - May 2019

There were mixed responses to the new appointment of acting Managing Director David Anderson to the ABC’s top job at a packed session of the Sydney Writers Festival (SWF). Previous MD and current SWF chair Mark Scott gave the kind of glowing endorsement that might have been a job reference. ‘I think David Anderson is the most outstanding ABC MD for a generation,’ Scott told the 'Whose ABC?' session at SWF. 

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David Anderson’s appointment as ABC managing director is a relief and will further steady the broadcaster
Denis Muller - The Conversation - May 6, 2019

The appointment of David Anderson as managing director and editor-in-chief of the ABC is something of a relief.

It is an important early signal of how the new ABC chair, Ita Buttrose, is giving effect to her promise of bringing stability to the ABC after the chaotic events of last September in which the broadcaster lost both its chair, Justin Milne, and managing director Michelle Guthrie.

While nothing is known about the alternative candidates, quite a bit is known about Anderson. 

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Public broadcasting
The Public's Right To Know - The MEAA Report into the State of Press Freedom in Australia in 2019

It has been the most tumultuous year in the ABC’s history. From the politicisation of the national broadcaster’s funding and a call for the organisation to be sold off, the imposition of unnecessary inquiries as favours for the support of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation for the Government’s media package, and a crisis of leadership at the ABC.

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The Drum is just what this election campaign needs
Craig Mathieson - SMH - May 2, 2019

It’s a small list at best, but if any factual Australian television show is actually going to prosper from the current federal election campaign it may well be The Drum. The ABC’s weeknight current affairs and news analysis hour is meant to bypass smack-down shouting matches and partisan braying, and at a time when divisive qualities are in overdrive it has the potential to be a genuine alternative. New viewers might be surprised by what they find. 

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Labor promises new chapter for ABC free of 'menacing' threats and funding instability
Fergus Hunter and Jennifer Duke - SMH - May 4, 2019

A Labor government would move to protect the ABC from "menacing" political threats and funding uncertainty, promising to close a chapter that plunged the broadcaster's upper echelons into chaos and forced out its chair and managing director.

Labor communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland's commitment to strengthen safeguards around the ABC's independence and budget has come as the broadcaster's board confirms David Anderson as managing director, an appointment that has been praised by staff. 

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Ita Buttrose names David Anderson as managing director of the ABC
ABC News - May 3, 2019

ABC chair Ita Buttrose announced the appointment of Mr Anderson, who has been standing in as acting managing director, on Friday afternoon.

"The ABC Board resolved unanimously to appoint David Anderson following a national and international search that produced many impressive candidates," she said in a statement.

"With almost 30 years of service, David's knowledge of the ABC is unsurpassed. 

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Virginia Trioli lands plum ABC morning radio gig
The New Daily - May 1, 2019

Virginia Trioli, the co-host of ABC TV’s successful News Breakfast program, is to move to a plum radio gig with the national broadcaster.

Trioli, who helped launched News Breakfast 11 years ago, will take over ABC Melbourne’s morning radio show later this year.

She will take over from veteran broadcaster Jon Faine, who announced his retirement in January. He has presented Melbourne’s Mornings show since 1997. 

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Watching ABC Kids isn't just good for my son, it's making me a better person
Clare Rigdon - The Guardian - May 1, 2019

I’ll always love tinned tomato soup. For me, it’s synonymous with feeling better. My mum used to heat me up a bowl when I was at home sick. She’d crack a tin, butter some plain white bread and voila! All of a sudden everything was all right again.

Through my adult life I’ve tried to find something that’s warmed me as much as a bowl of tinned tomato soup. It wasn’t until I had my son that I discovered a substitute: ABC Kids. 

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On Aunty
Jonathan Holmes - MUP - March 15, 2019

Australia's public broadcaster, 'Aunty', is about to turn 90, yet your ABC has seldom been in this much trouble: budget cuts, ferocious political pressure, sagging staff morale, leadership chaos and hostile commercial rivals. Meanwhile audiences are deserting broadcast TV and radio. What is the ABC's place in the era of media disruption? Can it reach a younger audience on new platforms while still satisfying its loyal fans?

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The ABC: Dave Sharma doesn’t get it
Ed Davis - ABC Friends - April 23, 2019

Dave Sharma, the Liberal Party’s candidate for Wentworth, has demonstrated a seriously deficient understanding of the role of public broadcasting and the current plight of the ABC.

In a recent Candidates’ Forum in Wentworth (at UNSW on 14 April), he appeared to refer to the ABC as a ‘state broadcaster’.  To be clear.  State broadcasters are controlled by governments; they are mouthpieces for government and they brook no criticism.  Think of China’s state media or North Korea. 

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A rundown of attempts to get rid of the ABC as we know it
Antoinette Lattouf - 10Daily - April 20, 2019

Selling off the ABC is just one of 20 goals conservative think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) put forward in a recent wish-list to Coalition members.

It follows years of lobbying by the IPA to privatise the public broadcaster, which it sees as a waste of money. 

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Review finds ABC needs long-term funding - which might not be what the government wanted
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 19, 2019

The ABC should be funded for 10 years at a time to allow it to modernise its infrastructure and protect it from the whims of politicians, the Coalition’s yet-to-be released efficiency review of the public broadcasters has recommended.

Giving the ABC more autonomy is probably not what the communications minister had in mind when he announced the review of the ABC and SBS, along with an $84m indexation pause, in the 2018 budget. 

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Footage from Liberal Party meeting reveals who voted to sell the ABC
David Crowe - SMH - April 18, 2019

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. 

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Coalition MPs urged to sell the ABC and support a flat tax in IPA call
David Crowe - SMH - April 16, 2019

Coalition candidates are being urged to endorse a conservative manifesto that includes selling the ABC, slashing the company tax rate and pulling out of the Paris agreement on climate change.

The Institute of Public Affairs is also calling on Liberals and Nationals to repeal the ban on offensive speech in the Racial Discrimination Act and scrap the Fair Work Act including its provisions on the minimum wage.

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Greens pledge more than $330m for ABC
Gabriel Polychronis - The Canberra Times - April 13, 2019

Every dollar that has been cut from the ABC since 2013 would be restored under Australian Greens policy. The party has also pledged to grow the ABC's year-on-year funding, while amending the ABC Act so funding is not "subject to the whim of the government".

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The ABC didn't receive a reprieve in the budget. It's still facing staggering cuts
Alexandra Wake & Michael Ward - The Conversation - April 9, 2019

Despite some reprieve in the 2019 federal budget, the ABC is still in dire financial straits. More job losses and a reduction in services remain on the agenda.

The Coalition government has provided another three years of tied funding of A$43.7 million specifically for the national broadcaster’s “enhanced news-gathering” program. This program supports local news (particularly regional and outer-suburban news gathering), national reporting teams and state-based digital news.

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ABC inquiry finds board knew of trouble between Milne and Guthrie, but did nothing
Denis Muller - The Conversation - April 3, 2019

The ABC board comes out badly from the report of the Senate inquiry into political interference in the ABC, which culminated last September in the sacking of the managing director, Michelle Guthrie, and the resignation of the chair, Justin Milne.

Referring to the long leap to this crisis, the committee says: This catalogue of events may give rise to the perception that the ABC Board had not been sufficiently active in protecting either the ABC’s independence from political interference or its own integrity. 

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ABC backers cry foul on budget funds
SBS News - April 3, 2019

Supporters of the ABC are determined to help kick Scott Morrison's government out of power at the upcoming federal election after it failed to restore funding cuts from the national broadcaster.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's first budget included $4 billion for the nation's public broadcasters over the next three years.

A hefty $3.2 billion of the money which will go towards the ABC, with SBS to receive the remainder.

But ABC Friends, which advocates for the maintenance and improvement of the broadcaster, says that does not include millions stripped from the ABC in last year's budget. 

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No relief for ABC in 2019 budget
Killian Plastow and Mike Bruce - The New Daily - April 2, 2019

Despite the public outcry about funding cuts to the ABC in last year’s budget, the government has not resiled from its original decision.

The 2019 budget papers confirm funding for the ABC’s “general operational activities” fall from $916 million this year to $900 million in 2018-19, $901 million, and $903 million and $902 million in the following three years. 

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Political interference experienced at ABC, Senate committee says in calling for overhaul
Stephanie Dalzell - ABC News - April 1, 2019

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

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

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‘Sack Alberici, shoot Probyn’: ABC political interference driven by funding fears
Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - April 1, 2019

A Senate inquiry into allegations of political interference at the ABC has concluded that a fear of funding cuts was behind pressures inside the ABC to sack senior journalists Emma Alberici and Andrew Probyn.

The committee - comprising one Greens MP, three ALP, one Liberal and one Nationals - reported to Parliament on Monday that the termination of former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie was not the result of direct political interference from the Turnbull government, but it found: “The committee considers that the Coalition government has been complicit in the events of 2018 and beyond, by using funding as a lever to exert political influence in the ABC.”

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ABC gets budget relief as Morrison government extends 'enhanced' news-gathering funding
Fergus Hunter - SMH - April 2, 2019

The 2019 budget will unveil good news for the ABC, with the Morrison government providing another three years of funding for the national broadcaster's "enhanced news-gathering" program.

The broadcaster has been hit with hundreds of millions of dollars of cuts to its base funding since 2014 and management had been sweating over the future of the supplementary, local news-focused grant that has been in place for six years. 

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ABC's embarrassment of riches as top TV spots open up
Debi Enker - SMH - March 25, 2019

The tricky business of matching personalities with programs looks markedly different at the ABC, where a range of significant slots is poised to open up.

For Aunty, it's a case of an embarrassment of riches as a posse of quality candidates is potentially in contention for a number of high-profile positions. Then there are the candidates from outside the ABC, who might also be in the mix.

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Media Watch host calls for the ABC to burst out of its bubble to ensure its survival
Paul Wallbank - Mumbrella - March 28, 2019

The ABC’s future is dependent upon breaking out of its inner-city bubble and getting out into the suburbs, Media Watch host Paul Barry said last night.

“We represent what we regard as common sense well-educated objective point of view and you know what? Maybe it’s not. Maybe you’ll agree with me but there’ll be a whole lot of people out there who will say ‘That guy is f... nuts’,” Barry told a book launch in Sydney.

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Political interference experienced at ABC, Senate committee says in calling for overhaul
Stephanie Dalzell - ABC News - April 1, 2019

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

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

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ABC inquiry critical of 'captain's pick' board appointments
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 1, 2019

Appointments to the ABC board must be transparent and directors should have media experience, a Senate inquiry into allegations of political interference has recommended.

The inquiry, which was established by the Greens, Labor and the crossbench late last year after the crisis that led to the departure of the managing director, Michelle Guthrie, and chairman, Justin Milne, found that the appointment process “should incorporate higher standards of transparency and accountability”. 

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The allegations of political interference in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) - Report
Australian Government - April 1, 2019

Inquiry on matters related to allegations of political interference in the ABC including the termination of the Managing Director, Ms Michelle Guthrie, conduct of the Chair and Board, and governance of the ABC. 

Access the Report here

MEAA statement to the inquiry into political interference in the ABC
MEAA - March 12, 2019

Statement by MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy to a public hearing of the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee as part of its inquiry into allegations of political interference in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) - in Sydney, Tuesday March 5 2019. 

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New ABC chairman has history calling out 'problems' with multiculturalism
Jennifer Duke - SMH - March 25, 2019

"There are problems with multiculturalism and it’s about time our politicians had the guts to mention some of them,"  wrote Ita Buttrose in 1988 when she was editor-in-chief of the Sun-Herald.

In the column, Buttrose talks about two-thirds of voters wanting a reduction in immigration levels, Australians fearing "Asianisation" and her hopes for a referendum on immigration.

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Veteran broadcaster Barrie Cassidy to depart ABC's Insiders
Paul Sakkal - SMH - March 15, 2019

Veteran broadcaster Barrie Cassidy will retire this year from ABC's Insiders, the Sunday morning political panel program he founded in 2001 and has hosted ever since.

Cassidy announced on Friday night he would vacate the hosting chair on June 9, allowing him to remain in the role to cover the federal election, expected in May. 

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Barrie Cassidy receives Lifetime Achievement Award and announces he's leaving Insiders
Natasha Johnson - ABC News - March 16, 2019

It's often said that timing is everything in politics, and Barrie Cassidy has seen a lot of politicians get it wrong over the years.

But the astute political observer chose just the right moment to announce his departure from Insiders, the ground-breaking Sunday morning discussion program he started and has steered for 18 years. 

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Recent controversies have enhanced the independence of the ABC: Gaven Morris
RadioInfo - March 17, 2019

The ABC’s Director of News, Analysis & Investigations, Gaven Morris this week spoke with Peter Fray on 2SER’s Fourth Estate program.
He discussed the ABC’s independence, the future of journalism and how the national broadcaster has come through last year’s controversies over the former Chairman’s alleged political interference. 

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DAB is part of our digital strategy: ABC Radio at #ABUdbs2019
RadioInfo - March 6, 2019

Cath Dwyer, the Manager of RN, Radio and Radio Australia has told the digital radio workshop at DBS Kuala Lumpur that Australia's national broadcaster is committed to DAB+ transmission as part of its multiplatform strategy.

"The ABC is a trusted and well listened to public broadcaster in Australia. We host big national conversations such as the 'War on Waste' or the upcoming elections in our country.

"We have been broadcasting in the Asia Pacific for 80 years," she said. 

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Bias, balance and the ABC: Is there anything for people on the right?
Jonathan Holmes - The Guardian - March 10, 2019

If you work for the ABC, you don’t have a choice: you must follow the recognised standards of objective journalism and sublimate your own opinion, at least do your best to do so.

You can certainly provide analysis, based on demonstrable evidence, using unemotional language. But you cannot be an advocate. And I would argue (though no doubt the ABC’s critics would disagree) that in its news bulletins, and to a great extent in its current affairs programs, on television, radio and online text, the ABC manages that pretty well. 

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Margaret Throsby reflects on 50 years of broadcasting and recalls when a woman on air was big news
Natasha Johnson - ABC Back Story - 8 March 2019

When Margaret Throsby scored an announcing job at the ABC in 1967 she expected to be reading the news, not making it.

But as the only woman working alongside 28 male announcers, her appointment triggered a media sensation.

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New Campaign Underway to Rebuild ABC International Service
ABC Alumni - March 2019

In 2014, the ABC's international service lost 60 per cent of its funding. Australia's voice to our region has been reduced to a whisper, with radio services cut to more than 30 countries, including important near neighbours such as Indonesia and many Pacific Island nations.

Television services to more than 30 million homes were cut. The decision was widely criticised in Australia and around the Asia-Pacific as short-sighted and not in the best interests of the region. Subsequent changing geopolitical tensions tend to show those criticisms were well-founded.

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'Not about money': Michelle Guthrie 'delighted' that ABC case is over
Jennifer Duke & Fergus Hunter - SMH - March 7, 2019

Sacked ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has defended her $730,000 settlement from the public broadcaster, saying she was "delighted" that the legal action was resolved but that it was never about the money.

Ms Guthrie, speaking at a lunch event on Thursday afternoon for International Women's Day, described her treatment as the first woman to be managing director of the broadcaster, including frequent unfair characterisations of her experience and warnings about hostility from female journalists.

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Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie gets $730,000 to settle unfair dismissal claim
Henry Belot - ABC News - March 6, 2019

The ABC's former managing director, Michelle Guthrie, will receive an out-of-court settlement worth $730,000 in return for ending her legal action.

Ms Guthrie was sacked halfway through her term in September last year and pursued the public broadcaster for wrongful dismissal in the Federal Court.

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ABC Needs Urgent Funding Overhaul to Stop Political Interference
ABC Alumni - March 2019

ABC Alumni has called for an urgent overhaul of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation funding process, to protect it from political harassment and editorial interference.

The call was made today (March 6) in a supplementary submission to the Senate Committee investigating allegations of political interference in the ABC.

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Ita, the new ABC Chair
Margaret Reynolds - Pearls & Irritations - March 6, 2019

It is interesting to ponder the thoughts of the Prime Minister before he decided to make a captain’s call by appointing Ita Buttrose as Chair of the ABC Board. In doing so he has confounded critics and perhaps even signalled some remorse for the Federal Government’s continuous assault on Australian public broadcasting.

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Efficiency review questions the focus of ABC and SBS on lifestyle and food content
Jennifer Duke & Fergus Hunter - SMH - March 5, 2019

The ABC and SBS are gearing up to defend their programming in light of a new review that has suggested some content is not "core" to the charter responsibilities of the public broadcasters.

The 100-plus page outcome of an efficiency review, headed by former Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh and former media regulator Richard Bean, was handed to management teams of the ABC and SBS on Monday evening.

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Australian governments have a long history of trying to manipulate the ABC - and it's unlikely to stop now
Denis Muller - The Conversation - March 13, 2019

History tells us that no matter which side of politics - Labor or Coalition - is in power, there is no respite for the ABC from incipient government hostility.

What does change, however, is the nature of the provocations that make governments antsy with Aunty.

Both sides get cross when the ABC criticises what the government does. But, in other respects, the provocations differ depending on which party is in power.

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Michelle Guthrie was paid over $900,000 when she was sacked by the ABC
Amanda Meade - The Gaurdian - March 5, 2019

Michelle Guthrie was paid $911,917 - just over one year’s salary - when her employment was terminated half way into her five-year tenure last September, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.

The sacked managing director then launched legal action against the ABC which was settled out of court on Friday, resulting in a confidential settlement.

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Parliament could compel the ABC to reveal Michelle Guthrie settlement
Fergus Hunter & Jennifer Duke - SMH - March 5, 2019

Parliament could force the ABC to release details of its settlement with sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie after the public broadcaster declared the terms of the resolution would be kept confidential.

The parties reached a settlement last week after Ms Guthrie filed an adverse action claim in the Federal Court over her dismissal late last year. Announcing the resolution, the ABC said the details would remain confidential and "no further public statement will be made" by either side.

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'Should be made public': ABC rebuked for secret Michelle Guthrie settlement
Jennifer Duke - SMH - March 4, 2019

The government has put the ABC on notice that it expects the broadcaster to declare how much taxpayer's money was used to pay its thus-far confidential settlement with sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie.

In a position backed by prominent former staff and other political parties, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said on Sunday he expected transparency on the payout given the involvement of taxpayer funds.

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Ita Buttrose has a message for Scott Morrison - but is he listening?
Laura Tingle - ABC News - March 2, 2019

Announcing the appointment of new ABC chair Ita Buttrose this week, the Prime Minister sought to explain what has given the veteran journalist and media executive such credibility with the Australian public.

"The reason she has been so successful in publishing, in broadcasting, is that she has always put her viewers, her listeners, and her readers first", Scott Morrison told a Sydney press conference. "And you know what? That's what the ABC needs to do. It's about their viewers, it's about their listeners, it's about their readers, and the services they provide to Australians".

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Newspaper veterans among likely candidates for top ABC job
Jennifer Duke - SMH - Mar 1, 2019

Two former senior Fairfax Media editors, a state library executive and the current acting managing director are all expected to be in the running to take the top job at the ABC after Ita Buttrose was announced as chairman on Thursday.

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Michelle Guthrie reaches confidential settlement with ABC
Jennifer Duke - SMH - Mar 1, 2019

The ABC has reached a confidential settlement with former managing director Michelle Guthrie over her adverse action claim in court marking the end of a turbulent chapter for the public broadcaster.

Ms Guthrie's legal team filed an adverse action claim in the Federal Court after she was sacked from her $900,000-a-year role as managing director of the ABC last year. She was paid an $800,000 termination fee when she was fired halfway through her five-year contract.

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It’s not about Ita - The ABC Act is being undermined by the government
Paddy Manning - The Monthly - February 27, 2019

It appears that the appointment of Ita Buttrose as chair of the ABC will sail through, having reportedly been signed by cabinet last night. Nothing against Buttrose, but the serial flouting of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, who seems determined to ignore all recommendations of an independent nominations panel established by law to ensure appointments are at arm’s-length, should surely be a cause for public concern.

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'I believe, I believe': Ita Buttrose's brilliant career
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 28, 2019

Since leaving school at 15 to join the Australian Women’s Weekly as a copygirl, there is little Ita Buttrose has not done in the media.

Now 77, Buttrose has traversed the newspaper, magazine, television, publishing, business and radio landscapes for more than six decades. Accepting the offer to be appointed the ABC chair shows she has no intention of slowing down.

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Ita Buttrose’s appointment as new ABC chair a promising step in the right direction
Denis Muller - The Conversation - February 28, 2019

In appointing Ita Buttrose to chair the ABC, the Morrison government might just have got it right, having got it so hopelessly wrong last time.

Buttrose comes with what might be called three big negative advantages.

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Urgent issues for new ABC leadership
MEAA - February 28, 2019

The new chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Ita Buttrose, must address a long agenda of urgent matters in order to protect, maintain and reinvigorate public broadcasting in Australia. MEAA, the union representing Australian journalists, performers and production crew, calls on the new chair and yet-to-be-appointed new managing director to hold comprehensive meetings with staff as an initial step of coming to grips with the challenges and to seek advice from industry experts.

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Ita Buttrose vows to get the ABC 'functioning again' as she takes over the board
ABC News - February 28, 2019

Incoming ABC chair Ita Buttrose says her top priority is to restore stability to the public broadcaster and get it "functioning again".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has officially announced he will recommend the media icon to the Governor-General as the new leader of the ABC.

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Ed Davis talks Ita Buttrose

Ed Davis, President of ABC Friends NSW & ACT talks to Lindsay MacDougall on ABC Illawarra Drive.

Listen here

The race is on to work for Ita at Aunty
Samantha Hutchinson - SMH - March 1, 2019

Now that Ita has been crowned Queen of Auntie we can move onto other media matters such as the search for a permanent ABC managing director.

Acting MD David Anderson is considered the front runner but who else might get a call?

Luckily the beauty parade for the top job at SBS - won by long-time finance chief James Taylor in October - provides us with a useful starting point.

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'Inspired, exemplary': ABC's big names welcome choice of Ita Buttrose as chair
Fergus Hunter and Jennifer Duke - SMH - February 28, 2019

Some of the ABC's most recognisable names have praised the appointment of Ita Buttrose as the public broadcaster's chair, welcoming her media experience and commitment to independence.

While concerns persist about the government ignoring the shortlist put forward by an independent nomination panel, high-profile figures are positive about Ms Buttrose's credentials to steer the ABC after a tumultuous period. 

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'Australians trust Ita': Scott Morrison announces Buttrose as ABC chair
Fergus Hunter and Jennifer Duke - SMH - February 28, 2019

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has formally announced Ita Buttrose as the government's pick to chair the ABC, declaring he trusts the publishing icon to lead the public broadcaster out of a tumultuous period.

In a press conference on Thursday, Ms Buttrose said she was a passionate believer in the ABC and promised to protect its independence. She said her priority was restoring stability at the top of the organisation after the high-profile departure late last year of her predecessor Justin Milne and managing director Michelle Guthrie.

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Ita's a fighter - and she'll need to be to save the ABC
Matt Peacock - SMH - March 1, 2019

Ita Buttrose may prove to be an excellent choice as ABC chair. She has the media knowledge, the corporate experience, the popularity and the intelligence to lead one of our most important cultural institutions.

Already she has vowed to defend its independence, and anyone who has dealt with Buttrose in her previous roles knows she can be a fighter, not likely to meekly submit to pressure. 

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Buttrose pursues 'stability' as ABC chair
Marnie Banger - Illawarra Mercury - March 1, 2019

Businesswoman, journalist and former magazine editor Ita Buttrose has set her sights on restoring stability at the ABC and upholding the broadcaster's independence as its next chair.

"I'm a passionate believer in the independence of the ABC and I will do everything in my utmost power to make sure it remains that way," Ms Buttrose told reporters in Sydney. 

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Who is new ABC chair Ita Buttrose and how did she get the top job?
Yasmin Jeffery - ABC News - February 28, 2018

Ita Buttrose has been named as the next chair of the ABC, bringing the five-month hunt to fill the top job to an end.

The media veteran was first floated as a potential frontrunner for the position earlier this week.

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Ita's second shot at working at the ABC
Samantha Hutchinson - SMH - February 27, 2018

One can only speculate about the discussions inside Communication Minister Mitch Fifield’s office as the team prepares to announce its pick for the ABC’s new chair with publishing doyenne Ita Buttrose in pole position.

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Aunty process gets to the pointy end
Samantha Hutchinson - SMH - February 28, 2018

The interminable wait for Ita Buttrose to be ordained ABC Chairperson ends today at 10am.

In the meantime we can report the former Packer magazine executive won’t have to introduce herself to acting ABC managing director David Anderson.

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Morrison has made the right call on ABC chair appointment
Tony Walker - SMH - February 25, 2019

What is required now is for her name to be signed off on by Cabinet and presented to the Governor-General for Executive Council approval.

Ita’s father, the late Charles Oswald Buttrose, served as deputy general manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, as it then was, under Talbot Duckmanton.

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Former ABC chair Maurice Newman lashes 'unfair' Ita Buttrose appointment process
Fergus Hunter and Jennifer Duke - SMH - February 27, 2018

Former ABC chairman Maurice Newman has lashed the decision to ignore the recommendations of an independent panel in selecting the next leader of the public broadcaster, as the government prepares to announce publishing icon Ita Buttrose as its choice.

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The unknown thoughts of Chair Ita
Peter Manning - Pearls & Irritations - February 26, 2019

If Ita Buttrose, AO OBE is appointed ABC Chair of the Board in the next few days it will represent yet another opportunity for her to show her extraordinary talents at confronting difficult media challenges and coming out a winner.

At age 77 she will be taking on one hell of a job.

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Craig McMurtrie appointed ABC Editorial Director
About the ABC - February 25, 2019

Craig McMurtrie, one of the ABC’s most experienced journalists and senior news executives, has been appointed as Editorial Director of the ABC. McMurtrie takes over from Alan Sunderland, who is retiring after a long and distinguished career with the national public broadcaster.

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Where will Ita stand on ABC Funding & Independence?
ABC Alumni - February, 2019

If media reports today are accurate (and our sources confirm they are), the ABC Alumni congratulates Ita Buttrose AO OBE on her apparent imminent appointment as chair of the ABC board.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a decision has not been made yet, but described Ms Buttrose as an "extraordinary Australian" when asked about reports she is a candidate for ABC Chair.

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Labor distances itself from the ABC chair process, but has no qualms with the result
Max Koslowski - SMH - February 26, 2019

Labor has accused the government of edging towards "political interference" by hand-picking Ita Buttrose as the ABC chair-in-waiting, but begrudgingly accepts she is competent, qualified and well-respected.

It is expected that Ms Buttrose, the 2013 Australian of the Year, and former editor of Cleo, Australian Women's Weekly and The Daily Telegraph, will be nominated by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Tuesday to become chair almost six months after an extraordinary public spat between the previous chair, Justin Milne, and sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie.

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'Huge task': board test looms for media icon Buttrose
John McDuling - SMH - February 26, 2019

Ita Buttrose's standing in Australian popular culture is perhaps best captured by the fact that beloved 1980s rock band, the Jimmy Barnes-led Cold Chisel, once penned a song about her.

Buttrose - reportedly a fan of the tune - is one of the most decorated figures in Australian media history. But is she the right person to chair one of the nation's most historic and politically sensitive media organisations?

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Buttrose could be exactly the right kind of person to lead the ABC
John McDuling - SMH - February 25, 2019

If the whispers from Canberra are accurate, the next chairperson of the ABC will be decided and announced this week. And in a surprise, former magazine editor and 2013 Australian of the Year Ita Buttrose is firming as the favourite.

Federal Cabinet is expected to consider at a meeting in Sydney tomorrow who will replace Justin Milne in one of the highest profile positions in Australian media.

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Cabinet poised to appoint Ita Buttrose as next ABC chair
Kylar Loussikian, Bevan Shields and Jennifer Duke - SMH - February 24, 2019

Ita Buttrose is poised to become the next chair of the ABC, ending a tumultuous search for the public broadcaster’s next leader following the acrimonious departure of Justin Milne and managing director Michelle Guthrie nearly six months ago.

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Reality bite
Jane Goodall - Inside Story - February 6, 2019

Reality is when the ceiling falls in on your head,” said Viktor Shklovsky, reflecting on the early phase of the Bolshevik revolution. Reality of a kind came crashing in on the ABC’s Insiders last weekend when a cameraman collapsed on set in the midst of its first outing of the year.

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As Australia’s soft power in the Pacific fades, China’s voice gets louder
Helen Vatsikopoulos - The Conversation - February 21, 2019

This week, Department of Communications and Arts secretary Mike Mrdak told a Senate hearing our Pacific neighbours will soon experience “the full suite of programs available on Australian networks”. This means the region will see some of our most highly rated reality shows such as Married at First Sight and The Bachelor.

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Bland 'lifestyle' show illuminates another impending problem at ABC
Craig Mathieson - SMH - February 18, 2019

The ABC produced just one unmissable drama in 2018: the dismissal of managing director Michelle Guthrie in the final week of September. The fallout soon engulfed Justin Milne, the national broadcaster's chairman, who resigned just days after firing Guthrie, and grew to include claims and counter-claims. The most prominent revolved around whether Milne told Guthrie to sack the ABC's chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici, purportedly following a complaint from then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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Could Married At First Sight be part of Australia's soft power push in the Pacific?
Stephen Dziedzic and Jackson Gothe-Snape - ABC News - February 19, 2019

Australia has a new strategy to win over its Pacific neighbours: reality television.

Last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $17 million package to broadcast commercial television throughout the region as part of Australia's Pacific Step-Up.

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ABC starts search for new managing director, even as Guthrie dismissal case continues
Peter Ryan - ABC News - February 15, 2019

The ABC board has advertised for a new managing director to replace Michelle Guthrie, even though a new ABC chair is yet to be appointed.

Pressure is mounting for the Federal Government to finally announce the new ABC chair so the process to appoint a managing director can begin before a federal election is called.

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I love the ABC and I Vote!!
Margaret Reynolds - Pearls & Irritations - February 14, 2019

Several public policy issues will be vigorously debated when Australians vote in this year’s Federal Election. But the one policy area where a vast majority of Australians can agree is that our national public broadcaster - the A B C - must be protected. More than 80 per cent of Australians trust the ABC above all other media and value its services to the community. 

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The crucial first question for the new chair of the ABC
David Alexander - SMH - February 10, 2019

At some point, speculated to be as soon as this month, the government will appoint a new chair of the ABC. The first media interview of a new ABC chief will always cover a few topics, but there will be one question, probably sounding quite innocuous, that will stand out for its potential impact on not just quality broadcasting but confidence in our public institutions: is the ABC biased?

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The Chair the ABC needs
Peter Manning - Pearls & Irritations - February 8, 2019

After a year from hell, the ABC desperately needs stability, leadership, vision and funds.

But it seems the federal Government is determined to ensure the same old games both sides have played with the ABC will continue for at least until 2024. It’s a depressing thought.

The Canberra Press Gallery is abuzz with the expectation that a new Chair of the ABC Board will be appointed in the last months of the current Morrison government - still lagging in the polls.

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Where are the in-depth documentaries calling to account the institutions that are failing us?
Steve Thomas - The Conversation - February 7, 2019

There is no shortage of documentary makers out there - experienced and emerging - who are ready and willing to bring Australian stories to worldwide audiences.

But the ever shrinking pool of funding on which they can draw and the lack of interest from our two major public broadcasters in one-off, subject-specific docos, makes it extremely hard for that enthusiasm and skill to be realised.

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The ABC is now fighting for its survival
Quentin Dempster - Pearls & Irritations - February 7, 2019

In trying to defend the ABC as an institutional pillar of a fearless free media in Australia’s robust democracy, first, we have to confront paranoia.It comes in the form of constant Murdoch Press complaints that the ABC is biased and a force for "left wing" ideology.“All the ABC’s presenters are left wing!” columnists and ABC critics have written.

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Guthrie, ABC board members ordered into mediation in unfair dismissal case
Jennifer Duke - SMH - February 5, 2019

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and several of its directors have been ordered into mediation "as soon as reasonably practicable" with sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie, who is suing the public broadcaster for unfair dismissal.

Neither Ms Guthrie nor the ABC's directors attended the first case management hearing in the Federal Court in Sydney on Tuesday morning. The case could drag on for several months, with another hearing scheduled for April 9.

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Four Corners host Sarah Ferguson heading overseas for new role
Broede Carmody - SMH - February 4, 2019

Monday nights on ABC Television will soon look a little different, with Four Corners host Sarah Ferguson preparing to head overseas for a new role.

The celebrated journalist has been made head of the public broadcaster's Chinese bureau, meaning she will wrap up her Four Corners hosting duties later this year before turning her attention to politics in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Scott Morrison handed shortlist of three candidates for ABC chairman
Jennifer Duke - SMH - February 4, 2019

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been handed a shortlist of three candidates for the prized role of ABC chairman following last year's implosion at the highest levels of the public broadcaster.

The ABC has been without a permanent chairman and a managing director for more than four months after Justin Milne resigned as chairman amid allegations he told sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie to fire journalists the government didn’t like.

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Sarah Ferguson appointed ABC China Bureau Chief
ABC Media Release - February 4, 2019

Sarah Ferguson, one of Australia’s most respected journalists, has been appointed China Bureau Chief as the ABC expands its commitment to covering this increasingly powerful nation, and the Asia-Pacific region, at this fascinating and crucial time.

Ferguson takes over the role later this year, joining fellow China Correspondent Bill Birtles in Beijing, after completing her current project: a major three-part documentary series for ABC TV.

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Solution to ABC budget cuts
Crispin Hull - Pearls & Irritations - January 29, 2019

Here is an idea for how the ABC might deal with the inevitable round of cuts next Budget.

Clever bureaucrats when faced with funding cuts go for the jugular. They attack some popular vote-sensitive function and announce it will be cut. The backlash often results in a funding rethink.

The ABC has lost $330 million in annual funding in the eight years to 2018, about a third of its 2010 budget.

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Australian TV in the Pacific not what is needed - lobby group
Dateline Pacific - Radio New Zealand - January 24, 2019

An Australian media lobbying group says plans to broadcast Australian television content into the Pacific isn't what the region needs.

The government has partnered with industry body FreeTV Australia to stream 3,000 hours of Australian television content into the Pacific over the next three years.

The plans were announced during an historic trip to Vanuatu and Fiji by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

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ABC takes on commercial big guns with ‘steroid’- enhanced panel show
Michael Lallo - Sun-Herald - January 27, 2019

The 6pm weeknight hour on ABC - a slot fiercely contested by commercial networks - has long been a repository for sedate British fare: Antiques Roadshow, Pointless, Grand Designs. Even Think Tank, the now-defunct Australian quiz program that aired last year, was adapted from a UK format.

Those days are over.

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Coalition's $17.1m Pacific broadcasting plan was not 'sought out' by commercial networks
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 23, 2019

The Morrison government is set to hand $17.1m to the commercial networks to provide TV programming to Pacific nations but the TV industry says it did not seek the funds and does not know what content to provide.

Last week the prime minister announced the surprise deal while on an official tour of the Pacific but very few details were revealed.

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International broadcasting: the ABC vs the wisdom of the crowd
Geoff Heriot - The Interpreter - January 10, 2019

The findings of two related government reviews - on international broadcasting, and soft power - should offer an incoming Australian government the potential of a substantial policy reset following the general election in May. Specifically, they may help clarify the purpose and place of state-funded international broadcasting/digital media in Australia’s foreign relations, following a decades-long cycle of investment and dis-investment.

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Former ABC staff ask Scott Morrison not to consider 'biased' candidates for chairman role
Jennifer Duke - SMH - January 11, 2019

Almost 100 former ABC staff members have asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to disqualify any candidates for the public broadcaster's chair who have criticised its online activities, like former Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood.

In an open letter to Mr Morrison released publicly on Friday morning, ABC Alumni - a recently launched lobby group of former employees at the public broadcaster - asked the government to delay choosing a replacement for former chairman Justin Milne.

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ABC admits it has underpaid up to 2500 casual staff over six years
Michael Koziol - SMH - January 10, 2019

The ABC has admitted it underpaid up to 2500 casual staff over the past six years and has commenced an urgent review in conjunction with the Fair Work Ombudsman and unions.

The concession comes weeks after the public broadcaster acknowledged it had underpaid a member of its Brisbane-based digital news network by $19,000 over three years.

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ABC and SBS spend $780,000 rebutting unfair competition claims
Jennifer Duke - SMH - January 10, 2019

The ABC and SBS spent more than $780,000 responding to a government inquiry into whether they were unfairly competing with commercial media rivals.

Once government spending was included the total cost to taxpayers from the six-month review was almost $1.3 million.

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Kevin Rudd unloads on ABC 'self-censorship'
Eryk Bagshaw - SMH - January 9, 2019

Kevin Rudd has accused the ABC of targeting the Labor Party and self-censoring its content out of fear of a conservative backlash.

The former prime minister unloaded on the national broadcaster in an online interview on Tuesday night, accusing the ABC of "overcorrecting so as to not attract the ire [of] political conservatives in this country".

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February decision expected on a new ABC chair
Jennifer Duke - SMH - January 5, 2019

A new chair for the ABC could be announced in February, with senior sources at the public broadcaster expecting Prime Minister Scott Morrison to move to choose a permanent replacement for Justin Milne.

The radical shake-up in leadership at the public broadcaster after the sacking of managing director Michelle Guthrie and the subsequent resignation of Mr Milne has left senior staff waiting on decisions to be made about the top job, with many believing the government will act to ensure certainty at the ABC after a turbulent 2018. 

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