House debates

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Questions without Notice

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

2:36 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. When the now Prime Minister was Treasurer, he cut over $83 million from the ABC. Last night at Senate estimates, the Acting Managing Director of the ABC said, 'Those sorts of budget reductions aren't achieved without major disruption.' Will the Prime Minister now reverse his cuts so the ABC won't be forced to cut services, including the vital service it provides to Australians who live in rural and regional Australia?

2:37 pm

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The Leader of the Opposition may not be aware, but for many, many years, unlike all other government agencies, who were subject to an efficiency dividend, the ABC never were. They were never subject to that efficiency dividend. What we've basically done is that the future growth profile in their spending has been adjusted. It still goes up every year. A billion dollars a year is spent on the ABC, and our government simply formed the view that, if it's okay for every other government agency and government service delivery in the country to be living within its means, then, frankly, it's okay for the ABC too.

A few minutes ago I challenged the Leader of the Opposition to get his head out of the Canberra bubble and start asking me questions about jobs and the economy and about drought, and what does he ask me about? He asks me about the ABC budget. That's what he asks me about. Well, the ABC budget is going up. It's going up each and every year, and we're asking the ABC to make sure that they do things efficiently, like all other parts of the government do, right across the board.

If the Labor Party think that the ABC should get a special deal on funding, as opposed to all the other agencies of government, they can make that case. But we believe the ABC should be run efficiently; it should be run independently; and it should do a great job for taxpayers. I believe it does do a great job, but it has to live within its means like every other part of government.