Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Statements by Members
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Special Broadcasting Service
Aunty, our ABC, SBS, the public broadcasters—the names don't matter but Australians know these are the brands they can trust. During the Black Summer bushfires, the COVID pandemic, floods, droughts, wars and cyclones, Australians have known they can turn to their public broadcasters for accurate and up-to-date information. For almost a century this information has saved lives and averted tragedy, but it hasn't stopped this government from waging war on these trusted institutions, with eight long years of ideologically motivated cuts and attacks.
Last year the ABC was forced to axe hundreds of jobs after a funding cut of almost $84 million. In the government's most recent attack, Liberal senator Andrew Bragg tried to launch a review into ABC and SBS complaints handling. ABC chair Ita Buttrose, a trusted veteran of Australian media, described the review as 'an act of political interference designed to intimidate'. In response, the Prime Minister said that no-one is above scrutiny—no-one except members of his own government.
Political interference in and intimidation of our public broadcasters cannot and must not be tolerated. That is why Labor is defending the ABC. Yesterday the Senate backed a Labor motion to suspend the wasteful inquiry. Labor has pledged to restore funding to the ABC and SBS. The reality is that Australians can trust the ABC and SBS but cannot trust Scott Morrison and this government. (Time expired)