Monday, 24 November 2014
Questions without Notice
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
My question is to Senator Abetz, representing the Prime Minister today. Will the government apologise to the Australian people and the 400 staff of our national broadcaster who have lost their jobs for violating a clear and unambiguous pre-election commitment that there would be no cuts to the ABC and SBS?
Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, item 50 of the Institute of Public Affairs's policy hit list states that the government should break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function, and item 51 of the same hit list says privatise SBS. Can the minister inform the Senate as to whether these unforgivable cuts announced today are simply phase 1 of a broader attack on Australia's treasured national broadcasters?
Senator Ludlam is a lot better informed about the agenda of the Institute of Public Affairs than I am, and therefore I am willing to accept that items 50 and 51 of the IPA's agenda might include that in it. I confirm to Senator Ludlam and, indeed, all Australians that this is a government that will not be dictated to by any agenda other than the best interests of the Australian people and the nation. That is what motivates us. Let's make no mistake: those people in this chamber that continually clamour for extra money today are the same people that are seeking to block our economic reforms that would actually allow the pie to grow and allow us the capacity to pay off the huge debt that exists. We do have a financial problem and we are seeking to fix it—no thanks to the Greens.
Political satire is nearly dead, isn't it! Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Senator Abetz, do you concede that, if this government had not spent its first 12 months in office cutting taxes and further undermining Australia's budget position, these cuts to the ABC would be completely unnecessary.
Absolutely not, and I think what it shows is the complete divide—thankfully—between the thinking of the Australian Greens and those of us in the coalition. No country has ever taxed itself back into wealth. We know that the carbon tax was destroying family budgets. We know it was destroying the manufacturing sector. We know it was destroying the agriculture sector. We know the impact on the tourism sector. The carbon tax which we finally got rid of—no thanks to the Greens, might I add—was such a destructive and toxic tax that it was having an impact on every single Australian, and by removing it we have liberated Australian manufacturing, liberated Australian agriculture, liberated household budgets from an impost which, might I add, was based on the no carbon tax promise of the Labor Party. (Time expired)