Thursday, 11 June 2020
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
That the Senate—
(a) thanks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for its service in delivering vital emergency broadcasts and comprehensive coverage during national catastrophes, especially this year's devastating bushfires fires and the COVID-19 pandemic;
(b) recognises Australians turn to the ABC as the most trusted source of news and information during times of crisis;
(c) notes that the ABC has released independent research, submitted to the bushfire royal commission, which found that:
(i) 60% of people in bushfire-affected areas said information from the ABC helped ensure their safety,
(ii) 81% of people were aware of the ABC as an information source, and one in two used it as their main source of information during the summer crisis,
(iii) respondents said they trusted the ABC's channels and websites more than the commercial ones, and ABC local radio was essential when internet and telecommunications failed in bushfire zones, and
(d) acknowledges that:
(i) the ABC's emergency coverage saved lives during the bushfires,
(ii) the ABC has lost $783m in funding since the Coalition Government came to power in 2014, and
(iii) 250 ABC workers will now lose their jobs across news, entertainment and regional divisions as a consequence of years of underfunding by the Coalition Government and the paused indexation funding; and
(e) calls on the Government to properly fund the ABC and reverse the $83.7 million paused indexation funding, as a matter of urgency.
Over this triennium the ABC will receive $3.2 billion—over a billion dollars per year. This investment by the government gives the ABC more financial security than any other media organisation in the nation. The government's investment in the ABC is an important underpinning of media diversity and a significant contribution to civic journalism in Australia. GetUp engaged a consulting firm to prepare a report that incorrectly concluded that the ABC has lost $783 million in funding since 2014. The ABC's funding has not decreased, and budget papers indicate that funding in 2019-20 is higher than in 2013-14 and that funding will be higher again in the year 2021-22.
We oppose this. The ABC had the time and the money to indulge their personal hostility to President Trump by using a video that stitched together two unrelated videos to make it falsely appear the President was claiming George Floyd would be looking down from heaven thinking President Trump's job figures were a great thing to happen when he was really referring to his improved policing fairness order. Rather than needing more money, the cuts to the ABC need to go far further. When the ABC double-down on their fake news by claiming the broadcast was a direct quote from the President, the cuts need to go far further. When the ABC reports that US employment fell when, in fact, employment rose by 2.5 million in a single month, the cuts need to go far further. The ABC are fake news and do not deserve the funding they fraudulently steal under false pretences.