Wednesday, 2 September 2020
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 772, standing in my name. The amendment has been circulated.
I amend the motion in the terms circulated in the chamber and move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the interim report of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements stated that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is a trusted broadcaster of emergency messages and warnings during bushfires and that ABC managers should be embedded in all state and territory emergency management centres to ensure delivery of critical information to the public,
(ii) emergency reporting during the bushfires cost the ABC an additional $3 million,
(iii) the ABC has been an essential source of news during the COVID-19 pandemic with digital, television and radio broadcasts all seeing a dramatic increase in ratings, and
(iv) the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has cut more than $783 million in funding from the ABC, and the ABC is currently operating with its smallest budget since 1996;
(b) expresses gratitude for the essential role that the ABC has played in keeping Australians informed and safe throughout the bushfire season and the COVID-19 pandemic; and
(c) calls on the Morrison Government to reverse the indexation pause on ABC funding and guarantee stable and adequate funding for the ABC.
The ABC does an excellent job transmitting information to Australian communities during emergencies. The ABC, along with the entire media industry, plays a vital role in making sure the community is provided with timely and accurate news, particularly in relation to nationally significant matters such as COVID-19 and the recent bushfires. This news is vitally important in the regions. The ABC continues to be exempt from the government-wide efficiency dividend and the ABC continues to receive secure funding of over $1 billion over the triennium, rising each and every year.