Senate debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022


Australian Broadcasting Corporation

1:30 pm

Photo of Andrew BraggAndrew Bragg (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to talk a little bit about the ABC appointing an ombudsman, which is something that has been historically resisted. I am of the view that the ABC generally does a good job. I do think it has, at times, strayed into partisanship, and it has, at times, had a problem of being able to manage internal bias. But, in the main, I would say the ABC does a good job and has served the nation very well. As someone that wants the ABC to succeed, I have been concerned for a long time that the ABC had not been able to properly address the complaints that had been made about some of its programs and that it was a bit like Dracula running the blood bank in that, effectively, the complaint would go to the department which had been responsible for the program in some form.

Having followed through the process of having a review, which the ABC Board commissioned into complaints handling, the ABC has now decided that it will in fact appoint an ombudsman. I believe the ombudsman was appointed last night or this morning. The ombudsman's job is to ensure that the ABC's reputation is maintained and enhanced. For people who want the ABC to succeed, it's important that they do handle complaints fairly, properly and swiftly.

We all make mistakes, and it would be ridiculous to suggest that an organisation as big and as successful as the ABC wouldn't make the odd mistake, so I welcome the appointment of the ombudsman. I think it will help the ABC, and we will be able to probe the success, transparency and governance around the ombudsman over future Senate estimates rounds. I welcome this from the ABC's board. It's a very good decision. Thanks for the opportunity to speak here today.