The ABC faces another devastating setback 37



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Many readers in the Starts at 60 community depend on the ABC for regional news reporting – a field of journalism that has suffered greatly in recent years due to funding cuts.

Now it is feared that another cut could soon set this back even further – unless the Turnbull government chooses to help.

In 2013, the Gillard Labor government agreed to give ABC’s news division $20 million per year over three years. This funding is due to expire in June this year, sparking fears that it will not be renewed.

In a response to the Senate, the broadcaster released a statement suggesting this would be a “significant challenge”.

“If the tied funding is not renewed, it will inevitably result in cuts to programming, content and personnel”.

According to The New Daily, this money has been funding fact checking, documentaries, an investigative journalism team, live video links to remote areas and regional reporting.

Labor Senator Sue Lines said that if funding were not renewed, the cut would “effectively gag” the ABC.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what the Turnbull government does because it doesn’t like the ABC,” she told The New Daily.

“It doesn’t like honesty and integrity in reporting and so has hit back at the ABC, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they sought to also punish them by reducing their funding.”

“My view is that in a democracy we need truthful reporting, whether we like it as politicians or not. That is the role of the public broadcaster, to hold governments to account and to hold anyone to account, really, and to be one of the pillars that upholds our democracy.

“Whether I like the stories they run or not, whether the ABC holds the Labor party or any political party accountable, that is their role in a democracy. We can’t support an open and free media and then seek to muzzle the public broadcaster.”

Do you benefit from ABC news reporting? How do you feel about this potential cut? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I have no political leanings myself, but I am well aware of the fact that the ABC definitely DOES, (you only have to read the comments listed in the above article to realise that!) It is an organisation that should be completely apolitical, with no bias at all, either way. In the light of the present attitudes of the broadcaster, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Liberals did cut the funds available to them – its only to be expected, isn’t it.

    5 REPLY
    • Too True, The ABC is definitely biased and if getting Tax Payer funds should as you say be apolitical

    • That’s absolute rubbish – the ABC is not biased. I’ve seen both sides of the political divide devoured by reporters and hauled over the coals many, many times. This government is taking its bat and ball and going home because it can’t stand the heat of its own ineptness.

      2 REPLY
      • Have to agree with you Elaine! Omg I don’t know what programs Brian, Sharon and Ian watch but really!!! ABC has level audience pegging for QnA as stated at the start of the program, Lateline n 7.30 report ask the hard questions of which ever party is in govt or opposition! I don’t get the idea of bias! ABC the only news that is unbiased as far as I’m concerned and I’m a swinging voter no ideology just what’s best for my community.

      • I agree .. there’s nothing wrong with aggressive questioning & there should be more of it. If there’s nothing to hide, why all the complaints? Instead of complaining about it, we all should be grateful that someone is trying to get to the truth. That type of hard journalism is dying out, & in the mean , fabricators of the truth are clapping their hands. Cut ABC funding for shows like Catalist, Four Corners, Dateline & Q&A, & the real truth will never be told as there is no media outlet that is gutsy enough to do it. Plus the ABC does tell both sides, biased people just don’t see it.

    • Spot on Brian, their biased journalism is simply embarrassing. Personally, I don’t believe that Australia can any longer justify the costs associated with running the ABC circus!

    • If the ABC would deliver un-biased commentary and news I’d tune in again. Sadly the ABC would die an excruciatingly quick death if it were required to compete in the dod eat dog of commercial media. From the management to the menial they are just a HUGE collection of incompetents.

  2. Maybe if the ABC simply presented news and not advocacy, concentrated on core delivery and not digital content to the extreme it has, there would be enough money. The ABC is the peoples radio to deliver basic service and content and promote Australian content on media, both TV and radio. Maybe instead of going off in tangents it recognised what it is, and has always been, they just might find their money doesn’t run out. Lets not forget this is not government money….It is ours!

    1 REPLY
  3. ‘The ABC is definitely biased’ – sounds like someone is biased away from the ABC !

    yes the world is a terrible place – when everyone doesn’t agree with me – they should be stopped, etc.

    I’m the only one in step !

  4. Please keep Starts at Sixty! I’ve been stuck in the US for over two years and it’s my Aussie Life Line!!

  5. I don’t agree I have seen ABC staff being difficult with Libs and Labor. If you wan to talk about one eyed listen to Alan Jones some time

    1 REPLY
    • Sky channel is another one hugely biased channel. I suppose the only justification for 2GB/ 4BC’s Alan Jones, Ray Hadley ect, as well as Sky, is that they are not publicly funded. In reality, the ABC is the only channel that gives us a look at the other side .. no other media organisation does that, so there should no funding cuts. Let’s keep it fair peeps!

  6. Biased with our money too!! It should not be political at all. You can only represent the people who pay for you with an even hand and they do no such thing. Far too much money is handed out to this mob. We dont need all those ABC radio stations and TV stations, far too many.

    1 REPLY
    • The ABC gave me a start in SA regional journalism which lasted more than 10 years. In “mid-life” I found skills I didn’t know I had, thanks to the encouragement of the regional and SA news team. I agree the ABC has gone off in too many directions, spreading the dollars too far. News needs to be presented objectively and accurately, to let the listener or viewer (or reader) to make up their own minds. There has to be some element of entertainment, to balance things.
      More high-quality, grass-roots, objective reporting with a blend of panel chat and other entertainment.
      Many people have only the ABC to listen to or watch. They depend on the ABC for everything TV or radio can deliver.

  7. In years past I was an avid ABC listener and watcher. However, I have stopped watching and listening to ABC news/current affairs programs. I find even the radio presenters (in Newcastle anyway) tend to take one side of a discussion point and don’t tolerate opposing views. ABC television is embarrassingly biased, especially the likes of Tony Jones and Q & A in particular, where we see hand-picked audiences with scripted questions, questions designed to allow the Labor/Green/left to promote and the force the Coalition/right to defend. It’s an astonishment that the Coalition allows its ministers to appear on the ABC, let alone continue excessive funding. Another comment by Kerry mentioned Alan Jones – yes he is biased the other way, as is Andrew Bolt, and I dislike them both for it. The point I am making is that biased reporting and presentations are not good for the proper dissemination of news and reports, and consequently the ABC just cannot expect to remain high on governments’ priorities with it’s existing biased attitudes.

    1 REPLY
    • Well said Doug. Its our money after all. WE are THEIR sponsors and they should give every side a good go, but Tony Jones is very rude and pushy. On every show Tony Jones talks down and interrupts the Liberal guests constantly.

      1 REPLY
      • Only because they don’t tell the truth or they don’t want to say anything because it might incriminate them or their party. There’s nothing wrong with aggressive questioning & if there was more of it, maybe we would have half honest politicians.

  8. It is the only honest reporting and most governments would like to gag the ABC. 4 corners is the only real investigative reporting done and to lose this would mean many things would never be uncovered. It is an important part of bringing many situations to task..

  9. As a former ABC journalist I could not agree more!

  10. As an ABC Journalist I coud not agree more Doug!!!! No attempt at balance!

  11. No one seems to have a clue about the current economic situation that Australia is facing, most of the cuts are from pensioners and superannuants, with 1 billion budget for the abc what’s 20 million, what a rediculus complaint,devastating setback, everybody wants, no one gives, and governments that can’t control expenditure

  12. 70% of News in Australia comes via Murdoch press. It is hardly ever balanced political reporting. Liberal policy rarely gets a bollocking, where as Labor policy is always given a crushingly bad review. No bias, give us a break!

    The ABC is the only place that a semblance of balance can be obtained. Liberals overall don’t like to be looked at, as in Opposition they collectively did nothing. The truth of that is clearly visible. Libs. certainly don’t want to be questioned by intelligent and researched Journalists from the ABC. Chop the News Service and while you are there, take a sledgehammer to health, education and social services.

    That should fix it! It’s great having the “adults” in charge.

    2 REPLY
    • Totally agree Helen Smith!
      If TA or MT gunned down someone in the street if it was reported at all in the Murdoch press it would be Labors fault!
      MSM is so biased towards the Conservative side of politics that it is a joke. All I ask is for TRUTH in journalism whether politicians like it or not. Either side should be held accountable to the electorate. Unfortunately the majority of journos only report what they are told to just to keep their jobs. I don’t call that ethical. Voters are treated like idiots and are only told information on a needs to know basis. And most of the time we are fed lie after lie. At last count Mr Abbott and now Mr Turnbull have lied and gone back on over 85 promises so far. That would have to be a new world record. If memory serves me right I believe Ms Gillard was vilified in the press over one supposed lie. So give me a break and at least let’s hope the ABC continues its unbiased reporting.

    • ABC bias. How can anyone deny it. For instance, just to give one example, where they should have upheld our former PM Tony Abbott as an outstanding example to all young people because of his keeping fit and exercising, all they did was ridicule him and make crude jokes about his budgies.
      That alone says it all!

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