Should the ABC be split in two?

It’s our national broadcaster but just how often does it represents our how nation? This is the question being put

It’s our national broadcaster but just how often does it represents our how nation? This is the question being put forward in The Australian this morning.

As around 10 per cent of Australians live in a town smaller than ABC’s largest office in Sydney – 1208 people, yet there’s a disparity in how much content and effort is put into representing this part of the community.

By concentrating so many people in inner-city Sydney, the ABC is failing to meet its charter obligation to “contribute to a sense of national identity” and “reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community”, Nationals senator for Queensland, Matthew Canavan writes for The Australian.

Senator Canavan is not hopeful about the ABC’s new managing director Michelle Guthrie either: “We are exchanging one chief executive from Sydney for another chief executive from Sydney, via Singapore, reporting to a board almost all based in capital cities”, he said.

So he’s suggested splitting the ABC in two.

While ABC Urban could report on happenings in the cities of Australia, ABC Rural could get on with presenting stories from the bush.

But there’s a road block: broadcasting laws need to be changed to allow metropolitan and regional private TV broadcasters to merge.

“For more than 30 years SBS has provided a voice for multicultural Australia and there is no reason that an ABC Rural could not provide a similar service for the voice of regional Australia”, says Senator Canavan.

His idea is well planned out, with structure and how it could be implemented, all it would need is for the ABC to be on board… and the viewers.

As for additional costs to the taxpayer, Senator Canavan surmises any costs of the separation could be met out of the $5 billion already budgeted for the ABC across the next five years.

“There would be a pay-off in greater diversity as ABC Rural could more readily reflect the unique character and needs of Australia’s rural and regional communities. Two separate ABCs also would make publicly funded broadcasting more accountable to the parliament and ultimately the people of Australia”, he enthused.

So we want to know your thoughts today: should the ABC split in two? Why or why not?


  1. JustJust another poly trying to screw the ABC leave it alone increase funding it belongs to the public pollies should be doing things for the public to make life better not trying to make it worse

  2. Both sides are just a guilty as each other.
    The government think that the ABC is irrelevant to the public. The ABC is run by some of the worst examples of Academic Snobs.

    • Sorry but I would hate to see it dumbed down to commercial TV levels of inane ‘entertainment’ with endless reality TV shows. I like Catalyst and shows that try to educate as well as entertain.

    • Barbara Easthope I agree. I am not saying that the ABC has to become Commercial and go down the same level as the SBS. Not at all. However both parties have to realiswe what treasure they have as well a esential community service that the ABC can offer.

    • The government doesn’t like what the ABC has done reporting, independantly, the day to day issues that have arisen when the government both state and federal what they announce policy changes or do without conseltation.

    • Splitting the ABC is just stupid and not what the listens or watchers want. The people in the bush are interested what is happening in the city and vice versa. They have a national responsibility to do so. We, Australians own it. The ABC has to change its attitude as well. Start to be more attractive to teenagers and maybe report on the issues that teenagers face. It may have to develop andother ABC station that is specifically for teenagers. Create shows that teenagers can take part in. Discuss a variety of subject such as cyber bullying ( where to get help) drugs and alcohol abuse ( where to get help) mental health, cultural and religious issues. But also provide what is available for them and create interests that take them away from electronic IT communications. I have wittness young people are victims of electronic social isolation and the psychological effects it has on them. I walked into a shop the other day that is solely caters on electronic games and card games. there where table set up to play card games or Plastic model war games, based on Knights and Dragons, War games, mystic adventures, but then there were rows of computers so they could play the same online with other players else where. I started to talk to some of the guys there and all they could talk about was the games and weren’t intersested in work or what was happening outside the world that they lived in. They are living in a world of make believe. Some where on the dole and had no intention of working. The ABC and the government should create and foster something that is more stimulating and the government is missing the opportunity to be proactive with teenagers. The ABC have to look into this as well and present to the government a proposal to the public and government. remember the ABC belongs to all Australians. The ABC presents shows for the young children and the over 20’s and the older generations regularly but not the teenagers. The ABC should be the benchmark for which other braodcaster and TV presenters have to reach not the other way. The ABC and the government have to both change their attitudes equally. The government have absolutly no idea what the community wants or needs. The ABC has to change as well and reach out to all ages irrespective where they live in this big country. If you split it it will cost more. If you create another station on both radio and TV then the costing can be shared more evenly.

    • Ian Carfrae, thanks for your last clarifying comment. I would love to see the ABC get more funding to produce shows which cover those issues you raise. I would like it to be a bit more like the BBC. We don’t need another Murdoch media outlet 🌸

  3. I think the biggest problem is funding. As funding has dwindled, the ABC has been forced to centralise, as well as to become a propaganda source for the ideology of the provider of funds, the LNP government.
    Splitting it in two is simply not possible, financially, unless it does what the government is trying to manipulate it into doing, and it becomes self-funding – yet another commercial broadcaster.

  4. Gov should not try to manipulate all forms of media, bad enough they have the rupert on their side to brainwash everyone

  5. Claire Hancock  

    Splitting the ABC into “ABC Urban” and “ABC Rural” would create an even greater divide between urban and rural Australia, and in no way would meet the ABC’s charter obligation to “contribute to a sense of national identity”. In fact it would contribute to “national division”.

    I agree that the rural communities need to be better catered for and better represented, but dividing them off from the urban community will only contribute to a sense of “out of sight – out of mind”. Rural Australia needs to be represented more broadly on the national stage of the ABC. … Dare I say that this means the ABC needs more funding for this purpose, rather than less funding, as many pollies insist?

    • Lesley Thomas  

      I agree Claire. I live in remote, regional Australia and I love our ABC. What it needs is better funding so we are not watching and listening to endless repeats.

  6. Splitting the ABC in two? Do you mean one half can report propaganda for NATO + ‘US interests’… while the other half reports real news about the rest of the world? When is this garbage going to stop? We are being led into WW3 based on some fantasy that we must support our war-monger allies (specifically, their military-industrial complex!) when everything they have meddled in goes pear-shaped. Worse, Australia deludes itself that it is a sunny spot somewhere in the North Atlantic, not in the Asian side of the Pacific… a split personality supported by both the government-owned ABC + the Murdoch media…

  7. Well now, this conservative gov that has taken over SBS & ABC would like to privatise it. RIP freedom of speech!

  8. Still too many desk wallahs. Splitting it in two would probably result in more. Why not simply force the program makers to get out and about more.

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