12 June, 2020
In times of crisis, one constant source of independent, reliable and trustworthy news that Australians turn to is the ABC. This has never been more evident than this summer, during the bushfires that changed our country, or during the COVID-19 health crisis. But it is now the ABC that is in a state of crisis and desperately needs our support. The ABC has confirmed widespread job cuts to address a $41 million funding shortfall. Consistent funding cuts over the years have led to the loss of quality programming, and a 50 per cent reduction in the number of hours of original Australian drama and comedy on ABC TV—think of programs such as Redfern Now, Blue Murder, Paper Giants and Total Control. The ABC is where we tell and share our stories as a nation.
Polls and surveys show the ABC is consistently the most trusted news source for Australians, pointing to its impartiality, quality journalism and demonstrated ethics. In 2018, the same year these funding cuts were announced, a survey by the Australia Institute found that 68 per cent of respondents think the ABC is more important in an age of social media and fake news. Interestingly, this included 64 per cent of LNP voters. I call on the government to reverse its funding decisions. An independent source of media is so important and a cornerstone of our democratic society.