Today, the Turnbull Government proved it is utterly desperate and bereft of integrity by bowing to One Nation’s demands in order to scrape its flawed media ownership changes through Parliament.
In a direct assault on the independence of our public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, this ridiculous deal confirms how low the Turnbull Government is prepared to stoop.
This is a Government in chaos that is hell-bent on destroying media diversity in Australia; already one of the most concentrated media markets in the world.
Not only will the repeal of the 2 out of 3 rule cross-media ownership rule hand unprecedented concentration of media power to the hands of a privileged few commercial operators, this attack on the ABC in particular will diminish the independence of our national broadcaster.
As the Turnbull Government’s grant of $30 million to Fox Sports proves, the Minister for Communications is incapable of anything but back-door deal-making when it comes to our media laws.
These latest additions to a piecemeal package, heavy with political trade-offs, confirm how deep the Turnbull Government’s contempt for the ABC runs.
This proves you simply can’t trust the Liberals with the ABC.
Despite promising “no cuts to the ABC” before the 2013 election, the Abbott-Turnbull Government cut ABC funding by $355 million over five years, then cut further in the 2016 Budget.
The Turnbull Government has overseen the cessation of shortwave radio, depriving regional and remote Australians of emergency broadcasting.
Pauline Hanson has made it clear that she will be going after the ABC’s funding. With Malcolm Turnbull proving to be such a weak leader, it is clear that One Nation will be calling the shots when it comes to negotiating the ABC’s budget next year.
Pauline Hanson is also calling for an inquiry into the competitive behaviour of the ABC and SBS, to make sure the national broadcasters don’t compete with the commercial broadcasting sector. Yet, twice now, the Turnbull Government has attempted to allow the SBS to increase its advertising and enable product placement, in direct competition with the commercial broadcasters.
Overall, One Nation’s demands do precious little to address the disastrous consequences of the Turnbull Government’s proposed media ownership changes.