MEDIA RELEASE - FOUR YEARS SINCE “NO CUTS TO ABC OR SBS” LIE - 7 SEPTEMBER 2017

Today marks 4 years since the 2013 election which brought the Liberals into power. 

On the eve of the election, Tony Abbott made a now infamous election eve promise:

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to ABC or SBS.”

Tony Abbott, SBS, 6 September 2013

That was a lie.

Under the Liberals and Nationals, more than half a billion dollars has been cut from the ABC and SBS budgets.

The Liberal-National Government has waged a sustained attack on Australia’s public broadcasters – with Malcolm Turnbull leading the charge.

Malcolm Turnbull commissioned the ABC and SBS Efficiency Study, to identify ways of clipping the wings of our national broadcasters, which has resulted in the cessation of shortwave radio - depriving audiences in the remote Northern Territory of a crucial lifeline.      

The Liberal-National Government has the sheer audacity to cut the ABC’s budget, then turn around and cry crocodile tears, claiming the ABC isn’t doing enough to serve rural and regional Australia, and claiming further threatening to meddle with the ABC Act and Charter.

Twice they’ve attempted to turn the SBS in another commercial broadcaster by stealth, by introducing a bill to relax advertising and product placement restrictions on the SBS. Thanks to strong opposition from Labor, twice that attempt has failed.

In their latest move, the Turnbull Government has agreed to the greatest attack on ABC independence in a generation, as part of a pact with One Nation. The Turnbull Government has given its in-principle support to a ‘competitive neutrality inquiry’ that threatens to reduce the ABC and SBS to mere market failure broadcasters.

Pauline Hanson has stated in no uncertain terms that she’ll be talking to the Treasurer to “whack off quite a bit of money” from the ABC budget next year. It begs the question: is there a secret side agreement between One Nation and the Turnbull Government to cut ABC funding in the 2018 budget?

On the ABC and SBS, Malcolm Turnbull has proved beyond doubt to the Australian community that he is the great pretender. Whilst peddling platitudes about our public broadcasters, he has wielded the knife and slashed the ability of the ABC and SBS to provide quality independent Australian journalism. 

Australians value and trust their national broadcasters, but they can’t simply trust Malcolm Turnbull or the Liberals with the ABC and SBS.