SPEECH - ALP NATIONAL CONFERENCE - INDEPENDENT PUBLIC BROADCASTERS - 24 JULY 2015

Delegates

It’s a pleasure to move this resolution reinforcing the independence of our public broadcasters. It’s just a shame that the Abbott Government has made this a necessary topic to be addressed.

When in government, Labor implemented measures to ensure the institutional independence of our public broadcasters and their respective governing boards.

We did this because we value our public broadcasters.

We did this because we believe the government of the day should not undermine the independence of the ABC or SBS, no matter how arrogant a Communications Minister might be.

We took these measures because we know Australians value their ABC and SBS and the respective services they provide.

Unfortunately though, the Abbott Government has picked up where the Howard Government left off.

The tedious culture war with the ABC has turned Tony Abbott from Prime Minister into a full-time TV programmer. We saw this most recently when a desperate Prime Minister battled a panel TV show for a mind-numbing four weeks, culminating in him writing a letter to the Chair of the ABC saying his front bench won’t appear on Q&A until the program is moved from the Television Division into the News Division of the organisation. So much for adult government! On numerous occasions, Tony Abbott has attempted to exert editorial influence over the ABC. He does not like the media reporting unfavourable stories - he’s told the ABC what he thinks it should and should not report on.Now he’s gone from editorial interference to attempting to interfere in the management decisions and how the ABC is structured. These constant attacks on the ABC, the broken promises on funding and the appointments of characters like Liberal Party fundraiser, Nihal Gupta, to the SBS reinforce the need for measures to ensure the institutional independence of our public broadcasters and their respective governing boards.We all know Tony Abbott promised the Australian people that there would be no cuts to the ABC an no cuts to the SBS. He made this promise looking down the barrel of an SBS camera in Penrith. The Abbott Government subsequently ripped half a billion dollars out of the ABC and the SBS.We know the Tories hate the ABC, but Australians don’t. Australians want diversity of content. They want Australian stories and they want our ABC protected. That is why Labor in government will ensure our public broadcasters are supported, and I urge all delegates to support the resolution.

ENDS