The Minister for Communications has been in hiding since making a pact on the ABC with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, as part of his back door dealings on media reform.
This fraud of a Communications Minister is hell-bent on destroying media diversity in Australia.
Questions Senator Mitch Fifield needs to answer about his attack on the ABC include:
- Is there a secret side agreement to cut ABC funding next year?
- Is the requirement for ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’ coverage designed to give voice to white supremacists, holocaust deniers, climate change sceptics and anti-vaxxers?
- Is the ‘competitive neutrality inquiry’ aimed at diminishing the ABC and SBS to mere ‘market failure’ broadcasters?
- Does the establishment of a second Advisory Council prove that the Turnbull Government has no confidence in the ABC Board and Management?
Labor believes that Australians deserve vibrant national broadcasters as well as strong commercial broadcasters – it is not an ‘either-or’ proposition.
It beggars belief that the Turnbull Government slashes ABC funding, only to turn around and complain that the national broadcaster isn’t doing enough for rural and regional Australia.
Just as staggering is that the government will cut a deal with One Nation to change the ABC Charter – as if the ABC Charter, the ABC Board or ABC Management are somehow to blame for the decline in rural and regional media coverage in Australia.
Despite promising “no cuts to the ABC” before the 2013 election, the Abbott-Turnbull Government cut ABC funding in 2014 amounting to $355 million over five years, then cut further in the 2016 Budget.
Now the Liberals and the Nationals are crying crocodile tears over the delivery of media services to rural and regional Australia.
Had the government dropped its flawed plan to repeal the 2 out of 3 rule, the government could have passed the majority of its media law changes through Parliament by now.
It is utterly tragic that our public broadcasters and the Australian people will pay the price for Minister Fifield’s desperation.