Showing posts with label Our ABC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Our ABC. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The absurd level to which the faux federal election campaign sinks


An overexcited and breathlessly earnest attempt to assert inherent bias on the part of the public broadcaster against the right wing of politics in the lead up to the federal election.....

Thursday, 25 October 2018

OUR ABC: the fate of public broadcasting is in your hands at the 2019 federal election


Use your vote wisely.......

abc.net.au, 23 October 2018:

Statement by David Anderson, Acting Managing Director of the ABC, to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee 

Thank you Senators. 

I am appearing today as Acting Managing Director of the ABC. It is a privilege to be in this role, overseeing one of Australia’s most loved and respected cultural institutions. 

There is no doubt Senators will have many questions about recent events and strategies. I will do my best to answer them in my acting capacity and from my management position. Accountability is part and parcel of being a national broadcaster. 

So too is independence. I have already stressed in my early conversations with employees that the great faith and trust the community invests in the ABC is built on the foundation of independence. 

The ABC is funded by government and it is ultimately answerable to the people of Australia. They are the ones who expect us to report without fear or favour, to live up to standards of quality and excellence, to shun commercial and other agendas, to hold the national conversations and to reflect the nation back to itself. 

The other absolute I have, as a long-term content manager within the Corporation, is the primacy of content. Across the ABC’s history we have been adept at using technology to improve the ways we bring our programs and services to our audiences. 

Even in my time at the national broadcaster, the distribution platforms and channels we use have changed dramatically. They will need to change even more over the next decade as we seek relevance and reach in a challenging digital media landscape. 

But it is the content that we carry on those platforms that ultimately matters. 

 Vibrant new kids’ programs that delight and educate our children; 

 Agenda-setting journalism that shines a light into dark corners and holds regulators and lawmakers to account; 

 The rich, direct and often lifesaving conversations we have with our regional and rural audiences; 

 The insightful work of Radio National; 

 Our commitment to the promotion and support of cultural endeavours, particularly music, the arts and creative communities; 

 Colourful dramas like Mystery Road that use local actors, local crews, local locations and local stories to entertain us; 

 And our ability to unite the nation, whether it be on Australia Day, the approaching Remembrance Day/Armistice celebrations or through our in-depth coverage of the drought; 

 And this week, of course, the Invictus Games. 

It is the distinctive content that makes the ABC unique and a priceless national asset. 

While the recent weeks have been testing, I am very proud of the passion and energy shown by our 4000 employees. They have not been distracted. They remain committed to serving Australians. 

As the Acting Managing Director, my early objective has been to work with the Board, bring stability to the organisation, demonstrate leadership and to press for the resourcing we need to deliver the Charter remit and the services the community expects. 

I note there has been a lot of talk recently about ABC budgets and future demands. I would like to bring these facts to the table: 

 20 per cent of the ABC Budget is actually fixed costs for transmission – the infrastructure that delivers our programs to audiences across the nation. 

 The $84 million efficiency cut over three years comes on top of the 2014 decision to cut the ABC budget by $250 million over five years. The cumulative impact of these measures is a significant reduction in our operating budget at a time when we are facing rising costs of production and the need to increase our investment in digital products. 

 We have been given no certainty about the future of funding for a program that directly employs 81 journalists, including specialist reporters and outer suburban bureaus such as Geelong, Parramatta and Ipswich. 

As a long-serving content manager and leader, I can personally attest to the financial pressures affecting the Corporation. I can vouch for the efforts of management to maximise every dollar spent on audiences and to plough efficiency savings into content. 

I am making it clear to stakeholders that the next triennial funding round, scheduled for resolution in next year’s Budget, should be used as an opportunity to reposition the ABC for the future. 

If the ABC is important now in bringing diversity to the media landscape, then it will be even more essential over coming years in providing quality, independent, local content to Australians. The ABC will be the innovator. We will provide the creative jobs that are necessary for this new era. We will continue to provide the highest quality independent journalism. 

Thank you. I am happy to take questions.

Twitter, 24 October 2018:







Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Oi, Scott Morrison! Hands off, it's not your ABC



Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Labor calls for Australian Communications Minister Mitch Fifield's resignation and points the finger at the Institute for Public Affairs









Scott Morrison needs to act and move Senator Mitch Fifield out of the role of Minister for Communications, with Fifield’s fingerprints all over the political interference scandal at the ABC. Senator Mitch Fifield’s role as minister responsible for the ABC is untenable.

According to reports, Minister Fifield was present at the meeting with Malcolm Turnbull and Justin Milne which prompted the former ABC Chairman to ring former Managing Director Michelle Guthrie and demand the sacking of an ABC journalist.

Minister Fifield has not denied he was present at the meeting, which reportedly left the ABC Chair with the impression a journalist needed to be sacked in order for the ABC to receive government funding.


While Minister Fifield has released a statement denying involvement in staffing matters, it is apparent that Justin Milne was influenced by his meeting with Turnbull and Fifield.

It is the role of the Minister for Communications to act as custodian of the ABC, not as a conduit for Liberal Government interference.

Minister Fifield’s attendance at the meeting that left the ABC Chairman with the impression that an ABC journalist needed to be sacked cannot possibly be consistent with his role as Minister for Communications.

Yesterday Justin Milne resigned his role as ABC Chairman over this political interference scandal, and it is incumbent upon Senator Fifield to now do the same.

Mitch Fifield has a long record of attacking and undermining the ABC:

He is a card-carrying member of the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) which advocates that the ABC be ‘broken up’ and privatised

He has made a private donation to the IPA, as revealed by answers to Questions on Notice

He addressed the Australian Adam Smith Club in October 2008 stating: “Conservatives have often floated the prospect of privatising the ABC and Australia Post. There is merit in such proposals.”

He was rebuked by former ABC Chairman Jim Spigelman in November 2016 for attempting to influence ABC internal staffing policies

He used the ABC as a bargaining chip in a deal with One Nation in August 2017
He is a serial complainant to the ABC on everything from the date of the Hottest 100 to the content of comedy sketches

He is behind the budget cuts, three bills and two inquiries that form part of the Liberal Government’s latest rounds of attacks on the ABC. 

The ABC doesn’t belong to the Liberals and Mitch Fifield – it belongs to the Australian public.

Fifield must resign or be removed from the role of Minister for Communications before he does any more damage to Australia’s national treasure, the ABC.
[my yellow highlighting]

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Who was it that told ABC Chairman Justin Milne that the public broadcaster would be denied funding if it didn’t remove journalists that federal government ministers wanted silenced?



On 24 September 2018 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) board announced the sacking of Managing Director Michelle Guthrie, stating “it was not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie to continue to lead the organisation”.

By 27 September the facts began this statement had emerged. 

These showed political appointee to the ABC board chairmanship, Justin Milne, in a less than attractive light.

Having now been caught out acting as a heavy-handed surrogate for the Liberal-Nationals Federal Government, this very same government is reportedly now pressuring Milne to resign ahead of the 20 October Wentworth by-election to save it further embarrassing revelations.

This is how the matter is playing out in the media…….

9 News, 26 September 2018:

Political pressure is mounting on the ABC chair Justin Milne after revelations he ordered sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie to get rid of a senior presenter because the Turnbull Government "hates her".

The instruction to sack Emma Alberici came in an email from Mr Milne to Ms Guthrie in May, Fairfax Media reported. 

"They [the government] hate her," Mr Milne wrote. "We are tarred with her brush. I think it's simple. Get rid of her. We need to save the ABC - not Emma. There is no guarantee they [the coalition] will lose the next election."

The comments were circulated to members of the ABC board a week before Ms Guthrie was sacked on Monday.

Malcolm Turnbull sent a list of concerns to ABC news director Gaven Morris about Ms Alberici's coverage of the government in May.

The Guardian, 26 September 2018:

The ABC chairman, Justin Milne, vehemently opposed moving the Hottest 100 away from Australia Day and tried to convince the ABC board to reverse the Triple J decision, saying “Malcolm [Turnbull] will go ballistic”, Guardian Australia has been told.

Multiple sources have said that the former managing director Michelle Guthrie supported the Triple J decision, which was taken after a year’s consultation, and convinced the board not to bow to pressure from the government.

There was huge pressure on the ABC because the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, had asked the ABC board to reconsider the decision to move the Triple J Hottest 100 from Australia Day because it was “making a political statement” by taking an action that would “help to delegitimise Australia Day”.

Milne was also opposed to Guthrie’s handling of the ABC’s Tonightly sketch in which they used the word “cunt” when highlighting the racist past of the grazier John Batman.

In a skit aired in March, a candidate for Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives party, Kevin Bailey, was lampooned about the name of the electorate of Batman.

Milne was furious and adamant that Tonightly presenter Tom Ballard should immediately apologise for the sketch on the program, but Guthrie insisted that the ABC’s internal complaints process run its due course.

The ABC’s internal complaints unit and the Australian Communications and Media Authority cleared the Tonightly sketch.

“Michelle was always saying we should back our artists and staff but Justin was always interfering and saying this will annoy the government,” a source close to the board said.

“Michelle stood up to Milne when he tried to interfere with management decisions. He believe Emma Alberici should be sacked and the top 100 should not be moved.”

Financial Review, 26 September 2018:

ABC chairman Justin Milne asked former managing director Michelle Guthrie to take action against two ABC journalists, political reporter Andrew Probyn and radio broadcaster Jon Faine, who had upset the government, according to a source familiar with the conversations.

The complaints about the two high-profile journalists were made verbally, and followed Mr Faine's clashes with a government minister and coverage that upset the Coalition by Mr Probyn, the source said.

The Guardian, 26 September 2018:

Another source said: “He [Milne] would intervene by contacting an executive and, not long after, a formal complaint would come in from minister’s office.

“He also referred to former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie as ‘the missus’.”

The New Daily, 26 September 2018:

The Scott Morrison government and the ABC board are moving to pressure ABC chairman Justin Milne to resign as soon as possible.

Mr Milne has refused to budge after a leaked email has been widely viewed as direct evidence of a breach of his director duties under the ABC Act.

But overnight there was another leak to The Daily Telegraph – an ABC board document in which sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie alleges Mr Milne ordered her to fire political editor Andrew Probyn. “You have to shoot him”, The Telegraph reported the document as saying, because former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull “hated” Mr Probyn. The exchange was said to have occurred in a telephone conversation on June 15.

“He told me I was putting the future of the ABC at risk as we are asking the government for half a billion dollars for Jetstream and we won’t get it unless I do what I’m told,” The Telegraph reported the leaked Guthrie document said.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September 2018:

Turnbull, a former journalist who knows how errors of fact or judgment can infect a journalist's copy, might have tried negotiating directly with Alberici before reaching for the official complaints switch, and he might have respected the ABC's actions to correct matters of fact after the ABC's independent complaints review department had investigated.

Instead, by exerting his clout at high levels within the broadcaster, it appeared to anyone who cared to look that the old business of serially intimidating the ABC, which relies on government funding, had reached peak velocity.

In turn, Milne, a former business partner of Turnbull and thus requiring considerable steadiness to prevent being accused of bearing a conflict, lost all sense of proportion at the sound of shot.

No cool-headed chairmanship here: apparently infected by hysteria, he waved his own sword. "Get rid of her. We need to save the ABC - not Emma."

No-one has yet answered the burning question; Who was it that told Justin Milne that the ABC would be denied funding if it didn’t remove journalists that Liberal-Nationals federal government ministers wanted silenced?

Friday, 31 August 2018

Will the Australian Government continue its policy of harrassment and intimidation in relation to Australia's national public broadcaster?


This was the situation before Malcolm Turnbull was politically beheaded by the hard right of the Liberal Party and Scott Morrison installed as the new Australian Prime Minister.....

Lenore Taylor is Guardian Australia's editor. She has won two Walkley awards and has twice won the Paul Lyneham award for excellence in press gallery journalism.

She has been a journalist for over thirty years and covered federal politics for over twenty-two years. 

Despite being invited onto the ABC "Insiders" program as a political journalist and editor, she found that pressure appeared to have been placed on that program to remove its video of her one of comments from its Twitter feed.



The Great Barrier Reef Foundation denies there was any prior due diligence conducted concerning the $487,633,300.00 grant.


“We had to certainly demonstrate value for money and our track record,” she said.

Once this particular cat was out of the bag ABC "Insiders" decided on 360 degree change of direction or suddenly remembered what being an independent public broadcaster actually means - readers can make up their own minds as to motive.

Remembering that as federal treasurer Scott Morrison led the charge to savagely cut ABC funding, the question that needs answering now is "Will he continue to bash the ABC by allowing minsters to apply inappropriate pressure on management and staff to alter editorial decisions?"

The real reason Turnbull gave the Great Barrier Reef Foundation $487.6 million with few strings attached and a short deadline on the spend

The Saturday Paper, 18-24 August 2018:

Picture the scene: three men in a room, two of them offering the third the deal of a lifetime.

The pair say they will give the man’s little outfit – which has assets of only about $3 million, turnover of less than $8 million and just a handful of staff – a $444 million contract, under terms yet to be negotiated. The offer comes out of a clear blue sky, totally unsolicited by the lucky recipient. For this little organisation, it is like winning the lottery, except they didn’t even buy a ticket.

Such a deal would be exceptional, even in the corporate world. It would have been exceptional even if the pair making the offer had been, say, investment bankers, and the third man the head of a tech start-up.

But they weren’t. Two of them were the prime minister of Australia and his environment minister, and the third was the chairman of a charitable organisation called the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. All three do have backgrounds as bankers, however: Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg and the foundation’s John Schubert worked with Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Commonwealth Bank respectively.

The question is why it was done this way. Why solicit this little organisation, of which most people would never have heard, to be the recipient of the biggest such grant ever made in Australia? Why was the money given without tender and without any prior grant proposal? Why, instead of providing the money a bit at a time, subject to satisfactory performance as assessed on an annual or biannual basis, was six years’ worth of funding provided in one lump on June 28, less than three months after that first meeting?

Geoff Cousins thinks he knows the answer.

Cousins is a former president of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Perhaps more importantly, he is a corporate boardroom heavyweight. For 10 years, he was an adviser to John Howard.

“It’s a most cynical piece of accounting trickery,” he says of the Barrier Reef grant. 

“A piece of chicanery. That’s the only way I can describe it.”

To explain why, he traces back several years, to the government’s desperate attempts to persuade UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, that it was a good steward of the Great Barrier Reef, and that the reef World Heritage area should not be declared to be “in danger”.

To that end, the government had promised, under its Reef 2050 Plan, to invest more than $700 million in measures to protect one of the world’s great natural wonders.
“For the Department of the Environment and Energy to grant over $440 million to a small charity that didn’t even prepare an application form or ask for the grant is inconceivable!”

“They made a commitment, the Australian government, to the World Heritage listing committee, to spend $716 million on the Barrier Reef, prior to 2020,” Cousins says. 

“But they have spent just a fraction of that, and there is no way that in the remaining 18 months or less that they can reach that target, which raises the potential of the reef being put on the endangered list.”

In Cousins’s view, someone must have realised the trouble the government faced in meeting its spending targets on time. His guess is Frydenberg.

“Even if you started now, you couldn’t actually spend that money. There’s not a list, not a pipeline of projects approved and ready to go,” Cousins says.

“So Malcolm, then putting on … his business head, his accounting head, says ‘Well, all we’ve really got to do is make sure the money moves from the government’s accounts to the bank account of some other private or not-for-profit institution, then the money is spent.’ But the money hasn’t really been spent at all. Even the CEO of the foundation says it won’t all be spent for six years.”

If you tried that kind of dodge in the corporate world, Cousins says, “your accounting firm would say … they would have to qualify your accounts”.

Cousins makes a very strong circumstantial case. It is true the federal government has grossly underspent on its UNESCO commitment, and that the money given to the reef foundation will go much of the way to making good on that funding promise.

It is true also that UNESCO has become increasingly critical of the government’s performance protecting the reef. Last year’s meeting of the World Heritage Committee noted in particular that progress on achieving water-quality targets was too slow to meet the agreed time frame. As it happens, the largest single item on the reef foundation’s to-do list is improving water quality, with $201 million allocated to it.

Read the full aticle here.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Hands off! The ABC pays its own way, says ABC boss



ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has dramatically hit back at the Liberal Party over its call to privatise the public broadcaster, vowing the ABC will not be a "punching bag" for political and vested interests, and labelling the attacks as cynical, misplaced and ignorant.

In a provocative speech intended to "call out" the ABC's critics, Ms Guthrie also presented new data showing the broadcaster generates as much annual economic activity as it receives from taxpayers.

And she declared the public views the ABC as a "priceless asset" that should not be sold, no matter how much a commercial buyer might be prepared to fork out.

"[Australians] regard the ABC as one of the great national institutions [and] deeply resent it being used as a punching bag by narrow political, commercial or ideological interests", Ms Guthrie said.

"Inherent in the drive against the independent public broadcaster is a belief that it can be pushed and prodded into different shapes to suit the prevailing climate. It can't. Nor should it be."

Ms Guthrie said she wanted to respond specifically to the motion passed by the Liberal Party federal council at the weekend calling for the ABC to be sold off, "even if others are keen to downplay it".

ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, speech at the Melbourne Press Club, 19 June 2018:

For those who prefer an abacus-type approach to this debate, I have some fresh information. How do you put a price on the value of the ABC? In pursuit of that answer, the ABC has commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to do some research. Their report is still being compiled and will be released next month. The early findings are interesting. They show that the ABC contributed more than $1 billion to the Australian economy in the last financial year - on a par with the public investment in the organisation.  Far from being a drain on the public purse, the audience, community and economic value stemming from ABC activity is a real and tangible benefit.....

Deloitte calculates that the ABC is helping to sustain more than 6000 full-time equivalent jobs across the economy. It means that for every 3 full-time equivalent jobs created by the ABC, there are another 2 supported in our supply chain – local artists, writers, technicians, transport workers and many more. In hard figures, the research shows that the ABC helps to sustain 2,500 full-time equivalent jobs in addition to the 4000 women and men who are directly employed by the public broadcaster.

The Turnbull Government and the Liberal Party are well aware that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) generates income and the government is a beneficiary.

The 2016-17 annual report, which like all the public broadcaster's annual reports is tabled in parliament, shows the ABC received $1.03 billion in federal government funding.

It also received $70.4 million in own-source revenue (sale goods/rendering services etc.) and recorded a total of $1.03 billion in own-source income.

In addition, that same financial year the ABC paid the Turnbull Federal Government a one-off dividend of $14 million.

But then again, the repeated funding cuts have never been about the ABC living within its means or paying its own way, 

The Liberal and Nationals only ever seem to want to privatise government agencies which return money to treasury - after all their silvertail mates are not interested in cheaply buying businesses that aren't capable of being turned into private enterprise cash cows.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

How the ABC is faring in the Australian Parliament and who won't support the public broadcaster


According to Hansard at 10.02 0n 18 June 2018 the Petitions Committee presented a number of petitions for consideration by the House of Representatives.

This was one of them:

6) Australian Broadcasting Corporation The federal government awards the Australian Broadcasting Corporation $1 billion in funding per year. It is therefore the responsibility of the ABC to represent the people and not to push an ideological agenda onto the children of our great nation nor to bully the men and women of Australia who object to said agenda. This is exactly what 2 productions of the ABC (ABC Comedy and ABC Me) have done with their recently released "Internet Song", "What its like:" and "Privilege Rap" among other examples. This behaviour is not only morally reprehensible but is also in breach of Australian broadcasting Corporation Act of 1983 which states: "to ensure that the gathering and presentation by the Corporation of news and information is accurate and impartial according to the recognized standards of objective journalism;". We therefore ask the House to investigate the ABC for misuse of funds for the purposes of pushing an agenda and to drastically cut the ABC's funding by 90%. from 735 citizens (Petition No. EN0562)

The principal petitioner appears to be one Keiren Lincoln.

At 11.59am on the same day the Labor Member for Isaacs and Deputy Manager of Opposition Business, Mark Dreyfus by leave, moved:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the member for Isaacs from moving the following motion immediately—that the House resolves that it will never support the privatisation of the ABC and calls on the government to reverse its latest damaging $83 million cut to the ABC.

The motion was defeated by 10 votes.

MPs who refused to protect the ABC against privatisation and their electorates

Abbott, AJ (Warringah)
Alexander, JG (Bennelong)
Andrews, KJ (Menzies)
Andrews, KL (McPherson)
Banks, J (Chisholm)
Bishop, JI (Curtin)
Broad, AJ (Malee)
Broadbent, RE (McMillian)
Buchholz, S (Wright)
Chester, D (Gippsland)
Christensen, GR (Dawson)
Ciobo, SM (Moncrieff)
Coleman, DB (Banks)
Coulton, M (Parkes)
Crewther, CJ (Dunkley)
Drum, DK (Murray)
Dutton, PC (Dickson)
Entsch, WG (Leichhardt)
Evans, TM (Brisbane)
Falinski, J (Mackellar)
Fletcher, PW (Bradfield)
Flint, NJ (Boothby)
Frydenberg, JA (Kooyong)
Gee, AR (Calare)
Gillespie, DA (Lyne)
Goodenough, IR (Moore)
Hartsuyker, L (Cowper)
Hastie, AW (Canning)
Hawke, AG (Mitchell)
Henderson, SM (Corangamite)
Hogan, KJ (Page)
Howarth, LR (Petrie)
Hunt, GA (Flinders)
Irons, SJ (Swan)
Keenan, M (Stirling)
Kelly, C (Hughes)
Laming, A (Bowman)
Landry, ML (Capricornia)
Laundy, C (Reid)
Leeser, J (Berowra)
Ley, SP (Farrer)
Littleproud, D (Maranoa)
Marino, NB (Forrest)
McCormack, MF (Riverina)
McVeigh, JJ (Groom)
Morrison, SJ (Cook)
Morton, B (Tangney)
O'Brien, LS (Wide Bay)
O'Brien, T (Fairfax)
O'Dwyer, KM (Higgins)
Pasin, A (Barker)
Pitt, KJ (Hinkler)
Porter, CC (Pearce)
Prentice, J (Ryan)
Price, ML (Durak)
Pyne, CM (Sturt)
Ramsey, RE (Grey)
Robert, SR (Fadden)
Sudmalis, AE (Gilmore)
Sukkar, MS (Deakin)
Taylor, AJ (Hume)
Tehan, DT (Wannon)
Tudge, AE (Aston)
Turnbull, MB (Wentworth)
Van Manen, AJ (Forde)
Vasta, RX (Bonner)
Wallace, AB (Fisher)
Wicks, LE (Robertson)
Wilson, RJ (O’Connor)
Wilson, TR (Goldstein)
Wood, JP (La Trobe)
Wyatt, KG (Hasluck)
Zimmerman, T (North Sydney)        

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Majority believe that funding for all ABC services should be increased or maintained, according to Essential Research survey


In May 2018 the Turnbull Government 'slashed' the ABC's 2019-2021 funding by $84 million.

Is this another example of this federal government's tin ear?

Because the Essential Report of 19 June 2018 shows majority support for ABC funding levels to be maintained or increased:

Perhaps Turnbull and Co should stop listening to the Institute of Public Affairs and seek opinion from outside that fetid conservative hothouse and places other than Parliament Drive or News Corp headquarters.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

OUR ABC: Will voters be foolish enough to believe Turnbull Government protestations of innocence?


The Liberal Party of Australia Federal Council comprises 14 delegates from each State and the ACT - the State / Territory President, the State / Territory Parliamentary Leader, the President of the Young Liberal Movement, the President / Chairman of the Women’s Council and 10 other delegates.


More than 100 Liberal Party MPs, senators and party members were in Sydney on 16 June 2018 for the party’s 60th annual federal council which is expected to be the last one before the next federal election.

Here are some of the smiling faces at the event readers might recognise.

Twitter: A bevy of Liberal ministers: Sen. Mitch Fifield, Sen. Mathias Cormann, Julie Bishop MP & Malcolm Turnbull MP

The Young Liberals put forward the motionThat federal council calls for the full privatisation of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, except for services into regional areas that are not commercially viable” and on a more than 2 to 1 show of hands the council voted in favour this motion.

Fairfax media snapshot of ABC privatisation vote

Council delegate Mitchell Collier, federal vice president of the Young Liberals, asserted there was no economic case to keep the broadcaster in public hands.


At the end of the motion debate Mitch Fifield reluctantly got to his feet at the urging of the Chair to offer “comments and observations” but did not condemn the idea of privatisation or oppose the motion outright.

As the vote was on a show of hands only with no official count taken there is no record of how Fifield voted.

Four members of the party’s federal executive voted in favour of the call for privatisation -  Federal Liberal vice-presidents Karina Okotel and Trish Worth, Young Liberal president Josh Manuatu and vice president Mitchell Collier who moved the motion. Incoming Federal Liberal vice-president NSW member Teena McQueen also voted for privatisation.

The federal council also voted in favour of an efficiency review of the SBS network.

After the vote became public two Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) members made statements to the media.

RMIT University professor and IPA Senior Research Fellow Sinclair Davidson said privatisation of the ABC should be the “default” Coalition policy as the Liberals were the party of small government which supported private enterprise.

He also told Sky News that ‘Selling the ABC to Gina Rinehart would be magnificent’

IPA research fellow Chris Berg said the preferred option would be for ownership to be transferred to ABC staff or Australian taxpayers.

The Australian Minister for Communications and yet another IPA member, Senator Mitch Fifield, who has previously stated that there is “merit in the proposal to privatise the ABC is currently trying to hose down alarm in the national electorate over that federal council vote.

His claims that the Turnbull Government supports the Australian public broadcaster and denies it has any intention of selling off the ABC.

Given past behaviour of the Abbott and Turnbull governments, the belligerence displayed towards the ABC and the stable from which Fifield comes, I don’t believe a word of his denial.

Just as the Prime Minister's denial is not one on which I would depend.