Feb 14th 2022

Former ABC journalists speak out in explosive new report into political interference

The Coalition has waged and sustained an intentional campaign of political interference against the ABC, according to a new report released by GetUp.

A number of former ABC journalists and staff contributed to the report, backing in research that details the ongoing tactics the Coalition uses to undermine Australia’s public broadcaster – many financial, as well as legal, editorial and in the boardroom.

Co-authored by former senior ABC employees Quentin Dempster and Fergus Pitt, the report finds that political interference has a deep impact on the ABC’s independence and its ability to provide comprehensive services that communities rely on. 

Walkley award-winning veteran ABC journalist Quentin Dempster said: 

“This report reveals that when in power, governments despise what is at the very heart of the ABC’s value and trustworthiness - its independence. 

“This research lays bare the ways this government has attempted to weaken the ABC. Some tactics fly under the radar day-to-day, but when put together it can only be seen as a relentless and intentional campaign of political interference. 

“The latest announcement to end the indexation ‘pause’ is another pre-election confidence trick that joins a history of dishonour from the Coalition.

“When you cut through the spin and political point scoring, there is still no plan to restore the ABC’s funding of the millions they’ve slashed since being elected.

“The Coalition has made hand-on-heart pre-election promises not to make cuts to the ABC, yet we’ve seen this government destructively wind back funding each year. 

“This report exposes the pernicious build up of pressure across the spectrum, and gives an insight into the threats this poses to the national broadcaster.” 

GetUp’s Election Co-Director Larissa Baldwin said: 

“The ABC is a national treasure that is loved and needed by communities across the country. Yet, as this report details, the Coalition is set on issuing attacks from all angles. 

“When the Coalition has been missing in action during times of crisis, the ABC has stepped up and kept communities informed with lifesaving information and resources. 

“Through bushfires, floods and this pandemic, it is clear as we enter more times of uncertainty that we’re going to need the ABC. 

“The relentless attacks, harassment and pressure must end. It is time that people in leadership understand the ABC is more valuable than ever, and it is essential that it is protected.”

Full report available here