May 4th 2020

New report details death-by-a-thousand-cuts to ABC and our democracy

The ABC has never been more valued by nor more crucial to the Australian public yet it's never been more at risk, according to a report released today by GetUp and Per Capita.

The report is a stark warning, detailing the damage the Coalition’s aggressive, death-by-a-thousand-cuts agenda has inflicted on the ABC.

The Morrison government must navigate our national broadcaster, and our democracy, out of a crisis. It must end the political interference, reverse the cuts and reinstate every dollar to guarantee a strong, independent, properly funded ABC. 

Walkley award winning, veteran ABC journalist Quentin Dempster said:

“Our national broadcaster is the beating heart of Australia; it is trusted, it is reliable and yet it is under increasing threat. We must keep up the fight to protect it.

“We need a strong and independent public broadcaster to hold authority to account without fear or favour, without the constant threat of defunding. 

“And now as we emerge from one of the worst pandemics in 100 years, we must decide what kind of society we want to rebuild. The ABC is there for us in a crisis, we must be there for it.”

GetUp’s National Director Paul Oosting said:

“Our national broadcaster has always provided an essential public service, and on the back of two unprecedented crises it has never been more vital to everyday people across the country.

“This year alone the ABC has kept us safe while bushfires raged and kept us informed in a global health pandemic. It’s taught our kids while schools are shut and made sure regional Australia hasn’t been left behind in a shrinking media landscape.

“We rely on the ABC like never before but have a government that wants to slash its budget to breaking point. Every funding cut must be reversed to keep us safe and keep our democracy thriving.”

Per Capita’s Executive Director, and author of the report, Emma Dawson said:

“The ABC has never been more valued, or more valuable, than during this crisis. While we are unable to gather together, the ABC represents the ties that bind us together as Australians. It is, quite literally, the voice of our nation.

“Yet, as part of its support for the economy, the Government has provided tens of millions of dollars in public funding for commercial media companies, while doing nothing to restore the funding it has cut from the national broadcaster over recent years. If the constant hostility displayed by this government to the ABC is not arrested, and its funding restored, the implications for our nation are significant.

“It’s our ABC. It’s time the Australian people, as its owners and its audience, demand a long-term, bi-partisan commitment to properly resource and respect the institution that is a bedrock of our nationhood.”

Full report from GetUp and Per Capita available here. {: target="_blank"}

Media contact: Chandi Bates 0455 434 403