Welcome to ABC Friends NSW & ACT

ABC and SBS cleared by government’s commercial neutrality review

Zoe Samios - Mumbrella - December 13, 2018

ABC and SBS are complying with their competitive neutrality requirements, but both should be more open about their commercial activities, a government review has found.

According to the government inquiry report into the competitive neutrality of Australia’s national broadcasters released yesterday, national broadcasters have adapted to change by extending  services, and have taken advantage of market developments and technological innovation. There is also no evidence they are not appropriately allocating costs, it ruled. Read more.

ABC and SBS online news and hit shows not hurting commercial media, panel rules

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - December 12, 2018

ABC and SBS are not disrupting commercial media by providing free online news and catch-up TV and should be given more long-term funding certainty, an expert panel appointed by the government has found.

The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, established an inquiry into the competitive neutrality of the public broadcasters earlier this year after complaints by News Corp, Fairfax, Foxtel and the commercial broadcasters that they were crowding them out. Read more.

ABC/SBS Competitive Neutrality Inquiry Released

Minister for Communications and the Arts - December 2018

An independent panel made up of eminent Australians has found the ABC and SBS are meeting their competitive neutrality obligations, but recommended they be more open about their competitive activities.

Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield today released the expert panel’s report on the inquiry into the competitive neutrality of Australia’s national broadcasters.

“The panel recognised all media organisations are operating in an environment of heighted competitive pressure, driven by changes in the way audiences engage and the entry of global companies into the Australian media market,” Minister Fifield said. Read more.

Inquiry into the Competitive Neutrality of the National Broadcasters - report by the Expert Panel

Dep of Communications & the Arts - December 12, 2018

The Competitive Neutrality report examines whether the ABC and SBS are operating in a manner consistent with the principles of competitive neutrality. Read the report.

ABC Statement on Competitive Neutrality Inquiry

About the ABC - December 12, 2018

The ABC welcomes the findings of the competitive neutrality report, which reinforces the importance of a well-funded, independent ABC.

Recognising that the ABC should be able to adapt to new and emerging technology and audience behaviours, the independent expert panel agreed that the ABC is operating in the public interest and in line with its Charter. Read more.

ABC and SBS are not distorting media market, government inquiry finds

Michelle Grattan - The Conversation - December 12, 2018

The government’s inquiry into whether the ABC and SBS are competing fairly with the private sector’s media operators has given a tick to the public broadcasters.

The report concluded: “Given their market shares, and other factors, this inquiry considers the National Broadcasters are not causing significant competitive distortions beyond the public interest”. But it did see the need for greater transparency from them. Read more.

ABC review a slap in the face for big media

John McDuling - SMH - December 12, 2018

You win some, you lose some. That may well be how some of Australia's media chief executives and their regulatory departments are feeling right now.

The media sector scored a major win this week when the competition regulator declared that digital behemoths Google and Facebook have substantial market power in the digital advertising market, and then sent shockwaves through the global technology industry by announcing a suite of measures designed to curb that power. Read more.

No smoke and no fire: ABC review was no more than a sop to One Nation

Michael Koziol - SMH - December 12, 2018

After a battering year for the ABC, the "competitive neutrality" review foisted on it by the government and One Nation has amounted to a bullet dodged.

As retired economist Robert Kerr succinctly put it in his report, the inquiry was all about whether the ABC and SBS are "competing fairly with the private sector". Read more.

ABC and SBS cleared by review into claims they compete unfairly with commercial rivals

Michael Koziol & Jennifer Duke - SMH - December 12, 2018

An independent review commissioned by the government has spectacularly rejected claims that the ABC and SBS enjoy an unfair competitive advantage over their commercial rivals.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield indicated he would take no action in response to the six-month inquiry, saying it was up to the broadcasters to deal with the report's limited recommendations. Read more.

ABC chairman job: Academic, legal and media executives make the shortlist

Jennifer Duke - The Age - December 10, 2018

The government is actively reviewing a shortlist of candidates for the ABC chairman role, with former legal executive Michael Rose among the possible choices to take the top job.

Legal expert Mr Rose, currently chairman of think tank The Committee for Sydney, is a former chief executive partner of law firm Allens and joins a list of high-profile media, legal and public policy experts who could be selected for the job. Read more.

Don’t get too close to Google and Facebook warns ABC News boss

Paul Wallbank - Mumbrella - December 6, 2018

Gaven Morris, the ABC’s director of news, analysis and investigations, has welcomed the wave of media company restructures while warning of the dangers of getting too close to digital platforms like Google and Facebook.

Speaking at a panel hosted by the UTS Centre for Media Transition in Sydney, Morris also called on Google to increase its advertising share for media ventures as a simple way of resolving the problem of monetising journalism. Read more.

ABC doubles down on double-header shows despite year of ups and downs

Broede Carmody - SMH - December 5, 2018

The ABC has made minimal changes to its 2019 radio lineup, charging ahead with double-header breakfast shows and shorter flagship news and current affairs programs.

On Wednesday, the ABC confirmed Red Symons replacements Jacinta Parsons and Sami Shah would stay on in the new year in Melbourne despite their ratings lagging behind their predecessor. Read more.

Update | Challenges for the ABC

Public Media Alliance - December 3, 2018

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has faced a number of challenges in recent months, including leadership changes, allegations of political interference and funding constraints. Read more.

Milne v Guthrie

Media Watch - December 3, 2018

A Senate inquiry into the sacking of the ABC’s Managing Director hears evidence from the main players. Watch video.

ABC chief financial officer Louise Higgins resigns

ABC News - December 3, 2018

The ABC's chief financial and strategy officer Louise Higgins has resigned. Ms Higgins will leave her post in February next year.

The announcement comes around two months after the departure of both ABC chairman Justin Milne, and managing director, Michelle Guthrie. Read more.

ABC inquiry told Michelle Guthrie stayed silent on political interference until 11th hour

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 30, 2018

Michelle Guthrie did not tell the ABC board that Justin Milne was exerting political pressure on her until the eve of her dismissal, a Senate inquiry into political interference at the ABC has heard.

Three ABC board members gave evidence at the public hearing in Canberra on Friday that Guthrie’s explosive 11-page dossier arrived in their email boxes on the night of Friday 21 September. Her employment was to be terminated on the Monday morning. Read more.

Justin Milne says call to 'get rid of' Emma Alberici was a personal view, not a directive

Brett Worthington - ABC News - November 30, 2018

Former ABC chairman Justin Milne has insisted he was offering a personal view and not a directive when he told management it should "get rid of" journalist Emma Alberici.

He has also rejected claims he directed former managing director Michelle Guthrie to sack political editor Andrew Probyn. Read more.

He said, she said: Guthrie, Milne speak at ABC Senate inquiry

Angus Randall on The World Today - ABC - November 30, 2018

Former ABC chair Justin Milne and former managing director Michelle Guthrie have fronted a Senate inquiry and delivered conflicting versions of events that led to Ms Guthrie's sacking.

Ms Guthrie has told the inquiry she was dismissed after raising concerns about Mr Milne's inappropriate behaviour and political interference into editorial issues.

Mr Milne has denied any inappropriate behaviour and says everything to do with the managing director's termination was checked by the board and he believed it was in the best interests of the ABC. Read more.

Dirty tricks fallout

Media Watch - ABC - November 26, 2018

An official complaint by the Federal Liberal Party over the ABC’s coverage of the Wentworth by-election. Read more.

ABC Senate inquiry: directors deny Guthrie’s sacking due to political interference - as it happened

Luke Henriques-Gomes and Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 30, 2018

And that’s it, the hearings have concluded. A reminder that the hearing was examining alleged political interference at the ABC. What did we learn about that? Well, Amanda Meade will have a wrap of today’s events on our website later.

Before that, a quick summary: the former ABC chair Justin Milne admitted saying to the former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie in an email that the ABC needed to “get rid” of the broadcaster’s chief economics correspondent, Emma Alberici. But he says that was not a direction, and simply his opinion. Guthrie told the hearing she viewed it as an order from Milne. Read more.

Sacked ABC boss Michelle Guthrie was seen as arrogant by colleagues, inquiry told

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 30, 2018

The former ABC boss Michelle Guthrie was seen as arrogant and autocratic in a survey of her executive team and board that convinced her superiors she had to be removed, a Senate inquiry has been told.

In a written submission to the inquiry, the former chair of the ABC, Justin Milne, said a key factor in the sacking of Guthrie in September had been the results of the survey, in which she scored poorly in a number of categories. Read more.

ABC political interference: Michelle Guthrie and Justin Milne appear before Senate committee

Michael Koxiol - SMH - November 30, 2018

After six hours of questioning I think we've learnt a few key things about the ABC debacle:

I'm not sure we'll ever get to the bottom of exactly what was said between Michelle Guthrie and Justin Milne in these exchanges - particularly their phone call about Andrew Probyn. The two accounts are in total conflict. Read more.

‘Chicks’ and balances out of kilter in ABC inquiry submission claims

Samantha Maiden - The NewDaily - November 30, 2018

Sacked ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie’s scathing performance assessment has been tabled in Parliament by the national broadcaster’s former chair Justin Milne. 

In his submission to a parliamentary inquiry into political interference, Mr Milne accused Ms Guthrie of making up sensational allegations to increase her bargaining power in termination payout discussions. Read more.

Sacked ABC boss Michelle Guthrie rated as 'arrogant' and 'in bottom 4 per cent for integrity'

Michael Koziol - SMH - November 29, 2018

Sacked ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie was rated so poorly by her senior colleagues and board directors that she ranked in the bottom 4 per cent of chief executives for integrity.

She was also judged to be "arrogant", "autocratic" and "distant" in a performance review that concerned the board so much they arranged for board director Donny Walford to intervene. Read more.

Justin Milne and Michelle Guthrie face Senate inquiry over allegations of political interference at the ABC

Henry Belot and Alexandra Beech - ABC News - November 30, 2018

The two former executives at the centre of a bitter stoush at the ABC have stepped up their public attacks on each other before a Senate grilling in Canberra.

A parliamentary committee will today confront former managing director Michelle Guthrie and former chairman Justin Milne about allegations of political interference in the public broadcaster. Read more.

'That was a cheap shot': accusations of bias fly in fiery Q&A

Neil McMahon - SMH - November 27, 2018

On Monday night, Q&A achieved the remarkable feat of making Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz seem less interesting than already assumed.

It was a difficult task, given the challenge of broadcasting a live national current affairs and debate program two days after one of the most significant state election results in recent memory. Read more.

How to fix the ABC: the two issues facing the public broadcaster

Jennifer Duke - SMH - November 25, 2018

It was a sombre mood in the ABC’s Ultimo offices on May 9 when then-managing director Michelle Guthrie fronted staff via video-link about the cut to the broadcaster's funding in the 2018 federal budget the night before.

She looked so uncomfortable the presentation to Aunty’s almost 5000 national employees is internally described as similar to a “hostage video”. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie given $800,000 payout after being terminated as ABC managing director

Patricia Karvelas - ABC News - November 26, 2018

Former managing director Michelle Guthrie has received a payout of more than $800,000 after being terminated by the ABC, and is suing for more. Read more.

ABC board appointments need major overhaul, say journalists

Mediaweek - November 21, 2018

The process for nominating and appointing candidates to the ABC board needs a complete overhaul to ensure the board has appropriate levels of media experience and is protected from interference by lobby groups, says the union for ABC journalists around Australia. Read more.

Justin Milne’s Project Jetstream glides towards an unlamented end at the ABC

Paul Wallbank - Mumbrella - November 23, 2018

Project Jetstream, the brain child of former ABC chairman Justin Milne, appears to be coming to an unlamented end at the national broadcaster.

The $500m digital transformation project to take the ABC beyond the era of terrestrial broadcasting, always appeared to the chairman's personal brainwave, despite being one of the key reasons cited in the shock sacking of MD Michelle Guthrie, a move that triggered Milne's own resignation a few days later. Read more.

Should the government have control over the ABC's budget?

Simon Cowan - SMH - November 24, 2018

One unfortunate trait of the past five years of Coalition government has been its tendency to lose debates decisively over their funding decisions. Ever since the AMA thoroughly routed the government over the Medicare co-payment issue, opponents have had a blueprint to reverse government decisions.

We saw it just two weeks ago as a rapid campaign by FoodBank Australia overturned government cuts in a matter of days. Read more.

ABC Alumni call for political change

RadioInfo - November 22, 2018

ABC Alumni, a group of former ABC staff and supporters, held its official launch yesterday at the ABC headquarters, calling for secure funding, guaranteed editorial independence, and changes to the way the ABC’s Board and Managing Director are selected. radioinfo was there.

The event was also a celebration of the ABC’s achievements to date, with speakers including Kerry O’Brien the former editor and host of the 7:30 Report, Four Corners and Lateline. Read more.

ABC journalists inducted into Australian Media Hall of Fame

ABC Backstory - November 20, 2018

Four giants of ABC journalism, Geraldine Doogue, Marian Wilkinson, Andrew Olle and Maxine McKew, have been inducted into the Australian Media Hall of Fame. The Melbourne Press Club commissioned these profiles to celebrate their contribution to journalism. Read more.

Aunty's Alumni: From Anodine to Angst

Margaret Simons - Meanjin - November 22, 2018

A new organisation was launched at the ABC headquarters at Ultimo yesterday. Called the ABC Alumni, it describes itself as a ‘a community of former staff and supporters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’.

As Banjo Paterson might have put it, all the cracks had gathered to the fray. Read more.

Senate Inquiry into Allegations of political interference at the ABC - Submissions

Inquiry on matters related to allegations of political interference in the ABC including the termination of the Managing Director, Ms Michelle Guthrie, conduct of the Chair and Board, and governance of the ABC. Read submissions.

Labor commits $2million to resurrect ABC shortwave radio

NT Country Hour with Matt Brann - November 23, 2018

If elected next year, Federal Labor says it will provide the ABC with $2 million in funding to help re-establish shortwave radio services across the Northern Territory.

The ABC controversially switched off its shortwave service in January 2017, and defended the decision by saying it would "only affect a very, very small amount of people" and save taxpayers up to $1.9 million. Read more.

'Not responsible' for rivals' challenges: SBS boss defends public broadcasters against commercial TV

Jennifer Duke - SMH - November 19, 2018

Special Broadcasting Service managing director James Taylor has defended the public broadcaster against criticism from free-to-air television networks, ahead of the outcome of a government report into whether the SBS and ABC put unfair pressure on commercial rivals.

In his first interview since becoming managing director in October, Mr Taylor told Fairfax Media criticism from commercial broadcasters, like Seven West Media, Nine Entertainment Co and Network Ten, has been “particularly pronounced” in the last 18 months, but argued the public broadcasters are not to blame for heightened competition. Read more.

'Team effort': ABC's 7.30 ratings lift after Mark Humphries' arrival

Broede Carmody - SMH - November 20, 2018

Exclusive interviews and lighter content has helped lift 7.30's ratings out of the doldrums.

November has seen the ABC's flagship news and current affairs program reach its highest average audience all year, with October coming in second. The ratings boost has coincided with satirist Mark Humphries joining the program. Read more.

ABC uses chaos at the top to demand more money and 'funding certainty'

Michael Koziol - SMH - November 20, 2018

The ABC has used the chaos that engulfed its top personnel to demand more public money and a new funding model, arguing government control over its budget is akin to political influence.

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry, the ABC's acting managing director David Anderson said the government's "unilateral" control over the broadcaster's budget "may create an environment where perceived or real political influence on the ABC's editorial independence is possible". Read more.

The ABC is 'in a death spiral': The Chaser launches war on Aunty

Robert Moran & Nathanael Cooper - SMH - November 20, 2018

The group made a surprise announcement on Twitter on Monday, revealing the ABC, its home since 1999, had "declined to fund" an election year series for 2019.

"First time since 2001 that the ABC has declined to fund it. Perhaps Sky News provides enough satire nowadays?" the group's tweet read.

The comedy troupe have been an election-year fixture on the ABC dating back to the Howard-Beazley years. Their 2004 series The Chaser Decides won a Logie for Most Outstanding Comedy Program, and was followed by ratings toppers Yes We Canberra in 2010 and The Hamster Decides in 2013. Read more.

ABC in 2019: What’s new, what’s returning - and what’s gone?

Michael Lallo - The Age - November 19, 2018

A political drama starring Rachel Griffiths and Deborah Mailman, a factual series about a notorious cult, and the return of bureaucracy satire Utopia are among the programs to air on ABC next year.

Low-rating quiz show Think Tank will be replaced by an expanded version of The Drum.

The national broadcaster launched its 2019 program slate at an event in Melbourne on Monday.

“We’re very focused on Australian content and that’s what makes us distinct from some of those big global players,” said Michael Carrington, ABC’s acting director of entertainment and specialist programming. Read more.

Former SBS boss says entire ABC board should consider resigning

Michael Koziol - SMH - November 18, 2018

The recently-departed head of SBS, Michael Ebeid, has delivered a scathing verdict on the ABC's tumultuous year, arguing the entire board should leave and calling for an upheaval of how directors are chosen at both public broadcasters.

Mr Ebeid - who left SBS in October after seven years at the helm - said an independent panel should select a new ABC board, and the board should then pick its chair as well as any future directors. Read more.

Legal, media executives mooted for top ABC job

Jennifer Duke - The Age - November 16, 2018

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s vacant chairman role could see a high-profile media boss or a top lawyer taking the public broadcaster’s reins, with headhunters approaching executives about the top job.

The resignation of chairman Justin Milne, following revelations he encouraged ex-managing director Michelle Guthrie to fire journalists the government didn't like, has seen executive recruiters Korn Ferry tasked with finding a replacement amid renewed scrutiny on the taxpayer-funded broadcaster. Read more.

The terrible legacy of Milne and Guthrie

Jenna Price - SMH - November 16, 2018

For a tiny moment, ABC staff experienced a little boost in morale.

First, Michelle Guthrie, the managing director they loathed, disappeared unexpectedly. Then Justin Milne, the chair of the ABC Board, also went. What followed was revelation after revelation of bad behaviour, bad choices, bad politics.

So ABC staff, who’d campaigned for Justin Milne’s removal because he wouldn’t know a charter of independence if he fell over it, were breathing freely. Read more.

ABC management say budget cuts have made the organisation ‘unsustainable’

Killian Plastow - The New Daily - November 15, 2018

The ABC’s recent management implosion has sparked debate over the future of the embattled public broadcaster, and now existing staff are once again warning the corporation's budget is “unsustainable” and needs “remedial action”.

The 86-year-old state-funded organisation has seen a steady decline in its financial support in the past five years, and comments from ABC management staff seen by The New Daily caution that changes need to be made to the corporation’s funding arrangements. Read more.

Editorial Excerpt:Undermining the NBN and ABC

David Donovan - Independent Australia - November 15, 2018

This Government is intent on undermining our public institutions. And nowhere is this more evident than with the ABC and NBN. It's not only an ideological thing (small government), but a practical measure aimed at tightening the Coalition's grip on power - now and into the future. Read more.

ABC - Shenanigans at Ultimo’s Level Fourteen

Paul Collins - Pearls & Irritations - November 15, 2018

Monday’s Four Corners on the ABC’s management shenanigans - the Guthrie-Milne, she said-he said fiasco - and the failure of the rest of the ABC Board to own-up and answer publicly for their performance tells you everything about what’s wrong at the top of the national broadcaster. Its not imagined left-wing bias, or ‘inaccurate and unbalanced reporting’, or Emma Alberici, or Andrew Probyn. It’s the bevy of management and business clones appointed by government to the Board of the ABC and the kind of person they chose to run the organization. Read more.

ABC backflips to allow Sally McManus staff talk to go ahead

Dana McCauley - SMH - November 13, 2018

The ABC has backflipped on its refusal to allow ACTU secretary Sally McManus to address workers at the ABC's Ultimo headquarters on Wednesday.

Ms McManus, who had described the refusal as "bizarre" and unprecedented, welcomed the public broadcaster's capitulation, which came after a plan was hatched for her to deliver her speech outside the building. Read more.

'Extraordinary dysfunction': Union wants overhaul of ABC board appointments

Broede Carmody - SMH - November 13, 2018

The journalism union is calling on the federal government to change the way ABC board members are appointed in a bid to prevent another leadership crisis.

Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy said Monday night's Four Corners proved the ABC has been rocked by "extraordinary dysfunction". Read more.

Good riddance to Guthrie and Milne. The ABC needs grown-ups in charge

Margaret Simons - The Guardian - November 13, 2018

The most powerful message to emerge from Four Corners’ sad story about the tumult at the top of the ABC is that neither the former chairman Justin Milne nor the former managing director Michelle Guthrie appeared to be friends of the public broadcaster.

In the wake of the breakdown of their toxic working relationship, both seem to have given top priority to winning the battle – first before the board, then in the court of public opinion and now headed for the courts. Read more.

‘It was magic’: Kerry O’Brien on ABC bosses, battles and why it’s no bed of lefties

Amanda Meade - Pearls & Irritations - November 13, 2018

Kerry O'Brien has been both a candidate to lead the ABC and at the top of a hit list of Aunty journalists for any incoming managing director to ditch.

And that was on top of fronting the 7.30 Report for 15 years and Lateline for five, a job he describes in his new memoir as "magic" and the most intellectually satisfying period in a more than 50-year career.

From hosting election night coverage to grilling local politicians and interviewing the giants of the world stage including Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev, there aren't too many journalists with a CV like O'Brien. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie and Justin Milne reveal explosive relationship breakdown at the ABC

ABC News - November 13, 2018

Speaking publicly for the first time since she was sacked from the ABC, former managing director Michelle Guthrie has detailed explosive allegations about her relationship breakdown with the board and the former chair, Justin Milne.

In the Four Corners investigation, Ms Guthrie and Mr Milne made claims and counterclaims about alleged political interference and pressure to fire journalists at the national broadcaster.

Ms Guthrie was sacked from the ABC in late September and just days later Mr Milne resigned in the face of allegations of political interference. Read more.

International Broadcasting: Setting the Agenda

Geoff Heriot - Australian Institute of International Affairs - November 8, 2018

Today in Townsville, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a “step up” for Australia in the Pacific, including an Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility, a greater role for the Australian Defence Force and an expansion of Australia’s diplomatic posts. 

Missing was a commitment to international broadcasting to the region. Instead the Prime Minister said he has been discussing with Australian commercial television interests how to get more Australian content broadcast in the Pacific, getting “Our pacific family switching on to the same stories, news, drama and sports we are watching at home.” Read more.

Easy as ABC: 24-hour news channel hijacked by political ‘stump speeches’

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 9, 2018

Inside the ABC there has traditionally been some resentment towards its 24-hour news channel, which was funded not by government but by making internal savings back in 2010. Current affairs journalists believed the money was being siphoned away from established programs to create a live news channel that would not offer as much scrutiny of the powerful as a Four Corners or a 7.30. Read more.

I didn't call for ABC sackings: Turnbull

AAP - News.com - November 8, 2018

Malcolm Turnbull says he never told anyone at the ABC to sack journalists over stories he didn't like. Former ABC chairman Justin Milne quit the national broadcaster in September after it was revealed he pressured managing director Michelle Guthrie to sack two senior journalists because the government didn't like them. Read more.

'It was magic': Kerry O'Brien on ABC bosses, battles and why it's no bed of lefties

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 10, 2018

Kerry O’Brien has been both a candidate to lead the ABC and at the top of a hit list of Aunty journalists for any incoming managing director to ditch.

And that was on top of fronting the 7.30 Report for 15 years and Lateline for five, a job he describes in his new memoir as “magic” and the most intellectually satisfying period in a more than 50-year career. Read more.

‘Rethink’ say ABC friends condemning Canberra’s Pacific media plan

Asia Pacific Report - November 8, 2018

A public broadcasting advocacy group has condemned Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plan to commercialise Pacific broadcasting as not being able to provide quality public interest journalism to the country’s neighbours.

Supporters of Australian Broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific, a group linked to ABC Friends, has asked Morrison to rethink his plans. Read more.

Bitter End

Sarah Ferguson - ABC 4 Corners - November 8, 2018

The inside story of the ABC's corporate meltdown.

On Monday, Four Corners investigates the corporate crisis that engulfed the ABC and brought down both the Managing Director and the Chair in the space of one brutal week.

Reporter Sarah Ferguson, in interviews with the two key individuals at the centre of this tumultuous episode, investigates the tensions and allegations that have rocked the national broadcaster - from the appointment of a "change agent" to reinvent the corporation, to the assertion of political interference at the highest levels. Read more.

ABC Friends rejects Prime Minister's plans to commercialise pacific broadcasting

Margaret Reynolds - Media Release - November 8, 2018

The Prime Minister’s announcement in North Queensland today that he plans to commercialise Pacific broadcasting will not provide quality public interest journalism to our Pacific neighbours.

If Mr Morrison wants to restore a fresh initiative like the Australia Network he is dependent on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation which has the experience and professionalism to create strong partnerships with Pacific nations. Read more.

ABC leads the way in boosting Australia’s screen industry

About the ABC - November 1, 2018

The ABC is the nation’s leading broadcaster in supporting home-grown stories, boosting Australia’s screen industry more than the commercial free-to-air networks combined.

For the first time, the combined budgets for content produced for first release on the ABC ($144 million in 2017-18) was higher than the combined total for broadcasters Seven, Nine and Ten ($142 million), according to Screen Australia’s Drama Report.

The annual report into the Australian screen industry revealed the ABC financed more drama, comedy and children’s programs across television and online than any other single network, contributing $53 million across 23 titles, including Mystery Road, Riot, Superwog, Pine Gap, Rosehaven and the new ABC KIDS animated series Bluey. Read more.

How the ABC outspends Seven, Nine and 10 on drama

Media Week - November 2, 2018

At their respective 2019 upfront events, the commercial networks all talked about the size of their content investment.

Nine said in 2019 it will spend in the vicinity of $1b on content, Seven said it is Australia’s biggest content creator and Network 10 said its 2019 investment on content was unprecedented. Read more.

ABC's 2017-18 Annual Report

The 2018 ABC Annual Report was tabled in Parliament by the Minister for Communications and the Arts on 31 October 2018. Download the two volume report [here].

The Set: is ABC TV's new live music show really the next Recovery?

Clem Bastow - The Guardian - November 1, 2018

iscussing the legendary morning music show Recovery is, for Australians of a certain age, an insight into what it must have been like to be a boomer talking about Woodstock or Sunbury: remember when Dylan Lewis interviewed Hanson in the hotel pool? Remember when Midnight Oil played Advance Australia Fair in the middle of a stage invasion? Remember all the times mum said you should find a nice boy “like Leigh from Recovery”? Read more.

ABC reporter suspended for two months after complaint by Alex Turnbull to chairman

Michael Koziol - SMH - November 1, 2018

An ABC journalist has been suspended and is the subject of a two-month investigation following a direct complaint by Malcolm Turnbull's son to former chairman Justin Milne.

Peter Lloyd, a senior correspondent in the broadcaster's radio current affairs division, is accused of leaking un-aired portions of an interview between high-profile presenter Emma Alberici and Alex Turnbull in August. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie's ABC pay jumped to nearly $1m before sacking

Jennifer Duke - SMH - November 1, 2018

Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie earned $70,000 more this year than last, before getting unceremoniously sacked by the public broadcaster’s board in September.

The ABC's Annual Report for the year to June 2018 reveals Ms Guthrie was paid $963,991 in fiscal 2018, compared to $890,987 the year before. Her boosted salary was thanks to an increase in her short-term employee benefits. Read more.

ABC Friends' Central Coast Meeting - Friday November 16, 2018 6pm

At the Central Coast Leagues Club, Parkview Room

Special guest speaker - Dr Fiona Martin, a former ABC broadcaster, University of Sydney senior lecturer in the uses, politics and regulation of Online Media (internet, web, mobile and social media) and the implications of these technologies for media industry change. Full details here

Australians invited to nominate ABC Board Chairperson

Media Release - ABC Friends - October 26, 2018

The Federal Government has asked a Sydney-based recruitment agency to seek suitable candidates for consideration by the Nomination Panel as required by legislation before an appointment is made by the Prime Minister.

ABC Friends National wants community support to help it prepare a short list of suitably-qualified  Australians to present to both the recruitment agency and Nomination Panel to ensure that a diverse range of individuals is fully considered. Read more.

Applications for the ABC Board Chairperson - Position description [here]

PM Morrison stands by ABC funding

AAP - News.com - October 24, 2018

The ABC does a good job but must live within its means, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

Labor challenged the prime minister in parliament on Wednesday to restore $83 million cut from the national broadcaster's budget.

Acting managing director David Anderson told a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday the ABC could not achieve the cuts without "major disruption". Read more.

A short history of the ABC. Part 2.

Quentin Dempster - Pearls & Irritations - October 23, 2018

The Senate will be enquiring into political interference at the ABC. Quentin Dempster provides useful historical background to that inquiry. 

The ABC's creative contribution, within the constraints of its legislated role and functions, has helped to embed the broadcaster in the nation's affections. From memorable radio days of 'synthetic' Test cricket broadcasts with scores relayed via telegram from London to local commentators adding 'thwack' sounds effects, to often contentious news commentary, to radio serials which engrossed listeners, to great orchestral performances with visiting conductors of world renown, it has been the ABC's distinctive content which has complemented the efforts of the Australian commercial sector. Read more.

Opening statement to Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee

About the ABC - October 23, 2018

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

Aspiring ABC boss David Anderson sought a redundancy from Michelle Guthrie

Michael Koziol - SMH - October 23, 2018

Acting ABC boss David Anderson - who aspires to the top job permanently - sought a redundancy from the public broadcaster shortly before Michelle Guthrie was sacked as managing director.

It is understood Ms Guthrie told Mr Anderson his senior position as director of ABC entertainment and specialist content was not going to be abolished, and so redundancy was not an option. Read more.

ABC says review of claims made by Michelle Guthrie about Justin Milne will stay secret

Gareth Hutchens - The Guardian - October 23, 2018

The ABC says it will not publicly release its internal review of claims made by its former managing director Michelle Guthrie about the former chairman Justin Milne.

David Anderson, the acting managing director of the ABC, said the review was still under way but it would remain confidential. Read more.

Letter from Acting Chair of the ABC to Minister Fifield about Independence

Dr Kirstin Ferguson - October 19, 2018

The Board notes the release of the Departmental Report into recent events relating to the ABC and your Letter dated 14 October 2018. Read letter.

A short history of the ABC. Part 1.

Quentin Dempster - Pearls & Irritations - October 23, 2018

The Senate will be enquiring into political interference at the ABC.Quentin Dempster provide useful historical background to that inquiry. 

The ABC began radio (wireless) broadcasting via then available Postmaster-General’s Department transmitters at 8 pm eastern standard time on 1 July 1932 - five months after the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in depression-ravaged Australia. Read more.

Question Morrison has to answer over future of ABC

Matt Peacock - SMH - October 20, 2018

When she was managing director, ABC staff used to wince over Michelle Guthrie’s nervous media performances, doubting she had the mettle for the top job.

Since she’s been sacked, though, she has more than demonstrated her capacity as a street fighter. She’s already toppled chairman Justin Milne and now she’s going after the rest of the board. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie lodges Fair Work claim against the ABC

Michaela Whitbourn & Michael Koziol - SMH - October 18, 2018

Former ABC boss Michelle Guthrie is taking the national broadcaster to the Fair Work Commission after she was unceremoniously sacked as managing director amid a clash with former chairman Justin Milne.

Fairfax Media has confirmed Ms Guthrie lodged a claim against the ABC in the Fair Work Commission on Monday, alleging her termination was in contravention of the Fair Work Act. Read more.

ABC board member attends Liberal Party fundraiser

Bension Siebert - In Daily - October 19, 2018

Amid the furore over political interference in the national broadcaster, ABC board member Donny Walford attended a Liberal Party fundraiser in Adelaide last week.

Walford, the South Australian owner of executive coaching business Behind Closed Doors, was appointed to the ABC board as a non-executive director in 2015.

Last month, ABC chairman Justin Milne resigned over claims of political interference, reportedly at the board’s urging. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie suing ABC after being dumped as managing director

ABC News - October 18, 2018

Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is taking the broadcaster to court over her dismissal, with sources confirming she will claim the board "had no reason to trigger the termination clause".

Ms Guthrie has begun the formal legal process and lodged paperwork at the start of this week. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie sues ABC over dismissal

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - October 18, 2018

The former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has filed an adverse action against the broadcaster at the Fair Work Commission after being sensationally sacked by the board last month.

Sources close to Guthrie confirmed she had begun the legal process for adverse actionthis week but no further details were available. Applications made to the commission are private. Read more.

'Renewal is needed': Radio boss resigns from ABC

Broede Carmody & Michael Lallo - Canberra Times - October 17, 2018

Michael Mason said in a staff email on Wednesday that now was the right time to step down as director of radio. The announcement comes just weeks after the ABC board sacked former managing director Michelle Guthrie, with former chairman, Justine Milne, subsequently resigning.

"I am keenly aware that we have just experienced significant change at the highest levels within the ABC," Mr Mason wrote. "After 34 years at the ABC I can honestly say I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside some of this country's greatest broadcasting and media talent - both in front of and behind the mic. Read more.

ABC saga referred to parliamentary inquiry

AAP - Perth Now - October 16, 2018

The independence of the ABC has been referred to a Senate inquiry after the Greens won the government's support to refer the public broadcaster to a parliamentary committee.

The upper house's communications and environment committee will examine the recent controversy at the ABC including the sacking of managing director Michele Guthrie and chair Justin Milne's resignation. Read more.

Government 'did not ask' for crucial documents in ABC investigation

Michael Koziol - SMH - October 15, 2018

The ABC claims it did not hand over crucial documents related to the ousting of its chairman and managing director because the man leading an inquiry into the issue never asked for them.

However, the Department of Communications said this was "incorrect", and that a key dossier was "discussed" at a meeting between secretary Mike Mrdak and the ABC's acting managing director David Anderson. Read more.

ABC investigation fails to answer key questions about the downfall of Michelle Guthrie and Justin Milne

Michael Koziol - SMH - October 15, 2018

A government investigation into the scandal that claimed the ABC's two top personnel has failed to answer key questions about the board's actions, including why it sacked Michelle Guthrie as managing director.

The nine-page report handed to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield last week and released on Monday was unable to say whether Ms Guthrie's handling of major staffing and editorial controversies contributed to the board's decision to terminate her contract. Read more.

Any inquiry must get to the bottom of political pressure on the ABC

Peter Manning - The Guardian - October 15, 2018

You know a media storm has passed when the key participants now only appear in the gossip columns wining and dining with their best friends and mentors, followed by paparazzi shots through trees.

Thankfully, the acting chair of the ABC and the acting managing director are both doing a good job at getting things back on track. Life goes on for most staff who never wanted their leaders to be at the centre of attention in the first place. Stretched to the max by endless job cuts, it’s head down bum up on the shop room floors of ABC central. Read more.

Turnbull did not suggest ABC sack journalists: report

Michelle Grattan - The Conversation - October 15, 2018

Neither Malcolm Turnbull nor any minister asked or suggested the ABC sack its chief economics correspondent, Emma Alberici or its political editor, Andrew Probyn, according to a report from the Communications department secretary.

But both the then chair, Justin Milne, and then managing director, Michelle Guthrie, were clear the government’s obvious anger about some pieces from these journalists would affect support, including funding, for the organisation from within the government. Read more.

Mitch Fifield knew about plans to sack Michelle Guthrie a fortnight before she was dumped by the ABC board

Matthew Doran - ABC News - October 15, 2018

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield knew the ABC board was planning to sack managing director Michelle Guthrie a fortnight before she was formally dumped.

Ms Guthrie was sacked late last month, after the board decided it was in the best interests of the organisation for her to go. Read more.

The ABC's X Factor

Margaret Simons - Inside Story - October 9, 2018

In 2015, an eminently well-qualified person applied to join the board of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I know who this person is, but they have asked me not to share their identity. Let’s call them X.

This person - X - has consented to have this much information shared because, after two weeks of controversy, the Department of Communications and the Arts has just informed the information commissioner that it has changed its mind and doesn’t intend to release the identity of recommended candidates for the ABC board. And this is even though X is quite happy for their name to be released and has twice told the department so. Read more.

Greens move to set up Senate inquiry into ABC interference

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - October 13, 2018

A Senate inquiry into political interference at the ABC will come a step closer on Monday, when the Greens propose draft terms of reference.

The proposed inquiry would examine the sacking of the managing director Michelle Guthrie, the conduct of former chairman Justin Milne and the board, the system of board appointments and any political influence or attempted political influence over editorial matters. Read more.

Hendo goes out with a whimper after four decades at the ABC

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - October 12, 2018

ABC news management has denied that budget cuts are responsible for Ian Henderson’s final Victorian bulletin crashing halfway though and robbing him of his historic farewell after four decades at Aunty.

Hendo’s farewell bulletin on Thursday, after 27 years in the 7pm spot, was read in front of his family and friends who had gathered in the studio, and was eagerly anticipated by viewers. ABC colleagues, including business editor Peter Ryan and former correspondent Peter Cave, had travelled to Melbourne for the night. But, after the screen froze and the autocue failed and the wrong images were screened, the Melbourne studio switched to the Sydney news and Hendo disappeared. No sign-off from Hendo. Viewers were devastated but Hendo took it in his stride. Read more.

ABC Friends NationBuilder Administrator - Job Vacancy

As the NationBuilder Administrator for the ABC Friends National Inc. you will be responsible for the operation and oversight of the platform. This will primarily involve management of the database and website related activities including content and social media interaction. More details.

Doctors’ sickest patients struggle to be heard, but the ABC taught me to listen

Ranjana Srivastava - The Guardian - October 10, 2018

When my patient Paul died unexpectedly, there was an outpouring of grief. He’d considered himself an ordinary man but his memorial was filled with those who spoke of his selflessness, goodwill and uncommon poise in the face of a terminal illness. The funeral came and went. The insurance forms, too. But whenever I handed over another form to his wife, I saw her sorrow and wondered how to assuage it. The short answer was not much else except await the consolations of time.

Some time later, I was making a program for the ABC about the ripple effect of cancer. Read more.

ABC crisis at the top: Will the Board members please tell?

Lee Duffield - Independent Australia - October 6, 2018

Demands for a change in top-level decision-making at the ABC include the idea of replacing the governing Board - calling for better public scrutiny of that generally off-the-record body. Media editor Lee Duffield says asking the Board what it knew about machinations between the now departed Chairman and Managing Director is a logical follow-up to crisis in the organisation. Read more.

Shier effrontery: former ABC boss back from oblivion

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - October 5, 2018

When the ABC lost its managing director and chairman within three days last week the one person we didn’t need to hear from was Jonathan Shier, an ABC MD who was sacked less than two years into his tumultuous reign in 2001. But the Australian looked him up and published an earnest think piece headed “How to rebuild trust in our troubled public broadcaster” without a hint of irony. Read more.

Funding fights and content clashes: turbulent times are not yet over for battered ABC

Michael Koziol & Jennifer Duke - SMH - October 5, 2018

Asked about the chaos unfolding at the ABC last week, former prime minister Paul Keating was dismissive. Musical chairs at head office were a "side play", he said, and "not central" to the key questions facing the public broadcaster.

Keating has been critical of the ABC for some time. Two years ago he blasted the network’s news coverage as parochial and outdated, with undue focus on trivia such as truck crashes. He said the flagship 7.30 program had become a "news magazine" that ran "too many hard-luck stories". Read more.

'The barbarians are not at the gate; they’re in the building'

Jane Cadzow - SMH - October 6, 2018

Michelle Guthrie wanted to make one thing clear. “I love my job,” she said when we met one winter morning at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s inner-Sydney head office. Granted, being managing director and editor-in-chief of the ABC at one of the most turbulent times in its history was a big responsibility. But the perks! “Had a conversation the other night with Laura Tingle,” she said, referring to the chief political correspondent for the ABC TV current affairs program, 7.30. “I mean, who gets to do that?” Guthrie laughed, and I looked at her closely, wondering for a moment whether she was sending herself up. Read more.

Statement from the ABC Board

About the ABC - October 4, 2018

This Board has always acted in the best interests of the ABC, has fully debated any issues presented to it and ensured that editorial independence has been maintained. We are united in defending the independence of the Corporation. We have done our job thoughtfully and with due regard to board process.

To clarify various media reports, the Board received a letter from the former Managing Director late on Friday 21 September 2018. In that letter, Ms Guthrie responded to several issues that the Board raised with her. In addition, the former Managing Director raised other matters that she requested the Board investigate on a confidential basis. Read more.

ABC board appoints independent, external adviser to investigate Michelle Guthrie claims

ABC News - October 4, 2018

The ABC board says it called in an independent adviser the day before Michelle Guthrie's sacking, to investigate "matters" raised by the former managing director. Key points: Former MD Michelle Guthrie outlined concerns in a letter to the board on September 21 The board says it appointed an external adviser to investigate those matters on September 23 On September 24, Ms Guthrie was sacked as managing director

In a statement released this morning, the board said it appointed an "external, independent expert adviser" and that given the investigation is now underway, "it is not appropriate for the board or the ABC to make any further comment pending its completion". Read more.

ABC: for the same price as a fighter jet we get good value

Peter FitzSimons - SMH - October 3, 2018

Really? Justin Milne as chairman of the ABC wanted to pay $750,000 to Kylie Minogue to sing - a chugga-chugga motion, now you get the notion - about how cool the ABC is?

Thank Gawd, Michelle Guthrie and senior management knocked that one on the head before it went through or the fallout would have been nuclear! I kid you not, when your humble correspondent was paid what amounted to $30 an hour to do a story for Foreign Correspondent a couple of months ago - just next to the highest rating one of the year, thanks for asking - it sent a fair chunk of the commentariat into orbit, they were so upset, so I cannot begin to imagine how that one would have gone down. Read more.

'A front and centre issue': ABC board scandal bites in Wentworth byelection

Bevan Shields - SMH - October 2, 2018

Labor may draft a series of changes to laws governing the ABC after Bill Shorten accused the broadcaster of a "failure of governance" and claimed some directors only sit on the board because they are "mates" of the government.

The Opposition Leader stopped short of calling for the seven-member board to resign, but said they had serious questions to answer over the botched sacking of managing director Michelle Guthrie and resignation of chairman Justin Milne. Read more.

Restating the facts on Emma Alberici’s corporate tax stories

Inside the ABC - September 30, 2018

With the complaints regarding a news article and an analysis piece on corporate tax by ABC Chief Economics Correspondent Emma Alberici again being publicly discussed, the ABC would like to restate the facts on what the investigation into these complaints found. A summary of the investigation into the story can be found here: http://about.abc.net.au/complaints/abc-news-online-265/ Read more.

Guthrie, Milne and ABC programming

Helen Razer - The Saturday Paper - October 6, 2018

Just a fortnight ago, Michelle Guthrie was perceived as the source of every ABC misstep. Since she was axed, though, it’s Justin Milne who has been followed right down from his executive floor by unfavourable footnotes. Since learning that the chairman of the ABC board instructed Guthrie to “get rid “of a decent correspondent, local media have been united in hate. It’s not quite at the level of “fricken hate” that Milne believed the government held for Emma Alberici. It’s chiefly plain old solidarity hate. The sort that workers reserve for the figure of a boss. Read More.

'A failure of governance': Bill Shorten turns against embattled ABC board

Bevan Shields - SMH - October 2, 2018

The federal opposition has turned on the embattled ABC board, blasting directors for their role in last week's leadership turmoil and suggesting some are only in the job because they are "mates" of the government.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten stopped short of calling for the seven-member board to resign, but said they had serious questions to answer over the botched sacking of managing director Michelle Guthrie and resignation of chairman Justin Milne. Read more.

Who missed out on the ABC board?

Margaret Simons - Inside Story - October 1, 2018

The quality and legitimacy of the ABC's current board of directors are rightly in the news. But the shortcomings on display last week raise another question: who did we miss out on when the government last chose who would sit on the board? Which better-qualified applicants did it reject? I can shed a little light on this question and share a lot of frustration. Last year, it appears, an independent process considered eighteen people for appointment to the ABC board. Some of them were recommended to communications minister Mitch Fifield, but he instead appointed his own pick. Of the rejected ones, two don't object to their identities being known, yet the department won't reveal even their names. I say to all eighteen: time to speak up, people! We want to know who you are. Read more.

ABC Friends calls for Australians to rally to defend the independence of Our ABC

ABC Friends - Media Release - September 28, 2018

The firestorm that hit the ABC this week is an opportunity for Australians to demand that all political parties commit to absolute independent governance of the ABC.

ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds said Australians must insist the ABC is totally free of political influence and properly funded so that board and management can fulfil the requirements of the ABC Charter in the interests of all who rely on our public broadcaster for news, information and entertainment.  That is the vision of ABC Friends and our work has continuously advocated these fundamental principles for Australian public broadcasting. Read more.

It's essential to democracy that the ABC is free from political interference

Margaret Reynolds - The Guardian - September 26, 2018

The allegation of direct political interference in the employment of an ABC journalist is very concerning because it warns us that some of our significant national leaders have forgotten the principles of good governance in an open democracy. Read more.

ABC Board Chair over-reaches in a bid to appease hostile government

Andrew Linden - The Conversation - September 27, 2018

Reports of the contents of leaked emails written by ABC Board Chair Justin Milne provide a powerful insight into how governments of the day can exert influence over what parliament had intended to be an independent agency.

The emails have emerged in the wake of the ABC board’s termination of ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie. Read more.

Government sets up inquiry into embattled ABC chairman’s email

Michelle Grattan - The Conversation - September 26, 2018

The government has ordered an investigation into ABC chairman Justin Milne’s reported email that urged then managing director Michelle Guthrie to “get rid of” a senior journalist who had angered the Turnbull government.

With the ABC in crisis and multiple calls for Milne to resign or stand aside, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced late Wednesday that after a meeting with Scott Morrison, he had asked Communications department secretary, Mike Mrdak, “to establish the facts in relation to today’s media reports surrounding the ABC”. Read more.

ABC turmoil: no shortage of names in the mix to replace Michelle Guthrie

Anne Davies - The Guardian - September 26, 2018

A wide range of names are being touted as possible successors to the ABC’s sacked managing director, Michelle Guthrie, including at least two members of her executive team and media executives from the private sector.

But the chaos within the national broadcaster, caused by revelations that the ABC chairman, Justin Milne, had sought the sacking of a journalist after objections were raised by the government, could delay recruitment. Read more.

Justin Milne 'would intervene' with ABC executives about stories he disliked, sources say

Amanda Meade & Anne Davies - The Guardian - September 26, 2018

The ABC chairman, Justin Milne, regularly spoke to executives, including the corporation’s news director, Gaven Morris, about contentious stories or content he didn’t approve of, multiple sources have told Guardian Australia.

Milne, a close friend of the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, behaved more like a managing director than a chairman, sources said, and had strong views about the ABC’s reporting and programming. Read more.

Justin Milne makes a mockery of ABC charter

Editorial - SMH - September 26, 2018

Everyone has an opinion about what the ABC should be. Some think it should be more pro-business. Others more targeted at rural communities. Others more serious and sober in its online presence. But one thing that no one wants the ABC to be is a propaganda organ for the Federal government.

That is why the email in which ABC chairman Justin Milne demanded ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie sack an ABC journalist for an unfavourable political story is a threat to democratic debate for which Mr Milne must either offer an explanation or resign. Read more.

The faceless men and women behind the ABC’s sacking of Michelle Guthrie

Killian Plastow - The New Daily - September 25, 2018

Each week almost 70 per cent of Australians tune in or log on to the ABC, but the shock removal of managing director Michelle Guthrie this week begs the question: Who’s really running our national broadcaster? Read more.

Streaming the ABC’s ‘Jesuits’: Michelle Guthrie’s hard lesson for digital leaders

Tom Burton - The Mandarin - September 25, 2018

We have seen this episode before. The ABC and its diaspora is one of the great power blocks of Australian life. Running it is not for the faint-hearted and the now deposed Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, must have known she was signing up for a tough gig.

The robust industrial culture that drives so much that is the ABC does not suffer fools, and twice in recent memory the ABC has ousted MDs who did not come up to scratch. In the mid-80s, English broadcaster Geoffrey Whitehead fell under pressure from his successor, David Hill. Hill himself had come from politics, a staffer to then NSW Labor Premier, Neville Wran. Read more.

Who will nab the top job at the ABC?

Jennifer Duke & Broede Carmody - SMH - September 26, 2018

The ABC board's decision to sack managing director Michelle Guthrie has left it looking for a replacement before Christmas, with the door wide open for those vying for one of the country's highest profile and most difficult media jobs.

Already, acting managing director David Anderson has publicly confirmed he is keen to keep the job, and spent his first day meeting with staff, many of whom back him as their new boss. Read more.

ABC acting boss denies he threatened to quit if Guthrie move wasn't made

Jennifer Duke - SMH - September 25, 2018

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s acting managing director David Anderson has denied he was one of the members of Michelle Guthrie’s leadership team that threatened to quit if the board did not replace her, and confirmed his hopes to hold onto the job as the public broadcaster's boss.

In his first interview in the role since Ms Guthrie was sacked on Monday Mr Anderson told ABC News Morning Breakfast on Tuesday the axeing of the former broadcaster’s boss was a “board decision ... their decisions, their deliberations” and he was not involved in the discussions. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie was staggeringly unqualified for ABC role

Marco Bass - SMH - September 25, 2018

I almost feel sorry for Michelle Guthrie. She walked into one of the most difficult and complex jobs in Australia staggeringly unqualified for the role. On top of that she came at one of the more difficult times in the ABC’s recent history, under fierce attack from a hostile government and struggling to cope with massive changes to the way Australians experience media content. Read more.

'They hate her': emails show ABC chairman told Michelle Guthrie to fire Emma Alberici

Michael Koziol & Jennifer Duke - SMH - September 25, 2018

ABC chairman Justin Milne told former managing director Michelle Guthrie to sack high-profile presenter Emma Alberici following a complaint from then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In an extraordinary intervention that underlines the political pressure on Ms Guthrie before she was axed on Monday, Mr Milne appeared to acquiesce to government complaints about “bias” by calling for the chief economics correspondent to be fired because she was damaging the public broadcaster's standing with Coalition MPs. Read more.

How the ABC lost its way with digital stupidity

John McDuling - SMH - September 25, 2018

Two days before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's nuptials, a short quiz appeared on the ABC website. "Can you tell the difference between a royal wedding hat and a chicken?" proclaimed the headline.

It was a perfectly harmless piece of content. But even fans of the ABC would admit it was not the kind of work the public broadcaster was set up to produce. And it's symbolic of a widespread view the ABC has lost its way. Read more.

More Turmoil at the ABC

Ed Davis - President ABC Friends NSW & ACT - September 26, 2018

What a very grim year it has been for the ABC. There have been relentless attacks from Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications, and other Ministers. There has been daily sniping from the Australian, Daily Telegraph and other organs of News Corporation. This year has seen the announcement of more swingeing budget cuts, on top of the devastating $254 million cut in 2014. The ABC reported recently that more than a thousand jobs had been lost. We have all witnessed the impact on Radio National, Classic FM and ABC television. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie: Why She Went

Margaret Simons - Meanjin - September 24, 2018

Michelle Guthrie will not be much mourned within the ABC. Hopeless at the communications and political parts of her job, she never managed to convince the staff that she understood and cared about public broadcasting.

But we would be very wrong to think that her departure is a good move for Australia’s most important cultural institution.

Instead, it leaves the ABC vulnerable and destabilised and highlights longer-term issues that seriously weaken the organisation. Read more.

Guthrie gone

Paddy Manning - The Monthly - September 24, 2018

Given that Prime Minister Scott Morrison was advised last night, it is hard to believe ABC boss Michelle Guthrie’s shock dismissal this morning was not politically acceptable to the federal Coalition. If it was not already, the future of the ABC is now front and centre as an election issue. The headless organisation is in more danger than it’s been in decades - including when the hapless Jonathan Shier was briefly in charge. Then, the organisation’s chair was the highbrow arts supremo Donald McDonald, a close friend of the then prime minister, John Howard, and an old-fashioned conservative who understood his statutory obligations and stood up for the organisation. Read more.

Despite her good intentions, Michelle Guthrie was never the right fit for the ABC

Peter Manning - The Conversation - September 25, 2018

Michelle Guthrie has been badly treated - not by being sacked, but by being hired in the first place. As a former Head of ABC TV News and Current Affairs, I met Guthrie several times at functions in the ABC, and once at a social dinner party. We discussed the state of ABC News and other editorial matters. She was well aware she was on a steep learning curve. Read more.

Guthrie's messy departure shows ABC more dangerous than Murdoch

Elizabeth Knight - SMH - September 24, 2018

Sacking chief executives, particularly high profile ones, is usually the result of a major blunder - a major earnings miss, misleading shareholders or over-spending on a poor acquisition. Even under those circumstances, executives often manage to get a generous payout.

Michelle Guthrie must be wondering why she signed up for a job for which she can be sacked "without cause" and without compensation. ABC’s now-skewered chief executive is a lawyer and has spent a career working for commercially ruthless people like Rupert Murdoch. Read more.

Shock sacking of ABC boss Michelle Guthrie could cost taxpayers millions

Michael Koziol, Jennifer Duke & Kylar Loussikian - SMH - September 24, 2018

The shock sacking of ABC boss Michelle Guthrie threatens to explode into a messy legal battle that could cost taxpayers millions and expose deep divisions over the future of the public broadcaster.

Months of internal tension over Ms Guthrie's performance boiled over on Monday when the board dismissed the ABC's first female managing director halfway through her five-year term, citing the need for a new "leadership style" and hinting at numerous behind-the-scenes failings. Read more.

Justin Milne: The man who sealed Guthrie's fate

John McDuling - SMH - September 25, 2018

Justin Milne knows something about high level corporate politics. But in orchestrating the removal of ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie, he has made the most contentious call of his career, and put the spotlight on himself.

"I don't see myself as an interventionist chairman," Milne, who did not respond to calls on Monday, told Fairfax Media in an interview back in 2017. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie: The inside story behind her sacking

Jennifer Duke, Broede Carmody & Michael Koziol - SMH - September 24, 2015

When Michelle Guthrie bumped into Malcolm Turnbull before last year’s AFL grand final in Melbourne, a friendly chat about football wasn't on the agenda.

A former Google and Foxtel executive, Guthrie had been managing director of the ABC for just over 12 months and was in midst of restructuring the public broadcaster’s digital strategy. At an official AFL lunch ahead of the premiership decider between Richmond and Adelaide, the then prime minister started the encounter by complimenting Guthrie on some of the changes she had started to make. Read more.

More trouble at Ultimo

Margaret Simons - Inside Story - September 24, 2018

Michelle Guthrie will not be much mourned within the ABC. Poor at communicating with the public and dealing with government, she never managed to convince the staff that she understood and cared about public broadcasting.

But we would be very wrong to think that her departure is a good thing for Australia’s most important cultural institution. It leaves the ABC vulnerable and destabilised and highlights longer-term issues that seriously weaken the organisation. For this, Guthrie and the board share responsibility, as does the federal government. Read more.

"We needed a different leadership style and that is the decision of the board."

Joe O'Brien - ABC - September 24, 2018

Interview with ABC Chairperson Justin Milne - YouTube - 15mins [here]

Fairfax calls out ABC for running YouTube ads

Lindsay Bennett - Ad News - September 24, 2018

The ABC has been outed by Fairfax for running ads on its YouTube channel, despite restrictions in place that prevent the broadcaster from having ads on its own channels.

A report in the Sydney Morning Herald, a Fairfax-owned paper, found ads on the ABC's various YouTube channels from brands such as Colgate, Cadbury, Dior, Suzuki, Subway, Subaru and more. Read more.

Sacked Guthrie's tumultuous time at the ABC

SBS News - September 24, 2018

The ABC's board has sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie, sparking a mixed response across the media industry and political circles.

Former media lawyer and Google executive Michelle Guthrie has faced a number of pressures since taking on the ABC's top job in March 2016. How it happened: Read more.

'Devastated': Sacked ABC boss Michelle Guthrie threatens to sue over 'unjustified' termination

Michael Koziol - SMH - September 24, 2018

Sacked ABC boss Michelle Guthrie says she is "devastated" and has threatened to sue after she was removed by the board of directors halfway through her five-year term.

Ms Guthrie, the first woman to helm the national broadcaster, said no one had raised concerns with her about how she was handling the ABC's digital transformation strategy. Read more.

'Astonishing fail': ABC presenter Jon Faine slams Michelle Guthrie's legacy

Broede Carmody - SMH - September 24, 2018

ABC presenter Jon Faine has ripped into Michelle Guthrie's legacy, arguing her stint as managing director has been an "astonishing fail".

Faine made his remarks minutes after it was announced the ABC board had shown Guthrie the door, saying the former managing director had "no interest in journalism" or the "nuts and bolts" of the public broadcaster. Read more.

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie sacked by board

Jennifer Duke & Michael Koziol - SMH - September 24, 2018

Australian Broadcasting Corporation managing director Michelle Guthrie has been axed by the public broadcaster's board after more than two years at the helm.

After a meeting of the board at the ABC, the directors decided it was "not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie to continue to lead the organisation," a statement said. Read more.

Michelle Guthrie in shock departure from ABC Managing Director role halfway through term

ABC News - September 24, 2018

ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie has left the role just two-and-a-half years into her five-year term, the corporation's chairman has said in a shock announcement.

The ABC said the directors resolved it was not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie to continue to lead the organisation.

Chairman Justin Milne said the decision was made in the "long-term interests of our own people and the millions of Australians who engage with ABC content every week". Read more.

Michelle Guthrie: ABC managing director removed by board

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - September 24, 2018

Michelle Guthrie has resigned just two-and-a-half years into her five-year term as the ABC’s managing director, effective immediately.

The ABC board said in a statement the former managing director had left already “in the long-term interests” of the ABC, and the head of television, David Anderson, was now acting managing director. Read more.

How the Gig economy wreaks havoc on ABC's shrinking budget

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - September 21, 2018

The ABC has a budget problem and it’s not just the $84m hole imposed by the Coalition in May. An internal budget shortfall has seen Michelle Guthrie’s chief financial officer Louise Higgins rip $1.4m out of the news budget to pay for the next federal election coverage. The big loser is Four Corners, which has lost close to $1m of its budget at the eleventh hour. The timing is unfortunate as the flagship program’s journalism is sparking royal commissions and judicial reviews. A sparse kitty has also led to the cancellation of the centrepiece of the MD’s strategy: cutting middle management to build a $50m content fund. Some staff have described it as a “massive budget black hole”. Read more.

Wentworth: Vote for the ABC

Ed Davis - ABC Friends NSW/ACT Media Release - September 20, 2018

Many in Wentworth will wake up to the ABC’s Fran Kelly and go to bed with Phillip Adams. They will savour the delights of ABC Classic FM during the day. They will watch 4 Corners, Mad as Hell and Rake, either when broadcast or on i-view. There will be many rusted on to JJJ. Play School will have touched many lives. The Wentworth by-election provides a most important opportunity for electors who care deeply about the ABC to send a message to government. As Kerry O’Brien, former host of 4 Corners, so succinctly put it to the packed Friends’ Rally in Sydney in July: “Stop Screwing with the ABC”. Read more.

Bill Shorten backs the ABC

ABC Friends National - September 12, 2018

A delegation of ABC Friends National met with Mr Shorten recently in Canberra and was enthused by his statement to Parliament that his party would defend the ABC against attacks and funding cuts and by his contrasting approach to that of the Coalition Government with its continual harassment of the ABC and its attempts to weaken and undermine it. Read more.

No advertising on the ABC? Just head to YouTube

Jennifer Duke & John McDuling - SMH - September 20, 2018

Australians who thought the Australian Broadcasting Corporation did not accept advertising can easily find brands like KFC, Cadbury and Twinings showing up around some of the public broadcaster’s content. All they need to do is head to YouTube. Read more.

2018 Our Watch Awards

About the ABC - September 18, 2018

ABC News is proud of the terrific team that last night won the overall Gold as well as three other awards at the 2018 Our Watch Awards, which are administered by the Walkley Foundation and recognise and reward excellence in reporting on violence against women. 

With great teamwork - and no small courage - Julia Baird, Hayley Gleeson, Debra Jopson, Sarah Malik and Rocco Fazzari examined the sensitive and difficult subject matter of the intersection of religion and domestic violence, and produced thoughtful, ground-breaking journalism. Read more.

ABC, Fairfax Media to challenge Chau Chak Wing ruling

Michaela Whitbourn - SMH - September 14, 2018

The ABC and Fairfax Media have launched a court bid to overturn a Federal Court ruling throwing out their truth defence in a defamation case brought by Chinese-Australian businessman Chau Chak Wing, saying the ruling works a "substantial injustice" and deprives them of a key plank of their defence.

Mr Chau, one of Australia's most generous political donors, filed defamation proceedings in June last year against the national broadcaster, the newspaper group and Fairfax journalist Nick McKenzie over a joint investigation including an ABC Four Corners program and online article. Read more.

Australians are losing their trust in 'the media', but not in journalism

Josh Gordon - RMIT - September 10, 2018

Australia has just churned through its fourth prime minister in a decade as a result of party room shenanigans.

Much has been said about the willingness of our big political parties to trade in prime ministers, on average, every 30 months.

There is the so-called 24-hour news cycle, blamed for corralling fatigued governments into flawed and poorly executed public policy. Read more.

How Steve Bannon manipulated Australia's arrogant mainstream media

Jennifer Wilson - Independent Australia - September 8, 2018

In the reaction of the mainstream media to criticism of the Bannon interview, there is a strong impression they are fighting a war against their readers, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.

In their latest public performance of what I like to think of as auto erotic asphyxiation, mainstream Australian media personalities last week enjoyed noisy clickgasms as ABC TV's Four Corners presenter Sarah Ferguson interviewed U.S. President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon,  Read more.

The Price Of No Tomorrow For Tonightly - And It’s More Than 4 Cents A Day

Helen Razer - New Matilda - September 6, 2018

In an ABC bubble, where Steve Bannon and Hillary Clinton softball interviews are good, and Tonightly skits which skewer actual reality are bad, Helen Razer prepares you for the new media world order.

News last month that satirical youth-news shambles Tonightly would be cancelled by “Our” ABC was bleak. And, no. Before you come over all “it wasn’t funny anyhow”, consider not only that our tastes are not the point here, but that Charlie Pickering, head prefect at the Private Boys School of St Woke, just keeps on getting renewed. Read more.

Reasons aplenty for China’s ban of the ABC

Wanning Sun - Pearls & Irritations - September 8, 2018

As a form of symbolism, banning a website works much more effectively than conventional expressions of official displeasure such as flexing military muscles, cancelling a trade deal, recalling a country’s ambassador or refusing a foreign correspondent’s visa.

On Monday, the ABC reported that China had banned access to its news website in the country. China gave no reasons for the ban. China does not have to justify its decision, nor does it see it as necessary to specify the nature of Australia’s offences. Read more.

Steve Bannon backlash as Four Corners interview splits the ABC

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - September 7, 2018

he Four Corners interview with Steve Bannon this week has caused a deep rift at the ABC between those who believe holding figures like Bannon to account is exactly what the flagship program should be doing and those who are unhappy the former White House adviser and Breitbart editor was given an ABC platform.

Those in the first camp include, of course, the interviewer, Sarah Ferguson, and her executive producer, Sally Neighbour, and established ABC stars Leigh Sales and Virginia Trioli. Read more.

Why it’s time to end the policy limbo threatening Australian children’s TV

Anna Potter - The Conversation - September 6, 2018

Two Australian children’s TV programs, First Day and What’s It Like To Experience a Disability?, won prestigious Prix Jeunesse awards in May. Both were commissoned by the ABC’s children’s channel ABC ME. Both remind us that Australian children’s television consistently punches above its weight on the international stage.

Yet, despite these recent successes, Australian children’s TV is in a policy limbo. Amid recent and ongoing government reviews into the future of local screen content, uncertainty reigns on issues such as the impact of Netflix and other streaming services, the fate of local content quotas and funding for original local children’s TV more generally. Read more.

Voices of the land

Jane Goodall - Inside Story - September 5, 2018

The ABC is experimenting with ways of deepening its coverage of regional Australia.

“Something is fundamentally broken in the relationship between government and citizens,” writes Gabrielle Chan in her new book, Rusted Off: Why Country Australia Is Fed Up. Chan, a former political correspondent for the Guardian who has moved to the small town of Harden Murrumburrah in southern New South Wales, writes with knowledge of both sides of the divide. “There is Australia,” she says, “and there is the land of Parliamentalia… a castle surrounded by a moat.” Read more.

What a coincidence: ABC news website blocked in China

Kirsty Needham - SMH - September 3, 2018

In China, coincidences are common. Clear explanations of what has just happened can be harder to find.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website has been inaccessible in China for a fortnight. Although China has famously erected a "Great Firewall" around its online population to block internet users from accessing many western websites and social media apps including Google, Twitter and Facebook, it is unusual for an Australian media website to be blocked. Read more.

Sound and fury, light and shade

Jane Goodall - Inside Story - August 28, 2018

What just happened?” asked ABC political correspondent Laura Tingle on Monday night’s 7.30. An hour later, the Four Corners special, “A Kind of Madness,” attempted to find out, exploring the Liberal Party leadership fiasco with an almost hour-by-hour recap of last week’s events in Canberra. Read more.

China confirmed to have banned ABC website

Bill Birtles - ABC - September 3, 2018

China has confirmed it has banned the ABC's website for breaking the country's laws and regulations.

The ABC site normally isn't censored under China's Great Firewall, but has now been blocked for almost two weeks.

Beijing will not say how the ABC breached its rules. Listen.

Here Tonightly, gone tomorrowly, and leaving a growing TV audience in its wake

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - August 31, 2018

With just one week to go before the axe falls, the ABC’s Tonightly with Tom Ballard comedy show is kicking goals. Not only has Tonightly improved its ratings and clocked up record-breaking views online, the daily comedy show has made the front page of the Daily Telegraph. Read more.

Alive to every pulse beat

Laurie Oaks - Inside Story - August 13, 2018

More than anyone, Warren Denning was responsible for initiating the ABC’s coverage of Canberra politics.

On a quiet evening in late 1930, an hour or so before debate in the House of Representatives was due to finish, a whisper reached the Press Gallery that senior minister Joseph Lyons was already on his way to Canberra railway station. Some journalists dismissed the early departure as a trivial matter and went home to bed. Others thought it odd that Lyons would leave town while parliament was sitting and started to investigate, one scribe even dashing to the station and leaping aboard the train as it pulled out of the platform. Read more.

A faith healing and a farewell: Sean Dorney returns to Papua New Guinea

Sean Dorney - ABC News - August 21, 2018

These committed Catholics in my wife's village are praying for me to be healed. But, my God, it is quite intimidating.

I witnessed a lot during my years as the ABC's foreign correspondent in Papua New Guinea, but this level of fervour still comes as quite a shock.

The chanting, the clenched rosary beads, the tears make a powerful impression.

Pauline sits beside me in front of a crucifix which they have carried through the village. Read more - watch the video.

Michelle Guthrie says abuse of ABC staff unacceptable after presenter cries on air

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - August 21, 2018

The ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has denounced personal abuse of presenters as unacceptable after an ABC Adelaide radio presenter, Ali Clarke, cried on air .

On the morning show in Adelaide, Clarke said a listener accused her via text of conducting a “pitiful interview” and providing “excruciating listening for the Adelaide audience” and it got under her skin. Read more.

Labor supports local radio content measure

AAP - News.com - August 20, 2018

Community radio stations will cover more local issues and foreign owners of Australian media companies must declare their interests under government measures.

A push for more local radio content as well as a register for foreign ownership of media have made it through the lower house. Read more.

ABC cuts begin to bite in the depleted newsrooms of Sydney

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - Aug 17, 2018

The ABC’s Sydney newsroom has put out an urgent call to all state news directors for staff who can fly in to fill “significant gaps in the production roster”. This is on top of regional staff who have already arrived to fatten up Sydney’s skeleton staff. Chiefs of staff, news gathering producers and line-up producers are all needed to put out the 7pm TV news bulletin between 30 August and 28 September, the memo says. “Please give me a shout out if you have any suggestions or smart ideas.” Read more.

Efficiency review - ABC and SBS: terms of reference

13 Aug 2018

The ABC and SBS are vital public news and cultural institutions that strengthen media diversity and represent a major Commonwealth contribution to civic journalism.

In the fast-evolving world of media organisations, it is important to support the public broadcasters to be the best possible stewards of taxpayer dollars in undertaking their important work for the community.

This review will assist the public broadcasters as they approach the next funding triennium through which more than $3.9 billion will be provided from July 2019. Full details.

Andrew Wilkie's parliamentary speech on the ABC

14 Aug 2018

Listen to the speech [here]

The man who started the ABC's press gallery - and how the newspapers tried to stop him

Laurie Oaks - ABC News - August 14, 2018

Warren Denning (1906-1975) was the ABC's first political correspondent when he established the Canberra bureau in 1939. Press gallery legend Laurie Oakes wrote this profile to mark Denning's induction into the Australian Media Hall of Fame last week.

On a quiet evening in late 1930, an hour or so before debate in the House of Representatives was due to finish, a whisper reached the press gallery that senior minister Joseph Lyons was on his way to Canberra railway station. Read More.

“Of course they say there are no competition issues. They always do”

Julian Thomas - Inside Story - July 3, 2018

Regardless of its eventual success or failure, Nine’s proposed acquisition of Fairfax marks a new discontinuity in the Australian media landscape. The law that would once have prevented it was changed last year: now, the political economy and culture of our media are suddenly fluid. The familiar cast of Australian media characters, with their ancient rivalries and discontents, will soon be different, and some venerable figures won’t be there. What is happening is at once startling, unsettling, long anticipated and entirely unresolved. Read more.

The ABC in turmoil: 'Frankly, we are all spooked about everything in here'

Amanada Meade - The Guardian - August 1, 2018

The ABC is poised to launch a new service that is likely to surprise its loyal audience and provoke its competitors and critics. It’s not a hard-hitting new investigative series or radio feature, but a dive into lifestyle journalism.

ABC Life will cover topics not traditionally covered online by the ABC in a comprehensive way, including work and career, sex and relationships, fashion and personal grooming, travel and adventure, food and cooking, home and family, and pets. As well there will be new digital treatment of health, wellbeing and fitness, personal finance, consumer rights and gardening. Read more.

The Most Unkindest Cut of All - Public Broadcasting’s Role in a Strong Democracy

Northside Forum - Saturday August 11, 2018 (12pm - 2pm) 

Further details & Bookings [here]

Public broadcasting, restructures, and working with Michelle Guthrie: ABC's David Anderson

Mark Dapin - SMH - July 28, 2018

David Anderson, who bears the rather inelegant title of "director entertainment and specialist" at the ABC, is telling me about his first date with his wife, Sam.

We’re having lunch at Kobe Jones, a King Street Wharf restaurant offering Californian-style Japanese cuisine. It’s pretty safe date food: cosmopolitan but unthreatening, heavy on seafood and light on garlic. Read more.

A modern tragedy: Nine-Fairfax merger a disaster for quality media

Denis Muller - The Conversation - July 26, 2018

All deaths are sudden, even if long expected.

Appropriately enough, this is the opening sentence of a book called Journalism in a Culture of Grief.

And if ever there was a time of grief for journalism in Australia, it is today, with the announcement that Nine Entertainment is taking over Fairfax Media.

It means the death of Fairfax and is the most consequential change in Australian media ownership in 31 years. Read more.

'Unprecedented hostility': Murdoch, the government, and an ABC under attack

Amanada Meade - The Guardian - July 25, 2018

Kerry O’Brien was a young reporter on Four Corners in the 1970s when Malcolm Fraser cut the ABC’s budget and accused the broadcaster of a leftwing bias on its flagship current affairs programs.

“I remember standing at the front of the ABC’s Gore Hill studios with friends like [investigative journalist] Allan Hogan holding placards of protest against the cuts, all flared trousers and cheesecloth shirts and long hair,” O’Brien told Guardian Australia. “And we thought that was pretty crook. Read more.

News Corp wants limits on ABC to prevent 'advantaged' competition

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - July 24, 2018

News Corp Australia has called on the government to review the charters of the ABC and SBS and to restrict the public broadcasters from unfairly competing with its newspapers, websites and Sky News.

Rupert Murdoch’s Australian arm has told a government inquiry the internet has transformed the ABC and SBS into “news publishers” who have the advantage of being taxpayer-funded, while denying commercial competitors revenue. Read more.

Inquiry into the competitive neutrality of the national broadcasters

The Dept of Communications and the Arts are conducting an inquiry into the competitive neutrality of the national broadcasters - for the Issues Paper, Terms of Reference and all formal public submissions [here]

Open Letter supporting the ABC

Peter Rose - Australian Book Review - July 23, 2018

ABR shares many Australians’ concerns about the health and viability of the ABC. The threats are myriad and sustained. Funding cuts, political interference, and frequent taunts from News Corp have weakened the organisation. Recently, the Liberal Party’s Federal Council voted to privatise the organisation. This would surely spell the beginning of the end for the national broadcaster. We take things for granted in the Lucky Country, but can we really be sure that the ABC will be around in 2028 to celebrate its centenary – searching, unfettered, well resourced? More and more people think not and have begun to lobby government. ABR supports them wholeheartedly. Meanwhile, one hundred writers, artists, commentators, and public figures have signed our open letter in support of the ABC. Read more.

Future of your ABC

News, resources, facts about your ABC, ABC Newsletter sign-up - Read more.

Q&A, the show that launched a million tweets, turns 10

Neil McMahon - SMH - July 16, 2018

It was the pilot - taped May 8, 2008 - that launched a million tweets. Host? Tony Jones. Guests? Politicians from the major parties. Subject matter? Sexual harassment. The more things change.

Front and centre 10 years ago, when the ABC first corralled a panel under Jones's whip and invited audience members to ask questions, was the scandal over chair-sniffing WA MP Troy Buswell. Also fresh, then and today: the guests on the panel. Read more.

ABC Friends hosts action to protect the broadcaster

Peter Daniels - Port News - July 10, 2018

The ABC is either in a fight for survival and needs your support or it ought to be able to manage a bit of belt-tightening.

That's the opposing views as the Mid North Coast ABC Friends plan a 'protect action' event on Friday outside federal MP Luke Hartsuyker's Port Macquarie office.

Friends' president Drusi Megget says the ABC 'unites us as a nation through stories of who we are and provides news that is truthfully reported with fairness and balance'. Read more.

Michelle Pini - Independent Australia - July 18, 2018

The message at Melbourne's packed #SaveOurABC rally was clear: 'Keep your grubby mitts off OUR ABC'.

The Melbourne rally held on Sunday (15 July) was the final in a series of national protests, which were announced after the Liberal Party Council voted to privatise Australia's public broadcaster. Read more.

The disturbing reality behind the 'Q&A' panel

Clementine Ford - SMH - July 17, 2018

The ABC’s political affairs show Q&A reached its 10-year anniversary last week, and to mark the occasion a "people’s panel" of citizens was assembled. Viewers had been invited to apply for selection, and four were ultimately chosen to sit alongside two political representatives, Tanya Plibersek and Matt Canavan.

The People’s Panel was ostensibly advertised as an opportunity for ordinary citizens to "join the conversation" that occurs each week on Q&A, but the panel ultimately confirmed a depressing reality about the power differential accorded to men’s and women’s voices (and how racial privilege informs this dynamic). Simply put, men’s voices and contributions (particularly those of white men) are valued and solicited more and interrupted less. Read more.

Australian media are in decline. The Fourth Estate reminds us why we need them

Brigid Delaney - The Guardian - July 17, 2018

The scene is the New York Times newsroom. The paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, is watching the Trump inauguration on television. “Wow,” he murmurs. “What a story. What a fucking story. OK, let’s go.”

Covering the reporters covering Donald Trump, The Fourth Estate is a documentary filmed inside the New York Times over a 16-month period. Over four episodes we see how much the Trump presidency has accelerated the news cycle. The reporters sometimes look as though they have barely had time to brush their hair or do up their ties in order to keep up with the relentless pace that has characterised the Trump White House. Read more.

ABC's Adelaide sound archive dismantled in sad free-for-all

David Washington - InDaily - July 16, 2018

ABC staff and a few outsiders are picking over what remains of the national broadcaster’s archive of CDs at Collinswood.

With the local sound librarians sacked and unique material meant to have been shipped to the ABC in Sydney and Melbourne, the doors have been thrown open to the huge CD collection, believed to have originally contained around 100,000 items. InDaily understands duplicate CDs were offered first to major cultural institutions, such as the National Film and Sound Archive, before those left were offered to employees. Read more.

ABC Friends' Melbourne Rally 15 July 18 - Video

Watch the video highlights of the Rally [here] 12 mins

Watch the live-stream of the Rally [here] 2 hrs

Are ABC employees or journalists five times more likely to vote for the Greens than the general population?

RMIT/ABC Fact Check - ABC News - July 17, 2018

Calls to privatise the ABC have become louder in recent months, with Liberal Party members voting to privatise the national broadcaster at the party's annual federal council, though the Coalition Government's policy remains to keep the ABC in public hands.

Sinclair Davidson, an RMIT academic and adjunct fellow at think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, has co-authored a book with fellow IPA colleague Chris Berg, entitled Against Public Broadcasting: Why and how we should privatise the ABC. Read more.

Why the ABC, and the public that trusts it, must stand firm against threats to its editorial independence

Denis Muller - The Conversation - July 13, 2018

The people who are turning up at Save the ABC rallies around the country are defending a cultural institution they value because they trust it.

In particular, they trust its news service. Public opinion polls going back to the 1950s consistently show it is by far the most trusted in the country.

So at this time it is pertinent to look at what creates a trustworthy news service. The cornerstone is editorial independence. As opinion polls have shown time and again, where people suspect a newspaper, radio, TV or online news service of pushing some commercial or political interest, their level of trust falls. Read more.

Melbourne's Packed Out #SaveOurABC Protest Caps Off A Week Of Rallies Across The Country

Max Koslowski - Junkee - July 15, 2018

Melbourne's town hall was at full capacity for this afternoon's #SaveOurABC rally: a peaceful protest that capped off a week of similar stunts in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Melbourne politicians Adam Bandt and Ged Kearney joined famous journalist Peter Greste at the packed protest this afternoon: Read more.

ABC supporters rally at South Bank studios

Thomas Morgan - Brisbane Times - July 13, 2018

Hundreds of supporters of the public broadcaster demonstrated out the front of the ABC’s South Bank studios this morning, as part of a nationwide series of public protests.

It comes after the federal government froze funding for the national broadcaster in this year’s budget and a vote by a Liberal Party body to privatise the organisation. Read more.

Sharkie First Pollie To Earn ABC Defenders Badge

Radio 5MU - July 14, 2018

Centre Alliance Candidate for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has become the first politician in Australia to be given a ‘Friends of the ABC Defenders Badge’.

Ms Sharkie was handed the honour by Sue Pinnock the local ABC Friends representative, saying it’s vital the public broadcaster is defended. Read more.

The ABC efficiency review

Alex McKinnon - The Saturday Paper - July 14, 2018

The selection of Peter Tonagh, a former Foxtel chief executive and News Corp boss, to head up the government’s planned ABC efficiency review was met with what could be described as scepticism, at best, from the public broadcaster’s defenders. There was the potential conflict of interest his past employment presents, the government’s fondness for stacking commissions and advisory boards with ideological bedfellows, and the general perception that the review’s conclusions will have been reached before it even begins. Read more.

ABC Friends' Sydney Rally 8 July 18 - Video highlights

Watch the video highlights of the Rally [here] 10 mins

Watch the live-stream of the Rally [here] 2 hrs 32 mins

A Meeting to Support the ABC

At the Central Coast Leagues Club - Friday, 3rd August 6pm

Guest speakers - Michelle Rowland M.P., shadow minister for communications. Dr Fiona Martin, a former ABC broadcaster, currently a researcher and journalism educator at the University of Sydney. Sinddy Ealy, ABC section secretary of the Community and Public Service Union. Full details.

An ABC fit for the future

ABC - July 11, 2018

Speech by ABC Chairman Justin Milne, American Chamber of Commerce, Sydney, Wednesday, 11 July 2018

I’d like to thank AmCham and its CEO, April Palmerlee, together with our hosts PwC and its media industry leader, Megan Brownlow, for inviting me here to talk about one of my favourite subjects.

The role of public service broadcasting and its future have always aroused great passion among Australians: a passion which, in itself, is evidence that democratic debate is alive and well. Read more.

Hundreds Gather for ABC Support

Christine Williams - Sydney School of Arts & Humanities - July 10, 2018

With all the talk of ‘fake’ news coming from certain self-serving politicians these days, it has always been reassuring to me that in Australia we have an independent news service in the ABC, as well as other ABC radio, television and online programs made by skilled producers with integrity and honesty being the core of their daily labour.

Ever noticed how the people who are talking most about ‘fake’ news are actually creating it themselves? They make up one tweet and if that doesn’t float, they can just as easily make up another. Unfortunately people keep reading this sensationalism. But it’s now reached a point of serious dimensions, with these tweeters and opinion-leaders being some of the very same people who are making attacks on our own publicly-funded independent broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation - which continues to report facts, not fakery. Read more.

ABC chairman Justin Milne calls on Australians to choose if they want a national broadcaster

Paul Wallbank - Mumbrella - July 12, 2018

he ABC Chairman Justin Milne has challenged the nation to decide whether it wants a public broadcaster.

Speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, Milne outlined the broadcaster’s history of fights with the private sector dating back to the days of Sir Keith Murdoch and warned the ABC’s future would be in doubt should its digital activities be curtailed. Read more.

Invest in the ABC's digital future or it will 'cease to exist', warns chairman

Michael Koziol - SMH - July 11, 2018

The ABC will eventually become a digital-only media outlet and failure to invest in the broadcaster's digital future will lead it to "wither away and cease to exist", its chairman Justin Milne has warned.

Brushing off the current political storm around the ABC as "situation normal", Mr Milne mounted an aggressive case for the ABC to ramp up its expansion into the digital realm, against the wishes of its commercial rivals and some critics "on the political fringe". Read more.

ABC chairman Milne attacks ‘self-serving’ commercial critics

Michelle Grattan - The Conversation - July 11, 2018

ABC chairman Justin Milne has gone on the offensive against the organisation’s critics, linking the public broadcaster to preserving the nation’s identity and strongly warning against the push to clip its digital wings.

Putting the present battle over the broadcaster in an historical context, Milne said in a Wednesday speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia that “Australia has reached another decision point in respect of public broadcasting, just like those of the past.

"The first was whether to establish an ABC, then whether to equip it to deliver a news service independent of the commercial media barons, then once again whether to invest in a public television service. Read more.

Roads to Recovery

Jane Goodall - Inside Story - July 11, 2018

At an ABC Friends dinner in October last year, ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie promised more resources for rural and regional programs through the national broadcaster’s Investing in Audiences strategy. Out of a new $50 million content fund, $15 million would be used to develop rural and regional teams within a new community and regional division. Under its alternative title, The Great Ideas Grant, the fund was mentioned as one of Guthrie’s key achievements in a recent speech challenging calls for privatisation. Puzzlingly, it’s rather hard to establish what exactly has been done with these new resources.

Regardless, a few ABC stalwarts have continued to carry the rural flag in the documentary series Back Roads, which has maintained a strong audience (including over 120,000 on iView) since its premiere in 2015. Read more.

It’s not (just) cricket

Rodney Tiffen - Inside Story - July 11, 2018

hen Bob Hawke and his ministers began discussing the introduction of subscription television back in the 1980s, one minister is said to have commented that any government that allowed the AFL grand final to be taken off free-to-air TV would lose the next election.

The minister wasn’t the only fearful one. The long-established free-to-air operators - always hostile to any new competition - worried that the new pay TV operators would siphon off the most popular films and series, and especially the best live sport. And so, when pay TV finally began in Australia in 1995, anti-siphoning provisions were built into the law to keep popular sport on free-to-air. Read more.

Sorry, Rupert, the ABC is more trusted than you are.

John Tulloh - Pearls & Irritations - July 11, 2018

As keen as the local Murdoch media are in reporting opinion polls, a recent survey* probably was not one of them. It declared that their avowed nemesis remained by far the most trusted media organisation in Australia. That is the ABC or, as Rupert Murdoch famously muttered in 2002, ‘Fucking ABC’. 

The ABC is an absolute nuisance to him, of course, just as it was to his father who saw the advent of radio news as a threat to his profitable newspapers. The trouble for Murdoch Jr is that the ABC stands in the way of him having even a greater share of what we read and watch in Australia and, therefore, greater influence. What’s more, it is free, a word that is like a virus to his commercial empire. Read more.

Kerry O'Brien's speech to ABC Friends rally - Sydney 8 July 2018

Pearls & Irritations - July 10, 2018

Let me start with a quote: ‘The ABC is a vital part of our nation’s polity. It is one of the great foundations of journalism and news gathering and broadcasting in the country. It has a very special place in Australia.’ That was Malcolm Turnbull in January 2014 when he announced a cut to the ABC’s budget of $254 million. Read more.

The time is right for a ‘step-up’ in ABC broadcasting to the Pacific

Jemima Garret - Devpolicyblog - July 9, 2018

Broadcasting can touch the heart, inspire the mind and set ideas into action, but in the Pacific it is struggling.

It has been four years since the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC’s) respected voice in the region was almost silenced by budget cuts. Now China is using former ABC radio frequencies and the Australian government is reviewing Asia Pacific broadcasting.

The review comes as media freedom in the Pacific is under greater challenge and audiences in significant parts of the Papua New Guinea Highlands and islands, Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have no service. Read more.

Case against the ABC lacking in substance

Prof Ed Davis - The Newcastle Herald - July 6, 2018

First we had the book by Chris Berg and Sinclair Davidson, research fellows with the Institute of Public Affairs, Against Public Broadcasting: why we should privatise the ABC and how to do it, telling us that the ABC must be sold off.

The IPA and its authors believe that the market would do a much better job, that tax payers would be relieved of a heavy burden and that a vehicle for the dissemination of left-wing views would be shut down. Read more.

ABC Friends NSW & ACT Rally - Sydney July 8, 2018

Watch the live-stream of the Rally [here] 2:32

ABC supporters including Kerry O'Brien and Magda Szubanski rally to 'save' broadcaster

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - July 8, 2018

In 30 years at the ABC, the broadcaster Phillip Adams has never seen such a “moment of danger” for public broadcasting, which is now under attack on several fronts, he told a rally in support of the ABC on Sunday.

“This is a really, really dark time,” the Late Night Live host said at a packed event organised by ABC Friends in Sydney, which also heard rousing speeches about the importance of the ABC from the author Thomas Keneally, the journalist Kerry O’Brien and the actor Magda Szubanski. Read more.

'Devastated it's over': ABC puts The Checkout on ice

Broede Carmody - SMH - July 6, 2018

The Checkout team has been told the show, which has been on air since 2013, wouldn't be renewed during the 2018-19 financial year due to its relatively high production cost. The federal government recently unveiled an $84 million hit to the ABC's bottom line over the next three years.

The Checkout has taken numerous companies to task over the years, with a mixture of hard-hitting and humorous segments. In 2015 the show was nominated for a Logie for most outstanding entertainment program, and this year it was up for the most popular lifestyle program gong. Read more.

Ex-Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh set to head ABC review

Jennifer Duke - The Age - July 6, 2018

Ex-Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh and former Australian Communications and Media Authority acting chairman Richard Bean are understood to be heading up the government's efficiency review of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the SBS.

Mr Tonagh stepped down from his role as chief executive of pay-TV platform in January after two years in the role, later being replaced by Fox Sports boss Patrick Delany. The newly merged Fox Sports and Foxtel is 65 per cent owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and 35 per cent owned by telecommunications company Telstra. Read more.

Nauru ignored Turnbull government's plea for ABC to cover Pacific Islands Forum

Michael Koziol - SMH - July 4, 2018

Nauru ignored the Turnbull government's appeals to allow the ABC into the country to cover the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum, despite Australia providing aid equivalent to a quarter of the tiny island nation's economy.

Fairfax Media understands the Turnbull government lobbied through diplomatic channels for weeks in the hope of securing the public broadcaster a place in a small press pack accompanying the Prime Minister for September's meeting of Pacific leaders. Read more.

News Corp rats on mates in press freedom protest

Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - July 4, 2018

The Canberra Press Gallery’s protest that it would withdraw from media pool coverage of September’s Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru has become an ugly diplomatic incident.

And with freedom of the press ultimately at stake, it now appears that News Corp Australia - publisher of the The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and others - is the opportunist, hypocritically happy to abandon this first principle. Read more.

Nauru's decision to ban ABC 'regrettable' but must be respected, Malcolm Turnbull says

Michael Koziol - SMH - July 3, 2018

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says it is regrettable Nauru has banned the ABC from covering a major regional meeting it is hosting, but the country's sovereignty must be respected.

Major media organisations were weighing the option of a joint boycott on Tuesday in response to the tiny island nation's decision to bar the ABC from obtaining a visa to attend the Pacific Islands Forum, scheduled for September. Read more.

ABC ban: News Corp rejects media boycott of Nauru forum

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - July 4, 2018

News Corp has rejected a boycott of the Pacific Islands Forum by the Australian federal press gallery, which was sparked by a Nauru government ban on the ABC for alleged “bias and false reporting”.

The president of the press gallery, David Crowe, said on Wednesday that the small pool of journalists, including a reporter, a stills photographer and a TV camera operator, would no longer cover the event if the ABC’s ban were not rescinded. Read more.

Navigating the News: ABC and University of Tasmania partner to present national journalism and media literacy conference

John Woodward - ABC Media Release - July 4, 2018

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the University of Tasmania will present a two-day conference in Hobart in September to explore the public’s declining trust in the media and how news organisations are responding.

Navigating the News Conference, to be held at the University of Tasmania, Hobart on 10-11 September 2018, will bring together leading Australian journalists and academics to discuss trust in journalism and how to collaborate to help better inform citizens. Read more.

Nauru blocks ABC access to Pacific Islands Forum, arguing 'blatant interference' in domestic politics

Matthew Doran - ABC News - July 2, 2018

he Nauruan Government is refusing the ABC access to a regional forum later this year, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be attending.

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is the region's leading political and economic dialogue, and will be held in September.

In a statement posted online on Monday, the Nauruan Government argued it was within its right to "choose who is allowed to enter". Read more.

The Circus that has been Government Policy on the ABC for Forty Years

Patricia Edgar - Pearls & Irritations - June 26, 2018

The ABC has been an extraordinarily resilient organisation. It has withstood management and Board upheavals, survived remorseless budget cuts and harassment. But the current attacks on staff and on its role are as overt and vicious as they have ever been. Many of those who were imbued with ABC values have died or moved on. The biggest fear to friends of the ABC today is inertia. This current attack will not be solved by quiet negotiation. The Government’s tactics are neither rational nor honest. This has to be a vocal public fight and once the dangers are understood the public will have to respond. What is there left to defend for our democracy to live on if the ABC is destroyed?  

There is a single, simple reason why the Liberal Coalition is persecuting the ABC: they believe it will be easier to remain in power if the ABC is nobbled. Read more.

Is the ABC really biased?

Vincent O'Donnell - SMH - June 30, 2018

The recent call by the Young Liberals to sell the ABC should come as no surprise. It comes hard on the heels of the publication of a book devoted to propagating that very purpose.

The authors of that book, devout members of the Institute for Public Affairs, belong to the cohort of opposition to public service broadcasting that believes, ideologically, government has little or no role in most human affairs.

Defence, immigration, customs and border protection are the affairs of national government: all the rest of human affairs are fodder for the private sector and the market to run and rule. Thus immigration, customs and border protection is the very power base that one arch-conservative, Peter Dutton, has established in his run for leadership of the Coalition. Read more.

ABC rejects idea it is unfairly competing with commercial media

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 30, 2018

The ABC does not crowd out commercial media but sparks innovation and nurtures the creative community, the broadcaster has told a government inquiry.

In a submission to the government’s competitive neutrality inquiry, the ABC has rejected the suggestion its activities online should be curtailed because it is unfairly competing with News Corp and Fairfax Media for online traffic. Read more.

ABC's submission to the Competitive Neutrality Inquiry

Future of Your ABC - June 29, 2018

Read the ABC's submission to the CNI [here]

Read CNI and the ABC - at a glance [here]

RBB Economics - Executive summary: The ABC and the Australian media sector [here]

A move to curtail the ABC would only 'punish Australian audiences'

Michelle Guthrie - SMH - June 30, 2018

This week 86 years ago the first radio transmissions from the new Australian Broadcasting Commission crackled across the “wireless”.  Anchored in the great traditions of the BBC, the new national broadcaster quickly found its mark in Australian life - providing programming that resonated with local audiences. It was distinctive, independent, proudly Australian and free - free from commercial, political and other agendas.

It was those very attributes that made the ABC the target of vested interests. Commercial media and their political allies fought bitterly against the establishment of the ABC in the first place. Then, during the 1930s, Sir Keith Murdoch and other newspaper owners insisted it be confined to broadcasting only five minutes of radio news bulletins per day - and only after 7.50pm, when it was expected people would have read the afternoon newspapers. They claimed it would steal their audiences and destroy their businesses. Read more.

'It is the 1930s all over again': ABC boss Michelle Guthrie hits out at rivals, government

Michael Koziol - SMH - June 30, 2018

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has criticised the government and the public broadcaster's commercial rivals for a retrograde campaign to oust the ABC from the media landscape.

In a submission to the Turnbull government's inquiry into whether the ABC and SBS are advantaged against private companies, the ABC denied crowding out commercial media outlets, and instead said its overlap with commercial rivals "enhances competition and innovation".

The ABC also argued its news division "helps to break major news stories which form the basis of other media coverage and commentary". Read more.

Liz Jackson

Liz Jackson made an enormous and sustained contribution to public broadcasting through her work in the ABC. We will all remember her compelling work on Four Corners, Media Watch and across ABC News and Current Affairs. She stood out for her incisive understanding of issues and her courage. She was an inspiration to all and we sadly mark and mourn her passing. Our sincere condolences to her family and friends.

Professor Ed Davis, President ABC Friends, NSW & ACT

Liz Jackson's legacy as one of the most important Australian reporters of her generation

Bruce Belsham - ABC News - June 29, 2018

When news spread that ABC reporter Liz Jackson had died in Greece this week, her friends and colleagues were stunned.

They had all watched with sadness the progress of a mysterious variant of Parkinson's disease.

However, many who knew her as a born journalist and storyteller half expected one more reporter's gift from the edge of mortality. Read more.

ABC most trusted | Facebook most distrusted

Roy Morgan - June 26, 2018

Australians trust the ABC and distrust Facebook the most, a landmark new survey reveals.

Conducted in May by Roy Morgan, the MEDIA Net Trust Survey reveals that while Facebook - and Social Media generally - is deeply distrusted in Australia, the ABC is by far the nation’s most trusted media organisation.

Half of all Australians (47 per cent) distrust social media, compared to only 9 per cent who distrust the ABC. Read more.

Privatising the ABC?

Paul Barry - Media Watch - June 25, 2018

Amid calls to privatise the ABC, tonight a feature program that explores the criticisms and issues confronting the public broadcaster. Watch video or read transcript [here]

Malcolm Turnbull on the ABC: 'Some presenters are biased to the left'

Paul Karp - The Guardian - June 22, 2018

Malcolm Turnbull has accused the ABC of “too many cases” of inaccurate reporting, claiming that “some” presenters and programs contain a left-wing bias.

Turnbull made the comments to 3AW Radio on Friday, in an escalation of hostilities with the national broadcaster which has been the subject of complaints by government ministers for its reporting of the Coalition’s company tax cut plan and the timing of five byelections. Read more.

Picking on Aunty - Why the latest push to privatise the ABC is not new or surprising

Mungo MacCallum - The Monthly - June 25, 2018

“They don’t hate us for what we do, but for who we are.”

This was the formula developed by various prime ministers in the days of defending the indefensible Australian policy of hanging on to the coattails of American troops in the Middle East.

Nowadays, of course, it hardly matters; the damage has been done and the course established. But the old line has been refurbished and reversed in the latest episode of the hard right’s culture wars. Read more.

'We are not your punching bag': ABC boss Michelle Guthrie hits back at the Liberal Party

Michael Koziol - SMH - June 19, 2018

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 ABC was viewed by the public as a "priceless asset" that should not be sold, no matter how much a commercial buyer might be prepared to fork out. Read more.

The ABC is an indulgence we can no longer afford

Harry Stutchbury - SMH - June 18, 2018

At last weekend’s Federal Council the Liberal Party resolved to privatise the ABC. The motion has no binding power and the federal Coalition government has moved quickly to distance itself from the motion, ruling out any move to privatise the ABC.

It surprised some commentators that this motion came from the Young Liberal Movement, but it is the view of many young Australians that the ABC has crept well beyond its mission statement and well past its expiration date in a world of technology driven media saturation. Read more.

The Liberal Party versus the ghost of Robert Menzies

Norman Abjorensen - Inside Story - June 18, 2018

The Liberal Party federal council’s call to sell off the ABC is unlikely to be taken up by the parliamentary party, but the fact that it was made at all represents not only a major challenge to Malcolm Turnbull but also a break with the party’s own history. The prime minister is quite right to insist that policy remains the sole prerogative of the parliamentary party: the perfectly sound reasons why this is so were enunciated repeatedly by the party’s founder, Robert Menzies, during his long period in power. Read more.

Is anti-ABC piece evidence of SMH's rightwards lurch?

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 22, 2018

An opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday declared the ABC was “an indulgence we can no longer afford” and that with the proliferation of content now available on the internet a public broadcaster was no longer needed. “YouTube frequenters will know that there are high-quality news and panel shows that focus on almost any topic imaginable, no matter how niche,” argued the writer, Harry Stutchbury. The existence of all that random content on YouTube may be exactly why we need the ABC, but no matter. Read more.

China takes over Radio Australia frequencies after ABC drops shortwave

ABC News - June 22, 2018

A Chinese station has taken over some of the shortwave radio frequencies once used by the ABC in the Pacific region, following the broadcaster's decision to end shortwave services.

Radio Australia switched off its shortwave transmissions to remote parts of northern Australia and across the Pacific in January 2017.

The ABC insisted at the time the shortwave technology was out of date and it would save $1.9 million by cutting the service, which it said would be reinvested in expanding content and services. Read more.

ABC faces 'most serious threat to its existence', says former chairman

Jacqueline Maley - SMH - June 22, 2018

The ABC is facing the “most serious threat in its existence” with “deeply disturbing attacks that have gone further than any of the attacks have gone in the last 50 years”, according to former ABC chairman and managing director David Hill.

Following the vote last week of the federal Liberal council to privatise the ABC, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that privatisation of the public broadcaster was not government policy. Read more.

ABC laughs off privatisation push

Broede Carmody - SMH - June 22, 2018

High-profile ABC personalities are fighting back against calls to privatise the national broadcaster with a surprise weapon.

Humour has been the ammunition of choice this week amid a fierce debate about the benefits of taxpayer-funded journalism.

Comedy program Tonightly has jumped on the bandwagon, as well as Triple J breakfast hosts Ben and Liam. Even News Breakfast has milked the debate for laughs. Read more.

How the Liberal Party is eating itself

Mike Seccombe - The Saturday Paper - June 23, 2018

Chris Kenny has spent much of his working life engaged in spin and damage control for the Liberal Party, including as staffer for the gaffe-prone Alexander Downer and also for Malcolm Turnbull during his disastrous first stint as Liberal leader.

He’s still doing it, although these days Kenny works only indirectly for the Libs, as an associate editor for The Australian. This week, he spearheaded the Murdoch media’s efforts at damage control in the wake of a vote by the Liberals’ federal council in favour of privatising the ABC. Read more.

The ABC is up for sale and everything must go

ABC TV - June 21, 2018

Watch Sammy J auction-off the ABC [here]

ABC motion reveals immaturity at heart of Liberal Party

David Crowe - SMH - June 22, 2018

All political parties are weighed down by policy baggage at times, but it takes a party with a death wish to add rocks to the luggage when they are lumbering towards an election.

That is why the Liberal vote to privatise the ABC sends a danger sign to voters about the state of the political organisation that underpins the federal government. Read more.

Constant attacks on the ABC will come back to haunt the Coalition government

Denis Muller - The Conversation - June 20, 2018

In January 1932, as the newly elected United Australia Party government of Joseph Lyons was contemplating the establishment of a national broadcasting service, the prime minister received a deputation of prominent Melburnians, including a barrister and member of the Victorian parliament, Robert Gordon Menzies.

They urged that the new broadcasting service “be organised on an independent basis and that cultural potentialities of the Broadcast Service be considered a matter of primary importance”. The broadcast service came to be named the Australian Broadcasting Commission and went to air for the first time on July 1 1932. Read more.

Fiercely protecting the ABC and Michelle Guthrie

Michelle Pini - Independent Australia - June 20, 2018

IT WAS ALWAYS going to be a hard gig - addressing the Melbourne Press Club on the issue of the future of the ABC.

For the current managing director, Michelle Guthrie, it may have been especially difficult. She is, after all, an unknown quantity. Since coming into the role two years ago, Guthrie has seldom made herself available to the media, which is an interesting position for the head of a publicly owned media organisation to take. Read more.

Ian the Climate Denialist Potato wants to flog off the ABC

First Dog on the Moon - The Guardian - June 20, 2018

The ABC makes the government inefficient. Whatever Four Corners reports on a Monday, the government has to announce an inquiry into on Tuesday! Read more.

ABC launches microsite as next step in defence of public broadcaster

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 20, 2018

The ABC has followed up Michelle Guthrie’s rallying speech at the Melbourne Press Club on Tuesday by publishing a microsite about the future of public broadcasting in Australia.

The microsite is another plank in the ABC’s renewed strategy to ward off more funding cuts and to answer critics who claim the broadcaster is a $1bn burden on taxpayers. Read more.

Why we can't afford to let Aunty ABC be privatised

Letters - SMH - June 19, 2018

Harry Stutchbury presents an argument to privatise the ABC that could have been written (and paid for) by good old Rupert himself ("ABC is an indulgence we can no longer afford," June 19).

Doesn't he realise that the ABC is more than just another media organisation? It is part of our cultural fabric that defines Australia. I am more than happy that they are supported by us, through government funding. Read more.

If there's a problem at 7.30, it's no fault of Leigh Sales'

Debi Enker - SMH - June 18, 2018

If the Logie Awards genuinely celebrated achievement in the Australian TV industry, Leigh Sales would regularly be in the running for the Gold. Sales might not want or need such an accolade, but she certainly deserves the recognition.

Her regular exclusion indicates just one of the problems when a promotional vehicle for a fan magazine is mistaken for a fair acknowledgement of achievement. Candidates from the ABC are at a disadvantage in a game so strongly slanted toward commercial operators. So, Tracy Grimshaw: yes. Leigh Sales: no. Read more.

Downer faces pro-ABC campaign in Mayo

Bension Siebert - InDaily - June 18, 2018

Liberal candidate Georgina Downer is facing a fierce pro-ABC campaign in the seat of Mayo despite renouncing a push from her party’s national council over the weekend to privatise the public broadcaster.

The Liberal Party’s annual federal council voted in favour of a proposal to privatise the ABC on Saturday.

The Coalition Government immediately rejected the push and Georgina Downer has distanced herself from the proposal this morning. Read more.

ABC boss slams privatisation calls

Belinda Tasker - The New Daily - June 19, 2018

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has rejected calls from within the Liberal Party to privatise the public broadcaster, saying the commercial media sector doesn’t need a new “advertising behemoth”.

Ms Guthrie said such calls were misplaced and ignored the public value of the 86-year-old media group, which is taxpayer funded.

“I think the public regards the ABC as a priceless asset, more valuable now than ever in its history,” she told the Melbourne Press Club on Tuesday. Read more.

ABC 'being used as a political punching bag', managing director Michelle Guthrie says

Madeleine Morris - ABC News - June 19, 2018

The ABC's managing director Michelle Guthrie has rebuffed calls to privatise the national broadcaster, saying its value to the Australian economy is worth more than $1 billion.

In her first comments since Liberal Party members voted to privatise the ABC, Ms Guthrie told the Melbourne Press Club that "far from being a drain on the public purse, the audience, community and economic value stemming from ABC activity [has] a real and tangible benefit". Read more.

ABC contributes as much to the economy as it costs the taxpayer: Michelle Guthrie

Michelle Grattan - The Conversation - June 19, 2018

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has hit back against critics with a Deloitte Access Economics assessment that the public broadcaster contributed more than A$1 billion to the Australian economy in the last financial year.

This was on a par with the public funding of the organisation, she told the Melbourne Press Club, in an address coming days after the Liberal Federal Council urged the ABC be privatised - a call rejected by the government. Read more.

Standing up for the ABC

Michelle Guthrie - Melbourne Press Club - June 19, 2018

Australians regard the ABC as a great national institution and deeply resent it being used as "a punching bag by narrow political, commercial or ideological interests,” managing director Michelle Guthrie has told the Melbourne Press Club.

In a 19 June address pitched to “remind people what we stand for”, Ms Guthrie said the ABC makes a real and tangible contribution to the Australian community, including economic activity worth as much as its annual funding. Watch the video.

Losing a by-election is as easy as ABC

Peter Brent - Inside Story - June 18, 2018

Among the many dumb things Tony Abbott did to precipitate his downfall as prime minister was to toss reassuring culture war declarations to the feral base of the Liberal Party, via Sky News and the Bolt Report.

On one occasion he assured an on-air personality - Andrew Bolt, I think, perhaps when he was still on Channel 10 - that he shared the worldview of News Corp rather than the ABC. It’s the kind of statement that would be harmless if Bolt’s viewers were its only audience, but naturally it ricocheted around the internet and into mainstream media, where it could be witnessed by the politically disengaged hordes. Read more.

Radical plan to give away the ABC dismissed as ‘totally laughable’

James Fernyhough - The New Daily - June 18, 2018

A radical and influential plan that would see the ABC given away to its employees rather than sold has been dismissed as “idiotic” and “totally laughable” by supporters of the public broadcaster.

The plan, laid out in a new book by RMIT academics Chris Berg and Sinclair Davidson, would see government funding completely withdrawn from the public broadcaster, and ownership transferred to ABC employees. Read more.

Voters trust the ABC. And the government looks afraid of it

Van Badham - The Guardian - June 18, 2018

emember when Liberal Tony Abbott told us there’d be “no cuts to the ABC” when he pitched for election back in 2013?

What about when then-communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, launched a Parliamentary Friends of the ABC group with a “passionate defence of the public broadcaster” back in 2014? Read more.

Liberal mutiny as party members demand leaders change policy and privatise the ABC

Farrah Plummer - The New Daily - June 16, 2018

Liberal Party members have urged the Turnbull government to privatise the ABC, a move one crossbench senator has branded a confirmation of a government “secret plan” to sell off the public broadcaster.

The motion is not binding and is unlikely to become government policy, but the 2:1 vote among 100 MPs and party members in Sydney on Saturday has been considered a barometer of Liberal Party mood toward the public broadcaster. Read more.

ABC Friends' Newsletter - Update

The July 2018 edition of Update is now available [here]

The threat to public broadcasting in this country becomes more menacing by the day

Ranald Macdonald - Pearls & Irritations - June 18, 2018

Those who say that the ABC will be around for years to come have their heads truly in a world of denial.

On top of the Government’s huge cuts to funding, with 1000 less employed today than four years ago, continual harassment and criticism, now the Federal Liberal Council meeting in Sydney (June 16) has, on a 2 to 1 vote, sought the selling off of the ABC.  

Oh what a happy world it must for commercial media rivals with the Government ensuring that the ABC is less able to perform to the highest standards – and how great the expectation of widespread editorial approval must be from Cabinet. Read more.

There is everything to fear in the Liberal proposal to sell the ABC

Leo D'Angelo Fisher - The New Daily - June 17, 2018

Some believe the recent call by the Liberal Party’s Federal Council to privatise the ABC provides no cause for alarm because the policy directive is not binding on the government.

That’s true; it’s not binding. But there is cause for concern if for no other reason than the privatisation of the ABC has now been placed on the political agenda. Read more.

Mayo poll shows electorate wants ABC protected

Media Release - The Australia Institute - June 16, 2018

The Australia Institute commissioned ReachTEL to conduct a survey of 1,031 residents across the federal electorate of Mayo on the evening of 5 June 2018.  The poll included a question about funding for the ABC. The results are released today. Read more.

View from The Hill: Threat to the ABC is not sale but more bullying

Michelle Grattan - The Conversation - June 17, 2018

A re-elected Turnbull government wouldn’t sell the ABC, whatever scare Bill Shorten might be raising. But you’d have to be an optimist to think that if it wins, it won’t intensify its bullying and denigration of the public broadcaster.

There is more than a little irony in the Liberal federal council on Saturday delivering Labor a campaign issue around the ABC before the Super Saturday byelections.

Just a while ago, the government was surfing on the skirmishing on refugee policy ahead of the ALP national conference, only to see that dispute put on the backburner when Labor delayed the conference because the byelections were set for the same date. Read more.

Privatising the ABC at your peril is the warning to Liberal Party

Letters - SMH - June 18, 2018

Attention Liberal Party, privatise the ABC at your peril ("Liberal Party council votes to sell ABC", Sun-Herald, June 17). - Carol Zarkesh, Austinmer

It is expected that the young will have a broader mind and be brighter than the old, but the remarks of Young Liberal Mitchell Collier indicates limited thinking. He said there was no economic case for the sale. However, recent studies indicate that we should be assessing programs and expenditure on the basis of return in the people's wellbeing - mental and physical health, culture, education, sport and the encouragement of community concern and giving. It's the government's job to support not only the policies that might build the GDP, but those that will actually make our country great. - Jan Allerton, Huntleys Cove Read more.

Bill Shorten says an election victory would 'embolden' the Liberals to privatise the ABC

Caitlyn Gribbin - ABC News - June 18, 2018

Liberal members will be "emboldened" to sell the ABC if the party wins the next election, federal Labor is warning. Key points: Liberal Party members at a conference this weekend called on the Government to privatise the ABC Senior government ministers have denied the Coalition has plans to do so Bill Shorten says the Liberal Party will "sell off" the ABC if re-elected

The Opposition has leapt on calls from Liberal Party members for the national broadcaster to be privatised, except in regional areas.

Senior government ministers are rushing to deny the Coalition has plans to sell the ABC, despite the motion passing overwhelmingly at the Liberal national conference this weekend. Read more.

Drama is the new black: How Aunty and SBS upstaged our commercial networks

Michael Lallo - SMH - June 1, 2018

When Netflix arrived in Australia, in 2015, scrutiny fell upon our commercial networks. How could these ageing broadcasters compete with a cheap, ad-free streaming service? Would Seven, Nine and Ten now mimic their newest foe? So far, the answer is: not really.

While the Netflix-versus-commercial-TV battle dominated the headlines, our public broadcasters used this to their advantage, mounting a quiet revolution. Both ABC and SBS have met the challenge head-on, cherry-picking the best features of subscription video-on-demand (VOD) for their free streaming platforms. Read more.

Liberal Party members call to sell ABC nothing but 'pure self-indulgence'

David Crowe - SMH - June 17, 2018

Liberal Party federal president Nick Greiner had some good advice for his colleagues on Friday night but they struggled to remember it on Saturday morning.

“I think in some ways, across the party, we’ve occasionally been lazy and self-indulgent when we put our own internal tiffs, our internal arguments, over the wellbeing of the party overall,” he said. Read more.

Liberal Party members vote to privatise ABC and move Australia's Israel embassy to Jerusalem

Jane Norman - ABC News - June 16, 2018

Liberal Party members have called on the Turnbull Government to move Australia's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and privatise the ABC, highlighting a gulf between the rank-and-file and the MPs who represent them.

More than 100 MPs and members are in Sydney for the Liberal Party's annual federal council which is expected to be the last before the next federal election. Read more.

Liberal Party council votes to sell off the ABC

David Rowe - The Age - June 16, 2018

The Liberal Party’s peak council has voted almost 2:1 to privatise the ABC after hearing calls from members to save taxpayer funds by selling the public broadcaster in the same way icons like Qantas were sold decades ago.

The overwhelming vote on Saturday morning was another display of the anger at the ABC in conservative ranks although no Liberals offered any detail on how the organisation could be sold and how much it would be worth. Read more.

Jon Faine has a gutful of a silent ABC being 'done over' by Coalition

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 15, 2018

After a passionate outburst on ABC radio on Thursday, veteran broadcaster Jon Faine joked with co-host Corrie Perkin that he might need to look for another job. Faine was characteristically blunt as he told listeners to the Conversation Hour that politicians were “laughing” at the ABC for staying silent while it was “done over” by the Coalition government, which imposed more budget cuts and an efficiency review last month. He took aim at managing director, Michelle Guthrie, and her chairman, Justin Milne, for not standing up to ABC critics and defending the broadcaster. Read more.

Pollies go in to bat for ABC to continue broadcasting cricket on the wireless

Matthew Doran & Andrew Probyn - ABC News - June 15, 2018

In a rare show of bipartisanship, politicians from both sides of the ideological divide are going in to bat for the ABC to continue its 80-year unbeaten partnership with cricket's governing body.

On Wednesday speculation swirled through the corridors of power the public broadcaster may be dumped in Cricket Australia's latest radio deal, which is due to be announced in coming weeks. Read more.

Shorten promises to reverse budget cut to the ABC

Michelle Grattan - The Conversation - June 11, 2018

Bill Shorten has moved to make the ABC an election issue, promising to reverse the Turnbull government’s $83.7 million budget cut and to guarantee funding certainty over the broadcaster’s next budget cycle.

Ahead of appearing on the ABC’s Q&A program, Shorten and frontbench colleagues declared the Coalition had “launched the biggest attack on the ABC in a generation”. Read more.

Bill Shorten vows to reverse the Turnbull government's $84m cut to the ABC

David Crowe - SMH - June 11, 2018

Labor has pledged $83.7 million to reverse the Turnbull government’s latest funding cut to the ABC amid a growing fight over claims of political “meddling” with the national broadcaster.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten made the commitment on Monday after weeks of doubt over his stance on the cuts, which were unveiled in the federal budget last month and have triggered warnings of more ABC job losses.

The Labor promise comes after a series of government moves to challenge the ABC on editorial judgments, with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield making six complaints so far this year. Read more.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten vows to restore ABC funding if elected

Henry Belot - ABC News - June 11, 2018

Federal Labor would end a funding freeze on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) if elected, effectively restoring $83.7 million to the public broadcaster over three years.

The Coalition plans to pause the ABC's annual funding indexation from July 2019, which means future funding will not change in line with inflation.

Senior government figures say the change is necessary to help the broadcaster live "within its means". Read more.

ABC Classic FM denies rumoured proposal to close the station

Angus McPherson - Limelight Mag - June 8, 2018

ABC Classic FM’s new Content Manager Toby Chadd has hosed down rumours about the classical music station’s possible closure after an article in Crikey’s Tips and Rumours section triggered speculation about the station’s future. The rumours come following the Federal Government’s decision to pause indexation of operational funding for the broadcaster in the 2018 Budget. Read more.

'You've got to play to the base': Why the ABC is a political football

Laura Tingle - ABC News - June 9, 2018

Bill Shorten rose in Federal Parliament on Thursday afternoon last week to give a rousing defence of the ABC. An hour later, an email arrived in ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie's office from Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

"The Labor Opposition with me as leader will defend the independence of the ABC, and a Labor government with me as prime minister will defend the independence of the ABC", Mr Shorten told Parliament.

Senator Fifield, by comparison, wanted to complain.

The complaint? That several ABC journalists had retailed "the Labor lie" that the Government may have chosen the dates of five looming federal by-elections for political reasons. Read more.

Mitch Fifield, the IPA and the ABC

Mike Seccombe - The Saturday Paper - June 9, 2018

Somehow Margaret Reynolds managed to emerge, after 16 years in the Australian Senate, still a notably civil, patient and uncynical person.

“I must be something of a political Pollyanna,” says Reynolds, who is these days the national president of ABC Friends, “but I never give up on anyone.”

Mitch Fifield is pushing her close to it, though. The government’s unrelenting hostility towards the national broadcaster, spearheaded by the communications minister, has certainly made her reconsider her views of the man. Read more.

Review of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific

The Government is undertaking a review of Australian media services in the Asia-Pacific.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation ceased shortwave broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region in January 2017 ahead of a transition to FM transmission.

The review is assessing the reach of Australia’s media in the Asia-Pacific region, including examining whether shortwave radio technology should be used.

Submissions close August 03, 2018 17:00 AEST. You can download the Terms of Reference and make a submission [here]

Communications minister blasts ABC for repeating ‘Labor lies’

Paul Wallbank - Mumbrella - June 4, 2018

Communications minister Mitch Fifield has again complained about the ABC’s reporting, this time accusing the broadcaster of reporting “Labor’s partisan rhetoric” as fact.

Fifield’s latest complaint is around the reporting of the ‘Super Saturday’ of by-elections due in July, which was reported by a number of ABC journalists and guest commentators as a deliberate act by the government to unsettle the opposition Labor party. Read more.

With ABC in a pickle, chairman Justin Milne breaks silence

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 1, 2018

It has been seven months since Michelle Guthrie unveiled the winners of her pet project, the Great Ideas Grant. The managing director created a new content fund by axing about 200 jobs, then asked staff to “think about reach, audience gaps, scalability and applying digital-first thinking” and put forward an idea.

One of the winning pitches was ABC Life, a new website for health, work, personal finance, pets, family, sex, food, gardening, travel, fashion and creativity under one banner. Read more.

ABC axes another 37 jobs in wake of $84m budget cut

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 1, 2018

The ABC has axed another 37 jobs just days after it was revealed the public broadcaster had shed more than 1,000 jobs since 2014.

The 37 jobs losses are in the technology division and are on top of the 22 jobs axed from the national newsrooms last month. ABC news director Gaven Morris has promised there will be new positions created and there will be “no net loss” of jobs after the redundancies in news. Read more.

Coalition complains to ABC about Laura Tingle, Barrie Cassidy and Andrew Probyn

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 1, 2018

The Coalition has once again complained to the ABC managing director about ABC news, accusing political journalists Laura Tingle, Barrie Cassidy and Andrew Probyn of repeating “false” claims by the Labor party.

The federal communications minister, Mitch Fifield, wrote to Michelle Guthrie to make a formal complaint about the ABC’s reporting of the setting of the date for the so-called super Saturday byelection. Read more.

Australian Story feels the squeeze as ABC refuses to cut Corners

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 25, 2018

The ABC may be in dire financial straits as its budget gets squeezed even further by the Coalition but there is one program that has had its budget increased.

It was the ABC news director, Gaven Morris, who told the Melbourne Press Club after the $84m federal budget cut was handed down, “Make no mistake, there is no more fat to cut in ABC news. From this point on, we’re cutting into muscle.”

But it is also Morris who has delivered an unprecedented boost to the budget of Four Corners, amid widespread squeezing of program budgets and redundancies across the news division. Read more.

ABC response to Maurice Newman in The Australian

ABC - May 31, 2018

The Australian has today published an opinion column by former ABC Chairman (2007-2012) Maurice Newman, headlined “Climate propaganda parades as science on your leftist ABC”, in which he reaches his familiar conclusion that “justification for public broadcasting (is ceasing) to apply”.

Unfortunately, on his way there Mr Newman makes a litany of incorrect and misleading claims concerning the ABC, journalist Michael Brissenden, Four Corners and the 5 March Four Corners report “Weather Alert”. Read more.

Why do we need public broadcasting?

Phillip Adams on Late Night Live - RN - May 31, 2018

What's the role of public broadcasters - and how is it affected by a changing media landscape? Listen here.

Imagine Australia without the ABC

Bill Shorten MP - Speech to Parliament - May 31, 2018

A cut in funding to the ABC may not determine the outcome of the next election, but it does determine the sort of country we are and the sort of direction this nation is taking. This government has neither an agenda nor any real authority, but it does do good vendetta. It speaks every day against the unions or against better conditions for workers. It speaks against properly funding our schools, our hospitals, our TAFEs and our universities. But it also, in the last budget, has cut the national broadcaster and the capacity of the national broadcaster to fulfil its charter. Read the full speech. Hear the speech [here]

Labor refuses to say if it would reverse funding cuts to the ABC

Michael Koziol - SMH - May 31, 2018

Labor's communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland says she is "looking very closely" at ABC funding but cannot say if her party will reverse the Turnbull government's repeated cuts.

Asked twice at a public forum on Wednesday night whether Labor would undo the funding freeze in this year's budget - as well as $254 million in cuts under former prime minister Tony Abbott - Ms Rowland told the audience Labor was looking to balance "economic realities" with its principles.

"We are a responsible opposition. We actually have a good track record of supporting and increasing funding to the ABC," she said. Read more.

Australians should not be fooled by attacks on the ABC

Justin Milne - ABC News - May 30, 2018

The ABC is an organisation known intimately to every Australian and about which every one of us has an opinion. The letters pages of newspapers contain a steady stream of bouquets and brickbats for the public broadcaster.

Yet according to pollsters, with about 80 per cent support, the ABC is the most trusted media organisation in the country by a very wide margin.

It is one of the few organisations to maintain trust when confidence in institutions everywhere has declined.

This trust has been hard-earned over the ABC's 86-year history. But as some in the banking community have learnt recently, that trust can be eroded very quickly. Some people delight in undermining trust in public broadcasting because they'd rather darkness where we shine light, or because their commercial interests are served when Australians have less media diversity and choice. Read more.

Commercial interests out to get the ABC

Justin Milne - SMH - May 30, 2018

The ABC is an organisation known intimately to every Australian and about which every one of us has an opinion. The letters pages of newspapers contain a steady stream of bouquets and brickbats for the public broadcaster. Yet according to pollsters, with around 80 per cent support, the ABC is the most trusted media organisation in the country by a very wide margin. It is one of the few organisations to maintain trust when confidence in institutions everywhere has declined.

This trust has been hard-earned over the ABC’s 86-year history. But as some in the banking community have learnt recently, that trust can be eroded very quickly. Some people delight in undermining trust in public broadcasting because they’d rather darkness where we shine light, or because their commercial interests are served when Australians have less media diversity and choice. Read more.

Public trust and the ABC, a landmine for Turnbull

Peter Manning - John Menadue's Pearls & Irritations - May 28, 2018

It’s a long-time ago now but in the early 1990’s, just after I’d finished my stint as head of ABC TV News and Current Affairs (and having a blue with first Bob Hawke and then David Hill over ABC TV coverage of the first Iraq war), I took over as General Manager of the ABC’s Radio National. 

Now there was a “hospital pass”, as they say in Rugby League, if ever there was one. RN’s reputation, even inside the ABC, was only beaten by Triple JJJ in the enfant terrible stakes. Famously antagonistic to middle management (meaning people like me), full of long-time public heroes like Robin Williams, Norman Swan, Caroline Jones, Robyn Ravlich, Paul Collins, Mark Aarons and Ros Cheney, steeped in specialist knowledge and presenting their own programs, they were an awesome lot to manage. Luckily, I was friends of most before I got there from TV-land. Read more.

ABC radio is world class. ABC TV? Not so much

Tony Walker - SMH - May 27, 2019

Melbourne lawyer and property investor Joe Gersh is the latest addition to an otherwise ineffectual ABC board presiding over a decline of the national broadcaster.

Whether Gersh, whose experience is in backroom deal-making on behalf of wealthy clients, will add value to a lacklustre board remains to be seen.

However, it is not overstating things to say the ABC finds itself in one of its most perilous moments in a political environment that could hardly be more hostile.

The government's decision to bend the knee to Pauline Hanson's One Nation and critics in the commercial media by instituting a Competitive Neutrality Inquiry is a case in point. Read more.

The ABC of budget cuts

Richard Aedy - ABC Radio - May 24, 2018

Funding for public broadcasting is in decline around the world. It's not just the ABC, which will lose $84 million from the middle of 2019 and, when you adjust for inflation, has lost 28% of its funding over the last three decades.

Still, the ABC does cost the taxpayer just over a billion dollars a year. So what are we getting?

How much do other countries spend on public broadcasting? And can we really work out what Aunty is worth? Read more.

ABC has shed 1,012 jobs since 2014, Senate estimates told

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 24, 2018

Michelle Guthrie was a no-show at Senate estimates on Wednesday night as the ABC managing director’s chief finance officer revealed that the broadcaster had shed 1,012 jobs since 2014.

The ABC finance executive Louise Higgins was left to field questions about whether the $84m budget cut, in the form of an indexation freeze, would lead to even more job losses. Guthrie had a "significant family commitment" and could not attend, Higgins told the committee. Read more.

Malcolm Turnbull lodges second complaint with the ABC about Emma Alberici

Michael Kozoil - SMH - May 24, 2018

The Turnbull government has lodged a second series of complaints to the ABC about the network's chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici, this time over her reporting on innovation spending.

However, the public broadcaster has roundly rejected the complaints following an internal review. ABC journalist Emma Alberici.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sent a list of 11 grievances to the ABC on May 7 about a television story aired the previous evening about research and innovation spending. Read more.

Royal outrage as conservative chorus rounds on ABC

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 19, 2018

Not since Zaky Mallah asked a question on Q&A - prompting then-prime minister Tony Abbott to ask the ABC “whose side are you on” - has the public broadcaster been such a hot topic.

Everything from the ABC handing out executive bonuses, to Aunty sending a TV crew to London to cover the royal wedding, has been subjected to the blowtorch.

News Corp columnists, including the Australian’s Gerard Henderson, the Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt and the Courier Mail’s Des Houghton, have all lined up to denounce the ABC in the past few days. Read more.

Government defends ABC budget cuts

Jennifer Jennings - News.com.au - May 9, 2018

The Turnbull government has defended funding cuts to the ABC the morning after delivering a budget focused on tax.

A three-year funding freeze will cut $84 million from the public broadcaster, following a decision to axe $43 million in funding for news and current affairs.

But Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says the ABC will still receive $3.2 billion over those three years.

"This is effectively equivalent to the efficiency dividend that applies to nearly all other government taxpayer-funded organisations," he told the ABC on Wednesday. Read more.

Right Royal stoush over ABC coverage

InDaily - May 17, 2018

Cabinet minister Peter Dutton has hit out at "largesse" at the ABC, criticising a decision to send a special crew to London for the royal wedding.

The minister said he couldn’t understand why the taxpayer-funded broadcaster flew presenters Annabel Crabb and Jeremy Fernandez to the UK for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials.

“Why they need to send people across when they’ve already got correspondents in the UK is beyond me. If you have a look at the largesse of their studios at the ABC, these bonuses they’ve just paid out, I’d love to know the criteria,” Dutton told 2GB radio today. Read more.

Time to sharpen the edge of Australia’s soft power

Geoff Heriot - The Interpreter - May 17, 2018

Recent commentary about a changing world order, and the growing influence of China and Indonesia across Australia’s strategic threshold of the south-west Pacific, highlights the incompleteness of this country’s outreach to the “Indo-Pacific”.

In the government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, for example, the chapter concerning “partnerships and soft power” makes no reference to the ABC, which has a legislative responsibility to broadcast to foreign publics and the Australian diaspora. 

Once a significant player in what the British Council calls the Great Game of the Airwaves, the ABC’s purpose-designed, multiplatform international services have suffered near-terminal decline. This has resulted from two decades of yo-yoing government policy and ABC Board decisions. Read more.

Only the support of the people can save the ABC now

Emma Dawson - The Guardian - May 17, 2018

he announcement in last week’s budget that the ABC’s funding indexation will be frozen for three years from July 2019 is the latest in a series of extraordinary attacks by a government that displays an unprecedented level of hostility to the national broadcaster.It represents a real cut to the broadcaster’s operating costs of $84m.

Added to the $254m cut over five years announced by then-communications minister Malcolm Turnbull in November 2014, and a $28m cut to the enhanced newsgathering service in the 2016 budget, this brings the money taken out of our national broadcaster since the election of the Coalition government to over a quarter of a billion dollars. Read more.

$30m to Fox Sports, $84m from the ABC: A tale of two broadcasters

Luke Henriques Gomes - The New Daily - May 15, 2018

As the Turnbull government promised a tax cut to 10 million workers and conspicuously sought to avoid any pre-election "nasties", it was hard to spot too many losers on budget night.

But one did stand out.

In a budget aimed at pleasing everyone, the ABC copped an $84 million cut over three years. Some of that money was redirected to a Captain Cook memorial in Sydney, which has been welcomed by traditional owners despite controversy. Read more.

"It's horrendous": Journalists' union weighs in on SA job cuts

David Washington - InDaily - May 15, 2018

In the midst of a particularly bad month for the media industry in South Australia, the union representing journalists has outlined the "bleak" jobs situation at News Corp's Adelaide office and has questioned the ABC's decision to axe several senior newsroom staff.

MEAA SA branch secretary Angelique Ivanica says she believes News Corp - which publishes The Advertiser, Sunday Mail and Messenger mastheads in South Australia - will outsource or axe almost its entire sub-editing staff, leaving only a small pool of senior editors on-staff at Waymouth Street. Read more.

Why we should be boosting ABC funding, not cutting it

Michael Pascoe - The New Daily - May 14, 2018

It's ironic Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has difficulty communicating. But don't worry, I’m here to help: cutting the ABC's funding makes perfect sense - if you’re pre-empting your own inquiry into competitive neutrality and doing One Nation and media mates a favour.

Fresh from making an undocumented hash of explaining the taxpayers’ $30 million gift to the Murdoch Empire's Foxtel, Senator Mitch Fifield is now at sea justifying the $84 million cut to the ABC’s budget.

"I am not going to pre-empt the outcome of the efficiency review," he told ABC news - but that’s precisely what the funding cuts do. Read more.

Majority of voters oppose budget cut to ABC funding - poll

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 14, 2018

A majority of Australians believe a strong, independent ABC is critical to a healthy democracy and oppose a cut to ABC funding, according to a new poll.

The Australia Institute poll found 70% of people wanted a strong ABC and 60% agreed the ABC needed a "boost to long term funding".

The poll was released after the Coalition slashed the ABC’s budget by $84m last week.

Operational funding for the ABC will remain at 2018-19 levels over three years in what the government has called an indexation freeze and the ABC has called a funding cut. Read more.

The cutting wedge

Editorial - The Saturday Paper - May 12, 2018

What this government hates is scrutiny. That's what these cuts are about.

This is the government whose communications minister is a card-carrying member of the Institute of Public Affairs, a body that lobbies for the ABC to be privatised. It is a government that hates, deeply hates, the public broadcaster.

Its first big lie, Tony Abbott's last promise before he won government, was that there would be no cuts to the ABC. Since then, it has made the persecution of the ABC a running obsession. The most powerful minister in the government, Peter Dutton, mocks its reporters as "crazy lefties". He says: "They don't realise how completely dead they are to me." Read more.

ABC cuts - the gloves are off.

Ranald Macdonald - Pearls & Irritations - May 10, 2018

The Coalition’s latest budget aimed at ensuring the voters return it to the government benches has dropped any pretence of supporting a vibrant, independent and properly funded ABC.

It is now a fight by the ABC and its supporters for its survival as an effective public broadcaster and for it to be able to fulfill its Charter requirements.

Interestingly, the European Commissioner for Human Rights has just issued a report, which begins: Read more.

The politics behind the competitive neutrality inquiry into ABC and SBS

Denis Muller - The Conversation - May 3, 2018

Last September, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson made a deal with Malcolm Turnbull's government: You give me an inquiry into the ABC and I'll support the changes you want to make to media ownership laws.

The government agreed to do this in the form of an inquiry into the ABC's competitive neutrality - and broadened it to include SBS.

It was clear at the time this had the potential to do real damage to the national broadcaster. Read more.

The challenge facing the ABC: Time for a clear channel

Jennifer Duke - SMH - May 12, 2018

Talk about making a bad situation worse. Shortly after the government announced ABC funding would be frozen as part of the federal budget on Tuesday, the national broadcaster's managing director Michelle Guthrie, and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield found themselves arguing about money.

But instead of focusing solely on the merits of the government’s budget decision to cut $84 million from the ABC over three years, Guthrie and Fifield were also debating the future of an unrelated $43 million enhanced news-gathering program. Read more.

ABC reels as Coalition uses budget cuts to declare war on Bolt's 'leftist collective'

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 11, 2018

We don't normally agree with Andrew Bolt and Judith Sloan but the two conservative News Corp columnists appear to have hit the nail on the head when it comes to explaining the shock $84m cut to the ABC budget. Speaking on the ABC's The Drum, Sloan said the ABC cuts were "payback" for ABC programming but would not elaborate when pushed by the host, Julia Baird.

Bolt was not so reticent, saying the ABC's “leftist collective” had blotted its copybook once too often with the government "and it’s now open war - war that spilled into budget cuts on Tuesday". Read more.

Budget cuts are an attempt to bully the ABC into silence

Andrew Fowler - The Guardian - May 10, 2018

The bullying of the ABC with the latest round of budget cuts is a stark example of how the federal government wants to kill questioning journalism. Vicious attacks on the ABC certainly came from both major political parties in the past, but whereas Labor, by its political orientation at least pays lip service to dissent, there are no such restraints on the Liberal National Coalition. And as the government has shifted to the right, the attacks on the ABC have been more overt, with the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, pointedly referring to the ABC (and the Guardian) as "dead" to him. Dutton was angry at the role of journalists in holding him to account. Read more.

"Death by a thousand cuts": Eastward drift of ABC jobs puts heritage in limbo

David Washington - InDaily - May 7, 2018

The ABC quietly closed its Adelaide sound library days before the March state election, with new revelations that the drift of jobs away from South Australia over several years played a part in the decision to axe the facility.

Answers to questions on notice provided to South Australian Labor Senator Penny Wong reveal that the library was closed despite it being moved from one floor of the ABC's Collinswood headquarters to another just last September at a cost of at least $20,000.

The closure led to two staff members losing their jobs - a bitter pill for the local ABC, which is also facing the loss of two or three senior staff over the coming months. Read more.

ABC funding slashed by $84m in budget to help broadcaster 'live within their means'

Amanda Meade & Patrick Keneally - The Guardian - May 8, 2018

Funding for the ABC has been cut by $84m with the treasurer, Scott Morrison, saying the reduction is justified because "everyone has to live within their means".

The ABC's managing director, Michelle Guthrie, told staff she was “very disappointed and concerned” about what amounted to a substantial budget cut and it would impact audiences.

"This decision will make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its charter requirements and audience expectations," Guthrie told staff.

The cut comes on top of the government's decision not to continue a further $43m targeted grant to support news gathering and after cuts of the magnitude of $254m since 2014. Read more.

Budget 2018: Turnbull government hits ABC with $84m funding freeze

Michael Koziol - SMH - May 8, 2018

More than $80 million will be cut from the ABC in coming years in the biggest hit to the national broadcaster since Tony Abbott swung the axe in 2014.

The Turnbull government has booked $83.7 million in savings by freezing the ABC's funding until 2022, a move that will upset the broadcaster but please its critics inside and outside Parliament. Read more.

Budget 2018: ABC hits back over funding cuts to bottom line

Rachel Eddie - The New Daily - May 9, 2018

The ABC has called for a staff meeting after the federal government cut $83.7 million from the national broadcaster over three years.

Managing Director Michelle Guthrie sent a "frank" email to ABC staff on Tuesday night after the federal budget revealed the national broadcaster's operational funding would be frozen from July next year until 2022. Read more.

Budget 2018: ABC funding frozen in $84 million hit to bottom line

ABC News - May 8, 2018

The Government has announced it will freeze the ABC's annual funding indexation for three years from July 2019, costing the organisation $84 million.

ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie said freezing the indexation amounted to cutting the broadcaster.

She said the $84 million cut would be compounded by a decision to cut $43 million in funding for news and current affairs.

Ms Guthrie said the organisation has faced $254 million in cuts since 2014. Read more.

No Politics at Aunty’s Table

The Australia Institute - May 8, 2018

$83.7 million to be cut from the ABC in the Federal Budget

Our research shows that the ABC is Australia's most trusted broadcaster. At a time when so-called 'fake news' is at an all-time high and journalism jobs are being cut across the country, has there ever been a greater need for a strong, independent and trusted national broadcaster?

The ABC is entering the final year of its triennial funding agreement.  Read more.

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie writes grovelling apology to Kevin Rudd as 'Cabinet Files' scoop backfires

Latika Bourke - SMH - May 3, 2018

The ABC has issued a grovelling apology to former prime minister Kevin Rudd in a bid to fend off legal action, admitting its much-hyped "Cabinet Files" coverage was botched amid a growing number of "editorial mistakes" by the national broadcaster.

In a letter to Mr Rudd obtained by Fairfax Media, ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie "unreservedly apologised" to Mr Rudd over a much-publicised January report that claimed the Labor prime minister was warned of "critical risks" relating to the home insulation scheme. Four men lost their lives installing home insulation under the controversial economic stimulus program. Read more.

Andrew Probyn was right about Abbott - and impartiality isn't ignoring the facts

Katharine Murphy - The Guardian - May 2, 2018

It seems quaint, in a context where journalism faces substantial threats and challenges - from commercial pressure to rising audience distrust - that a prominent Australian journalist can state the bleeding obvious and be pinged by a media regulator.

And yet the Australian Communications and Media Authority has ruled that a news report by the ABC's political editor, Andrew Probyn, breached the ABC’s code for impartiality because he noted that Tony Abbott was "the most destructive politician of his generation". Read more.

Experienced Canberra journalists targeted in 'Hunger Games' job cuts

Megan Doherty - Canberra Times - May 2, 2018

Nine of the ABC's most experienced and respected employees in Canberra have been tapped on the shoulder and told to fight for their jobs as part of a national-wide restructure of the broadcaster's newsrooms.

Despite the Canberra newsroom likely to have only two redundancies, all nine of the employees are being subjected to a process of proving they have the skills to be allowed to keep their jobs. Read more.

The politics behind the competitive neutrality inquiry into ABC and SBS

Denis Muller - The Conversation - May 3, 2018

Last September, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson made a deal with Malcolm Turnbull’s government: You give me an inquiry into the ABC and I'll support the changes you want to make to media ownership laws.

The government agreed to do this in the form of an inquiry into the ABC's competitive neutrality - and broadened it to include SBS.

It was clear at the time this had the potential to do real damage to the national broadcaster. Read more.

ABC reveals more newsroom job cuts

Michael Lallo - SMH - April 30, 2018

Last year, ABC staff reported a "dangerous" level of workplace stress, according to a union survey - with some claiming their workloads had increased.

"Reshaping our newsrooms involves challenges [including redundancies] and we know this would be painful," said ABC's news chief Gaven Morris, announcing the cuts on Monday.

"Against this, new senior editorial roles would be introduced to add to the expertise and skills in the newsroom."

While individual workers may be shown the door, the broadcaster expects newly-created positions will mean no net reduction in staff numbers. Read more.

ABC and SBS forced to justify competing with commercial media in news and streaming

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 27, 2018

The public broadcasters will be asked to justify to a government inquiry why they should continue providing free online news and catch-up TV when they are competing with commercial media players.

The government’s competitive neutrality inquiry is examining the expansion of the ABC’s online news service, ABC iview, SBS On Demand and other services, in the light of complaints from Foxtel, News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media about taxpayer-funded media crowding them out. Read more.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Fair and Balanced) Bill 2017 - Final Report

16 February 2018

This bill would amend the Corporation's Charter to require the ABC's service to be 'fair' and 'balanced'. Read the Final Report [here]

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Measures) Bill 2017 - Report

16 February 2018

This bill would amend the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 to ensure regional communities are provided for in the functions of the Corporation, and through representation on the ABC Board. Read the report [here]

The Death of Australian Children’s Broadcast Television Programming

Patricia Edgar - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - April 18, 2018

How many times must it be said that if we do not take action Australian children's programming will disappear from our screens?

The Director-General of the BBC has now conceded there is a crisis, with young people spending more time viewing Netflix and YouTube than they do BBC programs.  In July 2017 he announced the broadcaster's biggest investment in children's services in a generation - an additional 34 million pounds across the next three years to enable the BBC to reinvent how it serves its youngest audience in the years ahead. The BBC's plan is foundering and as well Australia's children's viewing through broadcast television, is tanking quietly. Read more.

World Press Freedom Day 2018 - 3 May 2018

ABC Friends supports World Press Freedom Day

In 2018, UNESCO will lead the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day. The main event, jointly organized by UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Ghana, will take place in Accra, Ghana on 2 - 3 May. This year's global theme is 'Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law', and will cover issues of media and the transparency of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public. The Day will also examine contemporary challenges of ensuring press freedom online. Read more.

ABC doesn't compete with News Corp, says minister

InDaily - April 11, 2018

The communications minister doesn't believe the ABC competes with News Corp because the public broadcaster doesn't chase advertising dollars.

The Turnbull Government has launched a "competitive neutrality" review to look at whether the ABC and SBS operate on a level playing field with commercial media companies.

The inquiry was part of a deal it did with One Nation to pass media ownership reforms through parliament.

Minister Mitch Fifield told a Senate committee today that several commercial media organisations thought the review was timely and appropriate. Read more.

ABC reduces factual programming hours by 60% since 2014

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 13, 2018

The number of hours of factual programming on the ABC has dropped by 60% since 2014, drama by 20% and documentary by 13.5%, the broadcaster has told a parliamentary inquiry.

Original Australian documentaries and factual programs have dropped from a total of 224 broadcast hours in the 2014-15 financial year to just 110 last financial year.

First-run Australian drama has dropped from 51 hours to 40 and narrative comedy from 24 to 20. Read more.

ABC slashed spending on Australian drama

Broede Carmody - SMH - April 11, 2018

The ABC slashed the amount it spent on drama by 20 per cent in the 2016/17 financial year.

The broadcaster spent $27.2 million last financial year, down from $36.2 million the year before, according to documents tabled with the Senate's committee for environment and communications. Read more.

ABC boss says journalists often make mistakes but publishing Alberici stories was 'unusual'

Michael Koziol - SMH - April 11, 2018

ABC journalists frequently make errors that are caught before publication but editors failed to do so in the "unusual" case of Emma Alberici's company tax stories, the public broadcaster has said.

Fronting a special Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday, editorial director Alan Sunderland played down the nine mistakes or omissions of fact the ABC identified in a piece about corporate tax avoidance by its chief economics correspondent, which was savaged by Turnbull government ministers. Read more.

Qantas boss accuses ABC of anti-business bias over Emma Alberici tax stories

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 10, 2018

The Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, has accused the ABC of having an anti-business bias in a letter of complaint about the "slanted analysis" and "poor reporting" in economics correspondent Emma Alberici’s company tax stories.

In the letter to the ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie, Joyce wrote: "Any reasonable person consuming the ABC's coverage would incorrectly be led to believe that Qantas (along with other large corporations) was in some way shirking its tax responsibilities and not contributing to the Australian economy. This could not be further from the truth." Read more.

AFP raid home of tax office whistleblower over ABC investigation

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 4, 2018

The Australian federal police raided the home of a debt collector for the Australian Taxation Office who is a key whistleblower in a joint Fairfax/Four Corners investigation into the extensive powers of the tax office.

The raid came just days ahead of the broadcast on the ABC of the program, Mongrel Bunch of Bastards, which is set to air on Monday 9 April. Read more.

Inquiry into the competitive neutrality of Australia's national broadcasters

Media Release - Minister for Communications - March 28, 2018

The Turnbull Government has appointed an experienced panel to conduct an Inquiry into the competitive neutrality of the national broadcasters.

The Inquiry will examine whether Australia's national broadcasters - the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) - are operating in a manner consistent with the principles of competitive neutrality.

The Terms of Reference and further information on the Inquiry are available [here]. Read the full Media Release [here]

Head of ABC and SBS review says viewers have 'no reason to worry'

Michael Koziol - SMH - March 31, 2018

The economist appointed by the Turnbull government to head its review of the ABC and SBS has assured fans and viewers they have nothing to fear from his probe into the public broadcasters.

Robert Kerr, a retired competition tsar, will examine whether the networks are complying with the principle of "competitive neutrality" - that is, ensuring they do not enjoy advantages over commercial rivals purely because of their public ownership.

The inquiry is expected to deal with concerns raised by commercial publishers, including Fairfax Media, about the ABC's involvement in free online news, as well as its expenditure on promotion through Google. Read more.

Murdoch press hails the inquiry it demanded into ABC's 'privileged status'

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 30, 2018

The Coalition has handed Rupert Murdoch something his outlets have been lobbying for pretty hard recently: an inquiry into whether the public broadcasters are “using their privileged status to smother commercial operators”. That’s how the announcement of the terms of reference for a competitive neutrality inquiry was reported by the Australian this week.

The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, appointed economist Robert Kerr, commercial TV lobbyist Julie Flynn and former ABC TV executive and producer Sandra Levy to examine whether ABC and SBS are "operating in a manner consistent with the principles of competitive neutrality" which require that public entities shouldn’t enjoy a competitive advantage. Read more.

ABC refuses to reveal secret ‘Cabinet Files’ talks with government

John Power - The NewDaily - March 28, 2018

The ABC is refusing to release its correspondence with the Prime Minister’s office in the days surrounding its publication of a trove of misplaced Cabinet documents that it later returned to the government.

In January, the national broadcaster revealed the partial contents of a collection of 1500 Cabinet papers that had been accidentally sold at a government auction, providing a rare glimpse into the inner workings of five past governments. Read more.

Businessman Joseph Gersh tipped for ABC board role

Jennifer Duke - SMH - March 27, 2018

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is looking for new directors for the ABC board, with well-known Melbourne business personality and property investor Joseph Gersh believed to be among those approached for the job.

Mr Gersh is the founder of boutique investment bank Gersh Investment Partners, has an Order of Australia and is director of not for profit current affairs forum The Sydney Institute. Read more.

National Broadcasters Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Transparency) Bill 2017 - Report

March 26, 2018

About this inquiry - This bill would amend the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 and the Special Broadcasting Services Act 1991 to provide more transparency on how the national broadcasters allocate Government funding in relation to salary and allowances paid to employees, and payments to on-air talent contractors where the total amounts paid exceed $200,000 annually. Read the report.

Is 'internationalism' the only way forward for cash-strapped ABC dramas?

Craig Mathieson - SMH - March 19, 2018

Harrow is the television series the ABC gets when it cuts its coat according to the cloth it has, or more precisely with the cloth provided to the national broadcaster by its financing co-partners.

The story of a brilliant forensic pathologist, Dr Daniel Harrow (Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd​), who outrageously bends the rules to solve the murder case on the slab before him, the crime mystery plays as if it was constructed for an international audience. Read more.

Margot Robbie signs on to produce new female-focussed ABC series

Susannah Guthrie - The NewDaily - March 23, 2018

Margot Robbie's production company has partnered with the ABC to produce a new local 10-part series, indicating the Gold Coast-born actress's commitment to the industry where she cut her teeth.

The ABC announced on Friday it had signed a deal with LuckyChap Entertainment, the production company Robbie founded with her husband, Tom Ackerley, friends Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr and producer Brett Hedblom. Read more.

While viewers abandon Sunrise and Today, ABC bucks the trend

Michael Lallo - SMH - March 22, 2018

Since 2016, Today's metropolitan ratings have slumped by almost 16 per cent - while Sunrise has shed nearly one-fifth of its city audience. This isn't surprising.

In 2018, most long-running shows are losing viewers. If they experience only a small decline - as opposed to a precipitous drop - they're doing well.

Which makes ABC's NewsBreakfast - presented by Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland - an interesting case study. Read more.

ABC executive apologises to Kevin Bailey over Tonightly skit

Broede Carmody - SMH - March 23, 2018

A senior ABC executive has apologised to Australian Conservatives candidate Kevin Bailey after he was labelled a "c---" on Tom Ballard's Tonightly program.

The ABC's head of entertainment, David Anderson, phoned Mr Bailey this week after the controversial skit made headlines. Read more.

Wil Anderson on Tonightly: 'People more offended by C at end of AB than about C-bomb sketch'

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 23, 2018

Communications minister Mitch Fifield and Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi complain about ABC show that called candidate four-lettered word.

Conservative politicians who complained about a sketch on ABC TV's Tonightly comedy show are serial critics of the public broadcaster who are pushing a political agenda, comedian Wil Anderson has said. Read more.

Minister rebukes ABC over Tonightly's 'vitriolic' Australian Conservatives skit

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 21. 2018

The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, has asked the ABC to investigate a TV comedy segment in which a candidate for Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives party was lampooned in a skit about the name of the electorate of Batman. Read more.

Communications Minister takes aim at Tonightly with Tom Ballard skit

Aja Styles - SMH - March 20, 2018

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is demanding the ABC apologise and investigate a skit in which an Australian Conservatives candidate got labelled a "c---".

Tonightly with Tom Ballard ran a skit last week about renaming the Melbourne electorate of Batman after concerns about the history linked to founder John Batman and his involvement in the murder of Aboriginal people. Read more.

ABC News dominates journalism awards

ABC Media Release - March 18, 2018

ABC News has again demonstrated why it is Australia's most trusted news source with a standout performance in two of the nation's top media awards: the Rural Press Club Awards and the Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism.

Dominique Schwartz and Alexandra Blucher were the overall winners of the Rural Journalism prize as well as taking out the category for Excellence in Rural Journalism Online at last week’s Rural Press Club Awards. Read more.

ABC must spend 'more time talking to ordinary Australians' about hip pocket issues, internal review finds

Michael Kozoil - SMH - March 16, 2018

ABC journalists should focus more on economic and hip pocket issues and "spend more time talking to ordinary Australians", an internal review at the broadcaster has found.

An audit of the network's news coverage, designed to investigate claims of left-wing bias and "elitist" story selection, has concluded the ABC should be more concerned with the effect of issues on "average citizens". Read more.

Read the full ABC Report [here]

ABC news should cover more human interest stories, Michelle Guthrie says

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 16, 2018

The ABC's main television and radio news bulletins should cover more human interest stories, local news and hip pocket issues, the managing director Michelle Guthrie has said.

Guthrie was endorsing an internal editorial review which found the 7pm ABC TV news and the 7am radio news bulletins assumed public broadcasting audiences were more interested in major national and international events than they were in their own community. Read more.

A public broadcaster that bows to political pressure isn't doing its job

Johan Lidberg - The Conversation - February 20, 2018

The ABC's chief economics correspondent, Emma Alberici, did her job the other day. She wrote a well-researched analysis piece investigating whether the Turnbull government's proposed company tax cuts would grow the economy and break Australia's wages deadlock.

Alberici's article came in for a lot of criticism from the Turnbull government for its one-sidedness and lack of balance. Later, the ABC took down the article from its website.

If you read her piece, you’ll see that, yes, she could have included more voices, and yes, the case for company tax cuts was forcefully argued against. But the argument and analysis was built on sound research, as Saul Eslake (one of Australia's most senior and respected independent economists, who was quoted in Alberici's story) has pointed out. Read more.

It's the golden age of television drama. So why has the ABC gone MIA?

Lauren Carroll Harris - The Guardian - March 8, 2018

Since diving into the ABC’s drama offerings for 2018, I’ve thought often of the words of Sandra Levy, the former ABC director of television, more than 10 years ago: “I think the future for ABC television is very bleak.”

We speak a lot now about the golden age of television. But as longform, serialised storytelling has emerged as a global point of cultural interest, the ABC has stepped away from drama as a staple of its programming. How ironic that in a period of intense global creativity and demand, the predicament of Australian drama is that it’s missing in action on the ABC. Read more.

ABC should rise above the rancour

Tom Switzer - SMH - March 5, 2018

The other day a general member of the public - let’s call him Darren - forwarded me a group email from Q&A staff. Headlined "Tony Jones wants your questions!", the message was a laundry list of topics for the studio audience to consider before they ask questions at tonight's episode in Ultimo, which Darren will attend.

Darren was incredulous. Here was one of the ABC's most popular shows, he complained, taking for granted a set of left-liberal assumptions and setting political debates within a set of  suggested boundaries.

To which I replied: why the surprise? Conservatives, like some social democrats, have long believed that the public broadcaster all too often flouts the statutory guidelines that insist on impartiality. Read more.

The ABC should be independent, but not above scrutiny

Tony Walker - The Age - March 4, 2018

Let me rise in defence not of the ABC itself, nor ABC management, nor the ABC board, nor Emma Alberici in particular, but of a fundamental principle. This is the editorial independence of the national broadcaster.

If those in authority - supported by their allies in the media - are encouraged to believe ABC management will fold at the first rustling of official disapproval then we would quickly lose confidence in the organisation’s ability to hold politicians to account.

Under pressure, the ABC’s hasty return to the government of two filing cabinets of classified documents that had ''fallen off the back of a truck'' is a case in point. Read more.

Senate estimates: ABC grilled over Emma Alberici’s tax cuts analysis piece

Luke Henriques Gomes - The New Daily - February 28, 2018

ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie has denied the broadcaster's chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici was "hung out to dry" when her controversial tax cuts analysis piece was taken down amid complaints from the Turnbull government.

Ms Guthrie and the ABC’s Head of Editorial Alan Sunderland were grilled about the controversy at a late-night Senate Estimates hearing on Tuesday.

The ABC boss also revealed that, aside from a 1000-word complaint letter from the Prime Minister's Office, and separate complaints from the Treasurer and the Communications Minister, she had also been contacted by Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and the Business Council of Australia about Ms Alberici's article before it was taken down. Read more.

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie says broadcaster 'clearly failed' in Emma Alberici controversy

Michael Koziol - SMH - February 28, 2018

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has conceded the news outlet "clearly failed" by publishing a pair of controversial articles about corporate tax by its chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici.

In a repentant letter to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Tuesday, Ms Guthrie promised to do better in the future and indicated Alberici's material was subject to an internal investigation.

And in a late night appearance before Senate estimates, the ABC boss failed to express confidence in Alberici, saying only that she would continue in her role as chief economics correspondent. Read more.

ABC admits mistakes over Cabinet Files, Emma Alberici controversies

Michael Koziol & Jennifer Duke - SMH - February 27, 2018

One of the ABC's top bosses has issued a mea culpa over the broadcaster's handling of several recent controversies in its news division, acknowledging it needs to bolster editorial oversight.

The ABC has copped criticism this month over the execution of the so-called Cabinet Files series, its subsequent apology to former prime minister Kevin Rudd and the publication of taxation stories by chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici.

In an email to staff on Tuesday, the ABC's head of news Gaven Morris announced a restructure of senior positions at the broadcaster and conceded there had been "a number of editorial issues" and indicated a need to improve processes, particularly with regard to the ABC's online output. Read more.

Furore at the ABC

Mike Seccombe - The Saturday Paper - February 24, 2018

There are still some senior managers at the ABC prepared to drop the management speak and arse-covering and tell things with brutal, even profane, honesty.

It's fair to say he would not get much argument from senior journalistic staff about at least half of that statement. Two issues - first, the way the organisation dealt with a huge trove of sensitive government documents that fell into its hands; and second, the controversy over a couple of stories by chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici - have played out disastrously for the national broadcaster and seriously damaged staff morale. Read more.

ABC faces more questions as Emma Alberici's disputed article is restored

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 23, 2018

A week after it was taken down from ABC Online Emma Alberici's contentious analysis piece on the government's proposed tax cuts for business went back up on Thursday. Unusually, the amended article carried a prominent editor's note at the top, rather than at the end as is common practice. "This analysis has been revised and updated by our chief economics correspondent. Passages that could be interpreted as opinion have been removed. Our editorial processes have also been reviewed. Emma Alberici is the ABC's chief economics correspondent and is a respected and senior Australian journalist." The revised piece added comments from the Business Council of Australia and finance minister Mathias Cormann, loud critics of the original. Read more.

How Emma Alberici stared down the ABC on controversial article

Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - February 22, 2018

After a bitter dispute, Emma Alberici has succeeded in getting the ABC to repost her 'analysis' of the Turnbull government's tax cut plans with the help of lawyers, The New Daily can reveal.

ABC sources told The New Daily that lawyers were involved as the former Lateline presenter, now the ABC's chief economics correspondent, fought for her credibility, reputation and career.

ABC News director Gaven Morris had ordered her critical article on the claimed wage flow-on benefits of corporate tax cuts to be removed from the ABC website last Friday. Read more.

Why the ABC was right - eventually

Peter Brent - Inside Story - February 19, 2018

right and early last Wednesday morning the ABC published two articles by its chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici. Each of them strongly criticised the Turnbull government's corporate tax cut, which faces a less than enthusiastic Senate. Both articles enjoyed roaring circulation on the internet via social media; both were leapt on by the Labor opposition during question time.

Malcolm Turnbull reacted in fury. He and two of his ministers complained to ABC management, and on Friday one of the articles, the analysis, was pulled and the other tweaked. (You can still read the analysis on John Menadue's Pearls and Irritations.) Read more.

Turnbull’s attack on Emma Alberici’s tax-cut analysis doesn’t add up

Greg Jericho - The Guardian - February 18, 2018

The battle over company tax cuts is hotting up and the response by the government and the business sector to analysis by ABC's Emma Alberici - on the impact of such tax cuts and evidence that one in five of the largest corporations in Australia paid no tax over the past three years - shows how worried they are that they are losing the fight.

On the same day Alberici's article was published, the prime minister referred to it during question time as "one of the most confused and poorly researched articles I've seen on this topic on the ABC's website". Meanwhile, the Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, argued in the Australian that there were good reasons why the airline hadn't paid tax in the past and that whether it did or not was irrelevant when it came to the issue of arguing for a lower tax rate. Read more.

Save ABC libraries and librarians

The ABC has decided to close sound and reference libraries in Adelaide, Hobart and Perth, to reduce the service in Sydney, and to make 10 specialist librarians redundant.

The Australian Library and Information Association are organising submissions to the Minister for Communications and ABC Board. You can read their key points on the issue [here]

You can read ABC Friends' submission [here]

ABC downhill for thirty years - here's how

David Tiley - ArtsHub - February 2018

As part of its branding campaign, the ABC produced a document called Efficient, trusted, valued. It articulates the key defensive statements, but with clear graphs which provide additional data. These factoids have been whispered for a long time but the ABC is now armed with a new sense of outrage, and prepared to think in terms of constant dollars.

It can demonstrate that the real income to the ABC has declined by 28% since 1985. That amounts to $336m/year in 2018 dollars. But populations have increased as well, so the legendary 8c/day of 1985 has now halved in real terms. In 2017 numbers, the 1985 figure was 19.2c/day, which is now 9.7c. Read more.

Turnbull, Fifield and Morrison wrote to ABC boss before tax cut analysis was removed

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 17, 2018

Malcolm Turnbull, his communications minister and the treasurer all wrote to Michelle Guthrie to complain about coverage of corporate tax policy by Emma Alberici before the ABC removed the contentious piece on Thursday.

The letter from the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, is quoted in the Weekend Australian, which also reports the prime minister and the treasurer, Scott Morrison, wrote to the ABC boss.

"This coverage contains multiple factual errors and misrepresentations in breach of the ABC's editorial standards," Fifield said. "It is neither fair, balanced, accurate nor impartial. It fails to present a balance of views on the corporate tax policy." Read more.

ABC removes corporate tax cut analysis after complaints from Malcolm Turnbul

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 16, 2018

After complaints from Malcolm Turnbull, ABC News has removed an analysis piece about the government's proposed corporate tax cuts by economics correspondent Emma Alberici.

An accompanying news story by Alberici - which said Qantas hadn't paid corporate tax for close to 10 years - has been rewritten and reposted.

"Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, one of the most prominent supporters of the Turnbull government's proposed big business tax cut, presides over a company that hasn't paid corporate tax for close to 10 years," the news report said. Read more.

ABC removes article criticising Turnbull's tax cuts, citing 'editorial standards'

James Fernyhough - The New Daily - February 16, 2018

The ABC has removed an article by one of its most high-profile journalists criticising the Turnbull government's proposed company tax cuts, on the grounds that it "did not meet ABC editorial standards".

The article, written by economics correspondent and former Lateline host Emma Alberici, was published on Wednesday under the headline "There's no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five corporations don't pay it". Read more.

Laura Tingle named chief political correspondent for ABC's 7.30 program

Broede Carmody - SMH - February 12, 2018

Laura Tingle has been made chief political correspondent of the ABC's 7.30 program.

The Walkley-award winning journalist, who is currently the political editor for The Australian Financial Review, will join the nightly current affairs program in the coming weeks. She said in a statement that after 35 years as a print reporter it was time for a new challenge. Read more.

ABC proposal to shut down sound libraries draws fire from staff

Paul Wallbank - Mumbrella - January 31, 2018

A proposal by the ABC to restructure its sound and reference libraries, resulting in the loss of 10 staff has been blasted by current and former employees.

The proposal, which will see the state-based libraries centralised in Melbourne and Sydney with most of the CD and print collections digitised, is part of the national broadcaster's efficiency drive under CEO Michelle Guthrie.

The host of current affairs show PM, Linda Mottram, described the proposal as “ripping the heart out” on Twitter, following reports of the move in The Guardian. Read more.

The Real Facts about your ABC

A two page flyer produced by ABC Friends you can download & print [here] (300KB PDF)

Can ABC be trusted to hold the government to account?

Andrew Fowler - The Guardian - February 10, 2018

Hundreds of pages of cabinet documents, some of them marked secret, others with an even more restricted circulation, are handed over to the ABC. It's the kind of information journalists can normally only dream about, a cornucopia of documents dealing with high level national security and an insight into the internal workings of government over six administrations. But what emerges from this treasure trove of 1,500 documents? A few interesting, but mainly rather ordinary stories.

So what happened to the material that many journalists spend so much of their lives trying to discover - documents involving national security? On 1 February, the ABC news director, Gaven Morris, explained all on the network's AM program: "We haven't gone anywhere near, you know, stories or issues that may have a national security implication." Read more.

ABC now costs each Australian four cents a day - half of what it did 30 years ago

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 9, 2018

The ABC now costs every Australian just four cents a day, half what it cost in 1987 when the famous "eight cents a day" campaign was launched by then managing director David Hill.

"We've learned to do a lot with our few cents a day," the ABC's chief financial officer, Louise Higgins, told an audience of 400 members of the public in the ABC TV studio usually the domain of Tony Jones' Q&A. "In other words, our per capita funding has halved in real terms." Read more.

Read the ABC Friends Media Release [here]

'Has the ABC adopted a policy of dumbing down?' ABC leadership fields public's questions

Brooke Wylie - ABC News - February 9, 2018

The ABC's editorial board has fielded criticisms from members of the public during its first annual public meeting at the broadcaster's headquarters.

Repetitive programming, partisan coverage, staff cutbacks, cross-program advertising and cuts to current affairs program Lateline were among the concerns raised during the 90-minute public meeting.

Members of the public were invited to attend the broadcaster's first annual public meeting at the ABC's headquarters in Sydney, as well as at events held in Tasmania and Queensland.

Three-hundred-and-fifty questions were submitted from members of the public across the country in the lead up to the meeting. Read more.

Turnbull's Cuts to the ABC in WA

www.youtube.com - February 6, 2018

Federal Labor member for Fremantle Mr Josh Wilson spoke in Parliament 6 Feb 2018 about ABC cuts and the impact on the ABC in WA.

View the YouTube video [here]

Read the Handsard transcript [here]

Senate Select Committee on the Future of Public Interest Journalism: report

February 5, 2018

On 10 May 2017 the Senate established the Select Committee on the Future of Public Interest Journalism, to inquire and report on the following matters: (a) the current state of public interest journalism in Australia and around the world, including the role of government in ensuring a viable, independent and diverse service; (b) the adequacy of current competition and consumer laws to deal with the market power and practices of search engines, social media aggregators and content aggregators, and their impact on the Australian media landscape;(c) the impact on public interest journalism of search engines and social media internet service providers circulating fake news, and an examination of counter measures directed at online advertisers, 'click-bait' generators and other parties who benefit from disinformation; (d) the future of public and community broadcasters in delivering public interest journalism, particularly in underserviced markets like regional Australia, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities; (e) examination of 'fake news', propaganda, and public disinformation, including sources and motivation of fake news in Australia, overseas, and the international response; and (f) any related matters. The Report is now available [here]

ABC plans to send entire book collection to Samoa to save money

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 6, 2018

A last-ditch attempt to prevent the dismantling of the ABC's sound and reference libraries will be made at a board meeting on Thursday as it emerged that management is planning to send its entire book collection to Samoa.

Guardian Australia revealed last week that the ABC is breaking up its historic music and reference libraries and making 10 librarians redundant to free up floor space and save on wages.

Sources say management plans include packing up all 22,000 books in Sydney and Melbourne - apart from a few "special items" - and sending them to Samoa. The books have been targeted because management wants the library space for the IT division. Read more.

ABC to "cull" CD collection, cut staff, in Sound Libraries consolidation

Angus McPherson - Limelight Magazine - January 30, 2018

The ABC is consolidating its sound libraries in a move that will see physical libraries dismantled and library staff made redundant, The Guardian reported this morning.

As part of ongoing changes at the ABC, Sound & Reference Libraries around the country will be dismantled in favour of a centralised library in Melbourne. In an announcement to staff dated January 16, obtained by Limelight, the ABC said collections will be "culled to remove duplicates and CD's [sic] no longer required, (approximately 50% of current holdings), with only a single copy held in Melbourne. Changes to the CD collections will be the initial focus as this is the area of key impact and demand." The Sound Libraries serve music stations including Classic FM and Triple J, as well as providing music for documentaries and other programs across the ABC. Read more.

ABC's business guru heads for exit

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 2, 2018

Michelle Guthrie's handpicked business transformation expert, who spearheaded the ABC's content restructure in November, has left the ABC before the plan could be bedded down.

Debra Frances was originally brought into Aunty as a consultant to work on the restructure of the organisation but Guthrie was so enamoured of her skills she brought her in-house, giving her a staff card and the newly created title of "head of transformation".

But just two months into the project - which will see the old TV, radio and news divisions broken up - another exec, Anne Milne, is stepping up to complete "the execution phase of the restructure", according to an email to the executive team from finance chief Louise Higgins. Read more.

ABC dismantles sound libraries and axes staff to improve budget

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 30, 2018

The ABC is dismantling its historic sound and reference libraries across the country and making 10 specialist librarians redundant to free up floor space and save on wages.

Radio National, Classic FM, JJJ and all the other ABC programs rely on the Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Hobart libraries, which are packed full of CDs and vinyl as well as books and journals after 85 years of collecting.

The librarians know the collection intimately and suggest music for documentaries and other programs.

The libraries will be "culled and packed" to reduce duplication and to "align with production requirements", according to the staff announcement. Read more.

Why Radio National's fans fear death by a thousand cuts

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 28, 2018

Australia's opinion makers wake up to Radio National. The three-hour live RN Breakfast, presented for 12 years by Fran Kelly, reaches half a million listeners across the major capital cities alone. It lands the key political interviews and helps set the news agenda but also has the time and space to examine issues in depth. As the flagship RN program, Breakfast is well-resourced and has the largest share of the RN budget.

When Kelly moves away from the mic at 9am, RN begins its daily mix of news, live topical shows, specialist content and features. Unlike the ABC's local radio stations, RN is labour-intensive radio. It's an expensive exercise to create original, well-researched programs that look beyond the daily news cycle and explore the arts, philosophy, science and the law, as well as drama and music, long-form features, book reading and creative audio. Sadly, management cuts in recent years have seen drama, music and book reading fall away. Read more.

Restructuring the ABC

Michael Bodey - The Saturday Paper - December 16, 2017

The ABC has a demographic problem. And it knows it.

A recent major research project for the public broadcaster divided its viewers and listeners into the kind of archetypes so loved by digital types - "influencer", "me-timer", "binger", "innovator" and so on - and those derided in the digital world - "time-filler", "company seeker".

The different consumers were graphed in four quadrants, divided by axes representing engagement and emotion. Unsurprisingly, the quadrant of actively engaged and emotional users was dubbed the area of greatest value and growth potential for the ABC. The quadrant represented by reactivity and mere utility was marked as the least value and, on the analysis, represented by a dead fish. Read more.

Books and Arts axed as ABC makes massive radio changes

The ABC is launching a new country-wide rural affairs program three years after axing Radio National's Bush Telegraph.

The new radio show is expected to hit the airwaves on January 22. Like its national predecessor, it will provide in-depth news and analysis of issues important to rural and regional Australians.

The show is tentatively titled The Dirt and is set to be hosted by Perth-based broadcaster Sinead Mangan. It will be broadcast on all regional ABC radio stations from 6.05pm to 6.30pm Monday through to Friday, before being replayed on Radio National and Radio Australia. Read more

Books and Arts axed as ABC makes massive radio changes

By Daily Review December 7, 2017

Changes to breakfast, afternoon and drive slots across the ABC's radio network have been announced this week by its director of radio, Michael Mason, who said they were in response to the changing needs of its audience.

One of the big changes is the cancellation of Radio National's Books and Arts to make way for a daily arts program called The Hub and the reduction of hosting duties by Michael Cathcart from five days to one day a week.

The Hub will be presented by a different person at 10 am each weekday "with contributions from an ensemble of artists, makers, writers and critics, and delve into the creative worlds of the visual arts, theatre and performance, literature, film and TV as well as popular culture" the ABC announced. Read more

Why changes are not 'dumbing down' the ABC

Judith Whelan - SMH - December 11, 2017

In its 85 years of service to Australians, the ABC has achieved a remarkable and enviable record as a broadcaster renowned for its quality of coverage, its relationship with its audiences and innovation in both programming and distribution.

This strong tradition has continued in more recent years, as broadcasting has become increasingly digitised, audiences have been given many more program choices from many more media providers, and technology has allowed them to choose how and when they will read and watch and listen to what they what. Read more

Stop the dumbing down of the ABC

Kerrie O'Brien - SMH - December 9, 2017

Two of Australia's best current affairs programs have just been slashed in half. Both flagship offerings on ABC Radio, they are unique in our broadcasting line-up and critical to our collective education. The World Today, the lunchtime wrap, and PM, in the evening, will run to just 30 minutes, down from one hour. One has to ask, where is the logic?

"Leave the audience wanting more" was one memorable quote justifying the change. What does that mean when it comes to current affairs? How is it relevant? To provide compelling, insightful, well-crafted stories is no doubt expensive but surely the cost of losing such educational, informative shows is far greater? Read more

ABC shake-up at Radio National worries former senior managers

Comment - SMH - December 9, 2017

The ABC's recent organisational restructure to take effect early next year raises serious concerns about the future of Radio National (RN). The network is arguably the most distinctive part of the ABC, and embodies many aspects of what the ABC is required to do under its charter. New arts and culture programs on Radio National in 2018 are to be warmly welcomed however this program line-up will be the last to be devised by a dedicated network executive. In future years, this structure will be fragmented and focus on RN as a coherent network will falter. Read more

ABC RN Announces 2018 Lineup

Media Release - ABC - December 6, 2017

The ideas network welcomes an ensemble of new programs to 2018 schedule.

In 2018, ABC RN will continue to nurture the intellectual and cultural life of all Australians by introducing dynamic new voices and programs to its impressive suite of specialist content. Read more and download the full 2018 RN Schedule

ABC announces 2018 radio line-ups

Media Release - ABC - December 6, 2017

A new national music and culture show presented by Myf Warhurst; an early evening regional current affairs program; and extended co-hosted Breakfast shows are among some of the changes announced by the ABC today for its 2018 station and network radio line-ups.

The ABC's capital city radio network, its triple j and RN national networks and its regional stations have unveiled their 2018 program schedules which will launch on-air from January 22 next year.

Director of ABC Radio, Michael Mason said the changes to the program schedule along with a move in some capital city stations to co-hosted breakfast shows reflected the changing audience needs. Read more

ABC Friends' Newsletter - Update

The December 2017edition of Update is now available [here]

ABC local radio to become less local

David Washington - INDaily - December 5, 2017

ABC local radio stations are set to lose more locally produced programming only weeks after the national broadcaster's head of radio promised an Adelaide audience there would be no more networked shows.

Head office will tomorrow reveal the 2018 line-up for all of the ABC's radio stations, with one of the changes expected to be a syndicated new national program hosted by former Triple J announcer Myf Warhurst.

The new show is part of controversial moves revealed in The Guardian today, including trimming the PM and World Today current affairs programs by half an hour. Read more

ABC radio programs PM and The World Today to be halved in length

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - December 5, 2017

Staff told shortened formats will 'leave the audience wanting more' as Myf Warhurst fronts a lighter offering

The flagship ABC radio current affairs programs PM and The World Today will be halved in length next year and Business PM will be axed, staff have been told.

PM and The World Today will both be reduced from hour-long programs to 30 minutes, radio current affairs employees were told at a meeting on Monday by Tanya Nolan, the managing editor of audio current affairs. Why Radio National's fans fear death by a thousand cuts

From 22 January The World Today, hosted by Eleanor Hall, will end at 12.30pm instead of 1pm to make way for a new "entertaining" national program on ABC Local Radio hosted by the former Triple J presenter Myf Warhurst. Read more


Why Radio National's fans fear death by a thousand cuts

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 28, 2017

The ABC's flagship radio station is expensive, esoteric and - its supporters say - essential to Australian public life. Now it is facing more upheaval

Australia's opinion makers wake up to Radio National. The three-hour live RN Breakfast, presented for 12 years by Fran Kelly, reaches half a million listeners across the major capital cities alone. It lands the key political interviews and helps set the news agenda but also has the time and space to examine issues in depth. As the flagship RN program, Breakfast is well-resourced and has the largest share of the RN budget. Read more

Public Broadcasting in the Pub

Tuesday 28 Nov 2017 - From 5.15 to 6.15pm - Civic Pub, Braddon

Attacks on the ABC: In whose interests?
The ABC's independence and funding is under threat, with an "inquiry" prompted by Pauline Hanson and powerful private media interests attempting to undermine it. Come and hear:
  • Ranald Macdonald, former editor-in-chief of The Age, broadcaster - and Collingwood Football Club President
  • Together with Canberra's own David Kilby as MC
  • Further details [here]

Special laws needed to budget-proof the ABC, says former PM Kevin Rudd

Peter Hartcher and James Massola - SMH - November 25, 2017

The ABC needs to have its budget protected from future attack by special legislation, according to former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

The former Labor leader said that while the national broadcaster's independence was enshrined in law, its $1.04 billion annual budget was vulnerable. Read more

ABC teems with teams but who's reporting to whom?

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 17, 2017

We've seen the handiwork the consultants to the ABC came up with when Michelle Guthrie announced her radical content restructure on Tuesday. No more TV and radio departments. It's all about "teams" grouped around four topics: news, regional, entertainment and innovation.

The 3,000 broadcasters, journalists, producers and technical people who work to produce all this content are still getting their heads around where they sit and who they report to. ABC TV's Media Watch program, for example, has been slotted into the entertainment team after almost ending up in news, which could have been an awkward fit, given it has to critique the news output. Read more

Amazon the model for ABC's new streaming service as big data steers the ship

Karl Quinn - SMH - November 15, 2017

The chairman of the ABC has outlined his vision for the national broadcaster, and it's a long way from the Aunty of old.

The ABC is set to morph into a Netflix-style streaming service from as early as next year, and to use data and analytics to track which actors and stories resonate with audiences, board chairman Justin Milne has revealed.

Delivering the Hector Crawford memorial speech at the Screen Forever conference on Wednesday, Mr Milne avoided mentioning Netflix and streaming rival Stan by name, but did point to Amazon as a model for what the ABC is likely to evolve into. Read more

Here's hoping Michelle Guthrie hasn't just restructured the ABC's spine away

Karl Quinn - SMH - November 14, 2017

There's a lot to like in the restructure announced by ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie, but it does little to address the broadcaster's biggest challenges.

Though it has been flagged as "the biggest shake-up in the national broadcaster's history", there is at first glance little in Michelle Guthrie's long-anticipated restructure of the ABC to startle the horses.

No job losses. Earlier-than-planned recruitment of additional staff for the regions. No cuts to programs or networks. What's to fear in any of that? Read more

Big picture, few hilltops

Margaret Simons - Inside Story - November 14, 2017

There are really only two ways to organise a big media organisation. You do it either according to the platforms on which your content is delivered, or by the genres of content you are producing. At different times over its history the ABC has tried both.

Yet the determinant of success has never been the big-picture organisational chart; it's been the internal communications, leadership culture and strategic vision. Read more

Michelle Guthrie unveils major ABC restructure

Broede Carmody - SMH - November 14, 2017

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has unveiled one of the biggest shake-ups in the broadcaster's 85-year history. From early 2018, staff will be re-organised into teams focused on particular topics instead of working strictly for radio or television.

The restructure does not include any job losses or particular programs getting the boot. Read more

'Not a dumbing down': Michelle Guthrie announces major ABC restructure

Amanda Mead - The Guardian - November 14, 2017

The reorganisation of the ABC along genre lines to remove the historic division between television and radio is not a "dumbing down" exercise but an "evolution" for the digital age, its managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has told staff.

From February next year the networks will be divided up into three new teams and a fourth team for original content and innovation, Content Ideas Lab, led by an ABC Radio staffer, Angela Stengel. Read more

Radio, TV ditched in Michelle Guthrie's digital-first ABC

Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - November 13, 2017

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie on Tuesday will drop the long-standing radio and television divisions in a digital-first restructure, The New Daily can reveal.

Senior management will be briefed on Monday with an all-staff announcement to be made by Ms Guthrie from Melbourne on Tuesday.

The heads of ABC Radio (Michael Mason) and ABC TV (David Anderson) will lose their once all-powerful fiefdoms. They will be redeployed in three "platform agnostic" divisions Ms Guthrie and the ABC Board will unveil. Read more

ABC restructure: biggest shake-up in broadcaster's history to be revealed

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 13, 2017

Twelve months in the making, a small fortune in consultants' fees and countless "cascade sessions 'and leadership principles workshops later, Michelle Guthrie's Transformation Project will be unveiled on Tuesday.

The ABC board has ticked off on the structure, the communications strategy - which includes not confirming the date - is in place and the message is clear: this is not about job losses, this is about reorganisation. Read more

ABC management taken to task over 'dangerous' stress levels

Broede Carmody - SMH - November 13, 2017

ABC staff are suffering "dangerous" levels of workplace stress, according to a survey conducted by one of the unions responsible for the national broadcaster.

The Community and Public Sector Union has said it will enter the ABC's Ultimo headquarters under the Workplace Health and Safety Act to ensure the broadcaster has the appropriate measures in place to deal with any potential fallout from its digital restructure, including increased rates of anxiety. Read more

John Clarke Birds 2018 Calendar

Tribute to an ABC Legend

The late, great, John Clarke was a satire genius, but he was also an accomplished bird photographer. ABC Friends is pleased to release the John Clarke 2018 Australian Birds Calendar.

Makes an ideal Christmas Gift!

Buy the Calendar [here] or download an order form [here]

ABC rebuffs government's request to reveal top presenters' salaries

Melissa Cunningham - SMH - November 10, 2017

The ABC has refused to publicly disclose the salaries of staff earning more than $200,000, arguing the demands are onerous and will prove counter-productive.

The decision will put the national broadcaster on a warpath with the federal government, which has signalled it may introduce legislation forcing the ABC release the figures. Read more

Veteran ABC reporter Matt Peacock farewells colleagues

Broede Carmody - SMH - November 10, 2017

Veteran ABC journalist and board member Matt Peacock has said the past few years have been "very tough" as he prepares to leave the public broadcaster.

The senior 7.30 journalist, who helped uncover the scale of Australia's asbestos crisis in the late '70s, revealed on Thursday he was among the 11 staff who had recently opted for a voluntary redundancy. Read more

Hands Off Radio National Music (#saveRNmusic)

Ruth Hazelton - change.org - November 6, 2017

It's been a year since The Inside Sleeve, The Daily Planet, The Live Set, Soundproof, The Rhythm Divine and Jazztrack were either decommissioned or removed from RN's schedule.

It has been made clear to us, despite our best efforts, that ABC Head of Radio Michael Mason and his colleagues will not reconsider this decision.

Faced with this situation, we have been looking at alternative ways to increase the quantity of independent and curated music programming via ABC radio nationally; and to the largest audience possible. Read more

What's wrong with being 'fair and balanced'?

Alan Sunderland - ABC - Nov 2, 2017

The ABC has been in the news a bit lately, not least because there is a push underway to make sure our journalism is fair and balanced.

In fact, there is even a proposed law to that effect before our Federal Parliament.

So what could possibly be wrong with such a simple and admirable idea? Surely, all media should aim to be fair and balanced in the way they report the news?

Well, let me try to tell you exactly what's wrong with it. Read more

ABC 2016-17 Annual Report

The 2017 ABC Annual Report was tabled in Parliament by the Minister for Communications and the Arts on 26 October 2017 and is now available [here]

'Morale is very shaky': 7.30 loses senior reporter among 11 ABC staff

Broede Carmody - The Age - November 1, 2017

Some ABC staff feel like the national broadcaster is facing death by a thousand cuts.

On Wednesday, management announced more staff were walking out the door. Eleven people - including a senior 7.30 journalist - have put up their hand for voluntary redundancy.

It is understood this round of redundancies aren't related to budget cuts and will allow more digital staff to be hired. It's no secret the ABC's news director, Gaven Morris, wants the broadcaster's websites to leapfrog News.com.au as the country's most popular online news source. Read more

Birds, a satirist's 'natural' quarry

John Clarke made a name for himself as a stalker of politicians and hypocrites. He managed to pour scorn with a twinkle in his eye and a half smile, leaving his target little choice but to respond in the same way.

Sometimes his barbed comments were so sharp his victim would be impaled before he or she had a chance to realise the space they now occupied.

But Clarke, who died Sunday 9 April this year, also enjoyed a sometimes-solitary pastime that also involved a great deal of subterfuge and stalking. The cutting comedian photographed birds. Read more

Inquiry into Australian content on broadcast, radio and streaming services

On 18 October 2017, the Senate referred a range of matters relating to the economic and cultural value of Australian content on broadcast, radio and streaming services to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 9 May 2018. The full terms of reference [here].

The Committee prefers to receive submissions online as an attached document through the Committee's website [here]. Alternatively, submissions may be emailed as an attached document to ec.sen@aph.gov.au or mailed to the address below. The submission should be lodged by 31 January 2018.

The Hanson plot to kill the ABC

Mike Seccombe - The Saturday Paper - October 21, 2017

Fox News never announced that it was dropping its famous slogan "Fair and Balanced". A reporter for Vanity Fair broke the story on June 14 this year.

These days Rupert Murdoch's American cable network tags itself "Most watched, Most trusted."

That is also untrue: MSNBC now regularly outrates it, and Fox is the most negatively fact-checked news network in the United States. Read more

ABC 'reforms' to legislate fairness and commitment to regional Australia

RadioInfo, October 18, 2017

The Turnbull Government has introduced legislative amendments to the ABC Act in the Senate to "enhance the ABC's commitment to rural and regional Australia and require its news services to be fair and balanced."

The move fulfills the government's promise to Pauline Hanson in return for her support for the media reform bill.

In a statement released to radioinfo today, a spokesperson for Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, said: Read more

Open letter to Communications Minister, The Hon. Mitch Fifield

Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - October 17, 2017

Can we just be serious just for a moment?

Having read your piece in The Australian headed "Shrill Attacks on ABC Adjustments Are Hysterical, Unhinged" (9/10/17), I cannot believe that you, Minister, REALLY believe in what you have written.

You adopt the tone of surprise, astonishment and even of being slightly hurt by those who challenge your pronouncements.

* First, your proposed Charter requirement for "balance'" on top of fairness, impartiality and accuracy for ABC news and current affairs coverage. Read more

After Lateline, the brave new world of better broadcasting

Jane Goodall - Inside Story - October 13, 2017

The BBC charter is up for renewal, and members of senior and middle management have been co-opted into a working group "to identify what the BBC does best and find more ways of doing less of it better." Actually, that's fake news - or news fiction. It's a summary of the first episode in the latest series of BBC Two's satirical documentary W1A. BBC insiders have attested to the accuracy with which the series (whose title is the postcode of Broadcasting House in London) depicts a corporate culture in which ever more resources are indeed being devoted to finding ways of doing less.

At the ABC, which in so many respects mirrors the BBC, a similar range of scrambled corporate imperatives is being rolled out. In programming areas where our own national broadcaster purports to do best, like current affairs and investigative journalism, the quest to find "more ways of doing less of it better" is the order of the day. Or so it would seem, going on managing director Michelle Guthrie's speech to the Friends of the ABC last week. Read more

Jennifer Byrne farewells ABC, The Book Club Axed

Broede Carmody - SMH - October 13, 2017

The axe has fallen on ABC program The Book Club after longtime host Jennifer Byrne decided to leave the public broadcaster after a two decade career.

The veteran journalist and television presenter will sign off for the last time in mid-December for the TV show's Christmas special. Full story [here]

ABC told to cough up the salaries of its top earners as Fifield hands One Nation a prize

Karl Quinn - SMH - October 13, 2017

Communications minister Mitch Fifield has demanded the ABC reveal the names and pay packets of everyone earning more than $200,000 per annum.

The ABC has been ordered by Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to reveal what it is paying its top on-air personalities, in what amounts to a win for One Nation.

The national broadcaster has been directed to "voluntarily" cough up the salaries of all staff being paid $200,000 or more by the end of next month. If it does not do so, Senator Fifield will push for a change to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act to force the disclosure. Full story [here]

The news is sad for ABC viewers under Michelle Guthrie's rule

Debi Enker - SMH - October 12, 2017

At last; thank goodness. After months of roaring silence, the ABC's managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has come out swinging, vigorously defending the organisation against attacks by the government and rival media outlets.

At a Sydney function held by the ABC Friends advocacy group, she robustly detailed some of the ways in which the public broadcaster had been opportunistically used by the federal government as a bargaining chip to pass its media deregulation legislation. Full story [here]

George Christensen is second MP to use taxpayer funds to attack ABC

Broede Carmody - SMH - October 10, 2017

The ABC has once again been accused of biased reporting by a federal MP taking out an ad in a local newspaper.

Queensland Liberal Nationals MP George Christensen has admitted to using his taxpayer purse to criticise the ABC's coverage of the state's new Adani coal mine. Full story [here]

ABC Managing Director speech at the ABC Friends Public Conference Dinner

By ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie - 6th October 2017

Thank you very much for the privilege of presenting this dinner address at the ABC Friends' first national public conference.

It is a very important gathering in both its timing and in the issues discussed. I understand a delegation will be meeting with the Chairman on Monday to take him through the key findings.

It is very apt that the underlying theme for this conference is "Democracy demands diversity". My address tonight maintains there is no media and cultural diversity without the ABC and democracy would be very much the poorer in the absence of the national broadcaster. Full speech [here]

ABC's Michelle Guthrie hits back at Turnbull and Hanson's media reform

Daily Review - October 8, 2017

ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie has taken aim at a deal struck between the Turnbull government and One Nation to pass media reform changes.

In a speech to the Friends of the ABC this Friday night, Guthrie said: "Legislation designed to further a political vendetta by one party uncomfortable with being scrutinised by our investigative programs is not good policy-making." Full story [here]

Kathleen Noonan: Why Australia needs the taxpayer-funded ABC more than ever

Kathleen Noonan - The Courier-Mail - October 7, 2017

It's dinner time and Leigh Sales is interviewing Federal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on the ABC's 7.30. In between drinking gin and tonic, eating teriyaki salmon and yelling at the TV screen, I am busy keeping count. Sales has asked the minister five clear, reasonable questions, - including: "If 50 of the refugees from Nauru and Manus Island are being sent to the US for resettlement, how many does that leave?" She asks this six times. Then: "Is it accurate that we're offering Rohingya refugees $25,000 to return to Myanmar and is it actually safe for them to return?" Full story [here]

The end of Lateline: Kerry O'Brien and Maxine McKew reflect on a television institution

Debbie Cuthbertson - SMH - October 8, 2017

In 1990 the first season of The Simpsons was screening on American TV and Mr Bean first appeared on British tellies.

In Australia, however, the new decade ushered in something much more serious and profound - a late-night program on the national broadcaster dedicated to reflection on and discussion of big ideas. Full story [here]

ABC chief Michelle Guthrie condemns Turnbull government's 'vendetta' media reforms

Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - October 7, 2017

ABC MD Michelle Guthrie has blasted the Turnbull government's 'vendetta' deal with Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party to secure its latest media ownership reforms.

"Legislation designed to further a political vendetta by one party uncomfortable with being scrutinised by our investigative programs is not good policy-making", Ms Guthrie said in an ABC Friends national conference after-dinner speech in Sydney on Friday. Full story [here]

Al Gore embroiled in ABC's inconvenient audit

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - October 6, 2017

From time to time the ABC undertakes editorial reviews to see if the news department is meeting editorial standards. A spot audit of the same-sex marriage debate was undertaken on 7 and 8 August, covering more than 60 items on national television and local and national radio. It found that overall there was a "broadly even number of voices both in favour and against the plebiscite". Full story [here]

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie attacks commercial rivals, media law reforms

Andrew Taylor - SMH - October 6, 2017

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has launched a stinging attack on her commercial television rivals, accusing their chief executives of wanting to deny "your children and grandchildren" the right to watch Play School and Peppa Pig.

Ms Guthrie also questioned the commercial strategies of rival media players and said the Turnbull government's media law reforms were designed to further a "political vendetta". Full story [here]

Lateline, The Link to be axed in ABC overhaul

Broede Carmody & Adam Gartrell - SMH - October 5, 2017

The ABC's evening news program Lateline and Stan Grant's The Link will be axed as part of a sweeping overhaul of the national broadcaster's current affairs schedule.

Lateline host Emma Alberici will remain at the ABC and will take up a senior news and current affairs role. Full atory [here]

ABC axes Lateline as part of current affairs journalism overhaul

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - October 5, 2017

The ABC has announced an overhaul of its current affairs journalism including the axing of its flagship show Lateline and the creation of investigative and specialist reporting teams.

The new teams of reporters and producers will work across television, radio and online to boost the broadcaster's daily news and current affairs output.

Hosted by Emma Alberici, Lateline first aired in 1990, with Kerry O'Brien in the chair until 1995, and has been fronted over its 27 years by some of the ABC's biggest names including Maxine McKew, Virginia Trioli, Leigh Sales and Tony Jones. Full story [here]

Guthrie's content shake-up threatens ABC empires

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - September 29, 2017

The ABC's senior executive is busy finalising a restructuring plan originally scheduled for October but which has now been pushed back as late as November.

With 16 months now under her belt, the managing director, Michelle Guthrie, is getting on with her "transformation" agenda which includes creating the $50m GIG, or Great Ideas Grant, creating 80 new jobs in regional Australia and shedding 200 jobs in management, support and content areas.

Now, with the help of consultants, she is attempting to reorganise the national broadcaster for the post-analogue age. What this means is rearranging the broadcaster along genre lines rather than the traditional platforms of television, radio, news and online. Full story [here]

John Clarke's pictures from nature live on in 2018 calendar

Tony Wright - SMH - September 26, 2017

Away from the TV cameras, the sound stage and the audiences, John Clarke took solace and pleasure from the natural world.

Birds were his great delight.

Shy little wrens and and the great wing-spread dance of the brolga; startled flocks of curlews and godwits, the flight of an egret or the sharp eye of a sea-eagle in search of a meal – all of these, and many more, were captured by Clarke's own camera.

The man who made Australians and  New Zealanders laugh at themselves and who, with his collaborator Bryan Dawe, regularly stripped bare the vanities of politicians, spent much of his private time quietly wandering the bush and beaches with his wife, Helen, listening out for the song of birds. Full story [here]


How the government and One Nation may use media reforms to clip the ABC's wings

Denis Muller - The Conversation - September 27, 2017

Among the four concessions concerning the ABC that senator Pauline Hanson extracted from the federal government in exchange for her support of its recent media ownership law changes, one in particular has the potential to do real damage to the national broadcaster.

This is the promised inquiry into the ABC's competitive neutrality. It has been on the agenda of News Corp for years to have the ABC's wings clipped, for the obvious reason that it sees the ABC as a commercial rival. If News Corp had its way, the ABC's big strategic move into digital broadcasting more than a decade ago would have been cut off at the pass.

So Hanson, whether she knew it or not, has played into the hands of New Corp on this, and given the government a political opportunity to do yet one more favour for Rupert Murdoch. Full story [here]

ABC cuts jeopardising safety of remote communities - study

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - September 19, 2017

Cuts to the ABC in regional and rural Australia and the corporation's increasing reliance on digital technologies is jeopardising the safety of remote communities and their access to emergency warnings, Deakin University research has found.

The ABC's increasingly "digital-first" approach to emergency information and the reduction in ABC reporters' local knowledge is causing great distress among rural populations who rely on broadcast signals because they don't have the bandwidth or coverage for digital, researchers say.

A reduction of local news and information, centralised newsrooms in metropolitan areas, the closure of several ABC stations and the scaling back of broadcast programming has been disastrous for people outside the cities, according to a new study, Communication life line? ABC emergency broadcasting in rural/regional Australia. Full story [here]

How the 'No' case is abusing the ABC

Alex McKinnon - The Saturday Paper - September 23, 2017

As the debate on same-sex marriage continues, the 'No' case is exploiting the ABC's charter and complaints process to gain prominence for ugly views.

It took two days, but the Australian Christian Lobby did lodge a complaint with the ABC. At issue was Joe O'Brien's line of questioning on the breakfast show News Mornings.

The lobby's managing director, Lyle Shelton, had been invited to debate same-sex marriage with City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster. Almost immediately, he pulled the conversation to "children being taught radical LGBTI sex education". Full story [here]

Testing times for the ABC with a 'competitive, neutrality enquiry'

Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - September 15, 2017

One of our most trusted institutions is under real threat- and, like Humpty Dumpty, once broken may never be able to be put together again.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be expecting strong editorial support from all major and minor commercial media around Australia at the next election.

Under the guise of delivering reform on outdated and restrictive media laws and allowing home grown major media players to compete against the likes of Amazon and Facebook, our PM has delivered what Australian media executive have been lobbying so hard for.

In one of the more laughable comments, News Corps exec. chairman Michael Millar welcomes the "important" passage of the far ranging media package as being a win for regional Australia. Full story [here]

Coalition signals it will negotiate with One Nation over curbs on ABC

Amy Remeikis - The Guardian - September 15, 2017

The Turnbull government has signalled it will press on with meeting One Nation's demands to place restrictions on the ABC.

The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, said he would negotiate to make the Pauline Hanson driven reforms a reality, despite opposition from the majority of the crossbench. He listed legislation, including re-establishing the ABCC, Gonski 2.0 and the childcare reforms, the government has managed to pass despite hostilities.

"The more people say we can't do something, the more determined the government is to deliver on behalf of the Australian people," Fifield told the media on Friday, standing next to a beaming Malcolm Turnbull on the second anniversary of his prime ministership. "So I will be giving this the same application I do with everything else." Full story [here]

The program that changed Australia (Four Corners)

Jane Goodall - The Inside Story - August 31, 2017

When Kerry O'Brien retired from Four Corners at the end of 2015, he left the program on a high. Reporter Adele Ferguson had won a Gold Logie for "The Price of Convenience" (30 August), an investigation of 7-Eleven's employment practices. Other 2015 stories with major political ramifications were Making a Killing (February 16) on animal cruelty in the greyhound racing business, and a two-part series investigating the continuing presence of the Mafia in Australia (June 29 and July 6).

With Sarah Ferguson as presenter, the program has remained at the top of its game, and the run of high-impact investigations continues. Hardly a week goes by without a major news item triggered by Four Corners, and many of these are concerned with the longer-term consequences of its revelations. Full story [here]

Dick Smith to campaign against alleged ABC bias

Nick O'Malley - SMH - September 5, 2017

Dick Smith is launching an advertising campaign against ABC TV news and current affairs, which he says has warped the debate he has tried to spur over Australian population growth.

He claims both Labor and Liberal politicians have told him they agree that Australia needs to cut its immigration intake to avoid future social and environmental fracturing, but they say they cannot say so publicly because the ABC will label them racist. Full story [here]

Malcolm Turnbull using the ABC as a bargaining chip for media ownership changes

Michelle Rowland, Shadow Minister for Communications
Transcript - Doorstop Interview - Canberra - 4 September 2017

When Parliament last sat we had the government welcoming what it called 'constructive engagement' with One Nation for its flawed media ownership changes. We now know what that 'constructive engagement' entails. It is basically a package of measures designed to undermine the ABC and the SBS as our trusted public broadcasters. We know that this is a government that has no commitment to our public broadcasters. [Full transcrip]

Michelle Rowland will be a guest speaker at 'Public Broadcasting in the 21st Century - Public Conference - Sydney - Friday October 6, 2017' - see above.

ABC Defenders Campaign

ABC Friends are again in the process of building membership, raising awareness and a fighting fund to defend our national broadcaster. Our latest campaign is being built around our ABC Defenders.

Already several well-known Australians have signed-up as ABC Defenders - watch the call-out video [here]

Read all our Defenders' messages [here]

If you or someone you know would like to become a Defender click [here] for details

AM turns 50 (4 Sep 2017): How producing the program has changed over the years

Laura Brierley Newton - ABC News - September 2, 2017

On September 4, 1967, the first AM program played across Australia, forever changing the way Australians received their morning news.

Until that day Australians got their first dose of news from papers printed the night before, or brief updated snippets read live on radio by newsreaders.

Over the past 50 years the program has adapted and evolved with the times, but its original ethos has remained the same. "To bring to Australians as quickly as possible the essence of the news, commentary, interviews.

That was how it started and that's how it is today," Paul Raffaele, who was part of the original team of AM reporters, said. Full story [here]

ABC's Chris Uhlmann to replace Laurie Oakes on Channel Nine

Broede Carmody - SMH - August 31, 2017

The ABC's political editor Chris Uhlmann is taking up a new role with Channel Nine. Uhlmann will replace Laurie Oakes, who retired this month.

Nine's head of news and current affairs Darren Wick said in a statement the broadcaster would help lead Nine's political coverage "into a new era".

"He is a man of integrity, talent and possesses the hunger that drives the truly great reporters," he said. Full story [here]

Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd is poised for a slam dunk through the Turnbull government's media reforms

Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - August 17, 2017

Having recently acquired APN regional daily and non-daily newspapers and websites for a bargain $37 million and with Network Ten's free-to-air TV licences in administration and up for grabs, the American tycoon and his associates can consolidate media power if, as now seems likely, the 1980s ownership rules are abolished.

While Communications Minister Mitch Fifield asserts his abolition of Paul Keating's 'two-out-of-three' market constraint and audience reach rules are supported by the entire Australian media industry, it has become apparent that News Ltd will emerge with many market monopolies. Full story [here]

Making war with the ABC

Martin McKenzie-Murray - The Saturday Paper - August 19, 2017

As the ABC faces down sustained attacks from News Corp and other outlets, the government is in the process of changing journalism for good.

On Wednesday evening, ABC chairman Justin Milne gave something of a history lecture in Parliament House. The occasion was the ABC's yearly parliamentary showcase, ordinarily a simple affair, but held this year against a dramatic backdrop - the senate debate on media reforms. Only the day before One Nation had triumphantly declared a deal with the government, one which would see support for reform in exchange for a range of amendments, mostly concerned with altering the charter of the national broadcaster. The Australian Financial Review called it, "the biggest assault on the ABC's independence in decades". Full story [here]

ABC Chairman Justin Milne address to ABC Parliamentary Showcase

ABC Chairman Justin Milne address the ABC Parliamentary Showcase event on Wednesday 16 August 2017.

As a freshly minted Chairman, this is my first ABC Parliamentary Showcase and I am delighted to welcome you here to celebrate everything the ABC does and all that it contributes to the life of Australians.

Now, I may be an ABC ingenue but I've been around media for a while and can tell you that the advent of the internet, smart phones, instant global connectivity, Google, Facebook, Netflix and machine learning all mean that the changes we are experiencing today will be the biggest media has ever experienced. Full address [here]

ABC deal comes back to haunt the Government (Episode Two)

Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - August 18, 2017

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (like his counterpart Theresa May in the UK) must on reflection think that calling an early election has not proven an Einstein-ian decision. Having expected community adulation, it is hard to reconcile having to negotiate with parties with different values and ambitions to pass legislation.

So, deals are a fact of political life for both PMs - even recognising the considerable personal cost in achieving them, which leaves little room for attaining the moral high ground. Political pork barrelling, to ensure that an image can be spun of decisive and strong leadership, is a nasty business.

Sadly, here in Australia the ABC is being cynically used to ensure right-wing support within (and of) the Government - and to satisfy implied guarantees to the voracious media groupings. Communications Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, continues to say that all media leaders support the Governments media "reforms", as if that makes them worth supporting. In Episode One on Pearls and Irritations last week, I said that 'reform' is defined as change for the better. Many surely would challenge that, in our current imbroglio, perhaps asking whether making media magnates more powerful and happier necessarily benefits all Australians. Full story [here]

'Unprecedented': Nick Xenophon rejects One Nation bid to reveal ABC presenter salaries

Matthew Knott - SMH - August 16, 2017

Pauline Hanson's bid to change the ABC charter and force the broadcaster to reveal the salaries of its top presenters appears doomed to fail despite the party striking a deal with the Turnbull government to support the deregulation of media ownership laws.

The government still appears on track to win support from the Senate crossbench to pass its media deregulation changes, which could trigger a round of major media mergers.

Pauline Hanson's bid to change the ABC charter and force the broadcaster to reveal the salaries of its top presenters appears doomed to fail despite the party striking a deal with the Turnbull government to support the deregulation of media ownership laws. The government still appears on track to win support from the Senate crossbench to pass its media deregulation changes, which could trigger a round of major media mergers. Full story [here]

Tell the Government the ABC is not their Political Plaything

  • Tell the Minister for Communications that the ABC is not the government's political plaything!
  • Unknown deals in the Senate challenge the independence of the ABC as Australia's most trusted institution
  • The people of Australia are ABC shareholders and guardians of independent public broadcasting.
  • If the Minister wants the ABC to change he must first conduct a major survey of what Australians expect of "their ABC"
  • It is certainly not the role of minority political parties or indeed outside critics to dictate policy based on their personal prejudices
  • We need informed and rational debate about the future role of public broadcasting in Australia not behind the scenes manoevering.

Email Mitch:minister@communications.gov.au Minister's office details [here]

ABC-bashing will not help commercial media outlets, MPs told

Katharine Murphy - The Guardian - August 16, 2017

As the Coalition's media ownership package is being negotiated in the Senate, the ABC's chairman sends a message about the importance of its independence.

The ABC chairman has underlined the importance of the ABC's independence, and declared ABC-bashing will not solve the problems faced by commercial media outlets, as the Turnbull government's media reform package hangs in the balance.

Justin Milne was in Canberra on Wednesday night as part of the national broadcaster's annual showcase in Parliament House, and took the opportunity to send politicians a clear message as the horse trading intensified behind the scenes on the government's media reform package. Full story [here]

What One Nation's plans for the ABC charter would mean for fair reporting

Jonathan Holmes - SMH - August 17, 2017

If the government's deal with One Nation goes ahead, and there's no guarantee of that, every ABC employee who is paid more than $200,000 a year will have their salary published for the world to see.

Well, that's already happened at least once, thanks to a spectacular cock-up by the ABC's own bureaucracy. In December 2013 it accidentally attached a comprehensive salary spreadsheet to an email it sent to a journalist at The Australian. Full story [here]

ABC chairman Justin Milne defends broadcaster's role in Australia media landscape

Matthew Doran - ABC News - August 17, 2017

The chairman of the ABC has defended the public broadcaster's role in the Australian media industry.

Justin Milne has only been in the role for a matter of months, but in an address at Parliament House on Wednesday evening, he hit back at criticism the ABC is harming the fortunes of Australia's media empires.

His comments follow a deal between the Coalition and One Nation on the Government's shake-up of media ownership regulations. Full story [here]

Pauline Hanson announces 'conditional support' for Government's media law shake-up

Matthew Doran & Henry Belot - ABC News - August 16, 2017

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has announced "conditional support" for the Federal Government's shake-up of media ownership and regulation.

That support may end months of political deadlock with Labor and the Greens opposed to the changes, claiming they would only weaken media diversity.

Senator Hanson said her party would back the measures because the Coalition had agreed to investigate the ABC's balance, its commitment to regional areas, and order the public broadcaster to be more transparent about its wages. Full story [here]

One Nation wins ABC changes in media reform deal

Lucy Battersby - SMH - August 15, 2017

Pauline Hanson's One Nation party has given the government's media reforms "conditional support" in exchange for a $12 million boost to community radio funding and changes to the ABC, including a greater focus on regional areas, more financial transparency and increasing its political impartiality.

The government will also conduct an inquiry into the ABC's competitive neutrality - whether it is using taxpayer funding to undermine commercial players - and to "legislate a requirement for the ABC to be 'fair' and 'balanced'", according to a post on One Nation's Facebook's page on Tuesday. Full story [here]

ABC to face inquiry and be forced to disclose staff salaries under One Nation media reform deal

Matthew Knott - SMH - August 15, 2017

Big name stars such as Tony Jones and Leigh Sales would have their salaries revealed to the public and the ABC may be restricted from competing with commercial rivals under a deal struck between the Turnbull government and One Nation.

Pauline Hanson announced support for the government's media deregulation package on Tuesday afternoon after Communications Minister Mitch Fifield agreed to a number of conditions, including introducing legislation requiring the ABC to be "fair and balanced". Full story [here]

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield demands ABC explain Sam Dastyari Australian Story 'infomercial'

Matthew Knott - SMH - August 10, 2017

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has written to ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie to demand the public broadcaster explain why it devoted an episode of Australian Story to Labor senator Sam Dastyari.

As well as the episode of Australian Story, Senator Fifield has asked the ABC to explain why a recent Media Watch episode heavily featured an interview with Senator Dastyari. Full story [here]

Sky's no limit in Murdoch empire's war on ABC

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - August 11, 2017

The Sky News Australia boss, Angelos Frangopoulos, has raised the stakes in the Murdoch empire's latest war on the ABC by suggesting the government give the commercial media a chance to pitch for Aunty's $1.4bn in annual funding.

In an interview with the Australian this week Frangopoulos, who recently became the chair of the Walkley advisory board, was critical of a deal between ABC Commercial and billboard advertising group oOh!media in which news content is syndicated on roadside billboards as well as digital billboards in shopping centres and Qantas lounges.

"If the ABC thinks it's OK to go chasing commercial revenues, then it should in turn be challenged for its own funding," the Sky chief executive said. "We've learned that the ABC is a formidable commercial opponent, not because of its content, but because it can fully leverage its taxpayer-funded resources. Full stoey [here]

ABC deal comes back to haunt Government

Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - August11, 2017

Make a deal for political expediency and then unforseen consequences usually follow.

The ABC and its future is not a 'bargaining chip' for the Government to use to pass legislation in the Senate.

Yet a deal brokered by Communications Minister Fifield to gain Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm's vote some months back has already come back to haunt it. Full story [here]

ABC deal comes back to haunt Government

Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - August11, 2017

Make a deal for political expediency and then unforseen consequences usually follow.

The ABC and its future is not a 'bargaining chip' for the Government to use to pass legislation in the Senate.

Yet a deal brokered by Communications Minister Fifield to gain Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm's vote some months back has already come back to haunt it. Full story [here]

ABC current affairs shake-up could see 7.30 shift to 9.30 and Lateline axed

Amy Remeikis - SMH - August 4, 2017

'Good evening, I'm Leigh Sales and welcome to 9.30.'

Speculation is rife the ABC is considering moving its flagship current affairs program, 7.30, to 9.30pm, as part of a shake up of the broadcaster's news and current affairs schedule. Full story [here]

News Corp's Handmaid's fail is SBS's gain as boss hits back at 'bunch of sooks'

Amanda Meade - The Guardian- August 4, 2017

Just a week after telling the Australian media to be kinder and to stop attacking each other (to howls of laughter), News Corp's Australian boss Michael Miller joined a chorus of media chiefs who accused the public broadcasters of stealing audiences with their free content, distorting the market for commercial players and aggressively competing for TV shows and online news audiences.

The Australian used its front page to launch an unedifying attack on the ABC and SBS ("Calls to rein in ABC and SBS") which continued for a couple of days. "Corporate chiefs at News Corp, Fairfax Media, Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment are among a group of industry leaders throwing new weight behind criticisms the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service are overstepping their public service remit," the report said. Full story [here]

ABC Friends NSW & ACT Annual Dinner - Friday 8 September 2017

Celebrating Aunty's 85th Birthday

Come and join us in the majestic surroundings of the famous Cello's Restaurant in Sydney. Our special guests this year are the ABC's Gaven Morris and Joe O'Brien. Booking is essential - full details [here]

Opinion journalism and clickbait

Santilla Chingaipe - The Saturday Paper - July 29, 2017

In the age of viral videos, you never quite know what will become the next internet sensation. It could be a North Korea expert being upstaged on camera by his children while conducting a live interview, or a police shooting of an unarmed black man in the United States.

Recently, the ABC's political editor, Chris Uhlmann, found himself in the position of social media sensation after a piece of his on-camera commentary went viral. His takedown of United States president Donald Trump was praised by commentators and journalists alike for its searing assessment of Trump's performance at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Full story [here]

ABC Friends' Newsletter - Update

The August 2017edition of Update is now available [here]

ABC foyer closed to public after controversial Quadrant article

Jenna Price - SMH - July 26, 2017

I've always loved the ABC. It keeps the clock by which my life has been measured.

The 7.45am news bulletin on local radio. The 7pm news. The strange little modern experiments that provide an insight into generations not mine including The Katering Show where I sit in a room watching television with others who are all laughing and who get all the jokes. Although I haven't laughed on time once, it's true I now call that catch-up app of the ABC's, IVoo. Just like the Kates. Full story [here]

ABC Friends National Survey - 'What Do You Want of Your ABC?'

This questionnaire is designed to enable you to provide your views about the ABC in the future as it moves again into uncharted waters.

ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, has given her support for ABC Friends' initiative to provide feedback to ABC Management on what we want of our ABC. This is your opportunity to be part of that process. Complete the survey [here]

Attacking the ABC could be One Nation's least popular policy yet: Poll

The Australia Institute - Media Release

As the Federal Government's proposed legislation to relax restrictions on who can own and operate newspapers, TV and radio stations in Australia, Pauline Hanson's One Nation party has reportedly proposed that ABC funding should be cut as a condition of its support for the legislation.

New polling released today shows a combined 74% of South Australians want funding to the ABC increased or maintained, while 18% supported cutting the national broadcaster.

When asked specifically about whether the Government should cut the ABC in order to get One Nation's support for their media reform laws, support was 16.5%. Read the full Media Release [here]

South Australians want more funding for ABC: poll

Tom Richardson - InDaily - July 13, 2017

Almost three quarters of South Australians want taxpayer funding to the ABC increased or maintained at its current level, according to a new ReachTel poll, InDaily can reveal.

The national broadcaster has been at the centre of a bitter political debate in recent times, with key figures on the political right - notably former Prime Minister Tony Abbott - targeting the ABC over its alleged "bias" and Pauline Hanson's One Nation reportedly linking support of broader media reforms to a substantial cut in the ABC's budget. Full story [here]

Why we need an independent ABC more than ever

Ranald Macdonald - The Age - July 12, 2017

Sometimes being an ABC Friends officeholder is difficult.

You want to shout from the rooftops about how dumb an ABC board or management decision seems to be, criticise an on-air interviewer for rudeness or lack of preparation, or just say that everyone expects better from our publicly funded National Broadcaster.

My challenge is to keep a sense of proportion and recognise what to me is the bigger picture: that the ABC must be preserved as an essential source of information and entertainment - an alternative voice in a democracy where many voices and sources of information need to be heard. Full story [here]

Australian drama, comedy in decline on ABC TV: What the figures reveal

Karl Quinn - SMH - July 11, 2017

The ABC is under no obligation to produce Australian drama and comedy, and figures released in the Senate last week show it is making way less than it used to.

Anyone doubting the scale of the challenges facing the ABC right now need only look at the figures revealed in the Senate last Friday to see how great they are. Full story [here]

Defending the ABC

Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - June 29, 2017

The ABC is not perfect but this country desperately needs an ABC able financially and committed to fulfilling its Charter requirements for all Australians. And for it to be free of political interference.

Saturday, July 1 marks the 85th birthday of the ABC. First the Australian Broadcasting Commission and then in 1983 it became the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Never in its existence has it been under greater threat. Contunue reading [here]

ABC Visit to Alice Springs

Media Release ABC Friends - June 27, 2017

ABC Friends National congratulates Justin Milne, the ABC Board Chair, for asserting his recent leadership by holding his first board meeting in Alice Springs to demonstrate his commitment to regional Australia. It is a significant decision because this meeting coincides with the ABC's 85th Birthday at a time when the national broadcaster has been under attack for being too Sydney-centric.

Alice Springs is a welcome departure from so many capital city venues and offers an important message to all Australians that the ABC wants to reach out to people wherever they live. Continue reading [here]

ABC comes up short with Catalyst revamp

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 23, 2017

he ABC's promise to replace its weekly science magazine show Catalyst with 17 one-hour science documentaries in 2017 has been broken. We are past the halfway point of the year and the ABC has not screened a single episode. The director of television who made the promise, Richard Finlayson, has gone and Brendan Dahill, the executive who wrote the report which recommended the axing of the weekly program, had moved on before the decision was made.

At the time of Catalyst's downgrading in October last year, ABC insiders warned it was unrealistic to get that many programs to air in such a short timeframe, especially since they hadn't yet hired an executive producer to commission them. The ABC eventually imported British producer Aiden Laverty, a former editor of BBC's flagship science program, Horizon, who began work in April. Which didn'leave much time to make any programs. Full story [here]

The ABC gets it wrong on its South Pacific service

Graeme Dobell - The Australian Strategic Policy Institute - June 19, 2017

The technical bastardry of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in degrading its shortwave broadcasts to the South Pacific has been starkly revealed. The bloody-mindedness helps explain the dumb decision to turn off Australia's shortwave service that broadcasts to northern Australia and the South Pacific.

The reveal happened in Parliament House last Friday, when the Senate Communications Committee took evidence on a draft Bill that would require the ABC to restore the shortwave services it killed on January 31. Full story [here]

One Plus One - Michelle Guthrie

Michelle Guthrie is the ABC's managing director. She joins Jane Hutcheon to discuss leadership, criticism and her reluctant embrace of the public spotlight. Watch it on iView [here]

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie spooks Foreign Correspondent... again

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 9, 2017

f the ABC's managing director, Michelle Guthrie, is committed to keeping ABC TV's Foreign Correspondent on air she has a funny way of showing it. At a Blue Mountains community forum this week Guthrie was asked about the ABC's attitude to foreign coverage. Worryingly, she said the ABC was committed to maintaining long-form and short-form international affairs across multiple media but "not to specific programs like Foreign Correspondent necessarily". Given that the program was shunted into a late-night time slot this year - 9.30pm on Tuesdays - and is now slated to finish its 2017 season over the dead months of summer, hopes are fading that it will return next year. This is not the first time Foreign Correspondent has appeared as though it is on death row. In November Guthrie sent shockwaves through ABC news by making similar public comments: Full story [here]

We need a strong ABC more than ever. It cannot pander to rightwing attacks

Gay Alcorn - The Guardian - June 2, 2017

The relentless, disproportionate attacks on the ABC usually receive little pushback from the ABC. Presenters hold their tongues, perhaps reporting what was said but usually refraining from full-throated rebuttal. That changed last week with the astonishing suggestion by Quadrant online editor Roger Franklin - in an attempt at satire, presumably - that had there been "a shred of justice" the Manchester bomber would have blown up the Q&A studio instead because, you know, the ABC excuses terrorism or denies its seriousness.

The basis for Franklin's fury was that a Q&A guest, physicist Lawrence Krauss, said that Americans are more likely to die from a fridge falling on them than in a terrorist attack. Full story [here]

How the newspapers tried to kill an independent ABC news before it even began

Stan Correy - ABC News - June 1, 2017

This week, the ABC marks the 70th anniversary of its first truly independent news bulletin - but it almost never made it to air.

"Independent and up to the minute" is how ABC news promotes itself today.

But when the ABC began broadcasting in 1932, being independent and up to the minute meant going to war with some of the most influential men in the country: the Australian newspaper proprietors. Full story [here]

A disgrace: One Nation's ABC blackmail threat

Editorial - SMH - June 1, 2017

One Nation's threat to blackmail the Australian people by demanding cuts to ABC funding was a disgrace. The ultimatum stood for almost a day before its stupidity dawned on party leader Pauline Hanson and she backed off.

The damage had been done. Any political threat to hold the public broadcaster to ransom and threaten its independence undermines confidence in the parliament and democracy. It is especially hypocritical when One Nation was behaving in a manner not unlike the apocryphal swamp-inhabiting political insiders the party claims to despise. Full Editorial [here]

One Nation refuses to back budget unless ABC funding cut by $600m, reports say

Gareth Hutchens - The Guardian - May 31, 2017

Pauline Hanson's One Nation has resuscitated its threat to refuse to support the Turnbull government's budget measures unless the ABC's funding is cut.

Brian Burston, One Nation's party whip, said it had received "unfair treatment" from the ABC and the party would reject "all bills associated with the budget" unless the broadcaster's $1bn a year funding was cut by $600m over four years, according to the Australian. Full story [here]

Separating treasures from the waste of ABC programs

Debi Enker - SMH - May 25, 2017

During a reportedly heated session at a recent conference on content organised by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie declared that the TV set was dead. Finished. Kaput. Going the way of the dinosaur.

This is not welcome news for those of us who still prefer to watch most programs on that apparently doomed piece of equipment, rather than, say, squinting at our phones. Full story [here]

The ABC is not siphoning audiences from Fairfax

Axel Bruns - The Conversation - May 27, 2017

Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood has been busy. His company's announcement on 3 May 2017 that Fairfax would sack 125 of its newsroom staff led to Sydney Morning Herald and The Age journalists going on strike, at the worst possible time in the Australian political calendar.

Meanwhile, media reports highlighted Hywood's annual pay of over A$7 million - which at a median reported salary for journalists of just over A$51,000 would comfortably pay for the most of the staff laid off in Hywood's announcement. Full story [here]

Be-Friending the ABC

Tina Faulk - The Spectator Australia - May 27, 2017

It comes as no surprise when you discover that 'Friends of the ABC' is not, like, say, the CWA or Mate for Mates, a support group in the sense we generally know it to be.

Rather ABC 'Friends' is like Get Up, fiercely political, acidly vengeful, in the main, a Labor front, rather than of music and current-affairs fans supporting the national broadcaster. Full story [here]

Tinfoil witch trials

Editorial - The Saturday Paper - May 27, 2017

This is a defence of the ABC. It is a defence against a government with no apparent respect for the independence of one of this country's most important institutions.

It is a defence against the thuggishness of a minister such as Peter Dutton and the madness of a senator such as John Williams, against the blackmail and conspiracies that define politicians' relationships with the national broadcaster. Full story [here]

Radio jobs for the chop as ABC rolls out redundancies

Amanda Meade - Guardian Australia - May 15, 2017

After the ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie, confirmed at Senate estimates that 120 more jobs would go, staff in the radio division were given some details on how it would affect them on Thursday. But the letter was so jargon-laden that barely anyone could understand it. Which is unsurprising as it was written by the director of radio, Michael Mason, the man responsible for the "preposterously named executives" last year including "Ideas Network Lead" and "Head Spoken".

Here's a sample: "Building on the success as RN as a podcast innovator this proposal brings together some of our most creative content makers, we are consolidating our current long form Radio Features team and the podcast content team from Content and Digital into a combined team focused on new digital audio content targeting key audience gaps and delivering rich content for RN's linear schedule." Full story [here]

'One down, many to go': Peter Dutton calls for ABC purge after Abdel-Magied axing

Michael Koziol - SMH - May 25, 2017

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has called for a purge of ABC personalities in the wake of the broadcaster's decision to axe Yassmin Abdel-Magied's program, which he welcomed as "a good start".

"One down, many to go," Mr Dutton told 2GB radio's Ray Hadley during their regular Thursday morning interview, in comments that were repudiated by Labor.

Mr Dutton reserved particular opprobrium for the Q&A program and its host, senior ABC journalist Tony Jones, which he said exemplified a cultural problem at the public broadcaster. Full story [here]

ABC bosses defend editorial independence, hiring practices in gruelling Senate hearing

Amy Remeikis - SMH - May 24, 2017

ABC head Michelle Guthrie was forced to defend the broadcaster's editorial independence, hiring practices and marketing, while denying its children's news program was sympathetic to Islamic State in a grilling which has come to characterise her time in front of the Senate.

Ms Guthrie, who celebrated her first year in the managing director role earlier this month, said the ABC was working on "maximising" its benefit to audiences and planned on announcing a $2.9 million spend in "genre programming" on Thursday, which would see its arts, science and education coverage boosted, as well as the return of Catalyst. Full story [here]

ABC axes Yassmin Abdel-Magied's Australia Wide program

Broede Carmody - SMH - May 24, 2017

The ABC is axing the program hosted by Yassmin Abdel-Magied a month after the television presenter and activist sparked outrage over her Anzac Day comments.

Australia Wide is set to be shelved in the coming weeks as part of the national broadcaster's sweeping restructure. As well as programming changes, as many as 200 jobs are being slashed in order to reinvest $50 million a year back into regional and online content. Full story [here]

Quadrant online editor Roger Franklin laments that Manchester blast was not against ABC

Nick O'Malley - SMH - May 24, 2017

The Australian Federal Police has been notified that the online editor of the Australian conservative journal Quadrant wrote an opinion piece saying that, "had there been a shred of justice", the Manchester blast would have "detonated in an Ultimo TV studio".

He added that, if such an attack took place, "none of the panel's likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity's intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty". Full story [here]

ABC needs to be included in specific local content rules

Media Release - ABC Friends - May 17, 2017

ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds said Michelle Guthrie needed to spend more time watching ABC television if she really believes there is no need for local content rules to apply to the national broadcaster (Crikey 17 May 2017)

The ABC relies heavily on the BBC for a significant percentage of its screening time and has had a long standing commercial relationship with British television . Australian audiences can be forgiven for believing they remain part of the British Empire when they see yet another Antiques Roadshow, Stephen Fry or Midsummer Murders et al repeated ad nauseum in prime viewing time.

The national broadcaster has a responsibility to lead in reflecting Australian content. When quality Australian programs are screened they are well received by local audiences. However one glance at TV schedules reminds us just how reliant the ABC is on imported programs.

Australian Children's TV has suffered with local content being reduced considerably in recent years despite additional funding being allocated by government and subsequently redirected to other areas of the ABC.

Clearly the ABC needs to be more accountable about how it fulfils the role as the national broadcaster Australian shareholders want an independent broadcaster that accepts its leadership role and promotes Australian talent and stories.

Of course the ABC struggles with inadequate funding from government but that needs strong advocacy from the ABC must receive appropriate levels of funding to guarantee Australian content.

If the ABC is not meeting local content standards there is good reason to require it to do so. The new media environment is a major challenge for public broadcasting but taxpayers do not want to see any further subsidies going to the BBC!

Fairfax Media boss Greg Hywood accuses ABC of threatening future of commercial rivals

Matthew Knott - SMH - May 17, 2017

Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood has hit out at the ABC for using taxpayer money to boost the profits of multinational corporations such as Google and encroaching onto the terrain of newspaper companies at an appearance before a public inquiry into the future of journalism.

Mr Hywood, who is overseeing a plan to cut 125 editorial jobs at the media company, was also forced to defend his salary and performance bonuses under pointed questioning from senators suggesting his pay packet was excessive. Full story [here]

The Relationship Between the Media and Politics - Forum

ABC Friends Mid-North Coast presents: Rob Oakeshott "The Relationship Between the Media and Politics"

When: Tuesday 30th May at 10:00am Where: Westport Club, Buller Street, Port Macquarie. Download the flyer [here]

Mark Colvin 'too big and too smart' for Walkleys, Tony Jones says

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 12, 2017

Apart from his family there was a handful of friends at Mark Colvin's hospital bedside in his final days. One of those was his best friend Q&A host Tony Jones. Jones, his partner Four Corners host Sarah Ferguson, 7.30 host Leigh Sales and SBS presenter Jenny Brockie were among his closest circle of mates. While he was open about his kidney disease and transplant, Colvin's brief, final battle with lung-cancer was a closely-held secret.

After Colvin's death on Thursday, Jones called for the Walkleys to create a posthumous award for the former host of PM and legendary foreign correspondent. Full story [here]

Report - Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Advocacy) Bill 2015

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Advocacy) Bill 2015 (the bill) was initially referred to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee on 3 December 2015 for inquiry and report by 20 June 2016.1 The bill is a private senator's bill introduced by Senator Bridget McKenzie.

Purpose of the bill (1.9) The bill proposes to amend the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) Charter in relation to the delivery of services in rural and regional Australia in each state and territory. In addition, the bill seeks to define the ABC's mandate for its public service function for journalism in rural and regional Australia.

This Senate Committee Report, together with the Labor Senators' dissenting report and recommendations can be downloaded [here]

Mark Colvin - consummate reporter, foreign correspondent, journalist and broadcaster

Media Release - ABC Friends - May 11, 2017

ABC Friends join with Mark Colvin's colleagues, friends and family in mourning his loss, and celebrating an extraordinary life. In over 40 years with the ABC, in a variety of roles, his professionalism, his passion for the truth and his work ethic shone like a beacon. His commitment to bringing to the world the horror of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 cost him his health, and ultimately, his life. His courage in continuing his career as an outstanding broadcaster despite his illness has been inspirational.

As a mentor to so many young journalists, he was legendary.

In the words of colleague Phillip Williams, Mark Colvin represented "the Gold Standard." He will be sadly missed by all of us.

Mal Hewitt
National Vice-President, ABC Friends

Mark Colvin dies after distinguished career at ABC

Damien Murphy - SMH - May 11, 2017

One of the few Australian reporters to have been the subject of a play during their lifetime, Mark Colvin, was an outstanding survivor of an era when journalism eschewed personality for fact.

Perhaps the last "BBC voice" to remain on air at the ABC, his face was certainly well-known to television viewers but it was his voice that continued to echo down the years. Full story [here]

A fortunate life, and an untimely death: A tribute to ABC broadcaster Mark Colvin

Karl Quinn - SMH - May 11, 2017

The veteran ABC broadcaster Mark Colvin has signed off for good. His was a massive intellect and a rare talent.

Journalism sent Mark Colvin out into the world, and when he became too ill to travel, it allowed him to keep bringing the world to us. The veteran broadcaster's rich tones, quick wit and easy grasp of a vast array of subject matter - from pop culture to politics, from foreign affairs to the affairs of the famous - made him a one-stop shop for what was going on in the world, whether on Radio National's flagship current affairs program PM or on Twitter, a medium he took to like a fish to water. Full story [here]

Mark Colvin: Respected ABC journalist, PM presenter and former foreign correspondent dies aged 65

ABC News - May 11, 2017

One of the ABC's most respected journalists, Mark Colvin, has died aged 65 after struggling with a rare auto-immune disease for more than 20 years.

Among Australian journalism's most authoritative voices, and a master interviewer with a depth of knowledge in world affairs, Colvin held a number of overseas postings with the ABC, working as a correspondent in Europe and Africa. Full story [here]

The ABC's unchartered waters

Kim Dalton - The Saturday Paper - May 6, 2017

In Ken Inglis's forensic history of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, he quotes then communications minister Neil Brown as saying in the early 1980s that the ABC "jealously guarded their independence and resented any intrusion". It "went into paroxysms of rage if a minister sought to intervene in any of their activities".

Actual, perceived and alleged political interference is a theme running through the national broadcaster's history, in regard to politically sensitive issues, in particular programs, coverage of contentious or contested issues, internal industrial relations and management practices, certain high-profile program-makers, producers or presenters, and the expansion or curtailing of services. Full story [here]

Play School isn't enough: children need more local stories on our screens

Jenny Buckland - SMH - May 2, 2017

Ten years ago the Australian Children's Television Foundation joined forces with the ABC to lobby for funding to establish a children's channel.

At the time, the ABC screened limited Australian children's content. Apart from Play School they commissioned six to 13 hours a year of children's drama and filled their children's schedule with imports. Full story [here]

Kim Dalton accuses ABC TV of shifting funds from Australian content

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 1, 2017

The ABC's budget for local drama, Indigenous, documentary and children's TV has been quietly shrinking since 2013 as management siphons off millions of dollars into other areas of the public broadcaster, according to the former head of ABC TV Kim Dalton.

In an essay published on Monday Dalton said ABC management and boards were ultimately not called to account for diverting money from Australian content.

Dalton ran ABC TV from 2006 to 2013. In his essay, Missing in Action: the ABC and Australia's Screen Culture, he has blamed the absence of transparency in the ABC's allocation of funds to different areas - such as news, digital, radio, regional and management - as well as a lack of public discussion or public policy. Full story [here]

Missing in action: the ABC and Australia's screen culture

Kim Dalton - The Conversation - May 1, 2017

Achievements by the ABC to significantly increase levels of local drama, comedy, documentary, Indigenous and children's content, as well as expand partnerships with independent production houses and creative talent, have in recent years been reversed.

The problem lies with a lack of governance, an inadequate, outdated Charter and the ABC's poor relationship with the independent production sector.

Between 2006 and 2009, the Howard and Rudd governments increased ABC TV's budget by almost 30%. The new funding was for additional Australian content. Full story [here]

ABC 'disrespecting' viewers and producers, says former TV boss Kim Dalton

Michael Lallo - SMH - May 1, 2017

Aunty's ex-TV chief accuses ABC of habitually ignoring criticism - and says it must change its ways.

The ABC is failing viewers and external producers, its former TV chief claims, while using its statutory independence to deflect valid criticism.

Kim Dalton, who served as ABC's television director from 2006 to 2013, says the national broadcaster has stripped an estimated $40 million from it TV budget since 2013 - without detailing where this money went. Full story [here]

The ABC's self-proclaimed independence is letting down its audience

Kim Dalton - SMH - May 1, 2017

The debate around the ABC for the most part is binary and sterile. One side claims that the ABC is simply underfunded and that any suggestion of imposing on it a set of expectations is a threat to its independence. The other side focuses only on the news and current affairs output and claims that the ABC is politically biased and overfunded.

But there is a profound disconnect between the ABC and its public policy settings concerning Australian screen content, and its contribution to Australian culture and identity. What we have seen consistently is that our most significant cultural institution is vulnerable to unilateral internal change, contrary to stated government policy and in the absence of any public discussion or review. Full story [here]

ABC cracks second behind news.com.au

NewsMediaWorks / 26 April, 2017

ABC News Websites has moved into second place behind news.com.au in Nielsen's digital news ratings in March, bumping nine.com.au into third place.

The public broadcaster received a 19 per cent increase in unique audience traffic with 4.85 million visits, the highest number since August 2016. Nine.com.au had no change in unique audience from February. Full story [here]

Abdel-Magied Anzac row is a storm over not much

Michelle Grattan - The Conversation - April 26, 2017

There are two issues in the latest episode of the culture wars, sparked by the Anzac Day Facebook comment by controversial young Muslim activist and part-time ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

One is what she actually said; the other is whether the ABC should act against a presenter who made such a comment - but not on air. Full story [here]

The slow death of Australian children's TV drama

Anna Potter & Huw Walmsley-Evans - The Conversation - April 27, 2017

Australian children's TV may have recently picked up an Emmy Kids award for the ABCME animation Doodles, but otherwise kids' TV in this country is in a dire state.

Free-to-air TV networks have to commission certain amounts of children's programs each year. But in recent years there's been a dismaying lack of new live action shows, or recognisably Australian content. Instead, local children's TV has become dominated by animation with little sense of place.

This is a shame, because Australia's most fondly remembered children's TV shows are live action productions such as Mortified, Playschool, Blue Water High, and Round the Twist. When asked in a 2015 survey to name their favourite childhood TV characters, most people chose Round the Twist siblings Linda and Bronson, followed by Mortified's Taylor Fry. Full story [here]

ABC congratulates its winners at the 2017 Logie Awards

ABC Media Release - April 24, 2017

ABC congratulates its winners and record-breaking number of nominations at the 2017 TV Week Logie Awards held in Melbourne last night.

The ABC won an impressive seven awards spanning drama, comedy, children's, factual and current affairs programs.

It also reaffirmed its reputation as the network that unearths the best fresh talent with Rob Collins (Cleverman) winning Best New Talent and Elias Anton (Barracuda) winning the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding Newcomer. Full Media Release [here]

Peter Dutton wants apology from ABC over reporting of Manus detention shooting

ABC News - April 25, 2017

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has called on the ABC to apologise for its reporting on a shooting at the Manus Island detention centre.

The incident took place on Good Friday and explanations about what caused it have been conflicting and contradictory.

Citing advice from "senior people on the island", Mr Dutton has repeatedly said Papua New Guinea soldiers fired shots into the detention centre because they were concerned about the welfare of a five-year-old boy who was allegedly led into the centre. Full story [here]

Hindsight: The ABC has to find a way to rejuvenate its audience

Craig Mathieson - SMH - April 20, 2017

Short is definitely proving to be sweet for the ABC. Some of the national broadcaster's best programming in recent years has come with a slimmed-down running time. The blithe, biting comedy of The Katering Show rewrites reality in 10-minute bursts, while the terrific factual interview series You Can't Ask That is still concise and compelling after doubling in size from 15-minute to 30-minute episodes for its second season. Full story [here]

Despite Fears, ABC Shuts Down Shortwave Broadcasts

James Careless - RadioWorld - April 17, 2017

OTTAWA - On Jan. 31, state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp. shut down its shortwave radio transmitters; ending both international broadcasts of Radio Australia and the ABC's domestic service in Australia's Northern Territory. The transmitters were located at ABC broadcasting facilities at Katherine, Tennant Creek, and Roe Creek (Alice Springs). According to the ABC news release that announced the shutdown on Dec. 6 - less than two months before it took place - "The move is in line with the national broadcaster's commitment to dispense with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings including DAB+ digital radio, online and mobile services, together with FM services for international audiences." Full story [here]

Federal politics: Hostile governments starve ABC of funding

Gael Barrett - The Age - April 18, 2017

Tony Walker's proposals to "fix" the ABC ignore the principal problems (Comment, 17/4). The ABC is starved of funding due to the malevolence of Coalition governments. It needs on its board and as CEO skilled people who are committed to public broadcasting. The ABC's independence should be protected by parliament and must never be beholden to advertisers or commercial interests. The old complaint of left bias has been consistently refuted by numerous independent inquiries. SBS serves a particular audience but is now totally corrupted by advertising. Australia is a wealthy country, which once espoused ideals of justice and integrity. It can afford and must have a national broadcaster providing news, enlightened comment and quality entertainment. Gael Barrett, North Balwyn

The ABC: what should go, what should stay, and what needs fixing

Tony Walker - SMH - April 17, 2017

Let me rise in defence of public broadcasting, not an unqualified defence to be sure but resistance to the idea that public service broadcasting represents a luxury the country can ill afford.

Let's also confront the misuse to which endless debate about public broadcasting's alleged bias has become a weapon in this country's culture wars to no one's benefit least of all consumers. Full story [here]

Cormann stares down One Nation's demand to cut $600m from ABC

Paul Karp - The Guardian - 12 April 2017

The finance minister, Mathias Cormann, has stared down a threat from Senator Brian Burston that One Nation will "reconsider" savings bills if the government doesn't cut $600m from the ABC in the May budget.

Burston and James Ashby, Pauline Hanson's chief of staff and party secretary, have savaged the public broadcasters, accusing the ABC of leftwing bias after a Four Corners special on One Nation and SBS of having too much multicultural and LGBTI content. Full story [here]

Vale John Clarke

The Executive of the NSW & ACT ABC Friends notes the very sad passing of John Clarke, one of Australia's greatest comedians and satirists. This represents an enormous loss for all of us in Australia and New Zealand. Our most heartfelt condolences to John's family, friends and all his colleagues at the ABC.

New ABC chair Justin Milne says 'high-minded' Malcolm Turnbull will not interfere

Matthew Knott - SMH - March 27, 2017

Incoming ABC chairman Justin Milne says he has deep respect for Malcolm Turnbull but his longstanding friendship with the Prime Minister will have "zero impact" on his role at the public broadcaster.

In an interview with Fairfax Media the telecommunications veteran said he would reduce his board appointments but would continue to serve on the board overseeing the rollout of the National Broadband Network. He also flagged that supercomputers capable of analysing huge amounts of data could be used in the future to assess the ABC's coverage for bias. Full story [here]

Nine key questions for new ABC chairman

Editorial - SMH - March 25, 2017

Taxpayers deserve to be reassured early and often that Justin Milne is his own man, not just a prime ministerial bestie.

Malcolm Turnbull in his pre-prime ministerial days had a lot of time for the ABC - notably as a guest on the much-admired but regularly maligned Q&A program.

The multimillionaire who made a fortune out of internet service provider Ozemail used to share his thoughts about the ABC's role in Australian life and journalism, too. Full story [here]

What will tech and media entrepreneur Justin Milne do with our old ABC?

Lucy Battersby - SMH - March 22, 2017

Justin Milne, the new chairman of the ABC, is a former filmmaker and serial entrepreneur who has been thinking about how television could be delivered over the internet for more than 20 years.

Milne emerged as the government's anticipated pick to helm the public broadcaster on Tuesday. He comes having carved a career rich in technology and broadcasting as well as blue chip corporate experience. Full story [here]

ABC wins top honours at Quills

ABC Media Release - March 18, 2017

In an outstanding night the ABC has won the major honours at the 2016 Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism, taking the Gold Quill, the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award and the Young Journalist of the Year Award.

Four Corners reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna was named Journalist of the Year for her reporting on Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, which led to a Royal Commission. Full release [here]

ABC MD Michelle Guthrie faces difficult few weeks, says Quentin Dempster

Martin Hirst - Independent Australia - March 18, 2017

Walkley Award-winning reporter and writer Quentin Dempster says the decision to appoint Minerals' Council chair Vanessa Guthrie to the ABC Board was a "direct 'political' choice" that is "provocative and revealing". As Doc Martin reports, it seems to many like a return to the bad old days of political stacking. Full story [here]

On his way out, ABC chairman James Spigelman delivers home truths about the broadcaster

Matthew Knott - SMH - March 17, 2017

Each member of the ABC's audience has a gripe about the public broadcaster - including those who run it.

Managing director Michelle Guthrie has remarked on the ABC's "peculiar obsession" with the British royal family and comparative lack of interest in Asian culture. Full story [here]

ABC farewells Chairman James Spigelman

ABC Media Release - March 16, 2017

Departing ABC Chairman James Spigelman has been recognised for his contributions to the ABC, the law, politics and Indigenous reconciliation at a farewell event held at ABC Ultimo.

Tributes to Mr Spigelman were led by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull - a lifelong friend - the Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, the Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke and ABC Board Member Simon Mordant.

Guests included ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie, former Managing Director Mark Scott, current ABC Board Members and members of the ABC leadership team. Read the full release [here]

'The most unfashionable rock star': How ABC's Insiders beat Sunrise and Today

Michael Lallo - SMH - March 12, 2017

When it launched, some dismissed Insiders as a niche program. Now, it's Australia's top-rating morning show.

Pauline Hanson is standing in the ABC's Melbourne studios, watching Barrie Cassidy as he welcomes viewers to Insiders. "The government doesn't seem to have a strategy to deal with [her]," Cassidy says. "They don't seem to know whether to appease or oppose." Full story [here]

Reporters share their memories as the ABC celebrates 70 years in the Northern Territory

Emilia Terzon - ABC Radio Darwin - March 11, 2017

Screaming down a main highway wearing a shiny Olympic gold medal, celebrating an internationally anticipated verdict with beers in a bus, and an "endless" stream of crocodile stories.

These are just a few of the memories gathered by ABC veteran reporters since the public broadcaster opened its first bureau in the Northern Territory 70 years ago.

To celebrate the milestone anniversary, four current and former Top End broadcasters have shared their most memorable moments. Read the full story [here]

Media union cries foul over ABC's 'back office' cuts

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 10, 2017

BC staff, many of them seasoned journalists trained in deciphering messages, were blindsided by the revelation that dozens of the job losses outlined by Michelle Guthrie on Tuesday were not middle management at all. Guthrie talked a lot about reducing red tape and eliminating over- management, about bottlenecks and about "reducing the number of management roles across the ABC" in order to create a $50m content fund and 80 new jobs in regional and rural content. Read full story [here]

Guthrie's ABC shapes up, but fears linger

SMH Editorial - March 10, 2017

The new managing director seems focused on delivering taxpayers greater value for money. The question is whether she can do so while maintaining the ABC's independence and integrity.

It is important that the ABC spends as much on content creation as possible. ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie means investing in TV programs and radio broadcasts, along with news and current affairs journalism, drama and cultural shows. Hard to argue with any of that.

There's not enough Australian content on television. Hard to dispute that, either. Full editorial [here]

ABC cuts: Revamped Catalyst could inspire new-look 7.30, Lateline and News

Michael Lallo & Tom McIlroy - SMH - March 8, 2017

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has suggested Catalyst - the controversially revamped science program - could inspire changes to key news and current affairs shows.

In a wide-ranging interview with Radio National's Patricia Karvelas, Guthrie was asked about the future of "crucial programs" including Lateline, 7.30 and the 7pm news bulletins. Full story [here]

ABC to cut 200 jobs as Michelle Guthrie restructure revealed

Matthew Knott - SMH - March 7, 2017

One in five ABC managers - totalling up to 200 staff - will lose their jobs under a sweeping restructure announced by ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie.

Ms Guthrie acknowledged the "painful" cuts would be a blow for staff who lose their jobs, but said "swift and decisive action" was needed for the ABC to remain relevant to audiences. Full story [here]

Cut the buzz, Guthrie and tell us what this means for ABC viewers

Michael Lallo - The Examiner - March 8, 2017

An extra $50 million for ABC content. Eighty new jobs in rural and regional Australia. Who could argue with that?

The staff facing retrenchment - up to 200, gone by June - might have a few complaints.

On Tuesday, ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie revealed a grand restructure of Australia's national broadcaster. Management and support roles will be slashed. (Though she focused on these cuts, up to 70 production workers on programs including 7.30 and Foreign Correspondent are also facing the axe.) The savings, Guthrie said, will be invested in "content creation". Full story [here]

ABC restructuring: leaner, but hopefully not meaner

Brian McNair - The Conversation - March 7, 2017

Today's long-awaited announcement of restructuring at the ABC highlights two directions for change in the coming year and beyond. Both are welcome.

More money will be spent on content production and delivery, and less on management, which some would say is always a good principle on which to run big public sector corporations. Managing director Michelle Guthrie will reduce the number of the ABC's divisions from 14 to nine "teams", leading to an altogether "leaner, less cumbersome management structure", as she put it in her speech to ABC staff today. Full story [here]

ABC restructure: After a rocky start, Michelle Guthrie finally asserts control

Matthew Knott - SMH - March 7, 2017

Ten months after her arrival as managing director, Tuesday marked the day Michelle Guthrie finally asserted control over the ABC.

Since taking over from Mark Scott, Guthrie's tenure has been marked by internal angst and external confusion about where the ABC is going.

Online conspiracies - suggesting the former News Corp executive is a secret agent pursuing the "Murdochification" of the ABC - have been circulating wildly. Full story [here]

ABC to lose 200 jobs by June in latest round of cuts

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 7, 2017

The ABC will cut 20% of management positions and lose 200 staff by June, in what the managing director, Michelle Guthrie, calls a tough strategy to bring transformational change to the national broadcaster.

The job losses will start immediately in support areas in the TV news and television divisions, and move on to content areas later in the year.

The executive team will be reduced from 14 to eight and powerful new overarching roles have been created for former Nova executive Louise Higgins and current ABC executives Samantha Liston and Leisa Bacon. Full story [here]

$50 million audience investment in ABC transformation

ABC Media Release - March 7, 2017

The ABC will invest $50 million in new content and create 80 new jobs in rural and regional Australia under a new strategy and transformation program announced today by the ABC's Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie.

"Investing in Audiences" involves a number of interlocking initiatives designed to strengthen the Corporation and enhance its ability to deliver on its Act and Charter and serve the community. Full release [here]

Building the ABC's services in regional and remote Australia

ABC Media Release - March 7, 2017

The ABC has announced its biggest ever single investment in regional and remote Australia, to expand the broadcaster's coverage of news and information for audiences across the country.

The Connecting Communities package builds quickly to an extra $15 million a year ongoing, with almost $4 million more to be spent on new tools and technology.

Up to 80 new jobs, delivering regional news and information, will be recruited within 18 months as part of a broader content fund announced by the ABC's Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, today. Continue reading [here]

ABC Managing Director Address to employees

ABC MD Michelle Guthrie staff address - Investing in Audiences March 7, 2017

I joined the ABC because I knew it to be a trusted, much loved and treasured Australian institution. Our audiences and the broader community appreciate the critical role that the national broadcaster plays in the fabric of everyday life.

My ultimate objective as Managing Director has been to strengthen that bond.

Over the past 10 months, I've learned that the ABC has an extraordinary engine: the creativity and drive of its people. Daily, I'm impressed by the energy and passion that goes into your work and the amazing content that springs from it. I know that the ABC has a vibrancy and a community service ethic that needs to be nourished and protected. Full address [here]

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie announces $50m Content Fund, with management positions cut

ABC News - March 7, 2017

The ABC has announced a significant restructure, cutting up to 200 jobs to create a $50 million Content Fund and new positions in regional areas.

Managing director Michelle Guthrie has announced the ABC will cut management positions by an average of 20 per cent across the organisation. Other positions will go as part of an attempt to reduce duplication in support roles.

Up to 200 staff will leave the ABC by June this year. Full story [here]

Michelle Guthrie's creative sackings at the ABC tipped to be in the hundreds

Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - March 6, 2017

Hundreds of redundancies at the middle and upper management levels of the ABC are to be progressively initiated by the national broadcaster's managing director Michelle Guthrie on Tuesday.

Ms Guthrie, appointed to the million-dollar-a year job last year, will unveil her board-approved "flattened management" restructure is calculated to free up $50 million in coming years, which is said to be for reinvestment in programs.

After months of work by specially hired consultants and her executive, Ms Guthrie has invited all ABC staff to an internally-broadcast briefing at noon on Tuesday to hear "how we shape the ABC in 2017 and beyond". Full story [here]

An Open Letter to ABC MD Michelle Guthrie

Margaret Reynolds - Spokesperson ABC Friends National Inc - March 3, 2017

ABC Friends National expresses its grave concern about some of the misinformation presented at the Senate Estimates Hearing on Tuesday, 28th. February.

Many of our members urge you to consider the following as a FACT CHECK which suggests that your advisers need to be much more rigorous in their research. Read the letter [here]

Michelle Guthrie says it is not her job to lobby for ABC funding

Amanda Meade & Helen Davidson - The Guardian - February 28, 2017

The ABC's managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has told Senate estimates she believes it is not her job to lobby government for more funding for the broadcaster but to work within the budget she is given.

Under questioning at a fiery Senate estimates committee, Guthrie revealed she saw her role as a manager rather than an advocate for more funding, a marked difference from her predecessor Mark Scott who was a consistent lobbyist for additional funding and critic of government cuts.

"On my second day in the job I was handed down the triennial funding in the May budget and as far as I'm concerned we operate within that three-year funding envelope," Guthrie said. Full story [here]

Coalition handpicks mining lobbyist for ABC board position

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 28, 2017

The Coalition has handpicked Western Australian mining lobbyist Vanessa Guthrie to sit on the ABC board, bypassing the independent nomination panel.

Guthrie is the chair of the Minerals Council of Australia and until December was managing director of uranium developer Toro Energy.

Along with Queensland rural leader and businesswoman Georgina Somerset, Guthrie has been appointed by the government to sit on the ABC board for a period of five years. Full story [here]

Turnbull government ignores advice, appoints Minerals Council boss Vanessa Guthrie to ABC Board

Adam Gartell - SMH - February 28, 2017

The Turnbull government has overruled an independent selection panel to appoint the chairwoman of the Minerals Council to the ABC board.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said Vanessa Guthrie has the "requisite skills" to be on the board, despite not making the final list of recommendations put forward by the Nomination Panel for ABC and SBS Board Appointments. Full story [here]

Protest Rally - ABC Centre - Thursday 23 February 12:30 to 1:00PM


Come join the protest rally at the ABC Centre in Harris St Ultimo

A broad group of community organisations will be there protesting prior to the ABC Board meeting.

We are extremely concerned that the ABC is failing to meet its charter obligations and that senior management is not genuinely listening to staff or responding to the needs of its audiences. Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Hands off RN Music and Friends of the ABC say a range of management decisions have created a crisis at the national broadcaster.

Recent decisions that demonstrate how out of touch the ABC Executive has become include:
- The axing of science program Catalyst
- Removing music from Radio National
- Ending shortwave transmission in the NT and Pacific, and
- Dismantling the Religion Unit

ABC management’s decision late last year to cut almost all but one of Radio National’s music programmes from its 2017 schedule drew sharp criticism from artists and audiences. The protest will call on the ABC board to step up and ensure our national broadcaster is properly funded by Government and properly managed by people who are genuinely committed to public broadcasting.

Come join the rally - there is power in numbers!

The death of broadcast television

Michael Bodey - The Saturday Paper - February 18, 2017

The figures presented to television producers in November were alarming. In 2016, the average age of an ABC TV viewer was 66.

Little wonder one of Michelle Guthrie's few tangible objectives since joining the public broadcaster as managing director one year ago has been to "offer distinctive and relevant content not just to under 12s and to the over 45s, but to all Australians".

The quest to capture and retain the elusive millennial (15- to 35-year-old) and generation Y (mid-20s to late 30s) audiences is exercising minds in all media and advertising businesses. Full story [here]

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie aims to save millions by taking axe to management

Matthew Knott - SMH - February 17, 2017

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is poised to announce a sweeping overhaul of the broadcaster's management structures that is designed to free up tens of millions of dollars to invest in programming.

Ms Guthrie's plan - which she has been developing since she arrived at the ABC last May - will be presented to the ABC board for final approval next week, with an official announcement scheduled for next month. Full story [here]

Fact Check: RMIT and ABC News partner to relaunch award-winning service

ABC News - February 14, 2017

The ABC's Fact Check Unit is back in business - with ABC News and RMIT University partnering to relaunch the award-winning news service.

The newly-branded RMIT ABC Fact Check will return in March to once again test and adjudicate on the accuracy of claims made by politicians, public figures, advocacy groups and institutions engaged in public debate. Full story [here]

See also - The Conversation - February 14, 2017 [here]

Dear Michelle Guthrie, here's how to fix the ABC

Debi Enker - SMH - Jan 30, 2017

The ABC is in transition. Well, that's the milder description: it could also be called a worrying state of flux, with a spate of senior executive exits and persistent reports of low morale and ebbing confidence in managing director Michelle Guthrie, who took up the post in May last year.

In recent months, head of entertainment Jon Casimir, director of ABC TV Richard Finlayson and chief operating officer David Pendleton have announced their departures. Chairman of the board James Spigelman is expected to retire when his term ends on March 31, and there are rumours that Guthrie is considering adopting the BBC model and installing a director of content who would sit above the department heads in the hierarchy. Full story [here]

A short-sighted cut - Video

Barclay White - Shepparton News - February 3, 2017

Senator Nick Xenophon answered the SOS call to force the government and the ABC to Save Our Shortwave.

The South Australian politician and NXT party leader was in Shepparton yesterday for the senate inquiry into the dairy industry and took time out to visit the Shepparton shortwave broadcast station. Watch the interview [here] (YouTube).

'Thousands' in Solomon Islands affected by ABC shortwave cut

RNZ - January 31, 2017

Thousands of people in remote parts of Solomon Islands who tune in to the ABC's shortwave service will be poorer off from today according to a leading activist in the country.

The ABC ends its short-wave service to the region from 1pm Solomon Islands time and says it will focus on FM and online services. Full story [here]

ABC announces 'transitional measures' for shortwave radio listeners

Helen Davidson - The Guardian - January 30, 2017

Just days before it switches off its shortwave radio broadcasts in the Northern Territory, the ABC has announced a package of "transitional measures" for those affected by the cancellation, but federal minister Nigel Scullion has said it is "too little too late".

In December, the ABC announced it would cease transmitting radio broadcasts through shortwave radio in the Northern Territory and parts of the Pacific at the end of January.

The measures announced on Sunday come after weeks of sustained criticism from Coalition and Labor leaders, and remote workers and residents, who said the decision was made with no consultation or consideration of their needs. The announcement does not mention those affected in the Pacific region. Full story [here]

Outback workers fight closure of ABC's shortwave service

The Swinging Post - January 2017

It's essential': outback workers fight ABC decision to ditch shortwave radio.

For some living and working in Australia's outback, shortwave radio is the only way they can listen to the ABC - and their main daily contact with the rest of the world. But the ABC will end the service in two weeks.

"People that live out in contracting camps or mustering stock camps or outstations, and even a lot of the people who live in the bush on cattle stations, spend probably 100% of their waking hours out on the land and have very minimal contact with other human beings," says Tracey Hayes, the chief executive of the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association. Full story [here]

National Lobby Group calls for delay to Short Wave Switch Off in the Northern Territory

Media Release - Margaret Reynolds - National President ABC Friends - January 29, 2017

It's time for crisis talks between ABC management and government to save NT Short Wave services before the final switch off on Tuesday 31st.

ABC Management has refused to respond to public concern from Territorians as well as representations from parliamentarians and community groups. The Federal Minister for Communications has not yet acknowledged any government responsibility for essential communications infrastructure and the Foreign Minister has not supported Pacific Island leaders who have also indicated their reliance on Australian short wave services for emergency communications.

Clearly there must be a realistic resolution of this impasse in the best interests of those who still rely on short wave services. It is unacceptable that an urban based decision can so disadvantage isolated Australians and disregard our neighbours.

The estimated cost saving of $1. 9 million and a fresh short wave contract are not valid reasons for ending an essential service without consultation.

ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds said "the ABC is risking its strong community support by failing to respect a vulnerable group of Australians"

She said "the Federal Government is also neglecting its oversight of essential communications infrastructure"

Clearly this is an issue that can be resolved if both parties are prepared to negotiate but first there must be a delay to the switch off of short wave services scheduled for Tuesday.

Margaret Reynolds - ABC Friends National President

Bill Shorten calls on Turnbull to save ABC shortwave radio broadcasts

Helen Davidson - The Guardian - January 27, 2017

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, has called on the prime minister to step in and save ABC shortwave broadcasts in the Northern Territory, claiming the broadcaster's reasons to shut them down "do not account for the reality" of life in the outback.

In December, the ABC announced it would cease transmitting local radio broadcasts through shortwave radio in the Northern Territory and parts of the Pacific at the end of January.

It did so without community consultation and sparked a backlash from users who say the service is vital in remote areas. Full story [here]

ABC's chief operating officer David Pendleton resigns

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 27, 2017

The ABC's chief operating officer, David Pendleton, has resigned ahead of managing director Michelle Guthrie’s major restructure next month.

A 21-year veteran of the ABC, Pendleton is the executive team's most senior member and has steered the finances at the national broadcaster under former managing directors Jonathan Shier, Russell Balding and Mark Scott.

He has been a key figure at Senate estimates, helping managing directors answer questions from senators and explaining financing and policy. "He knows where all the bodies are buried," one source said.

"He is the brains trust of the ABC." Full story [here]

ABC director of television Richard Finlayson quits

Ebony Bowden - SMH - January 20, 2017

Richard Finlayson, the director of ABC TV, has announced his departure from the national broadcaster after three years in the job.

In a statement on Friday, Finlayson said he had handed his resignation to ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie. It is understood he will step down at the end of March. Full story [here]

ABC director of television Richard Finlayson resigns

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 20, 2017

The director of ABC television, Richard Finlayson, has resigned before a major restructure of the corporation by its managing director, Michelle Guthrie. "I have decided that after more than three very satisfying and rewarding years as Director of ABC TV, it is time to move on to the next stage of my career," Finlayson said in a statement on Friday. Full story [here]

When the music's over at Radio National, artists turn up the heat

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 20, 2017

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is working on a major management restructure of the ABC, with at least one significant announcement likely next week. Weekly Beast understands there are big changes coming in the TV department.

But Friday marks the end of an era, with the last broadcast of Radio National’s extensive music programming. All but one music show was axed last year in a restructure of Radio National into a talk network. Full story [here]

'It's essential': outback workers fight ABC decision to ditch shortwave radio

Helen Davidson - The Guardian - January 18, 2017

"People that live out in contracting camps or mustering stock camps or outstations, and even a lot of the people who live in the bush on cattle stations, spend probably 100% of their waking hours out on the land and have very minimal contact with other human beings," says Tracey Hayes, the chief executive of the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association.

"You can imagine how isolating that would be without having access to the outside world via radio during the day while you're out in the workplace. But I don't think they took that into consideration." Full story [here]

Children's TV is so much better than the rubbish for grown-ups

Mark Chipperfield - SMH - January 10, 2017

Unlike the vacuous mental floss that adults endure each evening on the free-to-air networks, the shows on ABC Kids are mostly stimulating, well written, fast-paced and grounded in old-fashioned values. Programs such as The Octonauts and Dirtgirlworld deal with issues such as species loss, pollution, sustainable farming and the importance of recycling. Sesame Street teaches kids basic numeracy and the importance of tolerance in a diverse, multicultural society. Fireman Sam, set in the fictional Welsh seaside town of Pontypandy, provides basic lessons about safety and the need for self-sacrifice to preserve community life. Full story [here]

The Day the Music Died - 20 January 2017 - National Day of Action

Fight the ABC's decision to cut music programming from Radio National. Much-loved shows - The Inside Sleeve, The Daily Planet, The Rhythm Divine and The Live Set - are to be axed with no replacement. More details [here]

This decision has disastrous implications for the independent and non-mainstream music industry in Australia, and for listeners Australia-wide, particularly in remote or regional areas.

Sign the petition and share your stories about Radio National Music Shows

Facebook Page * Facebook Community Group * www.savernmusic.com

Position Vacant - ABC Board Chairperson

Applications are invited to fill the upcoming vacancy in the role of Chairperson on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Board. Applications close at 5.00 pm (AEDT) on Friday 27 January 2017.

For further information on this process, including detailed selection criteria for the position and application information [here].

Details on the Nomination Panel for ABC and SBS Board Appointments [here].

ABC Friends urges members and friends with skills to lead the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to consider nominating for the position of Chair of the public broadcasting corporation to lead it into the future.

A number of eminent Australians have helped shape the ABC as a national icon for 85 years so it is important the new chair has a range of skills to tackle complex media challenges in this anniversary year.

Perhaps the most important skill is to advocate for independent public broadcasting that reaches all Australians wherever they live. It is also essential that the new ABC Chair can negotiate with government and parliamentarians to protect our popular national icon.

ABC Friends' Campaign Material

Download the files and print your own posters or placards!

Placards - A2 Print as A4 on your printer or take to OfficeWorks and print as an A2 placard (420 x 594mm)

Posters - A4

Pull Up Banners

NationBuilder Job

AGM 2018 Notice

For earlier news posts go to 'News', 'News Archive'