On 10 September I argued that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 should be amended to remove the ability for the ABC to broadcast opinion.
Since reading Mark Steyn’s piece about defunding the PBS in the United States, my views have hardened. In a time of widespread communications via the internet, radio, tv etc (despite the NBN which itself should be defunded), there can be no justification for maintaining a public broadcaster. If the 7.30 Report cannot exist without taxpayer funding, it should not exist.
I cannot think of any significant positive externalities from our two public broadcasters. I can think of a number of negative externalities – including the overwhelming bias and aim to indoctrinate our young. This would suggest that rather than subsidise the ABC and SBS, we should tax them. Think of some of these negative externalities: the pretentious shows Q&A, Art Nation and Arts Gateway, the supercilious Lateline and Media Watch, the whining Philip Adams, Leigh Sales and Virginia Trioli.
An Abbott Government should repeal the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 and the Special Broadcasting Services Act 1991. It should sell off the assets of these public corporations (including the broadcasting licenses) and save over $1.8 billion a year (see budget statement 6, page 36) in operating expenses plus the proceeds of the asset sales.
At last we would not find the taxpayer-funded broadcasting services crowding out private provision of news, opinion, documentaries and entertainment.
In the 21st century there is no need, nor is there a justification, for a public broadcaster.
If Leigh Sales wants to broadcast her opinions, she can (quite cheaply) set up a blog. As for Philip Adams, his lone listener, Mr John Smithon, can be moved into Adams’ home for a 24/7 diatribe.