On reviewing the ABC

I think pressure for a review of the ABC is building and one will be called at some stage. Now there are good and bad reasons for having such a review. I’m not convinced that a review to ‘punish’ the ABC for reporting the Snowden leaks would be a good idea. But a review to examine whether the ABC is actually following its charter would be a good idea. Roger Franklin has a look and finds the ABC wanting.

I have an essay coming out at The Conversation in the next few days that looks at state intervention in the economy in general and the ABC in particular. (No link just yet).

The public interest argument for the ABC is those news and current affairs shows that it runs that the private sector wouldn’t run. The overwhelming majority of ABC activities are simply more-of-the-same activities that private sector does just as well, and probably better. The government simply has no business in providing entertainment to the masses (or tiny elites in the case of the ABC). A review of the ABC would have to ask the question as to what exactly the public interest argument for the ABC is, and is that worth $1.2 billion.

I suspect the ABC will struggle to explain why its unique contribution is worth $1.2 billion this year, and no doubt rising in future years.

Anyway the Review the ABC petition is here.

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77 Responses to On reviewing the ABC

  1. Ant

    Review?

    Just junk the damn thing, or at least limit it to a lil’ regional news service which the commercial media can’t justify servicing.

    Tell me, how many dinky dyes are going to give two stuffs about the filthy Bolshie rat nest?

  2. steve

    Nope, afraid I cannot agree. They should be punished. If children are not disciplined, they never learn.

  3. Sinclair Davidson

    steve – please read what I said. I didn’t say there should be no punishment for the Snowden story. I said a review as punishment wasn’t a good idea.

  4. stackja

    Anyway the Review the ABC petition is here.

    Signed up. In the interval I still say boycott the ABC.

  5. WhaleHunt Fun

    the word punishment does not sound sufficiently intense given the severity of the crime

  6. steve

    ok, but a review with no teeth is not a deterrent, they have to be reformed, have a charter which they are forced to follow ….or else. The Snowden stuff is simply where they overstepped the mark by so much that all but the comrades think they were out of line.
    I am all for forcing them to make their own money by selling their product. If they want to compete with private industry, then make it a level playing field. Make a profit or lose your job, like the rest of the journalists out there.
    Make paying for them optional and see how much the Australian public thinks you are doing a great job, Mr Scott.

  7. stackja

    Make paying for them optional and see how much the Australian public thinks you are doing a great job, Mr Scott.

    The listener’s licence and the sealed set
    Back when radio braodcasting began in Australia the Commonwealth Government had to find a way for stations to receive funding for programming, equipment purchases and other routine functions. There were three possible methods devised:
    Invoke a new tax on everyone.
    Allow stations to sell advertising time.
    Issue listener’s licences for a fee.
    Perhaps do a combination of any or all of the above.
    During the first days of broadcasting everyone’s set was sealed. This meant that a subscription was paid via a licencing fee and that fee was passed on to the station that listener’s set was tuned to receive. It was illegal to retune the set as this meant breaking the seal placed on the set by the radio salesman.

  8. Struth

    Without sackings whatever review or punishment will only be a temporary fix if that.
    The self appointed, self righteous, unauthorised, and unelected filth running the ABC must be sacked.
    They can see if anyone is willing to pay for their product.
    The key to success here and on many issues is just let the leftist hords pay for it themselves. Because that won’t happen.

  9. Cold-Hands

    Surprised that there has only been 3700 odd signatories to the petition so far.

    Stripping the Australia Network from the ABC is a given. Having lost both tenders despite the second tender being fiddled in their favour, they were awarded it corruptly and have breached their contract by broadcasting the Snowden leak into Asia. Taking it off them now is not punishment, just justice.

  10. blogstrop

    The public interest argument for the ABC is those news and current affairs shows that it runs that the private sector wouldn’t run.

    Hmmm. So, if there’s no ABC TV we’ll have no one-sided Media Watch, no anti-conservative 7.30 Report or Lateline, and no completely cooked-up Q&A, which has even less credibility than a Chloe Tilley hosted episode of BBC’s World Have Your Say. Insidious Insiders would go too. OK. I’m up for it.
    Then there’s Radio National, which features Fran The Activist every morning, AM and PM (slightly less bolshie than the TV mob, but not by much), Book Shows all week in prime time for all the luvvie subjects and world views, and Phillip Adams to send you right off to dreamland. There are the various agendum driven special hours on Media, Law, and Health. OK, they can all go too.

    I’ll admit that commercial TV and Radio is pretty trying. But there are alternative ways to get our news and entertainment. The ABC has itself screwed too many pooches to be rehabilitated. If it’s to continue, and if I were the benevolent dictator, regional services could be maintained subject to regional people endorsing their retention, but the city based lefty infected radio and TV should all go, along with all those big salaries.

  11. H B Bear

    A government owned media conglomerate makes as much sense as a State owned candlestick maker in the 21st Century.

    Just get rid of it.

  12. Struth

    Maybe if we got rid of the ABC, the private sector news would improve.
    You can’t compete with subsidised competition, so they do reality t v and lots of other bullshit.
    Funny how the stuff they produce is geared towards an audience that would never watch a current affairs show.
    When the morning shows started on nine and seven they were news programs and current affairs. You can almost see these shows fall to pop culture stupidity on a slide equal to the increasing ABC domination of the news and current affairs market.
    Get rid of the ABC. You will end up with more news not less, and of a higher less biased standard.

  13. Tintarella di Luna

    The ABC is a socialist anachronism

  14. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    3800 signs. Mine’s added.

  15. Rabz

    Shut. It. Down.

    Fire. Them. All.

  16. Zatara

    The ABC chose to broadcast classified information in violation of law. CRIMES ACT 1914 – SECT 79 (Official Secrets)

    Throw us a bone here, at least investigate it as such…… and while you are at it suspend without pay anyone who approved or had knowledge of it.

  17. lotocoti

    The public interest argument for the ABC is those news and current affairs shows that it runs that the private sector wouldn’t run.

    ABC nightly news would die off if the commercial networks just said no every time an ABC Chief of Staff rang up, begging for local content.

  18. Badjack

    A review MAY be OK, as long as Turnbull does NOT set the parameters. What it really requires is leadership and that means a re-set of the charter followed by dismissals if it is not followed to the T.

  19. This would be a mirror image of the Finkelstein inquiry, which ended up being a delusional sideshow for the egotistical benefit of its participants which achieved nothing. An ABC inquiry would be the same brand of circus, further wasting taxpayer money for no result except for the aggrandisement of those who want to parade themselves in a boring rehash of the culture wars.

    Given Abbott’s form, it would probably end up with the ABC gaining extra funding.

  20. Struth

    Would you have a problem with that Monty?

  21. With what Struth, the circus or the extra funding? Neither is necessary.

  22. A review MAY be OK, as long as Turnbull does NOT set the parameters.

    or otherwise

    This would be a mirror image of the Finkelstein inquiry, which ended up being a delusional sideshow for the egotistical benefit of its participants which achieved nothing.

    Birds in their little nests agree. Kind of.

  23. Zatara

    This isn’t a political game monty. It would be a criminal investigation leading to prison terms.

    Or do you want to propose a criminal defense for the ABC employees who violated federal law ?

  24. Don’t be silly, Zatara. No one is going to jail over this.

    It is entirely a political game.

  25. Struth

    People should go to jail over this. If it was war time they would.

  26. JC

    It’s nothing to do with the finkelstein inquiry, Fatboy unless you think public and private broadcasting are the same thing.

  27. I said it was a mirror image, JC. Finkelstein was to commercial media as the ABC inquiry would be to public media.

  28. Struth

    Finkelstein had no reason to exist, and no right. This would be an inquiry into a taxpayer funded broadcaster that has a charter to adhere to. So different no mirror however warped could reproduce.

  29. blogstrop

    Oh, yeah. Great value adding from the unflushable monty.

  30. And Another Thing

    A review would be good. But what is needed is adherence to the rules. Scott has failed as he is unwilling or unable to ensure the ABC adheres to its charter of fairness and balance, and no, a five-minute program called Counterpoint won’t do it.
    No new laws are needed. As in the case of the outlaw motorcycle clubs, making sure the existing laws are adhered to will fix this problem, which has been going on for years, and getting worse as ABC employees realize there is nothing to fear from any deviation from the charter.
    A new managing director and board must enforce a zero tolerance approach to monitoring the ABC’s activities. Perhaps the board should face the same risks as directors do in the public sphere.

  31. The ABC inquiry would be brought for purely partisan reasons to bash professional journalists who are just doing their jobs. It would have no justifiable reason for existing.

  32. JC

    Go tuck into a bag of dunkins, monter.

  33. Johno

    Given Abbott’s form, it would probably end up with the ABC gaining extra funding.

    The more I think about this, the more I believe it to be true.

    Dn’t review!

    Just sell it.

  34. wazsah

    No need for a “review” – work at stripping away all the extra money and contracts of the RGR years – that should reduce ABC budget to nearer $500mill. Then have a tough review and hack that back until ABC is just a balanced broadcaster of basic radio & TV with the greatest national reach possible.

  35. Zatara

    Silly?

    Gotcha monty, violations of Federal law leading to prison is just silly.

    Why exactly do you consider yourself worthy to participate in rational conversation?

  36. Struth

    “The ABC inquiry would be brought for purely partisan reasons to bash professional journalists who are just doing their jobs. It would have no justifiable reason for existing.”

    Your tedious Monty. I bet if you tried real hard with what you’ve learned on this blog, you could answer that one yourself.

  37. banz

    “The ABC inquiry would be brought for purely partisan reasons to bash professional journalists who are just doing their jobs. It would have no justifiable reason for existing.”

    No, it would be for breach of charter, the ABC is already partisan and its also competing now directly with free market media, and doing so with taxpayer funds. Just needs a clean up and out and the enforcement of its charter. Cut 400 mill from its budget as well.

  38. Struth

    Ah you answered it for him.

  39. Zatara

    Forget the Charter. The LAW applies.

    Why is that so difficult to understand?

  40. JMH

    No review – an Enquiry. An Enquiry which covers everything from rampant bias, dishonesty and misinformation in news and current affairs, exorbitant salaries for little input and even less output by ‘their’ alleged star performers; failure of the Editor in Chief and Board to uphold their own charter; failure of the organisation itself to uphold the charter and code of practice. Most importantly, are taxpayers receiving value for dollars from the ABC in this digital age? Is the ABC operating with the best interests of all Australians at the forefront? Even more relevant, is the ABC going to continue to breach Commonwealth legislation with no penalties or punishment?

    Personally, I want it gutted. I will tolerate some kind of regional arm operating but it must be closely monitored. Flog off the Dumb and at least 3 television channels.

    It goes without saying, Scott and the current Board should all fall on their swords.

    The ABC is a national disgrace and huge embarrassment to thinking Australians.

  41. banz

    “I said it was a mirror image, JC. Finkelstein was to commercial media as the ABC inquiry would be to public media.”

    No, not at all, there is no public media, there is taxpayer funded ABC which is in breach of its charter to provide balanced reporting. You probably dont understand this but the ABC is REQUIRED to provide that balance. It is clearly not.

    Finkelstein is not relevant at all, that was an report on mostly free market media operations, the success of these operation usually determined by the market choices of consumers, for example, the AGE is pretty fucked.

    There is a clear difference here which you are too farkin stupid to understand, hell, look at the name of ya own blog.

  42. The ABC inquiry would be brought for purely partisan reasons to bash professional journalists who are just doing their jobs. It would have no justifiable reason for existing.

    FIFY

  43. stackja

    Does the ABC have a justifiable reason for existing?

  44. stackja

    Liberty Quotes
    “No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism.” — Winston Churchill

  45. johninoxley

    Given they are public servants, whom ever touched the Snowden affair should be appearing in court. In my court, the firing squad would be high on the list and I don’t mean ‘find a new lurk’. But that’s just me being generous.

  46. James B

    Reforming the ABC is a terrible idea. Firstly, the ABC being obviously biased helps the right. It’s counter-intuitive, but it does. An actually balanced ABC would massively increase support for the network.

    It needs to be privatised.

  47. And Another Thing

    When the ABC was established there was very little else in the broadcasting sphere. The ABC could inform the public and in particular be on hand in case of emergencies, such as cyclones, bush fires and other disasters.
    Perhaps an inquiry could establish whether a national service is needed any more, as commercial operations have caught up and overtaken the ABC.
    If this entity is an indulgence, it is certainly one for its staff. It has the biggest staff in Australia, paid better than those in other media organizations, to push their own agenda, be it the global warming scam or it’s war against conservative interests.
    Perhaps, as useful as it has been until the recent past, the time for a government-owned media organization is over, and the money saved by scrapping it could be put to something useful, such as defense.

  48. stackja

    And Another Thing
    #1101753, posted on December 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm
    When the ABC was established there was very little else in the broadcasting sphere. The ABC could inform the public and in particular be on hand in case of emergencies, such as cyclones, bush fires and other disasters.

    The ABC ran a shortwave service for the inland. This was discontinued in the name of economising. How much do they waste on unnecessary services now?

  49. squawkbox

    No review or enquiry is needed – the ABC’s many faults are already obvious and an enquiry would simply be an excuse for its supporters to showboat, emote and generally muddy the waters. The only question to be decided is sell it off, shut it down or blow it up?

  50. JMH

    The only question to be decided is sell it off, shut it down or blow it up?

    squawkbox – in essence, you are correct. On reflection, the ABC does not deserve an expensive Enquiry – so let the axe fall. The ABC is irrelevant in a digital 2013. $1.2 Billion is far better redirected into other ‘relevant’ and more important programmes – such as Defence – as mentioned upthread.

    Kill the behemoth stone dead and be done with it.

  51. Bons

    I read somewhere – “interference with the ABC would lead to a massive electoral backlash against the Coalition”. Sadly the Coalition believes that nonsense.
    All I want for Christmas is a final solution.

  52. Jazza

    Review its charter and leave it with minimal funding to carry out only the functions that help those remote with little to no other Aussie choice, to garner some news.
    Then allow it to expand but only if it attracts subscriptions and advertising.
    let’s see just how “good” are the ABC presenters trying daily to frame what we can know and turn us all into the hypocritical “progressives’ they think themselves!

  53. squawkbox

    I read somewhere – “interference with the ABC would lead to a massive electoral backlash against the Coalition”. Sadly the Coalition believes that nonsense.

    There’s some truth in it – in the short term we’d be assailed with images of Phillip Adams reduced to five square meals a day and Marieke Hardy begging with a “Will swear for food” sign, but the backlash would last six months at most. By the time of the next election the response would be “AB what?”

  54. Charles

    Obsolete…… the ABC is becoming increasingly obsolete in our household with each and everyone having their own laptop or tablet, their interests do not include programs offerred by the ABC ….. blogging seems more popular and given the skewed stories delivered by the ABC, we find it less frustrating if we switch the ABC off altogether …. I’m sure we’re not the only family switching off. Like to see some stats as who is actually utilizing the services offerred in relation to costs to run it, it may shock you.

  55. Andrew of Randwick

    If you believe the tall timber is crowding out the young saplings, I would start by terminating all ABC sports coverage.
    When the ABC covered sport it was amateur and all good fun. Now it is big business. A business other media providers would gladly step into, e.g. why does the ABC cover the rugby, AFL, soccer or the cricket,?
    Now having cut that department (and all its budget) the remaining ABC staff would be a bit more attentive and open to change.
    Then let’s look at Australian drama (as opposed to re-run UK drama) – how much does the ABC actually broadcast and can it all be outsourced to production houses – with competitive tendering.
    .
    News and Current affairs can be looked at last.

  56. JMH

    If the Abbott Gov’t. is so wishy-washy with regard to the ABC and its life-expectancy – why don’t they send a questionnaire (intelligently formatted, of course) to every person registered on the electoral roll.

    An online questionnaire would be rorted – particularly by the Get-Up rabble.

    Let the genuine people speak via snail mail.

  57. [Unnecessary and an attempt at thread derailment. Sinc]

  58. I reckon they know they overreached, because it hasn’t surprised them at all. If the ABC was the same as it was twenty yeas ago this discussion wouldn’t be happening.

    Sounds like they’ve been listening to their own shit.

  59. Luke

    They have even gone to effort to put a man and his family at risk in Queensland because they don’t like the State government’s crack down on bikkies.

    No more. If the ABC is not dismantled with the next year I say we start calling for the resignation of Abbott. If he can’t even realise and take action against the threats from within then what’s the point.

    I’m sick of limp wristed conservatives who pander to leftists in some vain effort to bring them around.

  60. O Dear

    Bunch Of Right Wing Fruit Loops

  61. mmxx vision

    ABC’s provision on TV of the home street address and house photo of the newly appointed crime fighter of bikie crime in QLD cannot be defended in any public interest perspective.

    History shows that bikie crime culture is a major threat to our free and tolerant society. Law enforcement officers around the country have paid with their lives to stem this social cancer.

    West Australian history provides chilling reminders of this evil. ABC seems to be happy to help extend this vile threat to Australians whose career it is to root out bikie gang crime.

    This has been the turning point for me to stop defending the ABC and its editorial policy.

    I now view the organisation of the ABC as running a destructive agenda against the Australia and Australian values I treasure.

    My national value set is based on the tireless work and example of my parents and three earlier generations of their forebears in this country. Through their toils, they paid taxes but expected no hand-outs in return. The establishment of a strong work ethic society based on Christian moral values was the reward that they sought for their own sacrifices.

  62. Shorter M0nty:

    ‘Curtailing freedom of speech is a the mirror image of forced funding of socialist propaganda.’

    I’ll have to think about that a bit longer…

    …No I don’t

    No expensive review, just flog it off…

  63. james x leftie

    Abbott privatising the ABC would hardly cost him any votes.

    Get to it Tony, do what Howard failed to do and get rid of the publicly funded marxist propaganda machine.

  64. Up The Workers!

    With Fauxfacts shares currently wallowing at around 60 lousy cents a piece (as against $19.50 or so for News Limited), Abbott should just “gift” the A.L.P.B.C. – lock, stock and lying propagandist staff – to Fauxfacts.

    Having a $1.2 billion millstone like the A.L.P.B.C. hung around its’ neck, would kill two birds with the one stone, and given the abysmally small ratings of the A.L.P.B.C. and the negligible circulation figures of Fauxfacts bird-cage liners, hardly anybody would notice (outside Canberra).

  65. I now view the organisation of the ABC as running a destructive agenda against the Australia and Australian values I treasure.
    How do you feel about Freedom of Association?

  66. I’m sure we’re not the only family switching off.
    The ratings don’t exactly reflect that…….

  67. Leo G

    ABCRN’s Ockham’s Razor program this morning was a tribute to the work done by the UK Signals Intelligence people of the Code and Cypher School Bletchley Park. The main theme of the program was how well the public interest was served by the strict secrecy surrounding the espionage work.

  68. johanna

    Up the Workers – actually, the ABC owns some very valuable assets, principally real estate. Then there is the value of its many licences and the spectrum that goes with it.

    People focus on the annual outlays, but there is a lot more money than that tied up in this parasite on the public purse. It should certainly not be given away.

  69. Edward Carson

    Prime Minister Abbott,
    Give all those who voted for you a Christmas present and sell off the ABC.

  70. 2dogs

    ABC getting nasty over privatisation threat.

  71. egg_

    Seems like the only thing saving Aunty’s hide is Turnbull, the Doctors Wives rep in the party room.

  72. mmxx vision

    How do you feel about Freedom of Association?

    Numerals – when crims craftily fit their activities under the freedom coverage provided by our current laws, I support a tightening of those laws to weed out their specific gang crime.

    However, the issue in my post was the ABC’s voluntary choice (under no pressure to do so) to give to the public the full address details of an anti bikie-gang-crime official. By your post, could it be you support this ABC play?

    I am experienced enough to compute any real and threatening challenges to freedom (including of association) and would oppose any such change that potentially might try to expand or endure beyond its “use by date”.

    Until then, GO Premier with your policy to flush these current criminal gang operations into the drains of history!

  73. Jeremy

    I have signed the petition, but I don’t believe a review of the ABC will do very much. You could sack the whole lot today and they would be replaced with new programmed and winnowed ‘graduates’ from what are laughingly called universities. All Journalism courses should be closed down. Anyone wanting a job with a newspaper could practise writing for a while, maybe take some part-time classes, and submit examples of their work to an editor. The universities have become brainwashing centres.

  74. wreckage

    What’s the freakin’ muppets got to do with the ABC??

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