Quite right Malcolm

Malcolm Turnbull says that ABC Board members should resign if they do not take their responsibility under section 8 of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 seriously.

Section 8 states (my bolding):

It is the duty of the Board:
(a) to ensure that the functions of the Corporation are performed efficiently and with the maximum benefit to the people of Australia;
(b) to maintain the independence and integrity of the Corporation;
(c) to ensure that the gathering and presentation by the Corporation of news and information is accurate and impartial according to the recognized standards of objective journalism; and
(d) to ensure that the Corporation does not contravene, or fail to comply with:
(i) any of the provisions of this Act or any other Act that are applicable to the Corporation; or
(ii) any directions given to, or requirements made in relation to, the Corporation under any of those provisions; and
(e) to develop codes of practice relating to:
(i) programming matters; and
(ii) if the Corporation has the function of providing a datacasting service under section 6A—that service;
and to notify those codes to the ACMA.

Turnbull is right – Board members are paid to ensure impartiality and if they don’t exercise that responsibility should resign from the Board. According to the news report

The ABC board is reluctant to involve itself in issues around impartiality and news content. Sources say it does not believe it is “obliged” to ensure editorial policies are upheld. It admits it has the power but says it is not obligated.

The board says the obligation to manage affairs is vested in managing director Mark Scott.

But that’s not what section 8 states. It is the Board’s responsibility. If appointed to the ABC Board, I promise to exercise my duties under section 8 fully and diligently.

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49 Responses to Quite right Malcolm

  1. blogstrop

    It’s about time he said something sensible. Now for the action …

  2. Greigoz

    It’s funny… if Malcolm had of been a bit more conservative as a Conservative, he’d be PM now. I hope he is finally ‘getting it’ that the rest of Australia is not like his Vaulcuse electorate.

  3. james

    Yeah Malcolm, hit em with that limp soggy lettuce leaf.

  4. Alfonso

    Malcolm’s stroking a Cat.
    You go girl, Fire up the Base.
    And never forget, you got rolled as leader because of a write in Liberal grassroot revolt against your championing of the CAGWarming lie.

  5. Mike of Marion

    Agree James – wet lettuce thrown for the benefit of all. (MT telling all he is being a “‘responsible Minister”)

  6. Rabz

    Shut. It. Down.

    Fire. Them. All.


  7. Rabz

    Not just the board members.

    Seriously, why does Mark Scott still have a job?

  8. incoherent rambler

    Seriously, why does Mark Scott Turnbull still have a job?


  9. Paul

    But he’s left it to them to decide whether they are taking their responsibility seriously. Way to sound serious without requiring actual performance Malcolm. You make your Bosses at Goldman proud girlfriend.

  10. Anthony S Adams

    Malcolm it’s about time you spoke up! Let’s hope the recalcitrant ABC is listening!

  11. Badjack

    He might be saying they should resign but does he mean it? Not much proof he does.

  12. Ant

    If I read him right, shouldn’t he resign from the Liberal Party?

  13. john constantine

    the determined groupthink of the abc that insists on marginalising regional australia,in order to feed the possibility of leftie rural independants is possibility the greatest success of the ‘occupy the abc’ crowd. the abc has little oppopsition in rural australia,as it gives away the content,and crowds out other competition. put rural services out to tender,and see if people would be grateful for journalism instead of socialism masked as enviromentalism. the abc rural department has one line of attack ready to abuse abbott if it doesn’t rain,and one line of attack ready to launch to abuse abbott if it floods. blaming the tories for all bad weather is one great success of the rural abc,they hammer that link as an article of faith.

  14. candy

    Does anyone really take him seriously?
    He should have been the first to raise the question about the ABC’s releasing of Top Secret spy papers damaging international relations, and the lies about the Navy torturing asylum seekers. He never said a word.
    I’m surprised he’s still got his job.

  15. johno

    I would be interested in Judith’s take on this one.
    She was an ABC Board member under the Howard government, along with a group on like minded members. They had the same legal obligation to ensure the Left’s ABC was fair and impartial. They also had the personal belief that something had to be done.
    I don’t think I am being unfair to say that they didn’t succeed, so I’m curious to know whether she thinks that appointing new people to the Board would make any difference or not.

  16. Bribie John

    Would we expect Malcolm do anything other than “remind” the hard of hearing, and possible mates on the board?

    If you believe that, you believe anything.

  17. entropy

    Johnno, the reason Turnbull’s waffle is like being hit with a wet lettuce leaf is the staff control the aBC, and the board can’t do anything about it, as at the end of the day the ABC are highly paid public servants.
    Just get rid of it. Put it all out to tender.

  18. Alfonso

    ‘the board can’t do anything about it’

    Really, they can’t sack the CEO?
    Who appointed Scotty then.

  19. MT Isa Miner


    #1246013, posted on March 31, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Shut. It. Down.

    Fire. Them. All.


    Like the man says .

  20. Luke

    Turnbull won’t do anything because he still believes lefty institutions like the ABC are his friends and willing to help him take the leadership.

    The man is the Kevin Rudd of the Liberal party.

  21. Luke

    Oh and less respect for Abbott for leaving him as the relevant Minster for the ABC. Get a clue before the next ides of March Tony!

  22. JMH

    All fluff from Lord Wentworth. I don’t believe the man has the intestinal fortitude to use his clout as Minister for Communications.

    We, the taxpayers, are sick and tired of paying to keep the Green/Left media arm in existence, Malcolm!

    Shut the damned thing down or sell it off. Let the Leftards crowd-source its purchase.

  23. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    How about a serious enquiry into the terms ‘gathering’ and ‘presentation’?

    What are the parameters used for ‘gathering’? Putting a leftie up to speak on an issue and then saying that the relevant Coalition Minister was ‘unavailable for comment’ (just contacted that day), and thus ignoring putting up the other side: that is shockingly biased ‘gathering’. They do that a lot.

    Can we please also analyse ‘presentation’? Tone of voice, choice of words, and facial expressions of newsreaders and comperes speak volumes about leftism as the chosen mode when Coalition policies or issues are being ‘presented’. Choice and handling of interview subjects is entirely left biased. We see repeat of favoured lefties, lack of balance in numbers – Q & A! – and uninterrupted time given to lefties. Some shows are pure Green propaganda and would suit a ‘Vote Green’ Party logo.

    Dramas, even their best, such as Rake, are Labor to their core in the world-view presented. I so look forward to the ABC drama that shows Greenfilth causing familial distress as jobs fall in a mining or forestry community and the day being saved by a wealthy investment benefactor (with a kindly face like the old Judge in that movie ‘The Castle’, clutching Jennifer Maharosy’s letter and being scathing about the ridiculous ‘science’ of ‘glowball warming’) coming to the rescue by building a new pulp mill because a newer and better government has changed direction when the Green nasties finally lose power. Heartfelt sobs at the end because of a win for the little people.

    As they’d say in ‘The Castle’ : In your dreams, Lizzie?

  24. Rabz

    then saying that the relevant Coalition Minister was ‘unavailable for comment’

    Or, as is increasingly the case, being mysteriously beset by ‘technical difficulties’ when attempting to broadcast the ‘relevant Coalition Minister’.

    They’re so far beyond even attempting to be objective it’s a joke.

  25. johanna

    The article says that the Board has delegated its responsibilities in this regard to the CEO.

    So what, may one ask, are they there for? Apart from selecting a CEO every five years, apparently just to collect their sitting fees and have a general natter once a month.

  26. Baldrick

    Rabz, can I just add to your magnificent quotation …

    Shut. It. Down.

    Fire. Them. All. ©

  27. manalive

    The man is the Kevin Rudd of the Liberal party …

    He is also the David Cameron of Australia.

  28. daggers

    Turnbull says his office is flooded with complaints about bias at the ABC ? Good. But WTF are you doing about it Malcolm ?

  29. old bloke

    Give that portfolio to Scott Morrison and it will be fixed very quickly.

  30. H B Bear

    Entropy at 8.56am is right. As the ultimate staff captured organization the ALPBC Board could be replaced by Genghis Khan, “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap and Vlad the Impaler and it would still be business as usual.

    It ain’t gonna change. Howard has already been down that road. Either defund the thing completely or sell it.

  31. Squirrel


    #1246124, posted on March 31, 2014 at 9:46 am

    The article says that the Board has delegated its responsibilities in this regard to the CEO.

    So what, may one ask, are they there for? Apart from selecting a CEO every five years, apparently just to collect their sitting fees and have a general natter once a month.”

    Indeed. A cynic could be forgiven for thinking that the role of the Board is largely to provide cover for the employees of the ABC. Get rid of the Board and have the Managing Director directly selected and appointed by the Government of the day. If it’s good enough for the Government to appoint judges, the RBA Governor, the Auditor-General, the Commissioner of Taxation, the Chief of the Defence Force etc. etc, why is the ABC Managing Director so damned special that we need an intermediate step handled by people who are, themselves, appointed by the Government?

    Simply amend section 8 of the ABC Act to say “it is the duty of the Managing Director…….”

    That could clarify things nicely, reduce somewhat the scope for buckpassing and obfuscation, and help to justify the remuneration level. In practice, it would seem to make little difference – these days, it is typically the MD who provides public comment in response to criticisms of the ABC.

  32. Dan

    Squirrel, no government should have anything to do with news organisations or broadcasting in general. Just sell the damn thing to the highest bidder. Preferably a bunch of asset-strippers from Bangalore.

  33. johanna

    No way, Dan. Those billions of dollars worth of assets are the property of taxpayers – handing them over at a discount to a bunch of asset-strippers is just more theft from our hard-earned.

    We should be the ones stripping the assets.

  34. duncanm

    The board says the obligation to manage affairs is vested in managing director Mark Scott.

    so lets join the dots. For the board obviously don’t think we can.

    If the board delegates this responsibility to the MD, and the MD is not doing his job, it is the resposibility of the board to
    a) point the finger
    b) pretend its not happening
    c) do something about the MD

  35. boyfromtottenham

    Can’t these folk understand plain English? Section 8 states:

    “It is the duty of the Board:”

    Definitions of “duty”: a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility; a task or action that one is required to perform as part of one’s job.

    End of discussion. Get on with it!

  36. james

    Forget selling it, can you imagine the screams if the funding was reduced to 2000 levels?

    That would cut it almost in half. The last few governments (Howard included) have been VERY good to the ABC financial wise.

  37. johanna

    Well, the ABC is in favour of us reducing CO2 emissions to 2000 levels, so that seems eminently fair to me, james. That way, they can do their bit towards achieving the target.

  38. Peter H

    Why does the minister even have to say it? This is the job, if the minister has to say it, then they have failed, and should resign.

  39. Andrew

    Give that portfolio to Scott Morrison and it will be fixed very quickly.

    And Marles would say that the R-G-R govt had been very successful in reducing the level of Green propaganda by 90% even before the election.

  40. Andrew

    he receives hundreds of complaints about the ABC each week


    Did he provide the Cat / non-Cat stats on those complaints?

  41. stackja

    Liberty Quotes
    If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use the pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time; a tremendous whack.
    — Winston Churchill

  42. cohenite

    Funding for the abc should be linked to green demands for reductions in CO2, coal, CSG etc. Pick one or more of these variables and if the abc says cut by 100% there you have it.

    Seriously, what does the board do? Nothing I gather so for Turncoat to admonish the board for doing nothing one thinks he is being a smartarse.

  43. Abu Chowdah

    Why not chop the ABC into two? The ACBC and the ALWBC. A conservative and a left wing division, each with one channel and the same budget.

  44. johanna

    I really hope that your comment is satire, Abu.

  45. Bons

    Bugger! There goes Lucy’s dinner party list. She is just going to have to get the social secretary to rearrange the whole year.
    He is a disgusting medieval warlord – loyal to no one other than himself. “I receive hundreds of emails from the little people every week – I just want them to go away – OK ABC guys just play it a little cooler for a patch until I take over”.

  46. johanna

    No, dot. What we need is the Wisdom of Herod here.

  47. Crossie

    Malcolm it’s about time you spoke up!

    Not good enough. Malcolm, it’s about time you did something!

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