Peter O’Brien – On the ABC Charter

Andrew Bolt often accuses the ABC of being in breach of its charter, in that it consistently presents an almost exclusively Left wing perspective on politics and matters of public interest.  And he’s right that it is seriously unbalanced. But as to it being in breach of its charter in this respect, I’ve got news for him.

Here is the charter:

6  Charter of the Corporation

             (1)  The functions of the Corporation are:

 (a)  to provide within Australia innovative and comprehensive broadcasting services of a high standard as part of the Australian broadcasting system consisting of national, commercial and community sectors and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, to provide:

 (i)  broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of, the Australian community; and

                             (ii)  broadcasting programs of an educational nature;

(b)  to transmit to countries outside Australia broadcasting programs of news, current affairs, entertainment and cultural enrichment that will:

 (i)  encourage awareness of Australia and an international understanding of Australian attitudes on world affairs; and

(ii)  enable Australian citizens living or travelling outside Australia to obtain information about Australian affairs and Australian attitudes on world affairs; and

                   (ba)  to provide digital media services; and

 (c)  to encourage and promote the musical, dramatic and other performing arts in Australia.

Note:          See also section 31AA (Corporation or prescribed companies to be the only providers of Commonwealth‑funded international broadcasting services).

 

             (2)  In the provision by the Corporation of its broadcasting services within Australia:

                     (a)  the Corporation shall take account of:

 (i)  the broadcasting services provided by the commercial and community sectors of the Australian broadcasting system;

(ii)  the standards from time to time determined by the ACMA in respect of broadcasting services;

(iii)  the responsibility of the Corporation as the provider of an independent national broadcasting service to provide a balance between broadcasting programs of wide appeal and specialized broadcasting programs;

                            (iv)  the multicultural character of the Australian community; and

(v)  in connection with the provision of broadcasting programs of an educational nature—the responsibilities of the States in relation to education; and

 (b)  the Corporation shall take all such measures, being measures consistent with the obligations of the Corporation under paragraph (a), as, in the opinion of the Board, will be conducive to the full development by the Corporation of suitable broadcasting programs.

(3)  The functions of the Corporation under subsection (1) and the duties imposed on the Corporation under subsection (2) constitute the Charter of the Corporation.

(4)  Nothing in this section shall be taken to impose on the Corporation a duty that is enforceable by proceedings in a court.

 There is no explicit reference whatsoever to ‘balanced reporting’.  And it would take a very long stretch of the imagination to even infer an obligation for balance from the above wording.  But it’s academic in any case.  When I was in the Army, the Army Law Manual listed many military offences but there was one, in particular, which cropped up more often on charge sheets than any other – conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline.  It covered a multitude of sins and guaranteed that if you warranted it you would be found guilty of something.  Similarly, in the ABC’s charter we have subsection (4) that guarantees that it can flout its charter with impunity as long as it has the support of the Board – at least as far as the general public, who pay for it, are concerned.

What prompted this piece was an article in this weekend’s Australian telling us that ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie ‘has announced a big shift as the national broadcaster fully adopts the indigenous constitutional recognition proposals contained in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.’

If ever there was a flagrant breach of balance this is it.  Now I fully accept that commercial newspapers can editorialize and adopt positions on contentious issues but surely the ABC should be more circumspect, particularly as details surrounding the Uluru Statement are still very sketchy.  At this stage, she has absolutely no idea what she is supporting.  But regardless of that, there are many Australians (almost certainly a majority when the facts are clear) who will oppose these changes, as PM Turnbull was at pains to point out, and the ABC has already written them off.

I can accept that individual ABC commentators are entitled to express their own opinion (deploring, of course, the lack of balance) but I refuse to accept that the ABC has any right to editorialize at a corporate level.  Similar to Alan Joyce on SSM, this just looks like Guthrie hitching a whole organisation to her personal agenda.

We also often hear that the ABC is supposed to be a ‘market failure broadcaster’ but again, as Michelle Guthrie told the Senate Estimates Committee back in May, that role also is not in the charter.  It damn well should be.

The ABC gets over $1billion of taxpayers money every year and, according to its charter, has carte blanche to do whatever the hell it wants. It is like a public company that is, in no way, beholden to its shareholders.

In light of the above, it seems clear that conservative MPs who are castigated for not bringing the ABC into line are getting a bum rap.  Until the charter is updated there is little they can do.  But that does not let them off the hook.  They should be clamouring for the ABC Act to be amended to, at least, mandate a requirement for balanced political reporting and entrench the role of market failure broadcaster.  I’ve no doubt that readers can come up with many other ideas that would help improve the efficiency and accountability of the ABC.

Yes, this is a big ask (impossible in the current climate) but surely, along with repeal of 18C, it is worth some consideration by a supposedly conservative government.  Whingeing about ABC bias is just pathetic unless you’re prepared to do something about it.  And never again should a conservative PM promise no cuts to ABC funding.

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59 Responses to Peter O’Brien – On the ABC Charter

  1. Ivan Denisovich

    Just privatise it. The issues Peter mentions are then resolved. What is the justification for a government media organisation in 2017?

  2. stackja

    impossible in the current climate

    Time to change the climate.

  3. Ivan Denisovich

    ……..justification for having a government………….

  4. incoherent rambler

    I’ve no doubt that readers can come up with many other ideas that would help improve the efficiency and accountability of the ABC.

    Scorched earth. Salt.
    Consult Rabz for details.

  5. Another old bloke

    Peter, while I agree with the general thrust of your arguments (and the specifics in relation to Guthrie), there is another section of the legislation which raises the “impartial and objective” issues:

    8 Duties of the Board
    (1) 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.
    (2) If the Minister at any time furnishes to the Board a statement of the policy of the Commonwealth Government on any matter relating to broadcasting or digital media services, or any matter of administration, that is relevant to the performance of the functions of the Corporation and requests the Board to consider that policy in the performance of its functions, the Board shall ensure that consideration is given to that policy.
    (3) Nothing in subsection (1) or (2) is to be taken to impose on the Board a duty that is enforceable by proceedings in a court.

    Further, there are performance requirements for the Managing Director:

    10 Duties of the Managing Director
    (1) The affairs of the Corporation shall, subject to subsection (2), be managed by the Managing Director.
    (2) The Managing Director shall, in managing any of the affairs of the Corporation and in exercising any powers conferred on him or her by this Act, act in accordance with any policies determined, and any directions given to him or her, by the Board.
    (3) All acts and things done in the name of, or on behalf of, the Corporation by the Managing Director shall be taken to have been done by the Corporation.

    Yet for many years managing directors of the ABC have run the corporation as a commune of fiefdoms, answerable to nobody in particular – not even themselves. That is clearly in breach of the enabling legislation. Perhaps that may be seen as a failure of the board, but it is also a failure of managing directors and it’s time they were both brought to heel or be defunded.

    Thus, the various program silos, such as Q&A, Media Watch and Four Corners have appalling records of promoting blatantly leftist causes. And for $1.2 billion a year, Australian taxpayers are being ripped off to promote causes most of us despise.

  6. John64

    If ever there was a flagrant breach of balance this is it. Now I fully accept that commercial newspapers can editorialize and adopt positions on contentious issues but surely the ABC should be more circumspect, particularly as details surrounding the Uluru Statement are still very sketchy. At this stage, she has absolutely no idea what she is supporting. But regardless of that, there are many Australians (almost certainly a majority when the facts are clear) who will oppose these changes, as PM Turnbull was at pains to point out, and the ABC has already written them off.

    Google Guthrie is merely adopting the default position that is already well entrenched at Their ABC – if something is supported by the so-called “leaders” of our indiginees it must be right.

    On the broader question; TheirABC is totally beyond reform and redemption. The nuclear option is the only solution but no-one on the Conservative side of politics will ever push the button. So we’re stuck with it at $1.2 billion + CPI per year every year.

  7. Art Vandelay

    I’ve no doubt that readers can come up with many other ideas that would help improve the efficiency and accountability of the ABC.

    Stop messing around with minor fixes. It should be privatised.

    Speaking of, this is from the Liberal Party website:

    We Believe:

    In the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative

    That, wherever possible, government should not compete with an efficient private sector; and that businesses and individuals – not government – are the true creators of wealth and employment.

    They’ve trashed so many of their core principles that I bet you’d struggle to find a single Liberal Party MP who would argue that this should be applied to the ABC.

  8. Oh come on

    This is something Abbott should have been pushing like hell for in 2013, along with the repeal of 18C, when he had the political capital to get it through. Now, there’s no chance.

    Abbott – decent man, lousy PM. Deserves to be ignored.

  9. LGS

    The ABC ceased being objective long ago.
    Now it’s little more than a hive of leftist activists and cause-pushers.

  10. BoyfromTottenham

    The ABC’s lack of ‘balance’ aside, I was thinking only the other day when I saw that Andrew Probyn has joined the ABC – did he jump ship because the private sector newspaper industry is shrivelling, or was he offered an incentive to work for Auntie? Either way, his move weakens the private news sector and strengthens the ABC’s stranglehold on the Australian media scene. See where I’m going with this? Dr Goebbels would be proud.

  11. LGS

    Art Vandelay
    #2461565, posted on August 7, 2017 at 3:35 pm
    They’ve trashed so many of their core principles that I bet you’d struggle to find a single Liberal Party MP who would argue that this should be applied to the ABC.

    The irony is, that many of the Libs (not all) are supporters of the ABC – the same ABC that will campaign against them at election time, and would love to see them booted out of office.
    And these Liberal ABC supporters are too blind to see it.

  12. cui bono

    Maybe they don’t breach their charter but they clearly defy their code:
    The Current ABC ‘Code of Practice’
    4. Impartiality and diversity of perspectives Principles: The ABC has a statutory duty to ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism. Aiming to equip audiences to make up their own minds is consistent with the public service character of the ABC. A democratic society depends on diverse sources of reliable information and contending opinions. A broadcaster operating under statute with public funds is legitimately expected to contribute in ways that may differ from commercial media, which are free to be partial to private interests. Judgements about whether impartiality was achieved in any given circumstances can vary among individuals according to their personal and subjective view of any given matter of contention. Acknowledging this fact of life does not change the ABC’s obligation to apply its impartiality standard as objectively as possible. In doing so, the ABC is guided by these hallmarks of impartiality: • a balance that follows the weight of evidence; • fair treatment; ABC Code of Practice 5 • open-mindedness; and • opportunities over time for principal relevant perspectives on matters of contention to be expressed. The ABC aims to present, over time, content that addresses a broad range of subjects from a diversity of perspectives reflecting a diversity of experiences, presented in a diversity of ways from a diversity of sources, including content created by ABC staff, generated by audiences and commissioned or acquired from external content-makers. Impartiality does not require that every perspective receives equal time, nor that every facet of every argument is presented. Assessing the impartiality due in given circumstances requires consideration in context of all relevant factors including: • the type, subject and nature of the content; • the circumstances in which the content is made and presented; • the likely audience expectations of the content; • the degree to which the matter to which the content relates is contentious; • the range of principal relevant perspectives on the matter of contention; and • the timeframe within which it would be appropriate for the ABC to provide opportunities for the principal relevant perspectives to be expressed, having regard to the public importance of the matter of contention and the extent to which it is the subject of current debate.

    Rural and regional Coalition MPs are apparently fearful of a back lash from their constituents regarding ABC funding. This just demonstrates their incompetence in identifying metro ABC agenda-setting. The blatant blackmail that the ABC employs (‘Peppa the pig and the Country hour will get it!’) needs to be confronted.
    Won’t happen under Team Turnbull of course.

  13. H B Bear

    The only option with the ALPBC staff co-op is the nuclear option.

    There hasn’t been a single politician on any side of the parliament with the balls to push the button.

  14. Baldrick

    Until the charter is updated there is little they can do.

    The charter does not need updating, just enforced by withholding funds until they come back to balance, as determined by a Catallaxy select committee.
    Better still, just Rabz the fuckers.

  15. Just Interested

    Yair, the section 8 responsibility is the one the Boltas of the world hang their hat on.

    Especially Gerald Henderson, who always points out (quite correctly) the responsibility for not really acting as an editor in chief in ensuring the accurate and impartial obligation is discharged.

    Yair, the whole joint should be shut down, because there is no ‘market failure’ that requires the behemoth to be there………but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  16. thefrolickingmole

    impossible in the current climate

    Sell it to fund the NDIS.
    Wedge the lurrrvies with their own beloved policies.

    Its taken me about 2 seconds to think of this, either Im smarter than the entire Liberal party (arguable at the moment) or they are relaxed and comfortable with the climate being set by unrepresentative swill at Ultimo.

  17. Pete of Perth

    When the country folks are connected to the nbn then the abc becomes obsolete thus nukes can be deployed. Fantasy I know.

  18. herodotus

    programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain
    They’ve sought to downgrade our national identity, and they do not inform properly, only conveying what they want to convey. As for cultural diversity, again they concentrate on those aspects that they like.

    encourage awareness of Australia and an international understanding of Australian attitudes on world affairs;
    Only the Australia they want to portray, and only the attitudes they want to portray – some of which they exaggerate for their own political purposes.

    enable Australian citizens living or travelling outside Australia to obtain information about Australian affairs and Australian attitudes on world affairs;
    Ditto.

    While there is no explicit reference to “balanced reporting”, it is certainly the case that they don’t do it, and that as a taxpayer funded broadcaster they should reflect the reality that a substantial percentage of the Australian population has views which are not deemed valid or even worthy of representation by the ABC. The capture by leftists is not up for argument. It’s a fact.

  19. dopey

    You say ” there is no explicit reference whatsoever to ‘balanced reporting’ .” Then you say “if ever there was a flagrant breach of balance this is it.” ??

  20. DM of WA

    All of this begs the question: in the twenty-first century why do we still need a massive, monolithic and very expensive government-owned, taxpayer-funded organisation to provide broadcast information services?

    In fact the only reason for its continued survival is that this politically powerful media organisation is so dominant and has so thoroughly captured the political class that the issue of its existence never even gets discussed. And then there is the issue of the ABC acting as a barrier to new entrants into the news and entertainment industries. As long as taxpayers continue to unconditionally fund the ABC there is no incentive for innovative and efficient new competitors to enter the industry and no incentive for the ABC to change.

    SHUT.IT.DOWN
    BLOW.IT.UP

  21. Peter O'Brien

    You say ” there is no explicit reference whatsoever to ‘balanced reporting’ .” Then you say “if ever there was a flagrant breach of balance this is it.” ??

    I didn’t say it shouldn’t be balanced!

  22. JohnA

    (i) broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of, the Australian community; and

    The Corporation is required to ensure that its programming reflects the multicult(ur)al nature of Australian society, eh?

    Well, then, why is the majority orthodox Judeo-Christian cultural heritage (whether Orthodox, Hebrew, Roman Catholic or Protestant) not recognized, not given fair treatment but rather, denigrated?

    Until you can answer that, I support the Rabz Doctrine of ABC Manifest Destiny (= oblivion).

  23. Roger

    SHUT.IT.DOWN

    The next time a Liberal-Conservative (heh) government gets in (because a Liberal government will never again be formed without being in coalition with conservatives), say the mid-2020s, there will be a real budget emergency and no excuse for not doing so. Until then we have to keep the pressure up.

  24. Myrddin Seren

    ( 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

    Ummm – if a panel of journalism academics were brought together I am sure you will find their ‘objective’ professional finding to be that TheirABC is savagely biased to the right.

    Thin on the ground, but they can even point to ‘science‘.

    According to the Gans and Leigh study the only statistically significant slant was for the ABC Channel 2 News programme which preferences Coalition-favoured intellectuals in their reporting. This suggests the ABC news has a right-wing bias with a score of 0.511.

    The ‘recognised’ standards of contemporary journalism are so far Left it is a wonder TheirABC doesn’t feature a segment ‘Today in Revolutionary Marxism’.

    I think an Abrahms tank could be driven around that caveat.

  25. C. Paul Barreira

    The ABC gets over $1billion of taxpayers money every year. . . .

    Re “$1billion”—delete “billion”.

  26. iain russell

    Just gut it. Say it is superfluous to requirement, that it is last century’s approach, that it is a privileged enclave of the rich. Who cares? Just level it and sow the ground with salt.

  27. Habib

    Well the ABC would be a colossal failure if it ever ventured into the market, so I suppose they’re sort of compliant with the vibe of the charter. We could of course level the sites with IDF armoured bulldozers, strip the copper cabling and take to the scrapyard, salvage any electronics and take them to cashies, sell the staff for organ harvesting, and flog the bandwith to any mug prepared to write a cheque.

  28. Herodotus

    Dopey, the word explicit does have meaning. And the charter didn’t envisage that the national broadcaster should cherry-pick what they’d “inform” people about, which “cultural diversity” they’d highlight favourably and which they’d ignore, and which bits of “national identity” they’d cover and in what fashion. No doubt they feel that the SSM question is the greatest moral issue of our time, at present even higher on the scale of news worthyness than climate change, equality of women, and closing the aboriginal gap by creating another yawning chasm.
    Both the BBC and mini-me ABC do throw around the term “balanced” from time to time, but they prefer “independent”. This enables them to pursue their chosen daily agenda in exactly the way they want to.

  29. Whalehunt Fun

    Bugger privatising it. Defund it without warning leaving it bankrupt and unable to pay out staff entitlements let alone redundancies. Blackban any business that hires any of the staff. Make them unemployable as anything. Leave them starving in the gutter with their children so we can laugh at them as we pass by on the way to work.

  30. DaveR

    Not sure I fully agree with you, PO’B.

    6 (1) (a) to provide within Australia innovative and comprehensive broadcasting services …..

    Comprehensive can only means all elements, not a narrow focus

  31. Nerblnob

    “Balanced” usually means getting “both” sides of an issue that only the BBC/ABC thinks is an issue.

    Then you pick the most loony-looking and sounding person to represent your unfavoured opinion.

  32. EvilElvis

    This budget, cut funding by 50% with all redundancies and payouts to come from the remainder. Next year, repeat. Make the slimey fuckers running the show own it, the PS all think they are running businesses, well fucking well start making cuts like a business does, that’s all you get Guthrie and co.

    Oh, any activist action or striking? Another 10% off you bastards.

  33. EvilElvis

    And I’m pretty sure that doesn’t need to pass the senate. Grow a sack and get the machete out!

  34. dopey

    Herodotus
    Yes, independent, like the Sydney Morning Herald. The most predictable boring left-wing sludge every day, but they are independent.

  35. Texas Jack

    H B Bear
    #2461576, posted on August 7, 2017 at 3:47 pm
    The only option with the ALPBC staff co-op is the nuclear option.

    There hasn’t been a single politician on any side of the parliament with the balls to push the button.

    10/10

    Why we bother to entertain anything less than shutting the thing is beyond me.

  36. Chris

    Well the ABC would be a colossal failure if it ever ventured into the market, so I suppose they’re sort of compliant with the vibe of the charter. We could of course level the sites with IDF armoured bulldozers, strip the copper cabling and take to the scrapyard, salvage any electronics and take them to cashies, sell the staff for organ harvesting, and flog the bandwith to any mug prepared to write a cheque.

    I like the cut of your jib, zir.

  37. Bruce

    I am just old enough to remember RADIO and TV LICENCES. The cash from these was allegedly what funded Their ABC, (“Jason and the Argonauts”, “Blue-Hills’ and all that).

    Like the constantly increasing booze and smokes “excise”, it probably just disappeared into the slavering maw of “consolidated revenue”.

    The entry of Oz (and particularly their ABC) into satellite links was a stuff-up from the start. They “leased” bandwidth on a couple of surplus US military comms satellites. Big problem was that these things were designed to be used with SERIOUS ground stations, not the el-cheapo Plessey receivers that abounded. Picture quality was seriously degraded in comparison to microwave ground links, and, if you lived in somewhere that has a REAL wet season, the daily downpour would blot out the signal because of its wavelength being the right size to be absorbed by raindrops or wet tree canopies. At least folk who had the space for, and KEPT their Intelsat rigs, could watch stuff from all over the world, at least for a while.

    And then, there’s Sex Before Soccer, TV and radio…………

  38. Jannie

    There is an ABC establishment near my place in East Perth. There are no visible security guards and the capucino shop underneath is open to the public, they are very relaxed. I have often thought I might throw a cream pie at one of the stars, or graffiti the walls with “Lies and Liars Work Here” or some other futile gesture.

    But the whole place is under video surveillance and I don’t have long enough to live to deal with the consequences. All the same there are definite opportunities for somebody more creative and imaginative than I am.

  39. anonandon

    Stop howling at the moon. It will never be shutdown and you know it.

  40. When I assume power as Supreme (Temporary) Dictator of Australia, I will keep the ABC for two years while Rabz works out how to shut it down whilst maximising a decent return to the taxpayer.
    In that two years only right wing presenters, programs, and topics will be allowed.
    The current mob will be sent to research the Birdsville Track.

  41. Leo G

    It is not likely to be the ABC Charter that provides the means to address malfeasance in the corporation.

    Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
    No. 123, 2013. Compilation No. 3
    Compilation date: 5 March 2016 (Includes amendments up to: Act No. 126, 2015)
    Registered: 6 May 2016
    … …
    Division 3—Officials
    Subdivision A—General duties of officials
    25 Duty of care and diligence
    (1) An official of a Commonwealth entity must exercise his or her powers, perform his or her functions and discharge his or her duties with the degree of care and diligence that a reasonable person would exercise if the person:
    (a) were an official of a Commonwealth entity in the Commonwealth entity’s circumstances; and
    (b) occupied the position held by, and had the same responsibilities within the Commonwealth entity as, the official.
    (2) The rules may prescribe circumstances in which the requirements of subsection (1) are taken to be met.
    26 Duty to act honestly, in good faith and for a proper purpose
    An official of a Commonwealth entity must exercise his or her powers, perform his or her functions and discharge his or her duties honestly, in good faith and for a proper purpose.
    27 Duty in relation to use of position
    An official of a Commonwealth entity must not improperly use his or her position:
    (a) to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or an advantage for himself or herself or any other person; or
    (b) to cause, or seek to cause, detriment to the entity, the Commonwealth or any other person.
    28 Duty in relation to use of information
    A person who obtains information because they are an official of a Commonwealth entity must not improperly use the information:
    (a) to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or an advantage for himself or herself or any other person; or
    (b) to cause, or seek to cause, detriment to the Commonwealth entity, the Commonwealth or any other person.
    29 Duty to disclose interests
    (1) An official of a Commonwealth entity who has a material personal interest that relates to the affairs of the entity must disclose details of the interest.
    (2) The rules may do the following:
    (a) prescribe circumstances in which subsection (1) does not apply;
    (b) prescribe how and when an interest must be disclosed;
    (c) prescribe the consequences of disclosing an interest (for example, that the official must not participate at a meeting about a matter or vote on the matter).

  42. duncanm

    a complete aside — bumped into Red Kerry in sunny Qld the other day.

    Pretty sure I’ve seen him up there before (Southport)… should have asked him how his pension was holding up.

  43. Peter Campion

    Mutualise it. Let the staff pay their own wages from the profits from their endeavours.

    But seriously, from the code of practice …

    Standards:
    4.1 Gather and present news and information with due impartiality.
    4.2 Present a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented.
    4.3 Do not state or imply that any perspective is the editorial opinion of the ABC. The ABC takes no editorial stance other than its commitment to fundamental democratic principles including the rule of law, freedom of speech and religion, parliamentary democracy and equality of opportunity.
    4.4 Do not misrepresent any perspective.
    4.5 Do not unduly favour one perspective over another.

    … from experience, they have a multitude of bending reality to fit his.

  44. Peter Campion

    … bending reality to fit this.

  45. Jannie

    I find it interesting that so many people regard the ABC as an immovable, unchangeable monolith. Like its just a fact of life that the ABC is what it is, so don’t howl at the moon, get a life and live with it. This suits the Left of course, they cant argue that its “balanced”, but they can confidently state that its unchangeable, like settled science, so shut up.

    If the only thing that can change the ABC is irresistible force, its going to be fun watching when it happens.

  46. struth

    The charter means diddly squat to me.
    The ABC has well passed its used by date, is a totally biased left wing insane asylum, and has a charter that wasn’t written by those paying for it.
    We bark up the wrong tree in arguing the detail of a charter that should not exist, for an ABC that should not exist.
    It’s very existence and support by both parties shows clearly the political class totally detached from the country that pays for them.
    That the liberal party support such a nest of foul commos shows exactly why the libs must be destroyed.
    I believe even Hanson has policy to partly defund it.
    My guess is that it is so powerful and corrupt and so precious to the left that it’s protectors would be violent well connected and scary to our liberal panty wetters.

  47. Sir Isaac

    Grow a pair Libs and at least look like you are trying to change the legislation to remove all the blank cheque clauses before the CFMEU start hosting Q & A:- In Person!

    Have a ‘deep and meaningful’ with Our Expensive Affront about how the teaching stick works – budget learn ’em good and hard.

    Deprive the left of their annual billion dollar free kick.

    Save the taxpayer a motza.

    Regain some dignity.

  48. Alan Key

    Peter is absolutely correct. Sinclair previously covered this anomaly regards the ABC Charter in 2016. And Sinclair was also correct. The Charter “imposes no duty to act, or refrain from acting, and it imposes no penalty for failure to comply with the provisions of the Act.”
    It is right there in section 6(4) – “Nothing in this section …”. The courts are explicitly excluded.
    Same goes for the ABC Board – their liability is limited by section 8(3).
    And the Managing Director? Again, liability is limited by section 10(2)-(3).
    The same applies to the SBS Charter, Board and Director – “Nothing in this section …”.
    This limitation was confirmed by the High Court in Abebe v Commonwealth [1999] HCA 14:
    GLEESON CJ and McHUGH J at [31] (discussing Court jurisdiction): “If there is no legal remedy for a “wrong”, there can be no “matter”. A legally enforceable remedy is as essential to the existence of a “matter” as the right, duty or liability which gives rise to the remedy. Without the right to bring a curial proceeding, there can be no “matter”. If a person breaches a legal duty which is unenforceable in a court of justice, there can be no “matter”.”
    The Charter, with these limitations, is as effective as a blank page.

  49. Shy Ted

    At least make the newsreaders do their job naked. Whitney Fitzsimmons, there’s a lass I’d watch naked. From the web – Whitney Fitzsimmons is an Australian journalist. Fitzsimmons has been a TV presenter for over eight years at the ABC.
    Just add a W – Whitney Fitzsimmons is an Australian journalist. Fitzsimmons has been a TV presenter for overweight years at the ABC.
    But not Kelly, Trioli or Doogue.
    Apologies if I’ve named the wrong newsreader. 7pm ABC Adelaide. I turn the sound down.

  50. Suburban Boy

    I echo the comments above that point out the unambiguous language of section 8 of the ABC Act, which means that the ABC has been operating in breach of the Act for years. The board directors and the “responsible Ministers” are culpable for allowing this to continue without let.

    The only effective solution is Carthaginian. Do not privatise it. Do not mutualise it. Shut it down, sell the property (including program copyrights) and sack the staff.

    But a couple of caveats to the last par:
    – The Commonwealth should retain copyright in all the ABC’s news and current affairs programming, so that it cannot (legally) be used by anyone else to further leftist agendas.
    – Currently contracted news and current affairs editors and presenters should be kept on the Commonwealth payroll for the remainder of the contract periods. This won’t stop them resigning of course, and it will be a cost to the taxpayer, but having these malevolent creatures out of real work is a benefit to the community that far outweighs the financial cost.

  51. Rococo Liberal

    The problem with the right wing in this country is that it is gutless.
    The left will at least do controversial things, on the basis that it is very difficult to repeal government legislation.
    Turnbull is going to go down in a screaming heap anyway, he might as well take down a lot of the left network of suckholes with him. Shut down the ABC, the HRC and half a dozen other useless tax hooverers. Don’t privatise them. Just kill them stone dead.

  52. anonandon

    I’m not saying they shouldn’t shut it down, they should. I’m saying they won’t.

  53. old bloke

    Oh come on
    #2461566, posted on August 7, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Abbott – decent man, lousy PM. Deserves to be ignored.

    He was failing even before he was elected. Immediately prior to the 2013 election, Abbott outlined cuts to public spending but he specifically excepted the ABC from any budget cuts. There was no need for that exception, he was going to win in a landslide in any event, but he went weak at the knees way too early.

    Yes, he’s a nice bloke, but we need someone made of sterner stuff.

  54. old bloke

    Abbott’s other failing with regards to the ABC: Mark Latham offered to chair theABC on the promise that he would shut it down and sell it off within twelve months, Abbott didn’t give him the job.

  55. Bad Samaritan

    OK, so in the case of the proposed (sure to fail) change to the constitution the ABC has thrown all pretense aside….. just straight overt leftist racist arrogance on naked display. What happens when next election Ms Guthrie hires 1000 Labor / Green/ GetUp toadies to go spruik for Bill and Richard? And just laughs at anyone daring to fume about it? Same shit-scared responses from the LNP?

    The point here is that a very clear “line” has been crossed. No more sins by omission and all that stuff, no more stacking decks whilst pretending that it hasn’t been stacked (a la Q+A audience “leanings”), no more Kerry O’Brien “inadvertantly” declaring an ALP Seat to be “one for us” when the result is declared as ALP then excusing his lapse. No more pretense.

    FFS, do hardly any of the LNP MP luvvies want to stay in their cushy jobs next time around?

  56. Myrddin Seren

    What happens when next election Ms Guthrie hires 1000 Labor / Green/ GetUp toadies to go spruik for Bill and Richard?

    Googles G doesn’t need to hire them – you have just described pretty much their entire on air and production staff.

    And just laughs at anyone daring to fume about it? Same shit-scared responses from the LNP?

    Googles G has just crossed the Rubicon and openly declared TheirABC as the media arm of GetUp.

    By election time, Friend-of-the-ABC Malcolm will be pleading with them for a tummy rub and Peanuthead will be promising them anything they want as long as they go fully off-the-leash against the Turnbull United Party.

  57. Muddy

    The only solution, as I’ve suggested previously, is to undermine their reputation/image to the point where supporting them is political poison. Remove or dilute the incentive for enablers to support them. Encourage them to overreach and lash out. Find a way for them to become the hunted, and the commercials the hunters.
    Simply repeating “it’s not fair, it’s not fair” hasn’t gotten us that far, has it? This requires strategy and active opposition. They must be weakened before the kill.

  58. DM OF WA

    The problem is that most of the parliamentary Liberal Party actually agrees with the ABC’s progressive points of view on most political issues most of the time. The ABC knows it can pursue its vile agenda secure in the knowledge it is protected.

  59. cohenite

    cui bono

    #2461573, posted on August 7, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Maybe they don’t breach their charter but they clearly defy their code:
    The Current ABC ‘Code of Practice’

    Correct. There is more than one way to skin a putrid, mangy alley cat. The Code:

    http://about.abc.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/CodeofPractice2013.pdf

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