Tonight’s budget included a modest cut to the ABC budget, from $1.132 billion in 2017-18 to $1.122bn in 2018-19, and $83.2 million over three years. That’s hardly the end of the world for the ABC, and far less than the cut that would have applied to the ABC in a Lucius budget (which would have been to abolish the ABC and SBS entirely).
Anyhow according to the Australian, the CEO, Michelle Guthrie, has ‘slammed’ the decision
ABC managing Director Michelle Guthrie slammed the cuts in an email to staff, vowing to fight the decision and said it would impact audiences and had come at a critical time for the organisation.
“Let me be frank with you: I am very disappointed and concerned that after the measures we have introduced in recent years to deliver better and more efficient services, the government has now seen fit to deliver what amounts to a further substantial budget cut,” Ms Guthrie said.
“This decision will make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its charter requirements and audience expectations.”
Ms Guthrie also indicated via an ABC statement her feelings that the ABC ‘is more important than ever’ to Australian audiences.
“The ABC is now more important than ever given the impact of overseas players in the local media industry and the critical role the ABC plays as Australia’s most trusted source of news, analysis and investigative journalism,” Ms Guthrie said.
“Our talented and dedicated content makers consistently deliver award-winning public interest journalism, regional services and critically acclaimed original Australian programs and content.
“Stable, adequate funding is essential if we are to continue to deliver for Australian audiences.”
Now think of a not-for-profit organisation relying on donations / philanthropy. Or a company relying on customers. Would they, in the face of declining revenue, (ie: less donations / fewer sales) ‘slam’ their donors / customers?
I think not. They would reflect on the causes of the declining revenue and put in place strategies to win back the confidence of donors and / or customers. They certainly wouldn’t go around insulting the source of their revenue. Or they would accept the decline as reality and adjust their operations to keep viable.
Even government departments and agencies that have seen their budgets cut don’t go around publicly criticising the government for a cut.
But not the ABC. Instead it thinks the taxpayer funding is ‘deserved’ and won’t brook any dissent. It has no problems in criticising the government for not forking over the money it wants.
The Government should react to Guthrie’s intemperate remarks and for it not being eternally grateful for the vast sums entrusted to it from the taxpayer by doubling the cuts. And the Minister, Mitch Fifield, should announce that each time the ABC criticises the Government’s decision on ABC funding will see another $10 million shaved off its budget. Fifield should also obtain and publish the salaries paid to the ABC ‘stars’. For it needs no stars, it should be a collection of anonymous, quality but modestly paid servants of the public. Any employee who starts getting full of himself/herself should be sacked – the last thing the ABC needs is a collection of prima donnas / primo uomas. Yet sadly it consists almost entirely of the same.