Public interest? ABC betrays its founding principles

Today in The Australian

Much like the BBC, the ABC was formed, and its mission framed, on the basis of two beliefs that emerged from the trauma of the First World War.

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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35 Responses to Public interest? ABC betrays its founding principles

  1. Bob

    Valid criticism of the ABC is abundant, but they don’t give a damn because the ABC is legislatively immune to any kind of oversight or intervention. The ABC doesn’t even have to follow its charter, because there’s no enforcement mechanism. Senate Estimates are nothing but street theatre and have no impact.
    HOWEVER….
    When people start targeting specific possible solutions, they freak out. For example, when you push the sale of their Ultimo HQ and moving them all to Parramatta, and they start foaming at the mouth and hearing voices. Even better, attach that concept to creating opportunities for their favourite little Alphabet People, and it’s check-mate.
    Target the benefits of their existence, and they fall apart.

  2. stackja

    The risk that the clerisy to whom those towering edifices had been entrusted would become a self-serving sect motivated only by its destructive passions never crossed the founders’ minds.

  3. Rob

    Reform of the ABC is vital and it must be made to follow its eminently supportable charter to the letter.
    Replacing the ABC’s ridiculous and irrelevant in house complaints process with a fearless, transparent, and fully independent panel would be a good starting point.

  4. NuThink

    Bob
    #3657467, posted on November 13, 2020 at 7:57 am

    Ultimo HQ and moving them all to Parramatta,

    As a start close down any boutique coffee and latte shops within strolling distance of Ultimo HQ.

    Anyone know how they are going with diversity and gender equality quotas in the engineering depts?
    That also includes building maintenance BTW and other yukky jobs where one gets ones hands dirty.

  5. Rafe Champion

    The Coalition tried to do something about it for years but never had the nerve or realised the urgent need to get tough and seriously slash the budget.
    The high tide of that delinquency was Tony Abbott’s promise to maintain their funding, delivered on the eve of his landslide victory. Did he think he would get a single vote out of that?

    [Accepting all the errors, forced and unforced that he made, I still think it was a disaster to turn to Turnbull. Still I don’t want this thread to wander off topic in that direction].

    Getting back to the point, the failure of the Coalition vis a vis the ABC was replicated time after time after time – the Stot-Despoyer appointment, appointments to agencies of the grievance industry, appointments to the High Court etc etc.

  6. Mother Lode

    The argument that the talent deserve such generous remuneration to prevent their roster being raided by the private sector was revealed to be nonsense when Alberscreechy left and could not get a gig.

    They are just not that good. Tie finance to performance and watch the wretched thing wither and die.

    And broadcast it.

  7. Cassie of Sydney

    “Rafe Champion
    #3657545, posted on November 13, 2020 at 9:04 am
    The Coalition tried to do something about it for years but never had the nerve or realised the urgent need to get tough and seriously slash the budget.
    The high tide of that delinquency was Tony Abbott’s promise to maintain their funding, delivered on the eve of his landslide victory. Did he think he would get a single vote out of that?

    [Accepting all the errors, forced and unforced that he made, I still think it was a disaster to turn to Turnbull. Still I don’t want this thread to wander off topic in that direction].

    Getting back to the point, the failure of the Coalition vis a vis the ABC was replicated time after time after time – the Stot-Despoyer appointment, appointments to agencies of the grievance industry, appointments to the High Court etc etc.”

    A very good comment Rafe. There is a commentator here (on the open forum) who maintains that the reason why the coalition has never done anything about their ABC…particularly under Howard….is because it would have been electoral disaster and that it would have caused a backbencher revolt. I disagree. Howard had control of the senate from 2004 to 2007 and he did nothing…just like nothing was done about Section 18C. But anyway that is now all in the past….yet the coalition has been in power since 2013 and all it has done is chip away….nothing substantial. Now the ABC, riddled with scum like Milligan….is out of control and it doesn’t even try and hide its bias. The ABC is beyond redemption. And if I see another coalition MP like Sarah Henderson or Andrew Bragg talk about how important the ABC is to Australia…I will scream. The truth is that if the ABC were to disappear tomorrow…nobody would miss it.

  8. Cassie of Sydney

    “Replacing the ABC’s ridiculous and irrelevant in house complaints process with a fearless, transparent, and fully independent panel would be a good starting point.”

    Agree…but nobody will do it. Ita’s been MIA since Monday’s disgraceful, biased political hit job on the coalition.

  9. Bronson

    Why does the head quarters even need to be in Sydney? Why not send it west of the sandstone curtain to regional Australia. Decentralise the HQ altogether. I’m sure Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst or Albury for example would welcome the extra business. The other states could all make a bid for the regional HQ, Monty would love them in Toowoobah, or how about Bendigo, or Mount Gambier or Geralton? Lots of options to consider.

  10. Boambee John

    Cassie

    The truth is that if the ABC were to disappear tomorrow…nobody who matters would miss it.

    Fixed!

  11. Des Deskperson

    ‘The argument that the talent deserve such generous remuneration to prevent their roster being raided by the private sector was revealed to be nonsense when Alberscreechy left and could not get a gig.’

    And yet these days no one in he private sector seems much interested in poaching the ABC’s current ‘stars’ .

    Quite the contrary, many seem to have been poached from the private sector by the ABC: Crabb, Tingle, even Milligan. Recruitment process for these people are, of course, opaque: the ABC seems to be run by and for mates.

  12. Mother Lode

    I’m sure Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst or Albury for example would welcome the extra business.

    While those towns would welcome the money they would not be so open to the miserable creatures who came with it – at first.

    After a few months of finding their tyres let down after calling cattle farmers blood-drenched murderers, having little Tarquin coming home in tears because the other kids laughed at him for wearing a girls’ school uniform, or finding everybody in town avoids in public them but laugh behind their hands after they suggest story telling by drag queens with dildo accompaniment, they might feel a little out of their safe space.

    Then they would have to start hiring locals. While there may be sympathetic souls in Sydney no lefty really believes in making sacrifices. Their idea of virtue is to force other people to make sacrifices. So with the good burghers of these regional towns in the cafeteria, holding clapper boards, handling the cameras, and editing, the likes of Tony Jones will just dry out, shrivel, and get blown away when someone opens a window.

  13. Roger

    Valid criticism of the ABC is abundant, but they don’t give a damn because the ABC is legislatively immune to any kind of oversight or intervention.

    The solution is simple.

    There is littel legislation surrounding the funding arrangements. Until c.1973 it was through the TV license. Whitlam terminated that and began funding it out of general revenue. Return t0o the license model of funding but make it voluntary, i.e. a subscription service.

    Those who want to watch the ABC can subscribe. Those who don’t won’t. What could be fairer than that?

    I’d wager the ABC wouldn’t last 12 months.

  14. Up The Workers!

    The tripewriter seems to have put a tripo in the headline of this article.

    I think it should read:

    “Public Interest? A.B.C. betrays its foundering principles.”

    There!

    Fixed!

  15. H B Bear

    The ALPBC enjoys the full support of the UniParty. It ain’t going anywhere,

    Both sides of politics regard the ALPBC as a periodic annoyance but do not see it as worth burning political capital over. Neither see attacking the ALPBC as a vote winner despite the fact nobody watches it.

    Most people have a 1960s view of the ALPBC – Alan McGillivray calling the cricket on summer holidays and the Country Hour, not the Marxist infested swamp of Ultimo and Southbank.

    In short, we are stuck with it.

  16. A Lurker

    Just make the funding of the whole ABC/SBS edifice subscription only.
    Force the Green/Left to fund their propaganda arm.

  17. Tom

    Thank you, Henry. Your explorations of history always teach me things I didn’t know, perfectly summarised by the late Rabbi Sachs:

    The re-emergence of a culture of shaming, Rabbi Sacks wrote, with its “public dishonouring without trial, due process, and the possibility of forgiveness”, is nothing less than a “massive social regression” to the revenge-driven logic of tribal conflict.

    But don’t expect the government to rein in the primitive barbarian tribe that now runs the ABC, which taunts its chairwoman because she has no power over it as she isn’t a member of the collective.

    Footnote: It’s a shame I didn’t even attempt to comment on this piece at The Australian, which has given virtual carte blanche to the young barbarians on its staff to ban reader comments that don’t conform to the childish, diseducated, woke tantrum through which they view the world.

    The Australian, which, for the time being, I still subscribe to, is at war with its readers.

  18. H B Bear

    Any media organisation picked up Alberscreechi yet?

    I thought so. Another “star” in fact unemployable and trading of the ALPBC’s fading legacy.

  19. Michel Lasouris

    I believe most people watch non-ABC sources for accurate News.
    However I do turn to the ABC everyday. and scan their take on anything vaguely important. There is no better way to keep watch on what Socialist World believes and is planning for us all.
    If we don’t grit our teeth and examine the true un-Australian world, we have only ourselves to blame if we are caught unawares.
    Ignorance will be excuse….

  20. Archivist

    Sorry, but you can’t import the history of the BBC and apply it to the ABC as if they’re the same thing.

    The ABC was a private corporation that got nationalised in 1934.

  21. Eddystone

    Bronson
    #3657557, posted on November 13, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Why does the head quarters even need to be in Sydney? Why not send it west of the sandstone curtain to regional Australia. Decentralise the HQ altogether.

    Rather than those redneck settler towns you list, I suggest the ABC relocate, after gaining the appropriate permission from the Elders of course, to some of the communities on this list.

  22. Cara

    One of the reasons ABC defenders give for its existence is to provide service to regional centres. I think moving them to the heart of those regional centres would add weight to the argument don’t you think. I’m sure outer north west Dimboola would have plenty of room.

  23. Eddystone

    Tom
    #3657659, posted on November 13, 2020 at 10:42 am
    Footnote: It’s a shame I didn’t even attempt to comment on this piece at The Australian, which has given virtual carte blanche to the young barbarians on its staff to ban reader comments that don’t conform to the childish, diseducated, woke tantrum through which they view the world.

    The Australian, which, for the time being, I still subscribe to, is at war with its readers.

    I don’t fully agree Tom. Moderating does seem a bit inconsistent, but here are a few of the comments. Not supportive of the ABC at all.

    Graham
    41 minutes ago
    The ABC is no longer a common good. I do not watch it. Why should I pay for it? Let the news service be a subscription service.

    Helen
    1 hour ago
    This is too lofty for the ABC to comprehend. Well done though Henry!

    Ursula
    1 hour ago
    Who cares what two consenting adults do in this era, Labor or Liberal, I couldn’t care. Why does everything for those on the left have to be reduced to politics. Now it’s conservatives having sex, let’s cancel them. And yet Dan Andrew’s govt. commits crime after crime and ABC lauds him. If they do their job well now, what does indiscretion in youth matter either. I saw everyone at Uni drinking to excess, it’s what was done then, and probably now. More gutter dredging by ABC. And they call themselves journalists, what a laugh. Turn your blow torch on Victorian government and Vicpol for a change.

    Michael
    1 hour ago
    Don’t believe anything on the ABC, they are out to destroy the LNP, our defence forces, our economy, our jobs, educational standard etc. They want a global world dominated by their socialist ideology and destroy the national governments that don’t agree with them.

  24. jupes

    I believe most people watch non-ABC sources for accurate News.

    If you relied on the ABC for all your news you would be dumber. A lot dumber.

    You would believe that Australian made CO2 causes bush fires. That the Russians stole the 2016 election and that Trump is a Russian agent. That George Pell is guilty of sexual assault and that Aborigines were farmers until the Brits invaded Aborinal nations.

    It is not in the national interest to continue funding this socialist propaganda.

  25. areff

    FYI: I didn’t comment often at the Oz — very seldom, actually — but was nevertheless miffed to find the comments below canned. There will be no more comments from me as I’ve cancelled my sub. Any material they publish is either or wrong or I can find it elsewhere.

    Climate change hysterics like you, John, are the real threat to our way of life. Good luck charging that electric car — the one you’re expecting the taxpayers to subsidise — once a renewables-based grid prevails. You should consider just how many eyesores and bird-mincers will be needed to generate the volts needed to replace petrol.

    Yes, you should consider that little stumbling block but, of course, you won’t. Too busy doing your look-at-virtuous-me schtick to ever consider anything quite so mundane as real-world economic and basic physics.

    Story: Carbon change will be fundamental

    “I have come to the conclusion,” you write.

    No, you began with the conclusion and worked backwards to fit George Pell into the landscape of universal Catholic evil that is your surmise.

    Sad. Doubly sad that someone so alien to evidence and its rational analysis would parade the arrogant prejudice of ignorance for all to see.

    Enjoy your ABC. It’s solely for folks like you.

    Story: Pell, facts victims of culture wars

    Should WorkSafe Victoria chief Colin Radford receive complaints he has no choice but to investigate. If you have lost an elderly relative to COVID, complain already. The greater the weight of logged complaints, the less wriggle room not to investigate

    The number to report death as a result of negligence: 1-800-136-089

    Story: The power to probe the ‘don’t knows’

    Courtis advised four presidents? As he’s a Canadian, he wouldn’t have had his oar in too deeply with any president, Dem or GOP. As a former Goldman honcho, he would certainly have been advising that Bush and Obama bail out Wall Street after the GFC, which they did.

    As to his record as a prognosticator, he was touting Hillary as unbeatable four years ago. On China, his utterances have been consistent: don’t make the dragon angry.

    This article is so missing in background and framing it could have run at the ABC.

    Hang on! Isn’t that where Ms Fullerton used to work?
    whatshot0likesreply0replies

    Story: Sharemarket faces reality check with Biden

    _____________________________________________________________________

  26. Boambee John

    Des D

    Recruitment process for these people are, of course, opaque: the ABC seems to be run by and for mates.

    And family members?

  27. Tintarella di Luna

    And family members?

    Yes indeed

  28. Cassie of Sydney

    Regarding the Oz…..I suspect the Oz has lost a lot of subscribers over the last week. Serves them right. For months now, every time one of my comments has been rejected, I have corresponded with one of the digital editors warning him that the censorship at the newspaper is out of control. They’ve done nothing and the censorship is now out of control. Clearly the newspaper has decided to become “progressive”. Well that isn’t going to work out very well for them. Last Sunday I sent the digital editor this email….

    “Spoke to my father last night. He is disgusted with the Oz and is cancelling his sub tomorrow. I will not pay for rubbish by Van Onselen, Bramston and Overington and others. It’s been months coming.

    Besides, being a proud deplorable, The Oz can’t possibly want tainted money from a deplorables such as myself…you know the type….me a far-right, neo-Nazi white supremacist Joooish deplorable.

    The Oz has been unashamedly pro-Biden….a senile man with a far-left progressive VP candidate. Instead I’ll remember the good that Trump has done….tax cuts which stimulated the economy, moving the embassy to the eternal capital of Israel, the peace treaties between Isr*el and Sudan, Bahrain and the UAE…the peace treaty between Serbia and Kosovo. Contrast this with Obama…half a million dead in Syria, millions of refugees, slave markets operating in Libya (full of sub-Saharan black men, black women and black children children) etc.

    I’ve recently noticed the Oz running cover for BLM, anti-Semitism, Islaaaaaaaaamism and all the rest of the left’s talking points. I can read the SMH free at work. May as well…if I am going to read far-left progressive anti-Trump hysteria and gunk, I’ll read Nine Newspaper and The Malcolm Guardian….and the Guardian is free too!

    Congratulations to the media…you have finally gotten what you have so earnestly wanted for the last four years…..Trump gone…but the price will be that you will bleed subscribers…..oh and whilst we’re on the topic of “bleeding”…please note that only biological females menstruate….something else the Oz censors now refuse to publish.

    Adios Oz.

  29. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    The truth is that if the ABC were to disappear tomorrow…nobody would miss it.

    Quite so. But I would be “with champagne” celebrating its long overdue demise.

  30. Bronson

    Eddystone love your location recommendation!!!

  31. Squirrel

    With exquisite timing, we have this absolute gem of righteous outrage from the ABC –

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-13/foxtel-given-$10-million-without-plan-to-spend-it-foi-reveals/12868704

    The gist of it is that Foxtel was given taxpayers’ money without being accountable for it (sacré bleu!) and to do stuff which is already being done by others (double sacré bleu with pike and twist!!).

    The Gold Walkley for Unintended Irony goes to……

  32. David Brewer

    The trick with the ABC would be to come up with a solution that the ALP would not reverse as soon as it got in.

    One idea might be to make it a subscription-only service, but with an initial subsidy, of, say, half its current operating costs. That way, everyone who wants the ABC gets it at a subsidised price – hard for them to complain. And reversing the decision later costs Labor money and forces them to explain why people who don’t want it still have to pay for it in full. Over time, the subsidy could then be reduced.

    Subscription would also encourage the ABC to produce things that a wider range of people actually wanted to watch or listen to.

  33. Crossie

    For example, when you push the sale of their Ultimo HQ and moving them all to Parramatta,

    Just 20 kms up M4 from Parramatta is the beautiful downtown Penrith right under the Blue Mountains and it has a surplus of commercial buildings going cheap. ScoMo ought to take advantage of this to save taxpayers some money.

  34. Crossie

    And yet these days no one in [t]he private sector seems much interested in poaching the ABC’s current ‘stars’

    They cannot afford them, it seems only taxpayers can.

  35. Crossie

    A Lurker
    #3657658, posted on November 13, 2020 at 10:41 am
    Just make the funding of the whole ABC/SBS edifice subscription only.
    Force the Green/Left to fund their propaganda arm.

    I would be more likely to subscribe to SBS than the ABC if only to be able to watch and vote in the Eurovision Song Contest.

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