Blue Mountains News
Political Interference a Key Concern at ABC Community Forum
Shadow Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, began by asking the crowd if they had seen the Four Corners program, and what their reaction was.
“The reaction from the room mirrored what many others, like myself have gone through,” Ms Rowland said. “People feel despair, frustration, and something akin to grief at watching our public broadcaster being destroyed by this government.
“The community has every reason to be concerned about the shocking failures of governance, and level of political pressure and interference that we now know has been levelled at the ABC.
“There has clearly been, and continues to be, a litany of attacks under this Liberal Government and three different Prime Ministers. And whatever you might think of the former Chair and Managing Director, as people or professionals, if nothing else, I think Four Corners showed why it's clear we need to get rid of this government for what it's done to the ABC.
“In contrast, Labor has committed to reversing the unfair $83.7m cut, guaranteeing stable funding and ensuring the ABC has editorial independence.
“Labor will continue to fight attacks on the ABC in the Parliament and on the ground,” she said.
Ms Templeman said the forum provided a timely opportunity for Blue Mountains residents to ask questions and hear first-hand what a Labor Government would do protect the ABC.
“Over the past few months we have seen open and unprecedented attacks on the independence and stability of our national broadcaster,” Ms Templeman said.
“Seeing that played out on Four Corners was quite shocking, so it was very timely that we were holding our community forum the day after it aired.
“People raised concerns about the independence of news reporting, lack of resourcing for classical music programming, the half a million dollar cuts to funding over the last 5 years and called for a return to quality.
“What is clear to me is that the ABC cannot survive another term of a Liberal Government,” she said.
“The evidence is there, whether you look at the political interference from the (now former) ABC Board Chairman, the Federal Government’s public and private attacks over the content of the ABC's reporting, the unparalleled funding cuts, or the Federal Liberal Council’s open support for privatisation - it is clear, that in their heart of hearts, Liberals just don't think taxpayers should fund the ABC.
“The sentiment expressed at our community forum, and through letters, emails and petitions show that our community will not sit by and let the Government destroy our ABC.”
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