HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 25 NOVEMBER 2021
If there's one thing that sums up the ABC to me, it's the Andrew Olle 'Mm.' I remember in my childhood listening to Andrew Olle doing interviews with political figures on both sides and he had an uncanny ability to say the word 'Mm' in a way that indicated that he'd heard you but didn't necessarily agree.
Those conversations between Andrew Olle and Paul Lyneham really shaped my view of politics growing up. I was extraordinarily proud watching Emma Alberici quiz Sergey Lavrov on the ABC. And all Canberrans were thankful, when bushfire smoke shrouded our city, for the constant stream of information that came from the ABC with Dan Bourchier and his team even relocating outside the studio when they were inundated with bushfire smoke.
Triple J and triple J unearthed have provided musical opportunities to countless young Australians. In my childhood when we lived in Indonesia Radio Australia was one of the key ways that many Indonesian villagers got information. ABC Online has spread information using new platforms. ABC data journalism is setting new standards, and Four Corners constantly sets the agenda.
And yet the ABC is under attack from conservatives—or people who call themselves conservatives but really don't understand what true conservatism means. True conservatives would be proud of the fact that it was a conservative government that founded the ABC—the Lyons government. True conservatives would understand the value of institutions. True conservatives would recognise the difference between a national broadcaster and a state broadcaster. This government is perpetrating the old view taken by Grahame Morris towards the ABC that it is, as he put it, 'Our enemies speaking to our friends.'
They've cut $84 million and hundreds of jobs and now they're pursuing an extraordinary inquiry into the complaints system which its independent chair Ita Buttrose has said is 'an act of political interference designed to intimidate the ABC and mute its role as this country's most trusted source of public interest journalism.'
An Albanese Labor government will restore the $84 million of funding that has been cut from the ABC. We will show respect to an institution that has been attacked by this government and that has failed to act on the recommendations of two inquiries into press freedom in the wake of Federal Police raids on journalists and ABC News.
As my colleague Michelle Rowland said, 'The ABC doesn't always get it right and is committed to continuous improvement.'
Labor will support the ABC against the extraordinary, unwarranted ideological attacks from reactionaries who used to be conservatives.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.