Labor's Plan To Protect The ABC

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A Shorten Labor Government will ensure the ABC remains in public hands and is funded to fulfil its Charter for all Australians.

Labor is united in its belief that the ABC is one of Australia’s most important institutions. Now, more than ever, Australians need an independent ABC – your trusted, valued and efficient national public broadcaster.

Meanwhile the Liberals have waged the biggest attack on ABC independence in a generation. The recent Senate Inquiry into allegations of political interference in the ABC demonstrates the Liberals have used every lever at their disposal to undermine the ABC, from budget cuts and hand-picked board appointments, to damaging inquiries and bills to meddle with the ABC Charter.

Through it all, the ABC has continued to deliver the quality programs and services that inform and entertain us, contribute to our national identity and reflect who we are.

But the ABC warns that Scott Morrison’s latest cut of $90 million “will make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its charter requirements and audience expectations” and “cannot be met by efficiency measures alone”.

LABOR’S PLAN:

A Shorten Labor Government will:

  • Reverse Scott Morrison’s unfair cut of $83.7 million to the ABC.
  • Guarantee funding stability over the ABC’s three-year budget cycle.
  • Provide an additional $40 million to the ABC for Australian content
  • Provide an additional $17 million to the ABC to:
    • Bolster regional news and emergency broadcasting.
    • Help restore shortwave radio in the Northern Territory.
    • Support a news literacy program to fight disinformation and fake news.
    • Support the upgrade of systems for the provision of audio description to blind and low vision Australians.

Labor will also halt any further spending of the $17.1 million of taxpayer funds Scott Morrison announced for the provision of commercial TV content to the Pacific, with the intention of redirecting it to public broadcasting in a manner consistent with the outcomes of two departmental reviews into soft power and international broadcasting. Labor awaits the recommendations of these reviews before finalising an integrated policy response. 

This builds on the ALP National Platform which records Labor’s commitment to maintaining the ABC as an independent and comprehensive national broadcaster, never to be privatised.

We will pay for these commitments by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.