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Protect the funding and independence of ABC and SBS

Democracy requires strong and diverse public media, we need to protect our public broadcasters.

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Protect ABC and SBS

Public broadcasters like ABC and SBS must be protected from funding cuts and political interference. Stand with us to demand their protection.

The Greens plan for public broadcasters will:

  • Restore every dollar cut from the ABC budget but the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government since 2013
  • Protect the funding for the ABC in legislation
  • $130m investment in SBS to allow it to fulfill its charter obligations
  • Secure the editorial independence of the ABC in legislation

Ensuring ABC & SBS Funding

The ABC has been cut by more than 1,000 jobs and more than $300 million since Tony Abbott went to the 2013 election promising no cuts to the ABC. The Greens will restore every dollar cut from the ABC’s budget by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government since 2013, and we’ll grow the ABC’s funding year-on-year to account for those years of chronic underfunding. This represents an investment of $1.2 billion over the decade.

The Greens will make sure that funding for the ABC is done by hard law not handshakes. We will amend the ABC Act to create a standing appropriation – meaning that funding of the ABC is law, not subject to the whim of the government of the day. This will help recover the jobs lost and restore and protect the news-breaking ability of our nation’s public media across the country.

Meanwhile, SBS is under attack from commercial stations trying to undermine its ability to serve its audience. The Coalition government has tried to expand the number of advertisements SBS can carry, as a pretext for cutting its funding. But every advertisement makes it harder for SBS to fulfil its charter obligations. It compromises the independence of the public broadcaster when it is forced to rely on commercial sponsorship to stay afloat. We will commit $130m over the next three years to phase out in-program advertising on the SBS, and reduce program break advertising by 80 per cent. Public broadcasters shouldn’t rely on private income to keep the lights on.

Defending the independence of the ABC

The ABC is under attack from more than just funding cuts. The politicisation of the board has never been more evident. We need a clear, non-partisan process for selecting the board.

The Greens will secure the editorial independence of the ABC in legislation. We will:

  • Have clear protocols for the nominating panel;
  • Require nominees to come before the Senate as well as being referred to the Minister give the Senate the power to recommend the Chair to the Minister;
  • Require the Minister to explain in-writing the rejection of any nominee recommended by the panel;
  • Introduce an audience-appointed board member, reflecting the role of ABC viewers as the critical stakeholder in our public broadcaster.
  • The new board processes will ensure that the board is independent and filled with the best candidates with relevant skills, experience and expertise.

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