The ABC cuts that were made by this government have had an impact on jobs and have had an impact on the quality of services provided.
During the bushfires, the ABC literally saved lives.
Because of the telecommunications that exist in places like Eden-Monaro and some other places as well, Kangaroo Island and parts of the south coast of New South Wales, this was an issue as well – people were relying on the ABC to tell them whether to go or leave and tell them what’s happening. It saved lives, and it seems it is appalling that the government hasn’t recognised that.
The ABC is not too Sydney-centric. The ABC in particular provides essential services to rural communities, and at a time when we have seen the demise of regional newspapers, the ABC, in many cases, along with some other local radio and community radio, is all people have got to rely upon.
It’s also the case that the ABC consistently rates highest in terms of people’s reliability about honesty and authenticity of the news broadcasts, and that’s really important.
The other thing it does is it trains people who then go on to work perhaps for other networks, as well as a bit of an exchange, and in the media.
This is my sixth vision statement today, my third was on democracy. This was due to be given, I think, in April. I think we were doing it but because of the coronavirus, it’s why it was put off …
Democracy can’t be taken for granted – it’s fragile in many parts of the world. I think the ABC has a critical role, and I’m very sorry to job losses at a time like this. The government surely should be stepping in and saying, “Now of all times is not the time to lose 250 jobs at the ABC.”