Restoring funding cuts, transitioning to a five-yearly funding cycle and ensuring board members have some media understanding and experience would help strengthen the independence of the ABC, the Greens say.
“It is clear the ABC has been under pressure from political interference and funding instability. The Morrison Government has the opportunity to lock in funding for a five year period and restore what has been cut in this week’s budget. Anything less is a kick in the guts to the millions of Australians who love and rely on the ABC,” Greens media spokesperson, and chair of the Senate inquiry into allegations of political interference at the ABC, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“This inquiry has shown that the ABC is seen as the Government’s play-thing, when in fact it is owned by the Australian people. It is heartening that ABC staff stood up for the organisation’s independence, warding off political interference attempts. But they should be able to do their jobs, without fear or favour.
“There should, of course, be a focus on appointing board members who know a thing or two about journalism and the broader media landscape. The nomination and selection process must be transparent so we get the very best candidates without the perception of political interference or sidelining the proper processes.
“I hope this inquiry will be a turning point for how Governments into the future treat the ABC, whether it be board appointments, funding arrangements or applying undue pressure. Stable, longer-term funding cycles would start to give the ABC the freedom and certainty it needs to report the news, tell Australian stories and keep up its world-class entertainment programming.
“The ABC must be able to move on from this difficult period to continue doing the job that millions of Australians trust them to do. That means it needs funding restored and guaranteed, so governments cannot interfere when they don’t like what makes the news.”