Take Action

Write to Politicians, the ABC Board, Management

Use, Modify, or Write your own — but write, because all positive action makes a difference.

If you want to maintain an independent public broadcaster, then you must Speak Up.

Overwhelming public support in 1996 prevented the Mansfield Review from doing ‘the job’ on the ABC it was established to do.

  • A template of sample letter ideas you might wish to Copy + Paste + reproduce as your own
  • Children can help too (.PDF @ 390 KB)
Contact:
Contact:

Mr. Donald McDonald
Chairman
ABC Board
GPO Box 9994
Sydney   NSW   2001
 

The Hon John Howard, MP Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra   ACT   2600

Or send an email to:
The Hon John Howard


(don’t forget your own address or email address for authenticity)

In your own words, let them know :

  • Your appreciation of what the ABC brings to your life—through television, radio and online—is passionate.
  • Your immovable belief that the ABC belongs to the people of Australia; that it must be well-resourced to be an independent, comprehensive and innovative broadcaster; and that it must maintain its high standard of news, current affairs, and quality in-house Australian productions.
  • Your commitment to the principle that independence can only be guaranteed if the ABC is fully funded by government.
  • Your truth, that ABC independence must not be compromised by government intervention or risked through advertising, sponsorship or commercial deals.
  • Your understanding that further, additional funds are required for the ABC to operate in the digital environment, which must be provided without strings attached.
Either:

Or:

Seek the Chairman’s assurance that he will ensure the ABC flourishes as Australia’s truly independent national public broadcaster—independent of government influence and uncompromised by commercial activities.

 

Seek the PM’s assurance that government will fully fund its national broadcaster. Core funding must be restored to the 1995/96 level in real terms. That is, the ABC’s budget when the current government was elected to office with its promise to maintain ABC funding.

 

Independence from government and business allows the ABC to scrutinise the activities of governments and other powerful forces, to report without fear or favour.

Independence enables the ABC to be innovative, and to be a comprehensive broadcaster catering for diverse interests. Unlike commercial broadcasters it is not restricted to providing only what advertisers will pay for.

But all of this is likely to change if people do not remain committed to taking whatever action they can.

The ABC is in serious danger of losing its independence, through government interference and back-door commercialisation. The federal Government is attempting to force the ABC into a ‘performance’ agreement as part of its funding arrangements. As well, starved of essential funds and now managed by a Board that is overwhelmingly appointed by the government, the ABC is being forced to explore ways to raise revenue from the business sector.

Commercial deals, such as that which was being negotiated with Telstra, have the same impact on programming, as advertising does. Like sponsorship, the outside influence is hidden, but real.

Independence cannot be ‘fenced-off’ with written safeguards. Commercial reality insists that companies pay for a service in expectation they will have some influence on what is produced, or, just as importantly, what is not produced.

And what of the dangers if our ABC has to depend on a commercial cash flow?

  • Stay tuned for future public demonstrations of support, and be there!