Tag Archives: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Saturday salon 21/5

1. Protect your plastic money

If you haven’t heard about it you will. And if you think it won’t happen in Australia, you’re wrong.

Thieves can use RFID technology to empty your card. Seems they can steal your details with a cheap credit card reader, which they hold near you wallet or purse. It could be on public transport, or standing next to you in a supermarket. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/5

ABC cuts run deep – over 400 jobs to go

The ABC has announced that more than 400 ABC staff could lose their jobs as the public broadcaster moves to implement the $254 million the Federal Government will cut over the next five years. That’s $254 million out of an otherwise projected budget of $5.5 billion.

I’d like someone to do an historical perspective on this. My memory is that in the 1980s the ABC had 6000 staff. There were cuts during the Hawke-Keating years. I heard yesterday that Costello’s first budget saw cuts of 12%. The Howard years were not kind to the ABC, not receiving any of the largesse distributed in the good years. The Rudd-Gillard years actually saw some improvement in the ABC budget, mostly through negotiated support for additional services. Supporting a strong and vibrant public broadcaster was part of ALP policy. At the same time the ABC did Labor no favours in its reporting.

That’s from memory. I’d like to see a proper study.

I’ll come to broken promises later. First some detail on the cuts:

  • Adelaide TV production studios to close
  • State-based 7.30 programs on Friday to be scrapped and replaced with national 7.30 program
  • Lateline moved to a new timeslot on ABC News 24
  • Foreign bureaux will be restructured to create “multiplatform hubs” in London, Washington, Jakarta and Beijing, although the number of correspondents will stay the same
  • The Auckland bureau will close down and a new Beirut post will be opened
  • Regional radio posts in Wagin, Morwell, Gladstone, Port Augusta and Nowra to close
  • ABC Local, Radio National and ABC Classic FM programming changed, with some programs scrapped
  • State-based local sports coverage scrapped
  • The creation of a new regional division and ABC Digital Network, to begin in mid-2015, and a $20 million digital investment fund.

Radio National’s Bush Telegraph will be scrapped. I used to listen to it to keep in contact with happenings in the bush. In recent years I’ve favoured Richard Fidler’s excellent and compelling Conversations, which clashes in the timeslot.

In another blow against the bush, Local Radio Afternoons programs will go state-wide. In Queensland that will likely be Kelly Higgins-Devine, who has lived in the far north and will do a good job. It’s just not the same. There is a lack of localism, evident at times when Brisbane has had to be combined on a temporary basis with the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

Apparently 100 internet sites are to be closed, which sounds like a real blow to ABC’s generally excellent internet presence. Presumably there will be fewer transcripts of radio and TV programs, which will be a loss.

Managing Director Mark Scott told Leigh Sales that at least 10% of the 10% would be administrative or support staff. As to why a 5% cut translates into a 10% staff cut, Scott didn’t answer very well but I think the story lies in fixed infrastructure costs.

As to broken promises, the only thing worse that breaking a promise is pretending that you didn’t. ABC’s FactCheck verdict is This promise is broken. It was all very clear:

During a live interview with SBS from Penrith football stadium, Mr Abbott said: “No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.”

Turnbull has been saying:

“Prior – prior to the election, I said on a number of occasions, I think possibly on this show, certainly on Lateline, that while we weren’t planning to make, you know, massive, slashing cuts to the ABC to cut their programming resources, as some people were urging us to do so, we would be looking to make… savings and cut waste right across government and ABC and SBS would not be exempt,” he said.

To be honest, unless he can provide an actual quote I think that is a flat out lie. Certainly he said something along those lines after the election.

Overwhelmingly, I think Ben Eltham is right, it’s about revenge – punishing the perceived enemies of the right.

There has been an appalling associated decision – Janet Albrechtson has been appointed to a panel to oversee the appointment of board members. There can be no clearer sign of a desire to domesticate the ABC.

Scott himself is apparently too much of a leftie. Turnbull has suggested that he relinquish the role of editor-in-chief. I think overall editorial and resource allocation roles are not usefully separated.

This attack on the ABC was of course expected. In it’s conception and execution, however, it has exceeded my expectations of brazenness and perfidy.

Saturday salon 22/11


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. PUP politics

Unless you were under a rock you’d know that PUP politics got worse.

After PUP expelled Jacqui Lambie’s chief of staff Rob Messenger from party Lambie and Ricky Muir broke ranks to join a ‘coalition of common sense’ against the financial advice laws.

Then Lambie was removed as deputy Senate leader and deputy whip of the party for failing to attend three party meetings.

The slanging match continued with Palmer calling Lambie a liar.

Now the ABC says Clive Palmer stormed out of an interview with Emma Alberici when she got onto the Chinese court matter. I watched the interview and would say Palmer terminated it rather that stormed out. As Palmer says, wait for the court judgement.

The bottom line is that it looks as though Jacqui Lambie is on her way out, but this still leaves PUP with the balance of power in the senate if the arrangement with Ricky Muir hold up.

2. Authorisms

‘Authorisms’ are neologisms coined by authors which have entered the wider language. Did you know that Billy Shakespeare invented words like bump, hurry, critical, and road? Now Paul Dickson chooses his top 10.

    1. Banana Republic invented by O. Henry (William Sidney Porter) in 1904.
    2. Beatnik – columnist Herb Caen in 1958.
    3. Bedazzled – Shakespeare in Taming of the shrew.
    4. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller 1961.
    5. Cyberspace – novelist William Gibson in 1982.
    6. Freelance – Sir Walter Scott in Ivanhoe.
    7. Hard-Boiled – Mark Twain in 1886.
    8. Malapropism – Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1775.
    9. Serendipity – Horace Walpole in 1754.
    10. Whodunit – book critic Donald Gordon in 1930.

3. The LNP government shoots itself in the foot, and the ABC

Also SBS, of course. The cuts to the ABC amount to around 5% over four years. Barrie Cassidy points out that big C conservatives will be pleased, but they’ll thank Abbott rather than Turnbull.

Turnbull looks a goose on two counts. Firstly, he defends Abbott for saying very directly before the election that there would be no cuts to the ABC and SBS. So he’s defending the indefensible.

Secondly, he says the cuts won’t amount to anything that matters.

And in any case collectively, they only had in mind cuts that would not reduce services. Clean cuts. Nice cuts. Cuts that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

If you believe that I’ve got a bridge you might like to buy.

Mark at The Monthly writes that any leftie love of Turnbull will now be over.

It should have been when Turnbull dicovered Godwin Grech. I’ll say more when we have the ABC response.

Ben Eltham says it’s revenge, pure and simple.

4. Anthony Albanese said it in 1996

Courtesy of Mark’s Facebook:


5. Remembering Wayne Goss

Hundreds of people have turned out to pay tribute to former ‘hero’ Queensland Labor premier Wayne Goss at a public memorial service in Brisbane.

Mr Goss was known as ‘Mr 70 Per Cent’ for his high public approval rating during his time as Queensland premier.

He died at the age of 63 at home in Brisbane in the early hours of November 10 from a recurrent brain tumour.

David Barbagallo pays tribute.

6. ALP competitive in two states

Galaxy poll has the ALP and the LNP at 50-50 in Queensland, 52-48 in Victoria.