For the past ten years ABC Friends has campaigned to defend the ABC. Nowhere was this more important than last year when we campaigned vigorously to protect the ABC and remind voters and political candidates of everything the ABC gives us.
In its first budget the Albanese government made good on its election commitments and the ABC was granted a reprieve.
But we can’t be complacent.
The stark fact is that $783 million was removed from ABC funding between 2014 and 2022 with serious consequences for jobs, programs and services.
Last year, the federal government restored $84 million in operational funding to the ABC and reintroduced indexation. But this was a fraction of the funding lost over nine years, and the formula used to calculate indexation won’t keep pace with inflation.
In short, without additional funding the ABC will go backwards.
We’ll lose even more high quality drama, investigative journalism, and state-based news and current affairs programs – and more.
Australia needs a quality public media organisation that tells the stories other mainstream media ignore. Stories like Robodebt. The ABC has reported on problems with the scheme since they emerged more than five years ago and, unlike some media, it has covered every day of the current Royal Commission hearings.
By contrast, just this week we learned that the previous government placed stories in “friendly” News Corp outlets to hide the truth that Robodebt was destroying people’s lives.
We need a properly-funded ABC that presents news we can trust.
One where we can be confident in the veracity of the reports we read and hear. One that holds powerful voices to account and is immune to special deals. One where we can engage in vigorous argument on the basis of shared facts.
We need an ABC with the resources to reach all Australians as it combats the loud voices of disinformation.
And so, this year ABC Friends will again campaign to restore the ABC, and once again we’re asking for your support.
The entrenched hostility to our public broadcaster from a small but powerful group in our community hasn’t gone away. The bitter campaign to privatise the ABC is hidden in plain sight.
In 2023, our work to restore the ABC will be as important as ever.
Our challenge is to guarantee its future as a vitally important part of the fabric of our democracy.
Thank you again for your incredible support in 2022. Thanks to you, ABC Friends had its most successful campaign ever.
We hope you’ll stand with us again in 2023.