CPSU condemns One Nation vendetta against ABC and SBS

The CPSU has condemned the politically motivated and petty attack on the ABC and SBS by Pauline Hanson and her One National colleagues, while praising MPs and Senators who have thrown their support behind the national broadcasters.

One Nation has indicated it will support the Turnbull Government’s media reforms in Parliament in return for a range of destructive changes being imposed on the ABC and SBS.

The proposed changes confirmed by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield include:  

  • Forcing ABC and SBS to publicise the wages of staff earning more than $200,000 per annum.
  • Amending the ABC Act to require news and information to be ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’.
  • Instituting an inquiry into whether ABC and SBS are inappropriately competing with their commercial counterparts.

The deal already appears to be in jeopardy though, based on the support shown for the ABC and SBS by Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team.

CPSU ABC Section Secretary Sinddy Ealy said: “The changes being pushed by One Nation are solely intended to undermine and damage the independence and viability of the ABC and SBS. This attack on our critical national broadcasters reeks of a personal vendetta by Pauline Hanson, One Nation and some members of the Turnbull Government.”

“One Nation’s push to force the ABC and SBS to publish wages data has nothing to do with greater transparency. This is simply pay-back for reporting of newsworthy issues within One Nation.”

“Publicly disclosing this information would undermine the editorial independence of our national broadcasters, which is of critical importance. It would expose ABC and SBS to unreasonable pressure around decisions made in the selection, research and production of news and current affairs.”

“There is simply no need to change the ABC Act, other than pursuing One Nation’s agenda, given that ABC content must already be accurate and impartial. Independent review after independent review has concluded that the ABC’s reporting is already fair and balanced.”

“What has not been fair and balanced is the continued attacks on the independence of our national broadcasters. Australians want and need the ABC and SBS to report without fear or favour. They want politicians on all sides to be held to account and they want trust-worthy facts about the issues that affect their lives.”

“One Nation is also pretending to stand up for regional Australia, by trying to claim credit for new editorial jobs that were announced by ABC management months ago. The ABC has a long and proud history of providing quality news and other programming to all Australians, no matter where they live or who they vote for.”

“We are pleased to see there is already strong opposition in the Parliament to this One Nation deal, with the ALP, the Greens and Nick Xenophon all indicating they will stand up for the independence of ABC and SBS. Their continuing support is critical in thwarting this attack. ABC and SBS should never be used as bargaining chips.”