Where is the Minister for Communications, the Hon Paul Fletcher, as public and media accolades pour in for the ABC’s tireless and life-saving service to the nation during the bushfire catastrophe?
Coalition members of parliament have no difficulty lavishing praise on the army, the police and the fire services but it sticks in their craw to admit let alone praise the crucial contribution of the ABC in emergency services.
Yet these services are substantially unfunded: although emergency broadcasts in the first half of 1919/20 are reportedly almost twice those in the previous full year, no extra funds are forthcoming.
On the contrary, thanks to the so-called efficiency dividend, less will be available.
It’s called getting blood from a stone.
Surely on no issue is the Coalition Government more out of step with its supposed rural and regional base than in that of confidence in the indispensability and excellence of the ABC.