ABC Friends and the ABC Alumni group are joining forces in a politically savvy initiative aimed at securing the support of independent candidates who might find themselves in Parliament after the vote.
With many political observers tipping a hung Parliament with independents holding the balance of power, it is an astute and clever strategy that could very well save the ABC from attacks from the Coalition.
A joint discussion paper being handed to the candidates opens by saying:
With a strong possibility of a hung parliament in the federal election, ABC Alumni and ABC Friends urge all independent candidates who succeed in winning a seat to use any balance of power opportunity to include the ABC as a key priority in negotiations with the major parties.
ABC Friends Victoria is supporting the Alumni in approaching several key independent (or minor party) lower house candidates in our state.
Those to be approached include:
- Casey – Claire Ferres Miles
- Goldstein – Zoe Daniel
- Indi – Helen Haines
- Kooyong – Monique Ryan
- Melbourne – Adam Bandt
As well as personally hearing from ABC Friends and Alumni representatives, the candidates will be given the briefing document and a letter aimed at arming each with the facts they will need to defend the ABC.
The letter reads:
If you are [re] elected to parliament in May, ABC Alumni urges you to continue your strong support for the ABC. Reversing the dire financial state of the national broadcaster should be a priority. We believe this is essential for the health of Australian democracy. The ABC holds governments and powerful interests to account.
Internationally the Solomon Islands security crisis, China’s expansionism and the war between Russia and Ukraine have emphasised how important the ABC’s international service is to Australia’s place in the world.
Yet the ABC’s role as the trusted “Voice of Australia” has been reduced to a mere whisper. We urge you to help restore its influence.
After extensive analysis and consultation, we have prepared a comprehensive Briefing Paper on the key requirements for a healthy and effective ABC.
An annual budget increase of $100 million would restore ABC funding to 2013 levels, that is, before cuts by Coalition governments over the last eight years. (The ABC’s operating budget is $880 million plus $200 million transmission costs.)
An additional $100 million would enable the following:
- More Australian content including Australian drama, factual and documentary programs, children’s content, arts, music and specialist programming.
- Advance Australia’s strategic interests in the Asia Pacific region by expanding ABC content to, and engagement with, our neighbours.
- Increase ABC’s ability to deliver emergency broadcasts. Climate change means that floods, droughts, fires and cyclones are expected to become more severe and more frequent.
- Strengthen regional and local news coverage to provide independent quality journalism that has all but disappeared in many towns and city suburbs.
- Increase state and local government scrutiny by reintroducing investigative coverage and specialist programs on state affairs.
There is a strong possibility that independent MPs may hold the balance of power after the election. In the event of a hung parliament, we urge you to include the funding and independence of the ABC in your negotiations with the major parties.