It started not long after the September 7 election, and Australia’s descent into mediocrity. I’m referring to the lambasting of all things un-conservative. In particular, I’m referring to this sort of thing, which is Abbott’s second such attack on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The initial foray enacted during the Summer Season of ABC Radio National Broadcasting, when most of the front-line journalist interlocutors of government were on leave. Then we saw the loopy fringe element in the coalition government, Senator Cory Bernardi come out with this attempted murder but came up 2 crows short. It should be noted however, that when fronted about Senator Banana-Brain’s outburst. Abbott had apparently only this to say:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that he has no plans to change the way the ABC operates
One would expect he wouldn’t either. Especially when considering that ‘Auntie’ is governed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983, and operates in accordance with the Charter contained in Section 6 of that Act. Section 6 – The Charter – states as follows:
6 Charter of the Corporation
(1) The functions of the Corporation are:
(a) to provide within Australia innovative and comprehensive broadcasting services of a high standard as part of the Australian broadcasting system consisting of national, commercial and community sectors and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, to provide:
(i) broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of, the Australian community; and
(ii) broadcasting programs of an educational nature;
(b) to transmit to countries outside Australia broadcasting programs of news, current affairs, entertainment and cultural enrichment that will:
(i) encourage awareness of Australia and an international understanding of Australian attitudes on world affairs; and
(ii) enable Australian citizens living or travelling outside Australia to obtain information about Australian affairs and Australian attitudes on world affairs; and
(ba) to provide digital media services; and
(c) to encourage and promote the musical, dramatic and other performing arts in Australia.
Note: See also section 31AA (Corporation or prescribed companies to be the only providers of Commonwealth‑funded international broadcasting services).
(2) In the provision by the Corporation of its broadcasting services within Australia:
(a) the Corporation shall take account of:
(i) the broadcasting services provided by the commercial and community sectors of the Australian broadcasting system;
(ii) the standards from time to time determined by the ACMA in respect of broadcasting services;
(iii) the responsibility of the Corporation as the provider of an independent national broadcasting service to provide a balance between broadcasting programs of wide appeal and specialized broadcasting programs;
(iv) the multicultural character of the Australian community; and
(v) in connection with the provision of broadcasting programs of an educational nature—the responsibilities of the States in relation to education; and
(b) the Corporation shall take all such measures, being measures consistent with the obligations of the Corporation under paragraph (a), as, in the opinion of the Board, will be conducive to the full development by the Corporation of suitable broadcasting programs.
(3) The functions of the Corporation under subsection (1) and the duties imposed on the Corporation under subsection (2) constitute the Charter of the Corporation.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be taken to impose on the Corporation a duty that is enforceable by proceedings in a court.
Now, I could easily go on the defensive and back my ‘Auntie’ to the hilt, but the reality is that I don’t need to. She is well able to take care of herself, courtesy of the Act & Charter. You see, conservative miscreants like Abbott, Bernardi and before them, Howard & Alston, AND before them, from the diametric opposite, Hawke & Keating….have all tried & failed to have the national broadcaster muzzled and otherwise bent to a particular ideological will. It won’t happen specifically because of the Act and Charter.
Mark Scott, the current Managing Director of the ABC, while a known conservative apologist, would also seem to be a man of some integrity when it comes to the defense of his charge. Time and again, Scott has come to the defense of of his Corporation when nit-picked by politicians, almost exclusively of the conservative stripe. The problem Scott, and the Corporation face is the over-whelming weight of ultra-conservative forces in todays mainstream media, essentially controlled by too few players. It should be noted that Abbott et al will only EVER critique ‘Auntie’ from behind the bastions of News Corporation, the TEN Network, or the Macquarie Media Group. Indeed, I note that just today, so-called shock-jock Ray Hadley – a man with a dubious record of integrity in connection with colleagues or staff and subject to innumerable cases of breaching the codes of conduct as defined by the Australian Communications and Media Authority – had the temerity to claim that ACMA picks on him & others because it dare not challenge the ABC. Balderdash of the highest order, to be sure. ACMA can only act against complaints by the public, ergo, ACMA is acting on complaints by the public against Rad Hadley, Alan Jones and their ilk. Even Blind Freddy, his deaf uncle & dumb cousin can see the truth of the Hadley fable.
Bottom line being that right-wing zealots despise ‘Auntie’ BECAUSE she adheres to her Charter. Said Charter is explicit. The Board of the Corporation is broadly ideologically spread, despite previous attempts by conservative governments to load it in their favour. One need only read the bios of the Executive to gain an understanding of the vast range of knowledge and experience available, with the ABC Advisory Council, appointed for three years terms, bringing experience & knowledge from fields a diverse as the Arts, Business, Corporate life, Information Technology, Law, Construction Industry as well as the home front, family life, radio and television.
I actually enjoy the faux outrage expressed by conservative ratbags when found wanting by genuine journalism. That’s what the ABC does, provide genuine journalistic content, as well as arts, education, information, documentary and entertainment content. That, is what the Act and Charter specify it do, and ‘Auntie’ delivers to extremely high quality levels. That politicians, of any stripe, squirm when ‘Auntie’ points to their actions, or inactions as part & parcel of her news and information services, I know for sure and certain that discomfort is justified. If it weren’t, we’d see far more actions by ACMA against our favourite ‘Auntie’ than we do. Let them whinge & whine I say. They only serve to further highlight their own inadequacies and policy failures by doing so. I trust my ‘Auntie’. I will always source my own additional info on any subject or issue in order to form my own opinions, but I know my ‘Auntie’ doesn’t lie, enter into rhetoric or embellish facts. I know politicians, and especially conservatives, DO lie, engage in rhetoric and tell tall tales in a bid to sell their message. Politicians can never be trusted. My ‘Auntie’ can.