Flat White

Why we need a royal commission into public broadcasting

24 November 2021

3:17 PM

24 November 2021

3:17 PM

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation needs to be reformed to be saved from itself. The ABC is a $1.1 billion organisation funded by the taxpayer, yet the ABC, along the track, has wandered off course, leaving us in the unfortunate position we are in now, wondering what we should do with the ABC.

We saw that today in the Senate where Labor and the Greens combined to stop an inquiry into something as innocent as the complaints process within the ABC. What we’re seeing is a grotesque, left-wing, back-scratching orgy of flatulent arrogance from the ABC and those on the Left.

This ABC who sneers at us is led by an arrogant chair who sees the ABC as a country apart from Australia. And that is quite sad.

The inevitable result of decades of free rein, of grossly excessive budgets and diminished accountability is that we’ve ended up with an inner-city hive of woke workers, hiring woke friends to do their woke work in their quest to wokify the world.

But in conjunction with the first-night crowd, the chair of the ABC and her fellow first-nighters are at the opera, chinking their champagne glasses, sneering at middle Australia and at those who believe in a pluralistic, diverse media market. It is time for there to be reform of the ABC.

It is time for the recruitment process to be opened up. It is time for their inner-city headquarters to be sold and for their staff to be shifted to regional Australia. It is time for there to be a proper review of the charter of the ABC.

But it needs to go beyond that. I have written to the minister for communications calling for an inquiry into the future of public broadcasting in this country. We have the ABC model, which is essentially an old wireless trundling along, yet we have a pluralistic, diverse media market.

And the ABC, this taxpayer-funded monolith, is not fit for purpose in the twenty-first century. So we need an inquiry into the future of public broadcasting in Australia.

We need to determine whether there is a need to fund Triple J and all these different TV and radio stations.

I will say, as someone who lives and spends a lot of their time in regional Queensland, there is a place for a taxpayer-funded broadcaster in regional Queensland and regional Australia because there is not a diverse media market there.

But in terms of the rest of our country, it is time for a royal commission into the future of public broadcasting in this country.

It is time that we stood up for the taxpayers of this country who are not getting value for money, and it is time that the board of the ABC—that most arrogant organisation—realise they are losing middle Australia because we have choice.

There is so much diversity in our media market and it would be sad if the ABC were to fail and fall over. I want the ABC to be saved. I want it to be reformed so it can be saved from itself.

James McGrath is an LNP Senator for Queensland. This is the text of a speech he gave in the Commonwealth Parliament last night.

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