Melbourne Odds and Ends

No cuts to the ABC or SBS

The ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, is our national broadcaster. It is a mighty fine institution, with TV stations, national and local radio stations and a big online presence. It has news bureaux in a number of important parts of the world, including the Middle East and China. Just to name some of the TV programmes is to show how influential it has been — This Day Tonight, Countdown, Play School, The Big Gig, Lateline, Gardening Australia, 4 Corners, the Chaser boys and the CouldHaveBeens. Add in JJJ radio, Radio National, and you begin to see the scope of the ABC. And all this is funded by the government, by us.

SBS is our multilingual station, with comprehensive world news, as well as news in many different languages. It also shows cutting edge programmes, many from non-English speaking countries which are then sub-titled for people like me who only speak one language. SBS recognises that people have come to Australia from all over the world. It too gives us investigative programmes, like Insight and Go Back To Where You Came From, that help us unravel the complexities of our world. It is partially government funded, with other income from ads.

These broadcasters are vital to our multicultural, dynamic society. They show us who we are, and help us decide who we would like to be. The ABC is crucial beyond the big cities, gives local news, highlights rural issues and is the emergency broadcaster in times of fire or flood.

I posted a few months ago about the budget cuts to be brought in by the Liberal Government, headed by Tony Abbott. The Government is having trouble getting their cuts through the Senate, but it hasn’t stopped them announcing that both the ABC and SBS are about to have their funding slashed — $254 million cuts and forecast 400 job losses at the ABC, $53 million from SBS.

This is despite Tony Abbott’s clear promise that there would be no cuts to the ABC. For more detail follow this link to Fact Check — part of the ABC News department. You can see why Tony Abbott wants to get rid of the ABC!

Today I went to a rally to protest about the cuts. There was a good turn out, and everyone got a chance to cheer, boo, chant and even laugh. However, I left feeling rather flat. Despite someone saying it was the beginning of a campaign, there was no feeling that it actually was. If this issue is a tipping point against the Abbott government, and again, someone said it was, then what are we going to do to make sure the see saw tips in our direction? I want to jump up and down on the end, but all I was told to do was send a protest postcard to Abbott. Bill Shorten, the Labor Party Opposition Leader, wouldn’t even tell us how the Labor Party will fight this, much less tell us that a future Labor Government would reinstate the funding.

So there we have it….one grumpy lady — grumpy because of the cuts and grumpy because I feel powerless. Now, tell me your favourite programmes and cheer me up!

10 replies on “No cuts to the ABC or SBS”

Dr Who, and the recent mini series The Code, 7.30 report, Catalyst. Landline, Gardening Australia, The Drum… and I don’t watch much television! And I’m not starting to fall in love with SBS as well – especially their cooking shows. Unfortunately I think the cuts will go ahead because the ABC and SBS are soft targets. All the people who watch only the commercial channels won’t give a flying fruit bat about either broadcaster. 😦


What a wonderful list. I have watched Gardening Australia for many years, and miss Peter Cundall. I mainly watch SBS through the online platform — SBS On Demand. I was glued to The Fall, only to find that it wasn’t resolved at the end of the series, but will go onto series 2. I hate to say it, but I think you are right about the cuts, especially as there seems to be no strong follow up to the rallies of the weekend.


We love our ABC and SBS. SBS less with advts but anyway. It could be worse. I’m terrible with TV show names, and we’ve watched a lot of ABC & SBS over the years, so I’ll try… Kitchen Cabinet, Upper Middle Bogan, The Time of Our Lives, Call the Midwife, Adam Hills’ Spicks & Specks… and of course the food shows on SBS inc. Matthew Evans plus some of the Saturday night movies are wonderful.
I p!ssed off about the cuts but more so about the election promises, what a nation of suckers the pollies seem to think we are.


I hate the broken promises too. But, if they have to make different decisions, then I wish that they would have the courage to to say “I was wrong. I am changing my mind because of these reasons”. I admire Jackie Lambie for doing that over her change of vote for the financial advisors. She stood up and said she had made a mistake. Good on her.
The roll call of ABC programmes shows me how vital it is that the ABC continues to be innovative.


I spend most of my viewing hours on ABC and SBS (for current affairs/news/documentaries and imported UK drama and quiz shows!) and I’d be very sad to see any journalistic integrity lost to the introduction of cheap mainstream rubbish like the other channels have. Having said that, whilst I understand that the ABC is tax payer funded (from where? just taxation in general?) it is still puzzling to us Pommies that there is no TV licence fee in Australia. Yes it’s another household bill on tight purse strings, but it does plug some of the gap that otherwise has to be made up by scheduling too many adverts during programs (which drives me bonkers! hurrah for T-Box and fast forward when I’ve recorded my favourites!). Fundamentally though, the bigger picture is broken election promises,(however minimal these cuts are in light of the huge cuts to the ABC that had been recommended).


It is wonderful to have the ad-free Aunty!
You are so right about the journalistic integrity. One of the ways that it is maintained is through on-the-spot reporting, by reporters who understand the issues. It would be a real loss if overseas postings are cut back too. I think have a journalist in the Middle East, for instance, is vital.
Licences are something I hadn’t thought about. I don’t think I would agree with their introduction here (would it be like the GP co-payment?) but I can see some merit. What mechanisms are in place to make sure that the money raised goes to the BBC rather than consolidated revenue? I could see our politicians eying it off for other projects 😉


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