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Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Page: 1491


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (16:03): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator FIFIELD: The government will not be supporting this motion. This government, like every government before it, has no power to direct the ABC in its operational matters. Its editorial decisions are a matter for the organisation itself. The ABC has a statutory obligation to be accurate and impartial in its news and current affairs programs according to the recognised standards of objective journalism, and the government supports this.

The government has stated its commitment to maintain the quality, performance and efficiency of the ABC and to ensure the ABC fulfils its charter and has no plans to review the ABC's role or charter nor to cut funding to the ABC. The ABC, like every other government agency, will be considered under the government's National Commission of Audit but, unlike the former government, the coalition will not seek to assert control over any media to the extent that we saw Senator Conroy attempt to do. (Time expired)