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Democrats to Alston: Stop blackmailing the ABC



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A U S T R A L I A

PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA ยท THE SENATE

SENATOR VICKI BOURNE Senator for New South Wales Australian Democrats Whip

5 February 1997

NEWS RELEASE

Democrats to Alston: STOP BLACKMAILING THE ABC

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The Australian Democrats today accused the Government of blatantly trying to blackmail the ABC by threatening to link grants for a digital upgrade to contracting-out targets.

Broadcasting and Media Spokesperson for the Democrats, Senator Vicki Bourne said: “"The Government had it’s fun with the ABC when it slashed ABC funding by a massive $65 million.

“It is inappropriate and improper for the Minister for Communications to now engage in coercion by trying to force the ABC into outsourcing most of its television production and dosing Radio Australia. These decisions are up to the Board of the ABC.

“It is up to the Board of the ABC to decide which, if any of the Mansfield Review recommendations relating to the management of the ABC will be adopted.

"A government with a long-standing determination to punish the ABC is not a good judge of what is best for the Corporation.

“Senator Alston seems to have difficulty accepting the legislated requirement in the Charter of the ABC for the Corporation to be an ‘independent national broadcasting and television sen/ice’.

“Public opinion polls, petitions, letters to Parliamentarians and submissions to the ABC Enquiry overwhelmingly show that most Australians accept and want an independent ABC.

“The Government's actions on the ABC do not respect the wishes of these people. Perhaps this is not surprising from a Government which has so blatantly broken its key election promise to maintain ABC funding.”

For more information, please contact Senator Bourne: 06 277 3820 W or 06 297 3830

Commonwealth Parliament Offices. 56-70 Phillip Street, Sydney, N.S.W. Postal Address: G.P.O. Box 36, Sydney. N.S.W. 2001 Telephone (02) 247 3377 Facsimile (02) 247 9681 Toll Free 008 651 921