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Monday, 3 March 1997
Page: 1686

Ms WORTH —My concern is that some friends of the ABC may not be behaving like friends. They are not all assisting the ABC by being overly political. The ABC has many fans, and I count myself amongst them. However, in late January I was forced to respond to a letter published in the Advertiser by a claimed friend of the ABC. My letter, in part, states:

In the letter it is stated that after the Friends of the ABC had talked `extensively' with Coalition MPs, it was revealed that `without exemption . . . they don't like the hard questions ABC reporters ask.' I find this rather a curious comment given that my office has no record—

of the person writing this letter—

contacting me over this issue and that, in my correspondence and discussions with the Friends of the ABC, the issue of reporting standards at the ABC has never been raised! Further, I have always found it an advantage to have media enquiries that are well researched and challenging.

I am also bemused by the claim made in the letter that all Coalition MPs have stated that the ABC only deals `with ALP and Democrat concerns such as cultural and social issues.' Since when have these been strictly ALP and Democrat concerns? I would never have made such a comment and I am, in fact, a self-confessed fan of a the ABC.

On 14 February I spoke at a rally in favour of the ABC in Rundle Mall, Adelaide. I had been invited to speak about what the ABC meant to me. I was going along to talk about my early memories of my grandmother ironing and listening to Blue Hills by Gwen Meredith and the music behind it all. Of course, when I got there, I found it was very political. I found chainsaws in action. I found quotes like `90 per cent cuts to funding instead of the two per cent'. I was forced to call upon those friends of the ABC to be as honest as ABC reporters had been to me.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! It being 2 p.m., in accordance with standing order 106A, the time for members' statements has concluded.