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Alston must apologise for ABC slurs.

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Senator Alston and his attack dog Senator Santoro have failed to apologise to ABC Staff Indira Naidoo and Max Uechtritz after Senate Estimates answers completely refuted outrageous and incorrect slurs Senator Santoro directed against these ABC staff.

Further ABC answers to Questions on Notice released today have refuted more baseless and outrageous slurs by Senator Santoro. Senator Santoro claimed ABC Online and the ABC’s use of polls are biased against the Government. Such claims have been shown to be incorrect. Again Senator Santoro has slurred and maligned hard-working ABC Online staff.

Senator Santoro also incorrectly claimed the ABC interrupted footage of the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein. Answers have shown these ridiculous claims to be completely incorrect.

The Howard Government’s war on the ABC has reached an increasingly paranoid and bizarre level.

Over the past few weeks Senator Alston has:

• called for the ABC to institute an independent complaints panel that already exists • attacked the ABC for cutting costs in response to his Government starving them of adequate funding • sought to editorialise and direct the ABC as to which programs it

should cut in an unprecedented defiance of the ABC’s charter of independence.

It is now clear that Senator Alston effectively wants to run the ABC like a third-world dictator. Australians must resist this brazen effort at all costs.

The ABC is one of Australia’s most important institutions. The ABC’s contribution to Australian society will long outlive that of the world’s worst Communications Minister, Senator Alston. Senator Alston and Senator Santoro must apologise for the incorrect slurs directed against ABC staff.

August 8, 2003

For further information contact Lindsay Tanner or Peter van Vliet on (03) 9347 5000 or 0408 188 055.