|Issue No 107||17 August 2001|
Still No IR at ABC Radio
ABC Radio's Sydney newsroom is still without an industrial relations reporter, more than two months after its roundsman left the job.
Former industrial reporter Ron Fuller left the round in May to take up the position of ABC-TV news chief of staff.
Since Ron left, a series of casuals and general reporters have been forced to fill in, at a time when there has been an outbreak of industrial activity.
The failure to fill the round, has added to suspicions that the ABC news coverage was being influenced by senior management.
Workers Online revealed last week that ABC network editor Mark Henderson had issued an internal edict to tone down its reporting of industrial relations issues.
In the circular he wrote:
If we are covering, for example, a dispute in the banking industry, we should focus on whether banks will be closed. That should include details about where and for what period of time.
Details of the dispute, for example rates of pay, are very much secondary and our coverage should reflect that.
If an industrial dispute does not impact on the public,we should be seriously considering why we are covering it.
Henderson has since told media that there was no general change in policy and that the circular related to the coverage of a single dispute.
Labor Council secretary John Robertson says the appointment of a full-time IR reporter would be one of ensuring that there was no perception of a change in editorial policy.
"The ABC is an important outlet for trade unions and, until now, one of the news organizations that has allowed us to get our side of the story into the public domain," Robertson says.
"I hope that the round will be filled before the federal election as IR is sure to loom as an issue of substance."
Securing The Future Of Australian Public Broadcasting
Meanwhile, on a sunny afternoon last Sunday, MEAA members met at the Sydney Opera House and nutted out the key issues to be addressed to secure the future of Australia's public broadcasting.
Quentin Dempster, ABC journalist and previous ABC Board member, and Peter Carroll, performer and current SBS Board member, led the discussion at the New South Wales Annual General Meeting, chaired by newly elected NSW MEAA President, and Sydney Morning Herald journalist Ruth Pollard.
Critical to securing the future of the ABC and SBS are:
Best Practice Board Governance
· An end to political board appointments, to be replaced by Government appointment of more respected, experienced industry practitioners to ABC/SBS Boards.
Australian Content: Our Stories
· In accordance with its charter a guarantee that the ABC TV increases its transmission of Australian drama. ABC TV currently transmits woefully less Australian drama than the free to air commercial TV stations under their Australian quota requirements;
· Guarantee SBS's TVs ability to produce and transmit indigenously produced multicultural programming.
Re-establish ABC as a major production house
· The ABC must be in a position to develop and foster the new generation of Australian creative talent;
· Increase industry training at ABC and SBS in order to create career paths in both organisations.
Ensure the editorial independence of our Public Broadcasters
· Guarantee an unfetted and well resourced news service. This is the central plank in any healthy robust democracy;
· Secure adequate broadcasting services in the Asia-Pacific region.
Ensure funding for 21st century for Australian Public Broadcasting
· In order that Australia has a dynamic public broadcasting system in the 21st century it must be adequately funded;
· The days of the incompetence of poverty at the ABC and SBS must end;
· Innovative production and programming is nurtured with hard dollars;
· Unshackle SBS from sponsorship.
Interview: What's The Deal?
Labor's IR spokesman Arch Bevis explains how a Beazley Government will rebuild our broken system.
E-Change: 2.3 The State of the Union
White hope or white elephant? The future of trade unions is by no means guaranteed in the networked society.
Industrial: Into the 21st Century
ACTU President Sharan Burrow looks at the landmark deal delivering workers 12 months paid maternity leave.
Unions: The Black Hole
Jim Marr goes inside Stellar to discover the human cost of a management philosophy that says: you are on your own.
History: The Age of Dissent
The Sydney Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History has organised a Conference on Social Protest Movements and the Labour Movement, 1965-1975.
Media: ABC and the Knowledge Nation
Tony Moore looks at how the national broadcaster's fortunes are closely linked to the Knowledge Nation Agenda
International: Brazil´s C.U.T. - When Big Is Beautiful
The CFMEU´s Phil Davey drops in on Brazil´s equivalent to the ACTU, the Central Unica Dos Trabalhadores (CUT).
Satire: Bracks Disputes Cabramatta tag
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has called for a national council to decide on a location for Australia's drug capital.
Review: Globalisation Is Globalisation
In an extract from his book, Christopher Shiel argues that the official Australian perspective on globalisation is strikingly narrow.
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