||Issue No. 238||17 September 2004|
Interview: True Matilda
Politics: State of Play
Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Unions: Rhodes Scholars
National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
International: People Power
Economics: A Bit Rich
History: Mine Shafts
Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Organising: Building a Wave
Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Culture: The Word On The Street
The Locker Room
Invest In Dignity!
TV Clash Using Visual Ammunition
The development was flagged in a far-reaching ALP policy statement that promised to deliver the ABC an extra $100 million in funding and pull it out of the political firing line.
Shadow Communications Minister, Lindsay Tanner, said while funding would not be tied, the ABC's own policies suggested it would like to translate the ground-breaking Triple J project - birthplace of Roy and HG, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, ACDC, Frenzel Rhomb, Killing Heidi etc - to the small screen.
ABC staffers have complained about under-resourcing, creeping commercialisation and sustained political attacks since the Howard Government took office in 1996.
Soon after being elected the Howard Government slashed ABC funding by $66 million and exposed the broadcaster to the disastrous Jonathan Shier experiment.
Former Coalition Communications Minister, Richard Alston, personified his Government's undermining of ABC news and current affairs with an attack on workers and standards that went on for years.
Tanner and Shadow Arts Minister, Kate Lundy, say increased funding will be spread over four years.
In a bid to stop any Government stacking the future boards they will move to arms-length appointments to be overseen by the Communications Department.
Under Labor policy, vacancies would be advertised and the Minister would be presented with a shortlist after interviews by an independent panel, including departmental chiefs and the Public Service's Merit Protection Commissioner.
Under the policy, if a Minister went outside the panel's shortlist, he or she would be required to table a formal explanation.
CPSU spokesman Graeme Thomson predicted much of the Tanner-Lundy blueprint would win a thumbs-up from the workforce.
He said it would "go some way" towards redressing "chronic underfunding".
The underfunding has forced many creative and dedicated people out," Thomson said. "Any move to reverse this trend and support our talented broadcasters and program-makers is to be applauded.
Thomson said Government stacking of the broadcaster's board had lessened the organisation's independence and community standing. Moves towards wider public consultation, detailed criteria and an arms-length selection panel should be welcomed.
The "acid test" of a new Government's would come, he warned, when two board vacancies arose immediately after next month's federal election.
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