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  Issue No 93 Official Organ of LaborNet 27 April 2001  




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The Battle for Aunty

The CPSU's Graeme Thompson ouitlines the campaign to save the ABC and this week's emergency share-holders' meeting.



The CPSU has been at the forefront of efforts to stave off attacks on the ABC. One obvious motivating factor behind the campaign is the job security of union members, however there are many broader concerns.

We are campaigning with and Friends of the ABC, because Shier's direction is a threat to the very existence of the ABC" said Thomson

In Shier's first year as managing director the ABC has...

� flagged more programs being made by commercial media

� slashed $8m from news/current affairs while increasing executive salaries by $7.4m

� cut the radio budget by $2m

� ripped another $4.5m out of TV production resources

� cut 100 jobs out of Sydney.

Shier has made it plain he wants thorough change. His method has been to invoke the market. Shier has demanded that television be more ratings-driven. It is important to understand both the ABC's role, laid down by charter, and the job of ratings. Part of the ABC's charter vests in it responsibility for "a balance between programs of wide appeal and specialised broadcasting programs."

Ratings are designed, in consultation with the advertising industry, to deliver viewers to advertisers. Just why the ABC, unable to screen advertisements, should be driven by ratings is unclear. Look at what the chase for ratings points has done to Nine, Ten and Seven. Their program schedules are virtually identical.

The ABC, and SBS for that matter, exist because they are different, not better nor worse, than ratings-driven channels. Research shows that, over any given week, more than 60 per-cent of Australians choose to watch at least one ABC program.

With the exception of Nine's Sunday program, quality current affairs has just about disappeared off the commercial radar, yet this is the very area Shier has chosen to shear.

But the ABC is not just TV.

It runs orchestras and Radio National, yet critics can hardly accuse youth station, Triple J, of elitism or cultural snobbery. Commercial radio, like TV, is ad-driven and risk averse. Triple J, on the other hand, has supported the likes of Midnight Oil, silverchair, Killing Heidi, Powderfinger and Yothu Yindi, not to mention comedians Roy and HG.

ABC radio and television were never supposed to be commercial or compete with the commercials. They were established to provide services, or programs, which commercial operators either couldn't or wouldn't.

The ABC is a core public service and now, like much of the public service, it is under threat.


11.00am 1.00pm

Sunday, 29th April 2001

Sydney Opera House Forecourt

For more information visit

and the Friends of the ABC site


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 93 contents

In this issue
*  Corporate: The Jobs Myth
Access Economics' Chris Richardson debunks employer claims that increased workers compensation premiums have a dramatic impact on jobs.
*  Interview: The Workers� Voice
When trade union stalwart Ian West took a seat in the NSW Upper House he was determined to be more than a bench-warmer. Then the Workers Comp legislation hit.
*  Unions: Postcard from the Pilbara
In the face of unprecedented pressure, BHP workers in the Pilbara are standing together and refusing to sign individual cotnracts.
*  Economics: Currency Unification: Dollarize or Die?
Dick Bryan asks what happens to an economy when it gives up its domestic currency.
*  History: Instant History
In his address to the Australian Labour History Conference, the SMH's Brad Norington asks whether there is still time for history.
*  International: The End of an Era?
The post-Cold War era is over. Something different is developing to take its place. John Passant writes.
*  Media: The Battle for Aunty
The CPSU's Graeme Thompson ouitlines the campaign to save the ABC and this week's emergency share-holders' meeting.
*  Review: Share-Holder Nation
A legacy of government-backed privatisations, demutualisations and stockmarket hype over the past decade is the creation of a nation of shareholders.
*  Satire: SOS: Save the Investment Banker!
Spare a thought for those less fortunate With redundancies at investment banks around the globe looming, now is the time for us to show the world just how much we care. It's just not right.

»  Budget Day Looms as Compo D-Day
»  Give It a Shake, Lads!
»  World Spotlight on Asbestos Usage
»  Compo Talks Begin in Earnest Monday
»  Action Rolls On as Della�s List Fills Up
»  Government Ignites Industrial Blaze
»  Robbo Elected Unopposed
»  Women Casuals Victimised by Abbott
»  Scientists Oppose Quantum Leap
»  Victimised Mineworkers Confront Rio Tinto Board
»  Queenslanders Call for End to Employer Theft
»  Inflation Destroys Howard�s Living Wage Ploy
»  Commitment to Schizophrenia Research
»  Activists Notebook: Workers of the World Unite
»  ANZAC Special : Hundred Not Out

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Labour Review
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  Compo Shame
»  Where the Greens Stand

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