Thursday 31 May 2018

Saving the ABC - A Message from Get Up

Editor's Note: I support this campaign. The ABC is one of our last bastions against the national takeover of the conversation by the Trumpistas and Turnbullistas who would prefer to shut down critical debate, privilege the lakers of Alan Jones and the collection of commentators on Sky News all the better to avoid public scrutiny of their politics and economics. Here's the message:

Last weekend the powerful, ultra-conservative IPA think tank published a new book: Against Public Broadcasting: How and why we should privatise the ABC.1 

It gets worse. Turnbull's Communications Minister Mitch Fifield – the politician who holds the fate of the ABC – is a paid up, card carrying member of the IPA.2 

The Turnbull Government is becoming increasingly brazen in their ABC attacks. Why? Because they assume the only voters it bothers are rusted on 'lefties' who'd never vote for them anyway. They assume wrong. 

The ABC is one of Australia's most liked and trusted institutions – with supporters from right across the political spectrum.3 

So here's the plan: we're going to show the Turnbull Government that attacking and privatising the ABC is politically toxic – with their own supporters. Together, we'll make sure the ABC is a live issue in the coming 'Super Saturday' elections, identify and target the most strategic communities to work with, and target the Coalition MPs most vulnerable on the ABC. 

But this kind of strategic, highly targeted campaigning doesn't come cheap. And with the by-elections less than 8 weeks away, we need to act fast if we're to make the most of the political opportunity it affords us.4 

Can you chip in to fund strategic tactics to show the Coalition attacking our ABC carries a heavy political penalty – including with their own supporters? 

Here's what we can do if enough of us chip in together to fund this plan: 
  • Make sure attacks on the ABC cause the Coalition significant political pain in the upcoming by-elections. Particularly focussing in the South Australian seat of Mayo, where the Liberal candidate has described the ABC as a "despicable waste of taxpayer's precious money", and in the Tasmanian seat of Braddon, where the cuts threaten local jobs5 
  • Commission polling and research across the country to identify and speak to traditionally Coalition-leaning regional communities that rely on the ABC as their only source of media.
  • Advertising to parents' groups and early childhood educators about the ABC's world-class children's programs that are under threat due to the Coalition's budget cuts 
  • Execute highly localised campaign tactics targeting vulnerable Coalition MPs with high ABC support amongst their constituents, creating discord within Turnbull's very own party room.
But this type of deep, strategic campaigning is both expensive and time consuming. We've got less than two months until the by-elections are held. So if we want to put attacks on the ABC on the agenda we need to move right now. 

Can you chip in to make sure these strategic plans become a reality? And show politicians everywhere that voters won't stand for attacks on our ABC? 

Over the past few years, the ABC's many powerful enemies have become steadily emboldened by their wins. Rupert Murdoch, Pauline Hanson, the IPA and Coalition MPs a plenty are all circling our national broadcaster, in what the ABC's Chairman has described as a "battle being waged against public broadcasting".6 

And they're having a devastating impact. The ABC has lost 1,012 jobs since Tony Abbott's first round of cuts in 2014, and Pauline Hanson has successfully mounted a chilling inquiry into both the ABC and SBS. 7, 8 The threat of privatisation has never been so palpable. 

GetUp members have a a long and successful history of defending our ABC. Our movement knows that a properly funded, fully independent public broadcaster is fundamental to a thriving and healthy democracy. 

Right now, the ABC needs our people-powered support more than ever before. The Turnbull Government – furious at the ABC's first rate independent journalism – is out for blood. The stakes have never been higher for public broadcasting. Can you chip in to make sure the ABC we know and love lives on? 

In hope and determination, 

Ruby, Neneh and Mark – for the GetUp team 

PS – Check out the cover of the IPA's new book (yep, that's B1 about to roast in an actual oven) and chip in to fight back against their attacks on the ABC. 



[1] New IPA book calls on government to privatise the ABC by 'giving it away', Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 2018
[2] Budget 2018: Aunty feels Scott Morrison's razor as $83.7m cut, The Australian, 8 May 2018
[3] "Polling: Trust in Institutions", Essential Report, 6 September 2016
[4] Date set for by-elections in Perth, Fremantle, Mayo, Longman and Braddon, ABC News, 24 May 2018
[5] PM live, Sky News, March 2018
[6] Australians should not be fooled by attacks on the ABC, ABC opinion, 30 May 2018
[7] The politics behind the competitive neutrality inquiry into ABC and SBS, the Conversation, May 3 2018
[8] ABC has shed 1,012 jobs since 2014, Senate estimates told, The Guardian, 24 May 2018 

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