This Budget lays bare the utter contempt the Liberals and Nationals have for the Australian people and the ABC services they trust and rely on.
The Liberals promised there would be “no cuts to the ABC” on the eve of the 2013 election. Yet on top of $254 million in cuts they have imposed since 2014, this Budget contains a further $127 million in cuts.
The Liberals have frozen indexation of the ABC’s operational funding – amounting to a cut of $83.7 million – to “ensure the ABC continues to find back-office efficiencies”. The reality is this government knows full well this means cuts to jobs, content and services at the ABC.
The Liberals and Nationals complain the ABC isn’t doing enough news coverage, yet these hypocrites have left a $43 million hole in funding for ABC news and current affairs.
The Liberals gifted $30 million to Fox Sports and relieved commercial broadcasters of $90 million in spectrum license fees, yet they are imposing swinging cuts on the ABC.
The ABC has said the impact of these cuts cannot be absorbed by efficiency measures alone, because the ABC has already achieved significant productivity gains in response to past budget cuts.
The Liberals appointed a card-carrying member of the IPA as Minister for Communications, who did a dirty deal with Pauline Hanson to attack the ABC and deliver on her demand for cuts.
On top of successive budget cuts, Malcolm Turnbull has shed his leather jacket for good and launched the biggest attack on ABC independence in a generation.
The Liberals have lined up three bills, a faux competitive neutrality inquiry and a further efficiency review to undermine the ABC.
The Liberals say this Budget is about investing to create more jobs and support essential services, yet these cuts will inevitably force further redundancies at the ABC and a reduction in ABC services that Australians value.
Now more than ever, we need strong, trusted and independent public broadcasters, yet all the Turnbull Government can do is attack and undermine the ABC at every turn.
After years of budget cuts at the hands of Malcolm Turnbull, first as Communications Minister and now as Prime Minister, it is clear you can’t trust the Liberals or the Nationals with the ABC.