Arguments for the ABC


Save our ABC: The Case for Maintaining Australia's National Broadcaster
Edited by M. Fraser & Joseph O'Reilly
$10.00 from Friends of the ABC in each state: GPO Box 4065MM Melbourne 3001; PO Box 1391 North Sydney 2059; 7 Grantley Ave Rostrevor 5073; 344 Mill Point Rd South Perth 6157; PO Box 2625 Canberra 2601; 22 Kimba St Chapel Hill 4069
Reviewed by Philippa Stanford.

This short book presents passionate arguments for maintaining the ABC as a publicly funded non-commercial and independent news and entertainment source. It is a collection of articles by ABC personalities, employees and other supporters, including Phillip Adams, Natasha Stott Despoja, Frank Brennan, Robyn Williams, Geraldine Doogue and of course Roy and H.G. It also features cartoons by Bruce Petty and Ron Tandberg.

The book is both a serious and humorous look at the ABC. It does not view the ABC through rose-coloured glasses. Most articles acknowledge weaknesses at some level in the ABC but refuse to acquiesce in the Coalition's arguments that this is reason to slash funding and force the ABC down commercial avenues.

Phillip Adams and Robert Hughes look at the underfunded lives of public broadcasters in the US, while Geoff Mayer examines the effect of economic rationalist policies on New Zealand's public sector, including public broadcasting. Frank Brennan discusses the role the ABC plays in exposing the often less than squeaky clean political processes in Australia including the increasing monopolisation of media. Natasha Stott Despoja discusses the important role that Triple J plays for young people in Australia.

Terry Lane discusses the proposed cuts through the eyes of "Alice in Toryland", who discovers that the definition of a promise according to Howard's Analytical Lexicon of Political Terms (according to moral principles) is "a declaration made to another person, with respect to the future, giving assurance that one will do, not do, give, not give etc. something, the effect of which expires on the 30th June or on the unexpected discovery of the Bloody-Big-Beazley-Budget-Blackhole, whichever is the sooner".

But Roy and H.G make the situation with the ABC very clear, as Roy relates his experiences of having lunch with Indonesia's President Suharto, trying to explain to him the concept of independence in the media.