THE ABC EARNS around $100 million a year from its commercial activities (mainly ABC shops). Its annual operating budget is more than a billion dollars.
The organisation would not exist without the triennial funding provided by taxpayers (not by Treasurer Scott Morrison, who this week ludicrously claimed that he funded the ABC). You can’t privatise a business that doesn’t make a profit. So let’s call the demand from last weekend’s Liberal Party conference for what it really is; effectively a proposal to close the ABC and sell off its assets, the prime of which would be its broadcast spectrum.
But even that is hardly practical, or likely. Ironically, while the ABC haters with their ideological objections to public broadcasting would like to see it happen, there would be little or no appetite from the commercial television sector for starters.