John Howard and the ABC: desire for cuts came up against Liberal support for broadcaster | Cabinet papers | The Guardian

ABC sign in Ultimo, Sydney in Australia

It started with Howard but got far, far worse when Abbott arrived intent on fulfilling the IPA’s wish. Despite pre election promises of NO CUTS TO THE ABC Morrison ensured their ABC’s budget was brought back to 1984 levels. Meanwhile under his leadership government debt exploded by 200% to nearly $1 Trillion. Only  30% of that increase was due to the pandemic. Yet the government believed that its actions should remain unquestioned.

The ABC’s relationship with the Howard government was never easy, and the 2001 cabinet papers, released by the National Archives on Saturday, reveal tensions between the government’s desire for budget cuts and fear of alienating its supporters who valued the national broadcaster. Despite having promised during the 1996 election campaign that the ABC’s budget was safe, within four months of coming to office John Howard’s government cut it by 2% and announced a review of the role and scope of ABC services by Bob Mansfield, the founding chief executive of Optus. Howard’s senior adviser, Grahame Morris, characterised the ABC as “our enemy talking to our friends” and Howard himself had accused the broadcaster of being left-leaning.  But the dilemma for the Coalition was the ABC was valued by its supporters, particularly in the bush, and cuts to the ABC often played badly in the regions. The cabinet papers released by the National Archives provide more evidence of the uneasy relationship

Source: John Howard and the ABC: desire for cuts came up against Liberal support for broadcaster | Cabinet papers | The Guardian

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