A Joint Email Campaign Organised by SOSBS & FABC
Save Our SBS and Friends of the ABC joined forces for a joint last minute campaign in the lead up to the 2007 Federal Election. Aside from this joint campaign, each organisation remains separate and independent from the other.
This campaign is now closed.
The campaign involved participants clicking on a link, within the email flyer below, that activated a pre-filled, generic email in a ready to send state to the leaders of the political parties. Some parties responded by email to some participants. To read those replies from the politicians see the heading “The Reply From The Politicians” which is under the email flyer below.
Results of this Campaign
In a little over a week some 1119 people sent emails to the leaders of the political parties as per that stated on the campaign email flyer below.
What Are The Policies of the Parties?
To read the policies of the political parties please click: http://saveoursbs.org/archives/127
Reply From The Politicians
Some politicians were slow to reply.
The first to reply was the ALP Campaign Information Services. Later the same policy was sent by Senator Stephen Conroy the then ALP Labor Shadow Minister, and, later by ALP leader, Kevin Rudd.
Later Lyn Allison, then Leader of the Australian Democrats replied.
Days later Helen Coonan the then Minister sent out email replies.
As far as we know, the then Prime Minister, John Howard never replied.
The Liberal-National-Party coalition-government was thrown out of office the day after the joint SOSBS & FABC email campaign above ended.
The email replies from the parties are presented below in the same order that the replies arrived.
Labor’s ABC Policy
Labor considers the ABC to be one of
The Howard Government’s appointment of its mates to the ABC Board has seriously undermined its independence and integrity.
Labor is committed to a transparent process for appointments to the ABC board. Labor’s policy is that:
- vacancies should be advertised;
- an independent selection panel to undertake a proper shortlist selection process;
- there should be clear merit based selection criteria;
- If the Minister does not appoint a short-listed candidate he or she will have to provide reasons for departing from the shortlist to Parliament; and
- the ABC Chairman is to be nominated by the Prime Minister and endorsed by the Leader of the Opposition.
To ensure the independence of the ABC Board a Rudd Labor government will prohibit the appointment of any former politician or senior political staffer to the ABC Board.
Further a Rudd Labor Government will restore the appointment of a staff-elected Director, so that there is a person on the Board with the expertise to question the advice coming from the ABC’s executive.
Labor considers it crucial to return the ABC to its former state of independence, so as to enhance democracy by screening unbiased coverage of news and current affairs.
In order to ensure that the ABC is in a position to continue as a broadcaster of national import and as a producer of fine Australian drama, news and current affairs programs, Labor is committed to ensuring adequate funding and support for the ABC.
The aim of such funding is to enable the ABC to continue to provide Australians with high quality broadcasting services, free from political and commercial interference and so that it is able to exploit the potential of new technology to deliver attractive and innovative content over digital television and the internet.
ABC and advertising
Labor is concerned by the ABC’s new leaning towards commercialisation. It is Labor’s position that it will not accept advertising on any part of the ABC, which includes ABC branded websites.
Should advertising be allowed on the ABC, it is likely that programming decisions would become more conservative and less innovative. Labor considers it critical that the ABC maintain its independence and that it is not swayed by advertising dollars.
Labor’s SBS Policy
Labor considers the SBS an icon of Australian broadcasting. By providing both multicultural and multilingual broadcasts that aim to educate and entertain Australians of all backgrounds, the SBS plays an important social and cultural role in
Labor recognises that greater Commonwealth funding would assist the SBS to produce and broadcast more programs and news and current affairs bulletins for Australian viewers.
At its National Conference in April 2007, Labor acknowledged the importance of the SBS and committed Labor to ensuring adequate funding and support for the SBS, to enable it to continue to provide Australians with high quality services, free from political and commercial interference.
In order to ensure the independence of the SBS, Labor will make sure that all future SBS Board candidates are selected on the basis of merit. Candidates will be considered by a panel established at arm’s length from the Minister. The Minister will then appoint Board members from a short list prepared by the panel.
Labor has opposed and continues to oppose the decision by SBS to introduce in-program advertising.
SBS maintains that they can put advertisements into their programs without there needing to be a change to legislation.
Section 45 of the SBS Act 1991 provides for advertising only during periods before programs commence, after programs end, or during natural program breaks. Accordingly, Labor is concerned that the SBS’s action may place it in breach of the Act.
To keep abreast of Labor policies and views you might like to visit the ALP website: www.alp.org.au where you can find the Party Platform, media releases, speeches from Labor Party MPs as well as other information of interest.
ALP Campaign Information Services
Every effort has been made to respond to your query in full. Please monitor the Australian Labor Party website (www.alp.org.au) for further information
Liberal-National-Coalition (then government) Reply
1. Funding for ABC and SBS
The Coalition Government is the best friend that our national broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, have ever had.
The Coalition Government has always been committed to funding our national broadcasters to ensure each is able to meet their Charter obligations.
Since 1996 it has funded a significant expansion of their services. Both the ABC and SBS now receive record levels of funding under the Coalition Government as well as providing greater access to their services than ever before.
In its last year of government, Labor slashed the ABC’s funding to $522 million. This year, the ABC will receive more than $863 million in funding, an increase of more than 65 per cent since 1996. In the three years to 2009, the ABC will receive a total of more than $2.5 billion in funding from the Australian Government.
In the 2006/07 Budget, the Coalition Government announced funding of $88.2 million over three years for new initiatives at the ABC, described as “the best result in 20 years” by the then ABC Chairman, Mr Donald McDonald.
The funding included:
· $45 million to replace old or outdated equipment, particularly in its studios outside Sydney and Melbourne; and
· $30 million over three years for new Australian television content production, enabling the ABC to establish an independent commissioning arm to invest in high quality drama and documentaries from the Australian independent production sector; and
· $13 million to boost local and regional programming.
A re-elected Coalition Government would continue this commitment to the ABC with an $82 million commitment to funding a quality children’s digital channel for Australian families to enjoy. It will be advertising free and broadcast 15 hours a day, seven days a week.
Similarly, the Coalition Government has properly resourced our multicultural and multilingual broadcaster and this year, SBS will receive almost $190 million in funding from the Coalition Government. By contrast, in Labor’s final year in government, the SBS received $83.2 million – more than $100 million less than current funding levels.
In the two years to 2008/09, $11.7 million will be provided to SBS to acquire new international programmes.
In 2005/06, SBS received an additional $4.7 million to help meet the increasing cost of securing broadcast rights for major sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup.
The 2005/06 Budget continued funding for SBS Independent, at a cost of $37.6 million over the four years from 2006/07. SBS Independent’s funding is used to commission high quality films, drama and documentaries from the independent production sector.
2. Advertising on ABC and SBS
The Coalition Government is committed to the maintenance of the integrity and independence of our national broadcasters. It considers the current restrictions on advertising to be critical, and a re-elected Coalition Government will maintain them.
The current prohibitions on both advertising and sponsorship would remain should the Coalition Government be re-elected.
However, some limited advertising is permitted in the ABC’s magazines and on the ABC-owned website, countdown.com.au, which is independent of the ABC’s main website, abc.net.au (ABC Online). These commercial activities must operate at arms length from the Budget-funded ABC activities and are subject to normal ABC editorial controls and responsibilities.
The SBS is permitted to air up to five minutes of advertising per hour. The Coalition Government has no intention of increasing this legislated cap on advertising for SBS. SBS is an independent organisation and day to day operational decisions are a matter for SBS Management and its Board. The SBS Board has allowed limited program promotion and advertising within program breaks rather than between programs.
The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring that the continued independence of both the ABC and SBS, so that they may continue to deliver the quality programming and high standards that Australians have come to expect.
3. ABC and SBS Board appointments
The current appointment process provides that appointments to the ABC and SBS Boards are made by the Governor‑General on the recommendation of Cabinet. This method of appointment reflects standard practice for Commonwealth statutory authorities.
The Coalition Government’s first priority has been to ensure that the members of the ABC and SBS Boards have the right mix of skills to run what are not only national broadcasters, but modern corporations with large annual budgets.
The Coalition Government has got that mix right. There has been no suggestion that Mr Newman is not doing an excellent job as ABC Chairman, for example.
The insertion of a taxpayer funded bureaucratic ‘expert panel’, presumably appointed itself by the Government of the day would not assist in the appointments process for either national broadcaster. It would only serve to bog down appointments in an extra layer of bureaucracy.
In any event, the ‘Nolan Rules’ process for BBC appointments in the United Kingdom have been no great panacea. Appointments to the BBC under these rules have similarly been criticised for their partisan nature.
A re-elected Coalition Government will continue to consider appointments to the Boards of our national broadcasters on the basis of merit and with the best interests of those corporations in mind.
Dear Public Broadcaster Supporter
Thank you for your email, the Australian Democrats agree that public broadcasting should be independent from government influence and be well funded without the need for commercial advertising. Our Action Plan on public broadcasting can be found at http://www.democrats.org.au/docs/ActionPlans/Communications_Public_2007.pdf
It is more important now than ever to end the rubber stamp and return the Senate to a proper house of review. For thirty years the Australian Democrats have worked tirelessly to improve government legislation and to initiate progressive policy. Vote Democrats to Bring Back Balance. For more information on the policies we are taking to the federal election please go to http://www.democrats.org.au/campaigns/election_07_our_election_platform/
Leader, Australian Democrats
Level 1, 62
T: 03 9416 1880
F: 03 9417 1690
The Australian Democrats stand for a fair society that values justice, democracy, individual freedom and diversity. We work for a prosperous, environmentally sustainable and equitable economy; good, accountable governance and responsible, peaceful engagement in the global community. We are honest, compassionate, beholden to no interest group and we provide a voice for the voiceless.
The Greens did not send email replies to the campaign participants however they did send their policy direct to Save Our SBS which is published at: http://saveoursbs.org/archives/127