Rally to save Lateline from ABC axe

2014-09-30_1239Lobby groups Friends of the ABC and GetUp! are planning a protest outside ABC headquarters in Sydney tomorrow, in a bid to deter the Board from axing Lateline.

The protest from 9:30am in Ultimo is urging supporters to bring a placard and spread the word to stave off the possible axing of the long-running show, plus state-based editions of 7:30, formerly known as Stateline. The rally will be addressed by Quentin Dempster and is supported by ABC staff unions.

AAP reports a community petition headed by former Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes has garnered almost 35,000 signatures:

To the ABC Board and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, We call on you to protect quality investigative reporting and current affairs coverage, including Lateline on ABC1, weekly state-based TV current affairs, and programs on Radio National such as Background Briefing, The Science Show, The Health Report, The Media Report and The Law Report. A strong democracy requires a strong media – and if ABC current affairs coverage is axed, our politicians will face less scrutiny than ever. Don’t let our national broadcaster’s current affairs face the chopping block.

GetUp! chief-of-staff Erin McCallum said it was one of the fastest growing community run petitions the group had sponsored.

“We would hate to see that kind of reporting disappear from the Australian landscape because it’s integral to holding the government and corporations to account,” she said.

Another broader petition protesting ABC cuts has over 262,000 signatures on GetUp!

MEAA also supports another petition on Change.org which has 8,000 signatures.

450 ABC staff including Leigh Sales, Sarah Ferguson and Virginia Trioli, have also signed an internal ABC petition to be presented to the Board.

“The ABC is under heavy pressure from the Government to make cuts,” said Glenys Stradijot, ABC Friends National spokesperson. “However, the community will not accept ABC current affairs being cut.

“News and current affairs are the lifeblood of our democracy. They are a core responsibility of the national broadcaster. Lateline provides a crucial service to the nation. State-based 7.30 is relied upon around the country for insight and scrutiny of important state and local affairs. Radio National’s specialist programs are an invaluable resource.

“ABC Friends already has 10,664 ‘likes’ on its Facebook page opposing cuts to ABC current affairs. An online petition launched on GetUp yesterday has reached 37,600 signatures on last check.

“The ABC Board has the strong support of the community to fight funding cuts. The Board has a responsibility to ensure the ABC is not gagged.”


  1. I wonder how many of them actually watch it though! We’re all too keen to don a placard and yell a slogan as I’ve seen recently – not saying this isn’t a worthy cause (and I don’t watch it so won’t be protesting)

  2. If Mark Scott is bluffing and using this threat to mobilise the News staff and the general public it’s working. When is he going to take it up to the government? I never thought I’d see the day that Mark Scott and Malcolm Turnbull were silenced and neutralised by those morons in cabinet. When are they going to stand up for something?

  3. A strange set of priorities axing news and current affairs shows. Bending to the wishes of a government which doesn’t like “left wing propaganda” on the ABC? Meanwhile the ABC has a whole kids network (ABC3) and another network which is nearly all kids shows (ABC2) and these seem to be sacrosanct when they should have been the first to go.

  4. I’d like to vote in the latest poll, but would have to choose “other”, which gives no information really.
    I do think the ABC has to tighten its belt, but I’d get rid of populist and biased Q&A for example, together with its host, rather than 7.30 or Lateline.

  5. The ABC will be a shell of its former self if they axe Lateline, big mistake. They’ll end up like channel 10 or worse. First Lateline and then what News24? It’s a slippery slope. I think it’s safe to say it’s the beginning of the end for the ABC… at least until a new labor government gets in which is not about to happen any time soon.

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