Turnbull: “Not right” to blame ABC programming decisions on govt.

mtqaCommunications Minister has turned programming cuts back onto ABC management, claiming the government has been unnecessarily blamed for some shows being axed.

“I regret to say the ABC management has from time to time, in seeking to make programming changes it wants to make for its own programming reasons, has sought to blame them on the government -and me in particular. That is simply not right,” he said on Q & A.

“There was a view in the ABC management here that Lateline should be taken off ABC1 because it felt its audience was appealing to an older demographic, it was too late at night, they were mostly in bed, and it was better to have a Lateline type show on ABC 24 at 10pm every night.

“It had nothing to do with the savings measures arising out of this exercise.”

His comments follow ongoing speculation about the size of funding cuts to the broadcaster.

Turnbull indicated later this week final numbers would be revealed. ABC could expect cuts of “about 5% of the top line over 5 years.”

Turnbull said Australians appreciated the broadcaster, but that public broadcasters were not immune from cuts. He claimed audiences became vocal when disappointed with editorial decisions because they held the ABC in such high esteem.

“It is a beloved part of the landscape.”


  1. How about the ABC live up to it’s charter and be balanced and unbiased. It’s taxpayer funded for goodness sake. I say privatize the left-leaning propaganda machine and see how it stacks up against its Fairfax rival.

  2. I have quite a bit of respect for Turnbull and believe he is a far better option for PM than Abbot. But I’m afraid his decision regarding ABC and his explanation, are a slight on his understanding of the intelligence of the Australian public. He may be following party lines, But Malcolm, really, stand up for the intelligent Australian public and show us a little respect. Surely, a well educated and intelligent man like yourself should be standing up for quality Australian productions. Sorry mate but my respect for you just went down a few levels. Stand up for Australian drama for goodness sake.

  3. Ah yes the once great ABC is being dismantled and we all know who the phantom entity standing behind the Gov egging them on is. “Who is it?” “No comment”

  4. Maev....Sydney

    I use to think Mr Turnbull may do a better job than TA….but now realise they are all singing from the same song book.
    And yes…I reckon their pre election words will come back to bite them…

  5. Turnbull struggled to make sense on Q&A last night, grasping for responses he clearly didn’t believe in and looking mighty uncomfortable. And serve him right. Lie down with dogs…

  6. Secret Squirrel

    It may be true that in Lateline’s case, the changes were desired by management and are not a direct result of the cuts. However, it is disingenuous of Turnbull to repeat this mantra that cuts of 5-6% won’t have any effect on programming.

    As we were reminded on Media Watch, the ABC fully funded both ABC24 and iView from money saved from internal efficiencies. The ABC wishes to continue its expansion into the online space and to better serve the mobile market. It would have done this from further efficiency savings but, since it will now have to give this money to the govt, it will have to find the money somewhere else.

  7. bettestreep2008

    I used to have a sliver of respect for Turnbull.

    Not anymore.

    What was it that Abbort promised before the 2013 election?

    No cuts to the ABC and SBS!!!!

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