Albo’s ABC: Bluey, Frontline, The Goodies & Lateline…

At a speech for ABC's 90th Birthday, PM Anthony Albanese singled out some surprisingly nostalgic shows -and an idea for Bluey to rescue Breaking Bad's Walter White.

ABC last night hosted a 90th Birthday Dinner in Studio 22 at its Ultimo headquarters.

Chair Ita Buttrose and Managing Director David Anderson were joined by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Also attending were Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland, Shadow Minister for Communications Senator Sarah Henderson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young & Adam Bandt of the Greens and past & present ABC talent including Kerry O’Brien, Virginia Trioli, Tony Jones, Sarah Ferguson, Paul Kennedy, Nate Byrne, Sammy J, Michael Rowland, Heather Ewart, Fran Kelly, Jonathan Holmes, Alan Koehler, Jeremy Fernandez, Tom Gleeson, Pip Courtney.

During a speech Anthony Albanese repeated an election promise for 5-year funding terms, restoring $83.7 million in funding and review options for delivering greater financial sustainability to safeguard against political interference.

There was also an eclectic shopping list of ABC names and shows which he highlighted from 8 decades of content.

“As the ABC has added to Australia’s collective voice, you’ve done it in part with voices we knew instinctively we could trust. Among them: James Dibble. Geraldine Doogue. Mark Colvin. Andrew Olle. Caroline Jones. Kerry O’Brien. Liz Jackson. Chris Masters. Norman May. Alan McGilvray. Bill Peach. Richard Morecroft. Leigh Sales. Laura Tingle. Tony Jones. Fran Kelly,” he said.

“I could list them all night. They have slotted perfectly into the ABC, because the ABC has never been afraid to treat issues with the seriousness they deserve.

“Even the briefest rollcall of programs over the years is testament to that: Four Corners, PM, This Day Tonight, Foreign Correspondent, 7:30  and of course Lateline – which I still miss, by the way.

“What they have all offered is journalism worthy of the fourth estate. Quality analysis and real reporting. Investigation determined to uncover facts and extract hard truths.”

He noted ABC comedians and satirists “The Gillies Report, Wendy Harmer, The Doug Anthony Allstars, Elle McFeast, The Late Show,  Mad as Hell,  Roy and HG,  John Clarke and Bryan Dawe. The perfection of Frontline. The confronting accuracy of Utopia. And I’ll mention my friend Andrew Denton, because he has my phone number.

“The thing about the ABC is just how ubiquitous a presence it is in our memories, whether it is drama so compelling it becomes part of our dialogue, or the massive earworm that is the Majestic Fanfare. Or memories of Backchat.”

In drama he noted Phoenix, Redfern Now, Blue Murder plus Gardening Australia‘s Peter Cundall and Costas Georgiadis, Back Roads with Heather Ewart, Landline, Australian Story, Aunty Jack, Tony Armstrong “and more reruns of Doctor Who and The Goodies than we ever really knew what to do with – except to just keep watching.”

There were also references to ” the night I hosted rage – an absolute career highlight”, Play School, Bananas in Pyjamas, The Wiggles, Little J & Big Cuz, and, of course, Bluey.

Bluey has the second-highest rated TV episode on the International Movie Database, beaten only by Breaking Bad,” the PM said.

“Imagine a crossover episode. Things would have turned out better for Walter White if Bandit and Chilli had got involved.”


But he also affirmed the broadcaster’s role in news and investigative journalism.

“As we look around the world, we see democracy under sustained attack – either through direct assault or a more insidious erosion,” he continued.

“A strong ABC is an insurance policy against the misinformation and disinformation chipping away at what we hold dear.

“Amid the rising tide of social media, the ABC is a beacon of trust. Trust takes a long time to establish – and it takes energy to maintain.”

He concluded with a note on scrutiny as a two-way street.

“The health of our democracy is underpinned by truth, and by the strength of our cultural identity – how we see ourselves as a people and what unifies us in all the splendour of our diversity. A government that chooses to attack a public broadcaster does so motivated by either ideology or fear – or a toxic cocktail of the two.

“No government should fear the ABC – unless it fears the truth.

“A government of integrity and transparency should welcome the accountability that a strong, properly resourced public broadcaster brings.”

He added, “But just as the Government should welcome scrutiny from the ABC, so the ABC should welcome scrutiny from the Government. Accountability is a two-way street. However strong our affection for the ABC, it cannot be blind. No organisation is infallible, and we can all freely admit that Aunty is no exception.

“National government and national broadcaster can both share the goals of transparency, accuracy, effectiveness, diversity, and value for money.”

One Response

  1. It reads as a good speech from Albo. Frontline and Hollowman my two favourites (the Goodies….goody goody yum yum) is undoubtedly a classic. Golly, once you start, you keep thinking of other great ABC shows….

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