A relative of mine is ailing. She isn’t as robust as she used to be. She isn’t doing as much creatively and her opinions are clearly becoming far more conservative.
Aunty ABC is being weakened rather than aging.
I grew up with firstly ABC Radio and in 1966, when we bought our first television, another whole dimension was added to my education and entertainment. Blue Hills, The Children’s Hour Kindergarten of the Air were all staples in our household. Television programs such as F Troop. GTK Bellbird, Countdown, Certain Women have contributed to the person I am.
In 2008, I was deeply honoured to be granted a four year term on the ABC Advisory Council as a South Australian representative. I got to learn so much about how the organization works across this vast country, its role in Australian culture and its imperatives under an act of parliament.
However, in the last couple of years, I have noted a gradual decrease in quality, daring and political objectivity. This is in contrast to the ABC Charter which states that its role is ‘to provide within Australia innovative and comprehensive broadcasting services of a high standard.’
I suspect the rot began when the ABC’s contract for Australia Network was cancelled. That obviously wasn’t the ABC’s fault and it does indicate a significant reason for Aunty’s continuing demise. Australia Network fulfilled that component of its charter, ‘to transmit to countries outside Australia broadcasting programs of news, current affairs, entertainment and cultural enrichment that will encourage awareness of Australia and an international understanding of Australian attitudes on world affairs.’ It’s difficult to do this any other way, particularly given that international access via the internet is limited.
I could understand that Margaret and David wanted to retire which meant the end of ‘At The Movies.’ Such an iconic program needs to fade into memory before trying another approach to devise a program which reviews current movies. I’m still waiting for such a program.
I believe that political objectivity has waned on such current affairs programs as 7.30 and Insiders. It feels like the ABC is acting with safety by not challenging its political masters with hard edge questions.
Recently, the ABC announced the axing of the video-gaming program, ‘Good Game.’. This program was ground-breaking at its inception and has had a long and popular life.
I am deeply concerned because my Aunty needs reviving.