Emma Dawson on The Drum – 27 September 2018

September 27, 2018

Emma Dawson appeared on The Drum to discuss the resignation of ABC chairman Justin Milne with former ABC chairman Donald McDonald, economist and former ABC deputy chair Judith Sloan, and Fairfax columnist Jacqui Maley.

“This hasn’t happened in a vacuum,” she said. “It’s happened after years of relentless attacks on the ABC, budget cuts, endless inquiries into competitive neutrality, inquiries into whether or not the ABC’s salary should be publicly exposed…This is the environment in which the ABC has been operating now for five years and I think it’s unprecedented…

The ABC is arguably the most important cultural civic institution in the country and it’s being treated as a play thing and as something that should be beaten into shape…the ABC isn’t like any other agency. It’s the public’s broadcaster, it’s essential to the functioning of democracy that citizens get unvarnished, frank and fearless information about their democracy…

I think the more disturbing thing is the misunderstanding of what the ABC is as a public broadcaster. The stakeholders, the critically important stakeholders, are not the Government, they’re the people of Australia.”