Thursday, March 13, 2014

time to derail the ABC gravy train


One of the most disappointing things about the Abbott government in Australia so far has been its unwillingness to grasp the nettle on a number of key issues. Reform of the ABC is one of these issues.

In the 21st century there is absolutely no justification whatsoever for a taxpayer-funded national broadcaster. It is a concept that is at least half a century out of date. It was never a particularly brilliant idea but in today’s world the ABC is entirely unnecessary. It is obsolete. It is a dinosaur. A dinosaur that costs the lomg-suffering Australian taxpayer 1.2 billion dollars a year. 

Nobody needs the ABC. There are countless sources of news these days. Most are far more reliable and far more honest than the ABC.

The concept of the ABC is worse than useless. A government-funded news provider is an idea that should have been consigned to the scrap heap of dangerously stupid ideas after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is something one expects to find in a totalitarian state like North Korea. It has no place in a free society.

The ABC as a supplier of news is an outrageous enough waste of money. But why, for pity’s sake, should the taxpayer be funding the ABC so that it can make entertainment programs? Governments do many unnecessary things but it is difficult to think of anything more unnecessary than the government milking the taxpayer so that the ABC can make drama and comedy programs that are watched by a tiny handful of people.

The extreme bias of the ABC is certainly an issue, but it is not the main issue. The main issue is that a publicly funded national broadcaster is simply unnecessary and represents taxpayers’ money flushed down the toilet.

There are many options for reforming the ABC. It could be turned into a subscription-only service so that the few people who want to watch ABC television or listen to ABC radio would be the ones paying for it. It could be supported by advertising. It doesn’t really matter which option is chosen, as long as the end result is that the taxpayer no longer has to pay for the ABC. The taxpayer should not have to pay a single cent towards maintaing the ABC.

It is possible that an ABC run on commercial lines or operating as a subscription-only service would not turn out to be economically viable. In which case it should simply be allowed to die. Most people would not even notice its demise. The parasites who currently work for the ABC could then go and look for real jobs in the real world.

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