2018 MOTIONS WITH NOTICE
DEFENDING THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
Josh Pallas outlined the importance of the independence of the ABC. There was some discussion as the meaning of “privately owned media organisations” in sub-paragraph (iii):
iii. expand the number of board members who are nominees of relevant organisations and have the relevant specified skills (eg: ABC staff, friends of the ABC, Australian Journalists Association, privately owned media organisation)
Michael Chalmers asked that the words be deleted on the basis of conflict of interest. Anish Bhasin spoke in favour of inclusion of these words on the basis that relevant experience is needed and that the deletion appears to be party political. Lesley Lynch noted that the board needs the skill and expertise of non-Government owned media too.
Max Taylor suggested that “privately owned media organisations” be deleted and replaced with “relevant human rights or civil liberties organisations”. Angela Catallo suggested an additional union be included: the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. Max Taylor suggested there be a further amendment to the effect that the President should make contact with the Friends of the ABC with a view to promoting a campaign in defence of the ABC.
1 The 2018 AGM of the NSWCCL resolves that the ABC Act 1983 (Cth) be amended to ensure the effective independence of the ABC from Government interference. While there are numbers of ways this could be achieved, we recommend the ABC Act be amended to:
i. require a commitment to the independence of the ABC from Government
intervention as an essential selection requirement for all board members;
ii. require broadcasting or media related skills and experience, including
journalism, as essential selection criteria for a majority of board members;
iii. expand the number of board members who are nominees of relevant
organisations and have the relevant specified skills (eg: ABC staff, friends of the
ABC, Australian Journalists Association, Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance,
relevant human rights or civil liberties organisations);
iv. limit the Minister’s role to the appointment of one board member;
v. restore the ABC ‘s funding to an adequate level to successfully function in the digital era of broadcasting and put in place a statutory mechanism to maintain a stable level of funding in real terms.
It was further resolved that the President should make contact with the Friends
of the ABC with a view to promoting a campaign in defence of the ABC.
Moved by Josh Pallas VP, seconded by Therese Cochrane and the motion was declared carried as amended.