The Greens have announced they will establish a new and fully-funded Australia Network, pushing Labor to go further in a minority government.
While responding to Labor’s announcement today of $8m to the ABC to deliver Australian content to Pacific nations, Greens Spokesperson for Communications and Media, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young:
“What we need is a new Australia Network, fully funded, engaged, and with a purpose of connecting us as a nation to our neighbours and our region.
“The Liberals under former PM Tony Abbott, destroyed The Australia Network and with it, soft diplomacy in the Pacific. They were warned the real cost of this budget cut would be much higher and now we are seeing that play out with the relationship between the Solomons and China.
“Instead of broadcasting current affairs and quality Australian content, the Morrison government has been paying for “Married at First Sight” to be broadcast into the Pacific.
“Labor’s commitment is welcome, but it’s tiny, modest at best, and far more is needed. We need a publicly funded Australia Network, managed by the ABC and funded properly to do the job.
“The Greens have pledged that in the balance of power, we will push Labor to restore the funding cut by the Abbott Government in its entirety. This means that at a minimum, $22m per annum should be restored to deliver the services properly.
“Today we are talking about the Solomons and the Pacific, but The Australia Network reached 46 countries across Asia, the Pacific and the Indian sub-continent, so where will the Morrison Government have failed in their diplomatic efforts next?
“We are seeing the consequences of the Liberal Party’s attacks on the ABC play out in real-time on a national security level.
“While China was courting the Solomons, shows like Married at First Sight were airing on televisions in the Pacific.
“If these trashy so-called reality tv shows are how we show Australia to the world, it’s no wonder we have diplomatic issues.
“We need quality news and Australian shows from our public broadcaster to be aired instead.
“The Greens have been fighting Abbott’s attacks on the ABC since 2014. We now have a real opportunity to kick the Libs out and push the new government to fully restore funding to our public broadcaster in the next parliament.”