Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, May 14, 2003
BIFFER BALDING SHOULD BE DELIGHTED. Auntie's budget has been maintained in real terms for the next triennium.

That extra $250 mill Biffer wanted is still under negotiation. As it should be.

At the time of preparing this document, the ABC had not been advised of the Government’s response to the Corporation’s 2003-06 Triennial Funding Submission. Therefore the ABC Board has still to fully assess the Government's response and the impact it will have on the Corporation's activities and confirm specific
outcome/output allocations

Looking at the figures that follow it seems to me that the Government is expecting you to take about $25 mill out of programming to cover the next tranche of your digital ambitions.

It seems Biffer agrees with Uncle. This is his statement:

The ABC is very disappointed with its funding outcome as outlined in the Federal Budget this evening.

The ABC must now assess its position. Hard decisions must be made so that we can maintain core services and continue to be relevant to the Australian public. Some decisions about programming will be made within the next few weeks.

Listen out for the shrieking. Are Biffer and the communards game to cut out quality education and information programming to save the preachers?

Here's a suggestion for Biffer and the Board.

There's nothing in your Act about providing pulpits for opinionated half-wits. Stop doing it. Governments love it when their pensioners show their willing to re-direct their own funds before putting the plate out for even more tax-payer largesse.

I know, I know. The Act doesn't require you to be even-handed in presenting opinions. In fact the Act doesn't seem to intend you to be preaching at all.

And if you're feeling hard done by, just take a look at the National Museum's begging bowl. They've lost about the same amount from their money for programmes, but taken from a much smaller total.

It occurs to Uncle there may be scope here for some development of policy, procedure and practice. Isn't that what Boards and their Biffers are for?