A strong, healthy ABC is critical to our democracy
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher justifies the crippling cuts to the ABC, in part, by saying that all traditional media organisations are suffering cuts because of the growth of social media. Strong, independent, quality broadcasting is a critical element of a healthy democracy. The ABC is the most trusted media organisation in the country. In these circumstances, a responsible government’s priority must surely be to strengthen, rather than undermine, it.
Chris Young, Surrey Hills
Not all Australians are fans of the ABC and its bias
More complaints from the ABC. All businesses are suffering and cost-cutting. The ABC has many overpaid staff who perhaps could take a small salary cut to ease the financial strain. Our taxes pay those salaries and, believe it or not, some people have grown tired of the bias presented in many news stories. Many Australians never listen to, or view, the ABC. Even when they are called to account the ABC journalists are moved into another department. It is time for a clean out at our ABC.
Suzanne Hill, Chilton, SA
Cancel the submarine contract and boost the ABC
Funding the vital services of the ABC costs Australians less than 10cents per person per day. Hands up those who are willing to give up one cup of coffee a week if that money can go towards keeping the budget of our ABC from being slashed.
Better still, how about the government cancel the new fleet of submarines that will cost an estimated $80billion-plus to build and billions of dollars per year to maintain (with the costs and completion date blowing out and warnings they will be obsolete by the time they are in service) and get true value for that money by fully funding the ABC and our universities?
Heather Hanstein, Black Rock
Small, sensible ways the ABC could save money
The ABC funding cuts are to be deplored and appropriate funding restored immediately. However, Rod Watson (Letters, 25/6) is spot on in identifying areas where the 7pm television news could help itself by limiting those “live” crosses – not only from the MCG but often from cities such as London or Beijing. Please ABC, just allow your correspondents to file their reports when available without pretending that they need to be “interviewed” from the newsroom.
And surely there would be wardrobe cost savings (eg, the fancy shoes of which we catch a glimpse for three or four seconds each night) if newsreaders were no longer required to stand up for the opening item. Keep them behind the desk and we will not care (or pay) for whatever they are wearing. Finally, perhaps the 7.45am radio news could be transmitted via News Radio which basically provides non-stop news bulletins for many hours each day.
Tony Gerard, Warragul
Come the next federal election, we will not forget
I grew up with, and have listened to, the 7.45am news bulletin all my life. Five minutes of news at 8am will be just enough for the headlines and maybe the weather. How dare this government try to starve the ABC of funding. We are one but we are many and we will all sing with one voice in 2022.
Ken Hurle, Ivanhoe
Vote 1 for the ABC
Time and again our ABC has suffered funding cuts because it dares to produce high-quality, honest and insightful programs that challenge the government’s sense of entitlement and need for image control. Enough. Reinstate proper funding to our ABC. We need it more than ever.
Attention, Greens and Labor – here is a vote-winner for you. Increase funding to our ABC, and watch your numbers rise.
Brenda McKinty, Oakleigh East
Saving, and cutting, jobs
The Morrison government is emphasising the need to keep jobs with the JobKeeper program. Then it fails to reverse the freeze on funds to the ABC, with the consequent loss of a staggering 250 jobs. It beggars belief.
Ruja Varon, Malvern
Such selective support
On the same day that the Morrison government pledges its support for the arts, entertainment and screen sector, 250 jobs at the ABC are axed. It makes no sense.
Margaret Pollock, Sebastopol
G’day, it’s Macca here
Replacing a measured news broadcast on Sunday morning with 15 extra minutes of Macca’s simplistic world view will further restrict access to informed content on the ABC.
John Forbes, Port Fairy
Just keep your distance
Ben Groundwater – “I’m truly sorry, regional Australia” (Comment, 25/6) – forgot one crucial, annoying factor when outlining the impact of visitors flocking to regional areas. Most of them will not abide by social distancing measures.
COVID-19 has barely visited regional areas. This will change when mainly city-based visitors swarm there, bringing with them their shopping-centre mentality. In fact, visitors may find “the friendly folk in hats” are not so friendly or that they have bunkered down at home waiting for the school holidays to finish. Country people will implore the visitors to maintain social distancing protocols. Sadly, a visit to Daylesford any weekend has demonstrated this is unlikely.
Rohan Wightman, Castlemaine
Please stay at home
Ben Groundwater announces that city-dwellers denied the opportunity to travel overseas are heading to regional locations instead, probably within their own states. I will not be the only person to find this presumptuous.
Firstly, not all regional centres, many with very few COVID-19 cases so far, will welcome visitors from hotspots in the capitals. Secondly, I think such travel is frowned on by medical experts and health authorities, especially given the recent spike in cases in Victoria. Sure, the boost to local tourism would be welcome but not at the expense of lives and the disruption caused by isolation, school closures etc. Better take up a few hobbies instead, Ben, to while away the time.
Richard Trembath, Mount Pleasant
A congested hospital…
My husband and I recently visited one of Melbourne’s main hospitals in order to witness some paperwork. We were somewhat nervous doing so; we wore masks and gloves, and kept our distance from everyone. We were simply amazed at how little attention several of the staff paid to the protocols for physical distancing.
For example, it took us some time to negotiate a flight of stairs as there was a constant stream of groups of staff, closely packed together with not a mask in sight, going up and down. We finally found a quiet lull and raced down the stairs. Vigilance is hard to maintain but really is essential.
Carmel McNaught, Balwyn North
… and a crowded plane
I flew from Sydney to Melbourne on Monday afternoon to attend a funeral. I returned on Wednesday morning. On each occasion there was not an empty seat – an entirely full plane. At one stage, a crew member reminded passengers to keep 1.5 metres distance from each other as we loaded our bags into overhead lockers. Ridiculously impossible. Social distancing? Not on Jetstar. Who is policing the airlines, Daniel Andrews?
Brendan Gullifer, Dangar Island, NSW
Fighting virus together
When we consider what our grandparents sacrificed through World War II and the Great Depression. When we look at the heartbreak and loss, the number of people who have died from coronavirus, and the mass graves overseas. When we mourn the immeasurable loss of more than 150 doctors from coronavirus in Italy. We have been asked to curb our lifestyle and to stay home as much as possible. The rules do apply. We are all in this together.
Brigid Niall, South Melbourne
Penalise the flouters
In a delicate balancing act between COVID-19 restrictions and the resultant adverse effects on the economy, the community, through the government, has asked people to observe all restrictions that have been imposed. Obviously, there are those who have openly flouted those restrictions. Can the government, ethically, instigate penalties for those who have contracted the virus due to their own actions?
Philip Bunn, Beechworth
I only wanted to be tested
I decided to go for a COVID-19 test at Chadstone Shopping Centre’s car park. Entry was refused because I was on a motorcycle. I was told: “No, you can’t come in, you must come back in a car”. Crazy.
John Toohey, Malvern East
Aiming for a recovery
Until last weekend I shared with a friend in Canada the progress Australia and Victoria have been making in managing the coronavirus with a sense of appreciation for our leaders. I stopped doing that when things got out of control and (what seems to be) a moronic oversight in managing people in quarantine put Victoria’s people and its economy at risk of a second wave.
We need a very quick expert review of the risk management processes in place with gap identification and rectification. Apart from that oversight, the government and Victorians should be congratulated for getting us to the stage where we had the pandemic under control. I hope to see us back to where we were last week as soon as possible.
Lloyd Bunting, Port Melbourne
Act quickly, apologise
High Court Chief Justice Susan Kiefel has demonstrated how one should act publicly when wrongdoings come to light in the organisation of which one is the leader – “Former top judge a ‘serial harasser”‘ (The Age, 23/6). Apologise immediately and show how the issue will be fixed. Politicians could learn from her fine example.
Jenny Callaghan, Hawthorn
Protecting our great city
Thank you, James Lesh, for your insightful piece – “Gas and Fuel-style debacle looms” (Comment, 25/6). If only we could trust the state government to respect these public lands and enhance the liveability of our city rather than favour the speculative, high-rise interests of developers and short-sighted ministers and planners. Treasury Square must not be allowed to proceed as per the current proposal for the Jolimont railyards.
Damian Saracino, Melbourne
Congratulations to James Lesh for an excellent critique of the proposed development of Treasury Square. Repeating the eyesore of the demolished Gas and Fuel building on a gateway site to the CBD suggests we have learned nothing from that egregious error. The early planners and builders of Melbourne left us a legacy of good planning and style that today’s decision makers should respect. Please, Planning Minister Richard Wynne, rethink the current development proposal for this gateway site to our city.
Thomas Hogg, East Melbourne
Workers pay the price
It is good to hear that Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has moved to protect shareholders’ interests. Unfortunate there will be some “collateral damage’ with 6000 Australians losing their jobs/livelihood and, quite possibly, their future. The JobSeeker allowance looms for most. Life will remain unchanged for Mr Joyce who pulls in a salary of $23.9million a year.
Michael Gamble, Belmont
Is this what we’ve come to?
I purchased a book of stamps yesterday where a comedian is shown on them. Usually it would have been the Queen, native flora or fauna, or some important event or person depicted on the stamp. Have we lost all sense of pride and respect for our country?
Marg Croke, Kialla
Improving our education
Australia does not need 43 universities. Universities are about extending the boundaries of knowledge, not about teaching workforce skills. We used to have institutes of technology and colleges of advanced education that were state-funded and gave excellent tuition for workforce needs for low fees. They had fully committed teachers, not lecturers whose tenure depends not upon their teaching ability but on the papers that they publish and the grants that they bring in.
Let universities go back to doing what they can at the highest levels without being expected to educate the whole population. Subjects such as nursing and journalism do not need to be taught at them.
David Sadedin, Briar Hill
Focus on the walking trail
A Mornington Peninsula walking trail (The Age, 21/6) would boost the economy and be a wonderful attraction. That is, until you get to Crib Point to see AGL’s proposed gas terminal polluting the bay. Perhaps we can just stick with the trail ($15million, 83 jobs and more visitors) and forget the gas terminal ($250million, a handful of jobs and dozens of gas ships in the bay).
Victor Komarovsky, Carlton
The big guns come out
The military is being deployed to deal with the virus. But what are the rules of engagement? Shoot to kill COVID-19? Will the influenza virus be collateral damage?
Bob Muntz, Ascot Vale
AND ANOTHER THING
In the future we will look back on our current situation and think those were the Toilet Paper Years.
Eric Svirskis, St Kilda East
Here we go again. Ignoramuses and idiots hoarding.
Rosemary Lithgow, Maryborough
Many Americans think hydroxychloroquine can prevent coronavirus. Do Victorians think the same thing about toilet paper?
Peter Burton, South Melbourne
People are again hoarding toilet paper which, I understand, can later be used at their convenience.
Jim Aylmer, Mount Waverley
Knocking one submarine off the shopping list would save all these cuts to the national broadcaster.
Jean Ker Walsh, Woodend
I’m 75. All my life the 7.45am news has been the perfect start to my day. Brain food with my breakfast.
Kath McKay, Bayswater
It’s 7.45am and here is the ABC news. Silence. The government silenced our ABC.
Bruce Dudon, Woodend
Tehan and Fletcher are trying to dumb down Australians to their own level of narrow mindedness.
Barrie Bales, Woorinen North
Keep Emma, ditch Macca.
Rosslyn Jennings, North Melbourne
The ABC shouldn’t cut news, current affairs, documentaries – just the rest.
Rod Matthews, Fairfield
No 7.45am news. An irreplaceable institution ripped from us. Shame, Prime Minister, shame.
Jim McLeod, Sale
Malcolm Turnbull, China has 1.4 billion people and Australia has 25 million. Equal powers?
Reg Murray, Glen Iris
WA’s McGowan can be as smug as he likes about Victoria but the grand final is not leaving the MCG.
Noel Butterfield, Montmorency
Is now a good time to talk about climate change? You know it is still getting worse, right?
Paul Hellard, Ferntree Gully