This comment today on this post at Mumbrella (not yet approved, I hope it is), comment following:
I’m really waiting for an explanation as to why Australia Network needed its own “Canberra bureau” (from reading Tweets today AN’s Canberra bureau was cut) unless of course it was another example of Mark Scott using the Australia Network funding to subsidise things that weren’t remotely related to the Australia Network proper.
As anyone who has ever watched the Australia Network itself, I can tell you that all their day time bulletins (from 3am TST) are from ABC 24 News with the exception of the 2:30 (Thai time) Australia Network News Bulletin which comes out of a Melbourne studio.
I’m gutted that Australia Network has been cut, but there needs to be a serious parliamentary, or bigger enquiry as to how the $20m odd a year from DFAT was used to subsidise correspondents and bureaus which actually weren’t all that related to the service at all, except for maybe the odd rare report.
Mark Scott scammed the funding to cross subsidise ABC’s general foreign coverage, and now the cost has been paid.
You can well argue that in the end Australia Network was an ideological cut, but using what 30-50% maybe even more of that money to subsidise services not related where it could have…lets see, not spent that money that way and shown Government that our voice in Australia could be far more affordable should be on the gravestone of Mark Scott.
Which reminds me as a parting comment on something Malcolm Turnbull once said on Mark Scott: he claimed that Scott says that ABC New 24 can’t go into Asia due to “rights issues” which is dubious at best. Given how many ABC News 24 programs appear on the network now. At a rough guess 8-10 hours worth a day, maybe more when you include the showing of the chat programs, and there then repeats (Lateline, The Business, The World etc etc…) And then maybe every 2 in 3 programs in between times is ABC content anyway.
“Rights issues” was always a bs argument.
I’m probably being polite there.
The count of “good” (and by that I mean reasonable fair and decent) foreign correspondents sacked by the ABC today is beyond a fucking joke.
The thing is, most of those folks were rarely if at all exclusive to Australia Network vs the ABC (and it’s various programs and channels) exclusively.
They SHOULD NEVER have been employed exclusively by the DFAT funded Australia Network contract.
EVER IN A BLIND FUCKING FIT.
Sure, Australia Network could have justified a correspondent to cover say remote Pacific Islands, Kirabit, Nauru, Tavalu and places like that. But it never has.
Instead the ABC used the money to cover main ABC network correspondents across SE Asia, India and places like that.
When I’m next back to Australia, I’m going to write to all and sundry and demand an enquiry.
As per what I wrote on Mumbrella above, you could have funded Australia Network for 50%, maybe 75% even less. $5m-$10m a year may have even been sellable.
Instead the ABC, headed by Mark Scott took that money and pumped it into people who were not primarily based around the network.
It’s not just a national disgrace, it’s a scam. No other two ways about it.