Did Malcolm Turnbull promise to privatise the ABC by selling to Murdoch’s SKY?

Did Malcolm Turnbull promise to privatise the ABC?
NO

Did Malcolm Turnbull rule it out?
NO

In his own words:

I will say this: the ABC is a perfectly appropriate entity to deliver the international broadcasting service for Australia. Most international broadcasting services are delivered by the public broadcaster of the relevant nation. There is nothing wrong with that. They were awarded that contract when we were in government. We made no complaints about it. But you have to ask yourself: what government in its right mind—with a rational, business-like mind—would preclude itself from ever making this job contestable? Even if you took the view that the ABC was, all other things being equal, the appropriate body to provide this service, why would you want to put yourself in the position that, if the ABC proposed at some future date to provide the service at a price or on conditions that were unreasonable or too expensive or too over the top in some manner or other, then you could not say to the ABC: ‘That’s not good enough. You’ve got to sharpen your pencil. We’ll put it out to tender’ or ‘We’ve got the power to put it out to tender’? Why would you preclude yourself from being able to do that? That is exactly what the government has done. It is a rather bizarre turn of events, because it was only a few years ago that the government apparently thought that a competitive tender was the best way to award this contract and actually held a tender. Then, because the government did not get the result that at least part of it wanted—it seems the other part did want the result that was delivered—it aborted the tender and ended up having to pay, we understand, well over $2 million in damages and compensation to Sky. It was really a hopeless failure of process.

emphasis added

In this quote, Turnbull is having a go at the ALP for NOT selling government assets to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation-owned SKY.

Yes, it is true that Turnbull speaks in long sentences that don’t seem to get to the point, I’m sure smarter people than me can interpret this better.

Would the ABC be privatised? The Liberals wouldn’t rule it out. It’s OUR ABC, very soon to be Murdoch’s ABC?

Not exactly a promise or a policy, but if the Liberals refuse to rule it out, then there is always the chance they will rule it in.


SOURCE: Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to Parliament during debate over Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Convergence Review and Other Measures) Bill 2013, Television Licence Fees Amendment Bill 2013, Tuesday, 19 March 2013, Hansard

image created for TurnLeft by TurnLeft

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12 Comments to “Did Malcolm Turnbull promise to privatise the ABC by selling to Murdoch’s SKY?”

  1. Are you kidding? Nothing left of the ABC worth fighting for? What about almost every program on Radio National for a start. Not Leftie enough for you? Tough. At least there is informative, factual content, and often stuff that governments and corporations don’t really want you to know. These are the programs that inform the rest of the media in Australia and that’s why the Libs and their big business mates would like to get rid of the ABC, not because of some baloney about bias on Q&I.

    • No one said there was nothing worth fighting for – but asked the question what is there worth fighting for?

      All the “what’s making headlines” stories where they just regurgitate News Limited and Sydney Mining Herald opinion pieces, or the endless Peter Rieth and Ross Cameron opinion pieces or Amanda Vanstones own bully pulpit? Also, they have now sold most of their BBC output to Foxtel. Oh and, Radio National is not Leftie – it is in their charter, they have to be balanced, but then, to some right wingers, unless they spend every single minute bagging out the government, they are accused of Leftie bias. I see, someone is wearing a red tie LEFT WING BIAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MARXISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Read the IPA’s 75 point list for Abbott

    Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.
    Abolish the Department of Climate Change
    Abolish the Clean Energy Fund
    Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
    Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council
    Repeal the renewable energy target
    Return income taxing powers to the states
    Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission
    Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
    Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol
    Introduce fee competition to Australian universities
    Repeal the National Curriculum
    Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums
    Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
    Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
    Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law
    End local content requirements for Australian television stations
    Eliminate family tax benefits
    Abandon the paid parental leave scheme
    Means-test Medicare
    End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
    Introduce voluntary voting
    End mandatory disclosures on political donations
    End media blackout in final days of election campaigns
    End public funding to political parties
    Remove anti-dumping laws
    Eliminate media ownership restrictions
    Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
    Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
    Cease subsidising the car industry
    Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction
    Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games
    Deregulate the parallel importation of books
    End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws
    Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP
    Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit
    Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database
    Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food
    Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
    Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools
    Repeal the alcopops tax
    Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:
    a) Lower personal income tax for residents
    b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers
    c) Encourage the construction of dams
    Repeal the mining tax
    Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states
    Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold
    Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent
    Cease funding the Australia Network
    Privatise Australia Post
    Privatise Medibank
    Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function
    Privatise SBS
    Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784
    Repeal the Fair Work Act
    Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them
    Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors
    Abolish the Baby Bonus
    Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
    Allow the Northern Territory to become a state
    Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16
    Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade
    Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States
    End all public subsidies to sport and the arts
    Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport
    End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering
    Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification
    Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship
    Means test tertiary student loans
    Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement
    Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built
    End all government funded Nanny State advertising
    Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling
    Privatise the CSIRO
    Defund Harmony Day
    Close the Office for Youth
    Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme

  3. The ABC and SBS continue to leave all other TV stations wanting. Current affairs and news reporting by Aunty & SBS are second to none. Even Malcolm and his mates get a fair hearing by Tony Jones on Q&A

    • Even Malcolm and his mates get a fair hearing by Tony Jones on Q&A? Are you kidding me, what do you mean even they, of course they do? Or do you still buy the Right wing myth about ABC left wing bias? The ABC hasn’t been left wing since they ditched Red Kerry OBrien and replaced him with the failed anti-abortion, pro evangelical christian candidate for the ACT, Chris Uhlmann.

  4. Plenty! I love the ABC, long time fan. Despite the changes and bias that creeps in at times (it goes both ways), being commercial free for starters is a big bonus. Shame SBS went to adverts, and while in house promo, can get annoying like adverts – sometimes I turn to the ABC just to escape the relentless commercial world. Even the mere mention of the mere idea of privatising it makes my blood boil. Things like iView and pod-casting of radio shows are a blessing to me and my non orthodox life that rarely allows me to watch or listen to anything during their original airing times. P.S keep up the good work with this site!

  5. Might as well flog off the ABC. It is already well on the way to becoming another channel 10, complete with Andrew Bolt look alikes.
    Then they can go broke when they snub their viewers, instead of me having to pay (through my taxes) for right wing propaganda.

    • is it better to sell it under a ALP government, or wait til the LNP get in and they will sell it for a knock down price? or should Australians fight to bring some balance back instead of giving it up for a lost cause?

      • Dont pose this alternative as a question. Assert it as answer to both what Turnbull has in mind and also as an answer to the appalling travesty of public, independent broadcasting the ABC has become.

      • Since I am loathe to make allegations that might be liable, and since Turnbull rambles on in vague ambiguities, I really couldn’t say for sure what he is saying. But feel free to take the quote, or follow the link and get the full context and maybe you could do a better job of interpreting Turnbull, because he sure as anything confuses me.

  6. Any political party that conteplated privatising the ABC would certainly not be doing the nation any favours, and would be committing political suicide. The very idea of letting the monster Murdoch have control of “our ABC” is a total betrayal of the Australian people for commercial and far right brain washing purposes. The very fact Malcolm Turnbull would not rule this out completely, only goes to show how little trust we could have in the NLP media policies. I would sincerely hope that this will go into the box of un-Australian policies that the Liberals run around with, and the Australian people don’t give them the chance to take off the lid to threaten us all. The ABC is a National Icon of international standing and it’s independence should be preserved by law. Long live an independent Aunty, our favourite family member!

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