Triple J Hack with Alice Matthews > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

CONTACT SENATOR FIFIELD

Click here to email me

Electorate Office
42 Florence Street
MENTONE VIC 3194

Phone: 03 9584 2455
Phone Toll Free
(Vic only): 1300 797 110

Parliament House Office
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Phone: 02 6277 7480




18-June-2018

Interview with Alice Matthews
Triple J Hack
5.30pm
18 June 2018

E & OE

   

MATTHEWS:
We’re joined by Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, who’s on the line. Minister, thanks so much for joining us.

FIFIELD:
Good to be with you.

MATTHEWS:
Does the Government plan to sell off the ABC?

FIFIELD:
Absolutely not. The ABC always has been and always will be owned by the government on trust for the Australian people, and that’s something that we will never change.

MATTHEWS:
And the ABC’s got heaps of public support. Eight out of 10 think it produces valuable content, how do you think calls to privatise it will go down with the public.

FIFIELD:
The Australian public want the ABC to remain in government hands and it will remain in government hands. The ABC makes an incredibly important contribution; through news and current affairs, through the 52 regional ABC Radio stations, through its four national radio networks, through its TV and through its online presence. It’s something Australians value highly. And we as a Government will always make sure that the ABC is well-resourced so that it can carry out those important functions.

MATTHEWS:
Yeah, you mentioned the regional offices there. There is concern in rural and regional areas about the future of the ABC. So what do you say to the listeners in those areas?

FIFIELD:
Providing services to rural and regional Australia is core ABC business. And in fact, I have legislation currently before the Senate to further reinforce that responsibility. You may not know this, your listeners may not know this, but there is currently nothing in the ABC Act that speaks specifically to the ABC’s responsibility to rural and regional Australia. What we want to do is put that in the ABC Act, explicitly. To make crystal clear that the ABC has those responsibilities to rural and regional Australia.

MATTHEWS:
So what would that look like?


FIFIELD:
It’d be putting in the ABC Act, that the ABC has an obligation to rural and regional Australia. The ABC Act already makes specific reference to the ABC’s obligations for the arts and for science. But we think it’s really important that we make it explicit in the Act; that it has those responsibilities for rural and regional Australia. It already provides that service, but we want to see that enshrined in legislation.  

MATTHEWS:
This issue of privatisation has caused a bit of infighting among yourselves. Has the Coalition scored its own goal with this.

FIFIELD:
We have a division of responsibility in the Party. The party organisation has responsibility for the selection of parliamentary candidates. And the parliamentary party is the sole determinant of policy. And the policy of the Federal Coalition, the policy of the Government is – as it always has been and always will be – that the ABC will be in government hands.

MATTHEWS:
And you mentioned you wanted to keep it well-resourced always. The ABC suffered a pretty massive cut in the last budget. Can you rule out any future cuts to ABC?

FIFIELD:
The ABC is funded on a triennial, or three-yearly, basis. And we haven’t altered the funding in the current triennium, which still has a year to go. What we announced in the recent Budget, was that there would be a pause to the indexation of the ABC’s funding…


MATTHEWS:
Which in effect is $84 million…


FIFIELD:
..and the ABC will continue to receive more than a billion dollars a year. So the ABC will still have greater funding certainly than any other media organisation in Australia.

MATTHEWS:
Minister, thanks for joining us on Hack.

FIFIELD:
Good to with you Alice.

 

 [ends]

 


Authorised by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Liberal Party of Australia, Parliament House Canberra.