Union vows to fight ABC job cuts and brands government “liars” over office closures

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 4.13.35 PMThe Community and Public Sector Union has vowed to fight job cuts at the ABC “tooth and nail” after insisting the quality of programs will suffer despite government reassurances to the contrary.

Secretary Michael Tull branded the government “liars” as the union surveyed the fall out from the broadcaster’s restructure that will see more than 400 jobs axed and local offices shut down.

“After promising not to cut, the Government has cut millions from the ABC’s budget and forced it to slash one in 10 jobs from its workforce. It is now abundantly clear that the Government’s cuts will seriously impact the quality of programming, despite assurances by (Communications Minister) Malcolm Turnbull to the contrary,” Tull said.

“Programs are being cut and regional radio offices are closing so once again the Government is lying when it said that the cuts to the ABC budget would not affect the public.”

Tull called on the Government to halt the cuts which he said were based on the Lewis Review, a report he claimed have been “kept secret”.

Such secrecy is  “unacceptable and has to end”.

“The community, politicians and those affected have a right to know the real reason. These cuts are not about helping the ABC – as Malcolm Turnbull would have us believe – they are about attacking and weakening it,” he said.

“We will be looking for more detail and justification for these cuts. We are absolutely opposed to compulsory redundancies and we will fight them tooth and nail. We want to protect as many jobs as possible. The ABC must consult with staff and we will be reminding ABC management of that legal obligation.”

He  added: “Outsourcing is no solution to the Government’s cuts. Time and again in the public sector we’ve seen outsourcing touted as a way to save money when in fact the facts show it actually costs more.”

Pressure group ABC Friends said it was “dismayed” at the damage being suffered by the ABC as it sought to cut costs.

ABC Friends National spokesperson Glenys Stradijot said the Government was acting as if it had been handed a mandate to destroy the public broadcaster.

“We now know the Government’s cuts will have a devastating impact on the national broadcaster’s capacity to do its job,” she said. “The ABC will be unable to fulfil its charter obligations or meet its responsibility to be a truly national public broadcaster which services Australians across the country.”

Communications minister Malcoolm Turnbull  has been a “huge disappointment” and has proved himself to be no friend of the ABC despite his rhetoric, she said.

“Minister Turnbull’s earlier assurances that his so-called efficiency measures would not affect services and programming have turned out to be as dishonest as the Prime Minister’s pre-election promise not to cut the ABC,” she said.

“A cynical person might think that Mr Turnbull is looking towards his next leadership challenge, that he is delivering up the ABC to impress his colleagues and buy Murdoch media support.”


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