Since its inception in 2018, ABC Alumni has contributed submissions to a range of government inquiries into matters concerning the ABC and public broadcasting more widely. Representatives of the Alumni have also given oral evidence at inquiry Hearings. This lobbying continues to be a priority.
List of submissions
Click on titles to download our submissions
Inquiry into media diversity in Australia – 10 December 2020
Expert Panel inquiry into A new international development policy and performance framework for Australia – 14 February 2020
Senate Inquiry into the adequacy of Commonwealth laws and frameworks covering the disclosure and reporting of sensitive and classified information – 29 August 2019
ABC Alumni says the Australian Federal Police might be trying to dodge proper ministerial oversight in its conduct of the Afghan Files investigation.
ABC Alumni raised the concern in its submission to the Senate inquiry into the adequacy of Commonwealth laws covering the disclosure and reporting of sensitive and classified information.
The ABC published stories in July 2017 about the activities of Australian special forces in Afghanistan, based on secret Defence Force documents leaked to the ABC.
The Defence Force referred the leaks to the Australian Federal Police a few days later. Since then, the AFP raided the ABC Sydney headquarters, and the man accused of leaking the documents has been committed for trial.
ABC Alumni is concerned decisions to proceed with charges under certain laws could indicate the AFP is attempting to evade requirements for approval by the Federal Attorney General, and that the defence of public interest would not be available.
The submission said the use of these charges against “a normal journalistic endeavour” would have a dramatically chilling effect on a wide range of public interest journalism.
ABC Alumni shares the concerns of media organisations and others about the scope of the counter-terrorism and secrecy legislation passed by the Federal parliament since September 2001.
ABC Alumni also believes that there is a strong case for more protection for whistleblowers, particularly if they consider that the issues that concern them have not been dealt with adequately by internal regulators.
But the recent AFP tactics are of great concern.
“They appear to have snuck under the radar of even the most vigilant guardians of our civil liberties. We believe it has the potential to have as chilling an effect on the media’s ability to hold government to account as any of the security legislation much more commonly cited as posing such a threat.”
PJCIS Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligent powers on the freedom of the press – 12 August 2019
Senate Inquiry into the allegations of political interference in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) – 13 November 2018
Supplementary Submission/Funding: Senate Inquiry into the allegations of political interference in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation – 28 February 2019
Review of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific – 19 August 2018
Alumni says Australia needs greater ABC presence in the Asia Pacific
The ABC has a proud history of providing almost all of Australia’s media services to our near neighbours, particularly in the Pacific. However, budget cuts imposed by the Abbott government in 2014 resulted in reduced content and the closure of shortwave radio transmitters (which remain essential for delivery to some communities).
Since its inception, ABC Alumni has been campaigning for a renewal and reinvigoration of ABC’s presence in the region.
In August 2018 we made a submission to the federal government’s Review into Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific, jointly conducted by the then Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA).
We were disappointed by the final report, published on 17th October 2019 by the new Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. In our view – and that of the eminent Australia Asia Pacific Media Initiative (AAPMI; formerly SABAP) – it falls well short of the vision required to provide Australia with both a voice and a soft power advantage in the region.
For further information, see our article below published in December 2019 on the 80th anniversary of ABC’s international broadcasting service.
Inquiry into the Competitive Neutrality of the National Broadcasters – 22 June 2018
This submission represents sets out the response of ABC Alumni, a national community
organisation comprising former employees and associates of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), to the Inquiry into the Competitive Neutrality of the National Broadcasters (the Inquiry).
ABC Alumni advocates for the ABC’s role as an independent and impartial public
broadcaster and digital content maker, in the face of unwarranted political and commercial criticism. ABC Alumni is grateful for the opportunity to provide a submission to the Inquiry which reflects the extensive experience and valuable insights of former staff.