Assume for a moment that the ABC was a dedicated team working to serve the public, getting fair rates of pay. Then imagine Australians asked the ABC what salaries they paid their “celebrities”. The ABC team would be happy to provide that list, and surely it could be done in one working day.
Instead the national broadcaster has been hiding those details for two years and has just lost the second appeal. (How much money has it cost to hide the money ABC presenters get?) The ABC gets $1 billion a year from the people of Australia, and it has refused to disclose the details of its $25 million dollar “contractors and consultants” bill, and the salaries of top staff of shows like Media Watch, Four corners, and Mornings with John Faine.
A Freedom of Information request was lodged more than two years ago by the Herald and Weekly Times, seeking access to documents “dealing with salaries, or any payments” paid to program makers working on 13 programs, including those listed above, for the financial year ending 2010.
The BBC was caught paying presenters through personal service companies which allowed those presenters to pay less tax. (Are these the same presenters who advocate “big-government” policies and work to increase tax rates and spend the taxes paid by other citizens? If so, they can hardly pretend they hold an ideological position. Surely this is the definition of “parasitic”.)
The ABC employs 4603 full time employees, and fully 401 of them earned more than $150,000 each. The ABC has wasted taxpayer funds with pathetically weak excuses:
The ABC said the documents it had were exempt from FOI because they were either “program material” or “in relation to program material”.
However, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said any connection between the pay documents and program material “is so remote that there is not even an indirect relationship between them”.
The ABC then went to the AAT to appeal that decision but was again unsuccessful.
The AAT first made the finding that the ABC could not exempt documents “in relation to” program material but only the material itself, which could include scripts, lyrics and video footage.
“Taking the argument advanced by the (ABC) to its logical conclusion, there would be no documents held by the ABC that are not at least indirectly related to program-making,” said AAT president, judge Duncan Kerr and member Anne Britton.
The only thing clear in this news is that the ABC is not here to serve the public
Even ABC employees must surely recognise that there is no public benefit in concealing the way the ABC uses funds that the public are forced to pay.
The media is the problem.
Australia would not be in the mess that it is in, if we had true investigative media.
Bad policies would be exposed. Bad governments would not get away with disastrous decisions.
By hiding the voices of half of Australia, the ABC costs us far far more than $1 billion a year.
Source: The Australian (paywalled.)
Post your guess – what does Tony Jones earn? John Faine?