Letter from Australian Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister regarding NT shortwave service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor,  Phil Brennan, who shares the following letter sent to The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister, by Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition:

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister

I write in relation to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) decision to cease its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory from 31 January 2017.

My letter follows repeated representations from members of my Shadow Ministry, Northern Territory Caucus and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion to secure the continuation of this vital service.

As you know, shortwave radio provides vital news and information services, including local radio and emergency messages that are crucial to those living in remote areas, particularly in time of natural disaster.

The ABC’s claim that the majority of listeners will be able to access ABC services via AM/FM radio, digital radio and online streaming, or via VAST platform does not account for the reality of service availability in remote areas.

This helps to explain why listeners and users of the ABC shortwave in the Northern Territory have been unequivocal in voicing their concern at the Coalition’s failure to intervene in this matter. This includes emergency services workers and cattle growers.

I am also deeply concerned that the ABC took this decision without satisfactory consultation with affected listeners, community representatives and emergency service workers and agencies. ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, has since acknowledged shortfalls in this regard.

For these reasons I ask that you work with Labor, ABC management and local stakeholders as a matter of urgency to ensure the continued provision of shortwave radio service in the NT beyond 31 January 2017.

Yours sincerely

Bill Shorten MP
Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

26 January 2017

cc: The Hon Mark Dreyfus MP, QC Mr Stephen Jones MP
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Mr Luke Gosling OAM, MP Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Click here to download the original PDF version of this letter.

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6 thoughts on “Letter from Australian Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister regarding NT shortwave service

  1. Shaun P

    A welcome response by the opposition leader with others – as an Australian citizen abroad who often listens to Australian shortwave broadcasts and appreciates the geographical coverage that a shortwave signal can get, I am glad that a major figure will stand up for domestic shortwave and hopefully too the international shortwave frequencies of Radio Australia.

  2. David

    I’m not sure how ANYONE in their right mind can cancel any shortwave service. I never listen to online “radio” and if a disaster hits, cell, DAB and online will fail… AM and certainly FM “may” still be active, but a shortwave transmission, emanating more than likely from one or more unaffected sites, will make it through. We must, of course, understand that many ministers of the crown have no interest in their constituents, just their pensions.
    To deny the outback communities of their vital source of information is criminal! The ABC is venerated by millions around the world as a consistently professional service, please keep it running, it could save lives.
    Sorry for the waffle…

  3. Kire

    I’ve already started detoxing by listening to ABC much less. I guess I’m a dinosaur aleady, at 47, but i’ll certainly not be following them to the web.

  4. Ian P

    Michelle Guthrie will not change her decision on this I’m afraid it’s no longer ” our abc ” its another in a long line of horrible decisions that will drive the ABC into to the ground eventually

  5. John Zavacki

    Hopefully Guthrie will realize the err of her ways. Although from all accounts I’ve read, her megalomania won’t allow it.


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