(Source: The Guardian via Phil Brennan)
The ABC’s managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has told Senate estimates she believes it is not her job to lobby government for more funding for the broadcaster but to work within the budget she is given.
Under questioning at a fiery Senate estimates committee, Guthrie revealed she saw her role as a manager rather than an advocate for more funding, a marked difference from her predecessor Mark Scott who was a consistent lobbyist for additional funding and critic of government cuts.
“On my second day in the job I was handed down the triennial funding in the May budget and as far as I’m concerned we operate within that three-year funding envelope,” Guthrie said.
Asked repeatedly if she believed it was her role to seek more funding to fulfil the ABC’s charter she said no because her focus was on providing content and operating efficiently.
[…]“I think what you’re asking is reasonably hypothetical. We are operating within the government’s funding envelope and making decisions on audience behaviour and technological advancement.”
She also refused to concede that anyone other than the 15 people who called the ABC to complain, or the 51 who gave submissions to a Senate committee, had been affected by the decision to scrap the shortwave radio service.
She appeared before a Senate estimates committee on Tuesday, answering questions about the decision to end the broadcasting of local radio through shortwave channels in the Northern Territory and Pacific region. The decision was been widely criticised, including by all major parties.
Guthrie was unable to provide evidence of prior consultation on the decision and claimed the ABC was not the official emergency broadcaster.
Asked by Greens senator Scott Ludlam about the “extraordinary cuts” to Radio National features, religion and music, Guthrie dismissed his premise, saying: “I wouldn’t characterise taking three music programs away from RN as an extraordinary decision.”[…]