Tonight Australian Story, Four Corners and Media Watch finish up for the year. Tomorrow night it’s Foreign Correspondent.

That’s disgraceful and although they blame tight budgets and scarce resources, the ABC had around $22 million unspent from its record revenue of $994 million at June 30. Surely some of that could have been used to keep Four Corners and Media Watch on air until after the election.

The Chaser is doing its last program on Wednesday, 28 November. It falls under ABC TV, but so does Media Watch and Australian Story (Four Corners and Foreign Correspondent fall under the ABC News department). So why the difference?

Yes, The 7.30 Report and Lateline will still be on air but that’s not the point. Four Corners claims to be the premier current affairs program in the country. By going on holidays after tonight, it’s showing that it’s nothing but a sheltered workshop for codgers and codgerettes with no drive or interest in serving the viewing public.

The ABC is now the pre-eminent news and current affairs organisation in this country, reaching more people everyday than any other group, including News Ltd. With that claim goes considerable responsibility.

The luvvies inside and outside the ABC often complain that the ABC is being starved of resources, or being unfairly attacked, which it is at times.

But by sending the likes of Media Watch, Foreign Correspondent and especially Four Corners on holidays early, the ABC board and management have abandoned some of that responsibility in favour of the accountants’ serenade: “We can’t do it, no money, resources”.

In this case the money should have been found to keep them on air until after the election.

Peter Fray

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