Crikey says: don't give up the fight on ABC, SBS independence
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So it’s official — as Crikey tipped you off yesterday, conservative ideologue Janet Albrechtsen has been appointed to the nomination panel for the ABC and SBS boards.
Planet Janet has orbited around the ABC before — in the Howard era, when she was directly appointed to the board, along with right-wing culture warriors Keith Windschuttle and Ron Brunton. In response to the Howard government’s unusually blatant stacking, the Rudd government created an appointments board. That has now been undermined, essentially moving the process of political cynicism one degree outwards.
The move indicates two things: the chaotic and overreaching nature of the Abbott government and the clear difference in political morality and maturity between Liberal and Labor. Of course Labor governments will appoint friendly figures — but they have also shown a willingness to create some kind of ideological diversity on these boards.
Labor — and others who oppose the Abbott government — should stick to these principles, and commit to more pluralism, not less, as the very real possibility of making the Abbott government a one-term proposition comes closer. Albrechtsen will likely be as ineffectual on the appointments board as she was on the ABC board itself — and any real challenge to the ABC as a social institution will spark a pushback that would open another losing front for Abbott to fight on.