Where is the ABC’s strong union? And could it take advertising?

Vincent Burke writes: Re. “An ABC insider recounts that fateful day” (yesterday). I only listen to ABC Radio, mostly 891 plus the classical music program and occasionally Radio National — never any of the commercial networks. I value the quality of most ABC TV programming, except I pray for a week or even a day free of Stephen Fry’s self-satisfied smirk. I’m not a totally satisfied customer, and I’ve long suspected that working at the ABC is a cushy number for those lucky enough to get into it. The fact is all the good Monday-night TV programs have already shut down for the summer — not due back till February — and radio presenters get a very long holiday over the summer, with weeks off here and there throughout the year.

But one thing has come through in the last 48 hours, and that is the genuine commitment to public broadcasting shown by ABC staff, and I applaud the sentiments expressed by the ABC insider whose article you carried today. As a former union official in the UK (the teachers’ and actors’ unions), I can’t avoid criticising those who have not joined the relevant union covering workers at the ABC. It’s all very well to be bonded together with a cosy mateship, as indicated by your writer. If all employees had formed a bond of real solidarity, thus providing the basis for firm union leadership, they might not find themselves in the vulnerable position so many of them are in right now.

Peter Isaacson writes: Is there any valid reason why the ABC should not take advertising to make up the required revenue which would avoid making the staff cuts announced yesterday?

No goals

Andrew Haughton writes: Re. “Outbreak of entitlement confuses ABC critics” (yesterday). Watching federal Parliament is like watching a poor game of soccer. Missed chances by both sides and no apparent possibility of a score. Except perhaps an own goal by the Prime Minister trying to kick the ABC out of the park.

Peter Fray

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