The unprecedented early announcement of the federal government’s intent to freeze ABC funding as part of the 2019-22 triennial funding is aimed at a single audience: the long-suffering media oligopolies, particularly News Corp, Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media.

In the normal course of things, the ABC’s triennial funding arrangements are announced in the budget immediately before the three-year deal starts -- in this case, it would be in the 2019 budget after an extensive to-and-fro of semi-public lobbying. The only point in announcing these cuts a year ahead is to send a message. And this message comes reinforced with a further government supervised “efficiency” review and hot on the heels of the “competitive neutrality” review.