This speech was made by former ABC broadcaster Kerry O'Brien at the ABC Friends rally in Sydney on July 8.

Let me start with a quote: "The ABC is a vital part of our nation’s polity. It is one of the great foundations of journalism and news gathering and broadcasting in the country. It has a very special place in Australia." That was Malcolm Turnbull in January 2014 when he announced a cut to the ABC’s budget of $254 million.

(Ed: Ad lib response to isolated hissing from one audience member: Honestly, I don’t like hissing. This is something that is too important to allow divisions and divisiveness about it. There are many very, very passionate ABC supporters who are part of a national conservative constituency and they should be applauded for it, and they should be encouraged to feel they are part of this fight.)