This piece is part of a Crikey Deep Dive series: “What is the ABC For?”. We’re trying to unravel and distill some of the crucial questions the ABC should be asking itself in this post-Guthrie/Milne era.

The furore around the projection of horse-racing images on the sails of our Opera House last month and the prime minister’s response in describing our World Heritage listed icon as our biggest “billboard” gets you thinking. Why stop there? Why not stick the racehorses on Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles like carousel ponies? If it's OK to project ads on the Opera House, is anything safe?

The Coalition’s savagery towards the ABC is consistent with this cultural disregard. Since they came to office in 2013 our national broadcaster has been subjected to continual crisis. Slashed budgets, government shaming of individual journalists, constant reviews and inquiries and a vote passed at the federal Liberal Party conference to privatise the ABC. They have made no secret that they have as much disregard for the ABC as they do for our world heritage Opera House.