ABC building sydney
(Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

In a week where the ABC confirmed its proposal to address budget cuts, Victoria’s coronavirus spike continued, and the government announced a hike to humanities degree fees, Crikey readers had plenty to write to us about.

We love to hear from you, so please let us know your thoughts on today’s letters, or anything you read in Crikey, by writing to [email protected]. Please include your full name to be considered for publication in this column.

On ABC cuts:

Marilyn Peters writes: I think those of us who value having the ABC should ignore this current spiteful government and offer to pay $1 a day to keep them going. If that is too much then look at 50 cents a day.

Surely there would be at least a million of us willing to pay $180 per annum to keep them operating at current levels. $180 million a year would surely help and perhaps have the added bonus of telling the government they are not in control of our lives and choices, something they seem hell bent on achieving.

Graeme Bull writes: How many fellow Australians watched Media Watch last night? If not, do so!

Under the guise of Coalition budgetary priorities the true extent of government animosity was exposed. To strip ABC funding and dismantle selected programs was exposed. Not only set programs are on the nose but also key personnel. The primary criteria inferred: don’t challenge LNP media priorities.

The Coalition is relying upon a multitude of outraged ABC supporters all screaming out together. Chaos instead of focus! What is needed is a single, coherent message: “Of the people, for the people.” No more lies. Re-fund ABC budgets.

Should Australia lose this fight … so also, Australian democracy. “Our ABC” means just that. Not of, or for, political ideological faiths, or transient governments.

Lynette Payne writes: Radios tuned to ABC, only. Main TV viewing, ABC.
Devastated but not unexpected that the cuts are deep. ABC too big a threat to the government who wants to hide so many things.

On culturally appropriate communication:

Rosemary Jacob writes: There are many aspects of the way Centrelink operates which leave it open to criticism, but it appears that their ability to publish information leaflets in every language under the sun is second to none.

Increasingly, Australian governments are being criticised for being insufficiently representative.

White English-speaking men outnumber every other category, and it seems their ability to recruit staff who can contribute a range of other perspectives is almost as limited.

It is not enough to push for the token woman, we need to be insisting that every decision-making body includes representatives of a range of cultures as well as a rainbow complexion.

Small wonder that sexual complaints and racial discrimination abound when there is an almost exclusive white dominant male perspective, and, let’s face it, when it comes to effective, empathetic communication, women usually beat their male counterparts.

On lockdown:

Patricia Loughlan writes: Severe continuing lockdowns have a significantly negative disparate impact on the young (who are not actually at any serious risk of serious disease from coronavirus), but who see their jobs and futures disappearing with the coming economic collapse. So I think that commentators in the media and social media and possibly even the public health modellers should perhaps be asked to declare whether they:

  1. Are in an age group that is a target of this disease
  2. Are in a group with co-morbidities that put them at increased risk
  3. Are in secure employment so that lockdowns are unlikely to affect their particular futures
  4. Have a nice house with a garden and a circle of congenial people in their bubble.

I presume you see the point that I am laboriously making: both the virus and the responses to the virus have different risk levels to different segments of the population and it is arguable that an articulate and powerful elite class are dominating the public policy debates and they have much to gain from lockdowns and little to lose. This doesn’t mean lockdowns are wrong, just that there are some hidden conflicts of interest here.

On fees for humanities degrees:

Russell Watts writes: students have an overriding need (and obligation to themselves) to choose a career that best suits their individual abilities, ie IQ and various aptitudes. Buying students’ choice really amounts to coercion.