Letter from ABC Chairman to FABC 5 Oct 2000

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Australian Broadcasting Corporation Office of Donald McDonald AO Chairman October 5, 2000

Mr Darce Cassidy National Spokesperson Friends of the ABC GPO Box 4065MM Melbourne, Vic, 3001

Dear Darce,

I refer to your letter of September 19 received in my office on September 25. I was disappointed to note that the contents of your letter were published in an article irI The Austtalian on September 22. I also note your observation that information you have been reacting to about the restruchlring of the Corporation being undertaken by the Managing Director has been obtained from media reports.

I am aware, however, that representatives from the Friends met with the Managing Director in Adelaide on June 29 at which time you discussed some of the issues covered your letter. Mr Shier indicated he would be happy to have further meetings to discuss issues of interest. I understand that he has agreed to speak to the General Meeting of the Friends in Melbourne next month. Mr Shier will be communicating with you shortly about proposed future consultative arrangements. He will also be taking a number of opportunities in coming weeks to speak publicly about public broadcasti11g issues such as those of concern to you.

As to the specific responses you seek from the ABC Board, I respond as follows: .Any concerns held about an impending deterioration in innovation, quality and diversity are seriously misplaced. The board has statutory responsibilities which it will closely observe, includll1g maintenance of the independence and integrity of the Corporation. The Board will continue to seek more satisfactory levels of funding from Government which, as the Managing Director has acknowledged, must remain the prmcipal source of fundmg for the CoIporation.

.The Board will continue to support the prohibition on sponsorship and advertisi11g on the Corporation's radio and television services. In relation to ABC Online, the Board is yet to consider the issue.

.In relation to current affairs, again, the Board has statutory responsibilities which it will be vigilant to uphold. The matter of scheduling of programs is one which receives ongoing attention by Corporation management sensitive to audience needs.

.I have previously confirmed the Board's commitment to its statutory obligations, which you have quoted in your letter. Observation of Charter responsibilities does not need to be inconsistent with a desire to ensure wider audiences for ABC programs. It is not an either or argument.

In the circumstances, your members will be interested in this week's Media Report on Radio NationaL which featured interviews with the Managing Director and the BBC's Director General about current issues in public broadcasting. I attacl1 a copy of the transcript of this program, which is also available online.

Yours sincerely,

Donald McDonald Chairman

-- Anonymous, November 01, 2000

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