Doorstop Interview: Parliament House, Canberra: FIFA World Cup, SBS and ABC Funding Cuts



SUBJECTS: FIFA World Cup; SBS and ABC Funding Cuts

PETER KHALIL, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WILLS:  Alright, go Australia. Go the Socceroos, tonight against Denmark. I am obviously passionate about the Socceroos, obviously, having worked for SBS for a number of years and I think they’ve got a really good shot at winning. As long as Daniel Arzani gets more game time and Massimo Luongo gets a run, I reckon Australia’s going to win. So that’s fantastic. But on the serious side, this Government, the Coalition Government, has cut SBS and the ABC. And this is after a promise by Tony Abbott before the 2013 election that there’d be no cuts to the ABC and the SBS. And, of course, Abbott made the promise and Malcolm Turnbull has actually broken it. So there’s no real difference between the two of them. It’s tweedledum and tweedledee. And the sad thing is here, is that SBS particularly is a unique public broadcaster. It’s a broadcaster that provides multi-lingual or multicultural content to a diverse Australia. It’s unique globally in what it does. And it has been cut. And part of the reason why so many Aussies are upset out of the broadcasting of the world cup soccer games is, because of the cuts that SBS had faced, they had to on-sell some of the games to Optus. And this is what we’ve got; Australians upset that they’re not able to watch the world game that SBS has brought their home for decades. And they’ve brought that to their home for decades, they’ve also brought real rich diversity of content to enlighten us, to educate us, to inform us, to entertain us and it’s very, very sad. I’ll make one other point about broadcasting, or public broadcasting in particular. Both the ABC and the SBS as public broadcasters play a very critical role in our democracy with the fracturing of the media, the polarisation of the media globally. The way that people consume media now through the new media, through social media, they go to sources that reinforce their own bias. But with the ABC and the SBS, you have public broadcasters that can provide that water cooler moment. A point of reference for people to actually talk about things as objectively as they can, when they get their news and current affairs, and when they get their content. And public broadcasting, more than ever, is critical for the health of our democracy. And it is absolutely tragic that Malcolm Turnbull, who talks a big game about supporting public broadcasting, has basically reneged on the promise that Tony Abbott made, and has cut both the ABC and the SBS during his time as Prime Minister.