Prime Minister Tony Abbot has attacked the ABC, telling 2GB radio that the national broadcaster ”instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s”. The notion of an unpatriotic ABC struck a bit of a chord with me, as I personally can’t imagine a more Australian brand. Like most Aussie kids, I grew up on a healthy diet of ABC productions (Play School pretty much formed my personality) and my adolescent years would have been an even bigger drag without Triple J (what self-respecting emo could listen to commercial radio?). Now that I’m old and wise, ABC news and the 7:30 Report instill a small sense of confidence that I know what’s going on in the world… I sense that can’t be replicated when watching commercial television.
Far from being unpatriotic, I think the ABC is our country’s cultural heart. If you were in the country on Australia day (and not enjoying your bbq under a rock) you will no doubt have been aware of Triple J’s Hottest 100. Few things unite the nation like this little countdown. My proud English husband often likes to draw unflattering comparisons between our countries, but even he was (reluctantly) moved by the uniting force of this national radio station.
The ABC serves Australians in a multitude of ways; creating opportunities for local creatives, connecting with remote regions and keeping us informed on a national level. It is a symbol of our identity, culture and history, and one of our most important national brands. The Prime Minister’s attack against the network is no doubt an attempt rekindle discussion for privatisation, however in branding the ABC as unAustralian I think he’s only damaged his own campaign.
What do you think? Is the ABC an important Australian brand? Would the brand be damaged if privatisation were to go ahead?