The ABC is a national treasure says Stephen Conroy

That’s certainly sounding like better news for the ABC than when Richard Alston was communications minister under John Howard. Alston was keen to prove that the ABC was biased against the Liberal government and wanted more control over how the broadcaster reported news and current affairs.

Since Kevin Rudd’s election in 2007, Aunty has been anxious to find out whether the climate will be any better under a Labor administration, particularly in terms of funding.

If last night’s speech to the ABC masses by Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, is any indication, the drought may be about to break for the ABC come the May Budget.

The speech contained glowing praise for the ABC, Senator Conroy left the punchline till last…

“The ideas and proposals contained in the ABC’s triennial funding submission indicate that we can expect more such visionary developments in the future.

“As many of you know, the Government is currently considering that submission, which will determine the ABC’s funding for the next three years, and I am obviously unable to comment on those deliberations.

“However, what we can see here this evening certainly gives some indication of the exciting plans the ABC has, and just what it hopes to bring to the Australian public in the digital media age.

“The Rudd Government knows and greatly values the contribution that the ABC makes to our great country, and is committed to ensuring it can continue, and enhance, that contribution into the future,” said Senator Conroy.

He also delivered a message about how board members will be selected in the future to counter what he perceives to have been political interference.

“For too long the process of appointing directors to both boards has been open to political interference. It is high-time to restore independence, and the new process has proved to be an effective means of doing this.

“This will be demonstrated by the upcoming appointments that were determined under the new system. I will be announcing two appointments to each of the ABC and SBS Boards in the very near future,” said the Senator.